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Rachel believes in the power of the human spirit to overcome, to thrive and to find deep joy and because of that she pours out her heart via these platforms: she is the writer behind the site FindingJoy.net and author of The Brave Art of Motherhood. Her articles have been translated into over 25 languages, her site reaches millions of visitors per month and she has a robust, engaged Facebook community.
Her content has been featured in The Huffington Post, The Today Show, The Today Show Parents, Star Tribune, Tiny Buddha, iVillage, Stuff New Zealand, John Tesh, PopSugar, Motherly, Parents, What to Expect, Independent Journal Review, Dr. Greene, Power of Positivity, Her View From Home, CafeMom, and many more. She speaks worldwide encouraging moms and entrepreneurs to live each day with purpose and drive. Beyond that, she’s a mom to seven, and calls Nashville, Tennessee, her home.
Smart Women Smart Money Arkansas Conference Host
Dennis Milligan was elected to the Office of Treasurer of State in 2014, securing 56% of the vote. As Treasurer, he serves as the State’s banker and is responsible for an investment portfolio of approximately $3.5 billion.
Milligan previously served as Saline County Circuit Clerk from 2011-2015. He is a successful small business owner who started his company, Water Treatment Services (WTS), from scratch in 1985. WTS has expanded from central Arkansas to serving customers in 17 states. Milligan is also a real estate developer and home builder.
As Treasurer of State, Milligan has brought his innovative spirit and mindset to the office, and has not just accepted “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” In his first full fiscal year in office, he doubled the receipted earnings on the State’s investments from an average of $20 million to $48.9 million. He increased that to $57.5 million in fiscal 2017. Since taking office, Milligan has returned more than $154 million back to the State of Arkansas in investment receipts, making good on his pledge to make Arkansans’ tax dollars work harder for them.
Milligan also oversees the Arkansas 529 College Investing Plan, which has seen more than $244 million in growth in total assets since he took office. He also implemented a financial education program under the Arkansas 529 program that increases awareness and financial literacy among Arkansas students. The AR Finance AR Future program, which is free to schools, has impacted 19,200 students in 148 schools, and has brought more than 36,500 hours of financial education to Arkansas students.
Milligan is a lifelong Arkansan and graduated from McClellan High School in Little Rock in 1976. He is married to his junior high school sweetheart, Tina (Summers). They have one daughter and son-in-law, Tiffany and Chad Brown, and three grandchildren.
CAROLYN HOLLY comes to the Smart Women Smart Money team from the Treasure Valley of Idaho after being involved with Smart Women Smart Money as its conference emcee for the past 21 years. Holly currently serves as Vice President of Idaho Business for Education. In her role, she is an instrumental part of developing meaningful relationships with business leaders to create a highly educated and skilled workforce.
Carolyn enjoyed a 33 year career at KTVB Channel 7 television in Boise, where she became one of Idaho's most experienced and best known television personalities.
Carolyn has acted as an important representative and volunteer for many Treasurer Valley organizations including Smart Women Smart Money, Boise Public Schools Foundation, Idaho Youth Sports Commission, the Saint Alphonsus Foundation, FUNDSY, the Boise Police Chiefs Citizen Advisory panel and the President of the FACES Foundation.
As CEO of SFOF, DEREK KREIFELS is charged with leading the national organization and collaborating with state officials to promote fiscally responsible, free-market principles to better impact state and federal fiscal policy. Kreifels is charged with ensuring that SFOF’s fiscal, operational, fundraising, marketing, and communication strategies are effectively implemented.
Kreifels spent six years as Assistant State Treasurer of Kansas. As Assistant State Treasurer he also served as chief of staff - an agency head and deputy to a statewide elected official. He managed all aspects of the Treasurer’s office including scheduling, policy development, legislative, budgeting, and personnel.
MELANIE KREIFELS oversees the entire editorial process of Smart Women Smart Money Magazine. She beautifully orchestrates a positive message of hope to women across the U.S. by organizing a talented team of contributing writers, photographers, and designers. Subscriptions to SWSM Magazine (see: www.swsmmagazine.com) are absolutely free and provide a wide variety of information and stories to help women embrace their ability to achieve financial freedom.
She brings an additional perspective to the Smart Women Smart Money community, as she is also a licensed clinical professional counselor.
Melanie also serves as Director of Operations for SFOF, SWSM's parent organization where she works at many of the administrative 'behind-the-scenes' activities. She also helps coordinate all of SFOF's national meetings.
Melanie received her bachelor's degree from the University of Central Missouri, and her Master's in Counseling at Mid-America Nazarene University. She lives in the Kansas City metro area with her husband Derek.
Elicia Dover is the co-host of Good Afternoon Arkansas.
She's been with Channel 7 since 2013 and won a first-place Associated Press Award as a reporter.
She was born and raised in Arkansas and is a native of Bryant.
Before her time at Channel 7, she worked as a Digital Journalist at ABC News in New York, reporting and producing breaking news. She spent the year 2012 on the campaign trail covering the presidential election for ABC News. It was at ABC News she won a prestigious Peabody Award, Edward R. Murrow Award, and was nominated for four national News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
Elicia is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Elicia lives in Sherwood with her husband Jeremy and their 2018 addition to the family, baby Eli. They also have a dog named Bentley and a cat named Prince Harry.
At home, she loves to experiment with cooking in the kitchen and keeps a summer garden.
She has a deep appreciation for Arkansas' beautiful hiking trails and grew up exploring the Natural State's national parks. In the Fall, you'll find her cheering on her favorite football teams: the Bryant Hornets, the Hogs and the Cornhuskers.
Prior to opening her own firm, Natalie was a senior public relations account executive with another marketing/PR firm in Little Rock. Before joining the public relations world in 2004, Natalie served as special publications editor-in-chief at Arkansas Business Publishing Group, where she was editor of Little Rock Family, Arkansas Bride, Little Rock Guest Guide, and other magazines for five years. While at ABPG, Natalie won national awards from the Parenting Publications of America for her stories published in Little Rock Family. In her public relations career, Natalie has garnered top Prism Awards from the Public Relations Society of America and Bronze Quill Awards from the International Association of Business Communicators.
Natalie is an active community volunteer, serving on the board of the Rotary Club of Little Rock and the Board Development Committee for the Girl Scouts Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, and as an active volunteer with Holy Souls School and Catholic High School for Boys. She is a past president of the Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and a past chairman of PRSA National’s Independent Practitioners Alliance. She serves on the Executive Committee for PRSA National’s Counselors Academy, has served as one of a three-member leadership team overseeing National PRSA’s Section Council, and has been a speaker for several PRSA International Conferences. Natalie is a member of PRConsultants Group, a collaborative of 50 senior-level PR practitioners representing the top markets in the country.
She has served on the boards of directors for Reach Out and Read, the Museum of Discovery, the Centers for Youth and Families, and the Girls Scouts. She is a member of Leadership Arkansas Class XII, Leadership Little Rock, Class XVI, was named to Arkansas Business’ “40 Under 40,” and is a troop leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout Juniors Troop.
Owner and Founder of The Organizer Chicks, Amber Taggard is a Professional Organizer, time-management coach, and public speaker. She holds an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health, and is passionate about using her counseling psychology background to help people improve their mental and emotional health by creating peaceful and productive physical spaces. Professional highlights for her include being a contributor to Forbes, giving a TED Talk, and being a Better Business Bureau “Torch Award for Ethics” winner. Amber and her husband Justen have four children and two rescue pups, and they love living in Northwest Arkansas.