Sharon Priest to Receive 2017 Vision Award
World Services for the Blind is happy to announce that Sharon Priest will be honored with the 2017 Vision Award.
Each year, the WSB Foundation selects a distinguished Arkansan with a personal commitment to community service to receive the prestigious Vision Award. Priest's lifetime of public service—from her grassroots effort to bring flood relief in southwest Little Rock and two terms as Little Rock Mayor to becoming Arkansas' first female Secretary of State—is the epitome of the Vision Award.
The Vision Award was created to recognize and honor the achievements of an individual who has demonstrated far-reaching vision in successfully orchestrating events through business enterprise and community involvement that better our society for all citizens, both sighted and visually impaired.
Previous Vision Award honorees include Dr. Joel Anderson, Dr. Jonathan Bates, Claiborne Deming, Maria Luisa Haley, Dr. Fitz Hill, Walter E. Hussman, Dr. Dean Kumpuris, Jo Luck, Charles Morgan, Jimmy Moses, Dr. Bobby Roberts, Doyle Rogers, Reese Rowland, Bob Shell and Warren Stephens.
This year's Vision Award luncheon will be held at the Little Rock Marriott on Friday, October 27, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Table sponsorships begin at $1,200, and individual tickets are $120 each.
To learn more about sponsorship levels or to reserve your table, download the PDFs below.
About Sharon Priest
Born in Montreal, Canada in 1947, future Little Rock Mayor Sharon Priest came to the city after marrying Bill Priest. Her life in public service began at the grassroots level when she led the effort to bring flood relief to southwest Little Rock and Pulaski County following the devastating flood of 1978 that killed 13 people in central Arkansas.
Priest was appointed to the Little Rock City Beautiful Commission, and soon after she challenged an incumbent City Director and won her first elected office in 1986, around the same time she graduated from Leadership Greater Little Rock Class I. In January 1989, Priest was named Vice Mayor of Little Rock by her colleagues on the City Board. Two years later, Priest was elected Mayor, becoming the second female to serve in that position. During her service to the City of Little Rock, Priest spearheaded the effort to create a Little Rock flag. At the conclusion of her second four-year term on the City Board, she decided to run for Secretary of State.
In November 1994, Priest was elected Secretary of State, becoming the first woman elected to that office in Arkansas. She was reelected in 1998. In the summer of 2000, she became President of the National Association of Secretaries of State. After the 2000 presidential election, she was thrust into the forefront of the movement toward election reform, testifying before U.S. House and Senate Committees.
As Secretary of State, restoring the Governor’s Reception Room and the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the State Capitol to their original splendor and restoring the rotunda marble were a few of her proudest achievements.
In January 2003, Priest was selected to serve as Executive Director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership. Priest reorganized the Partnership during that first year. The Partnership spearheaded the revitalization of Main Street in collaboration with stakeholders and the City of Little Rock, focusing on the redevelopment of existing structures, streetscape and safety. Priest has also been a leading champion for the redevelopment of MacArthur Park, the city’s oldest park.
Prior to her work as an elected official, she worked as Director of Membership for the Little Rock Regional Chamber and was founder and owner of the Devlin Company, a property management firm. She was a Toll Fellow in 1995, and has won numerous distinctions including the Excellence in Leadership Fellowship, Women Executives in State Government, 1997, and TIME/NASBE Award for Outstanding Leadership in Voter Education, 1996.
Sharon “retired” in January 2015 (meaning she just doesn’t get paid any more), and has since taken on the bookkeeping responsibilities for Blue Frog Plumbing & Drain (her son's company). She is a Master Gardener, and is still involved with MacArthur Park and the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Monument Committee. Priest also serves on the boards of Martial Arts Supply and The Rep, and has been known to facilitate retreats for nonprofits.