UA small biz center helps businesses achieve dreams


Mary Beth Brooks had been president and CEO of Bank of Fayetteville for 11 years when the bank was sold in November 2015 to Stuttgart-based Farmers and Merchants Bank. Brooks resigned following the sale to take a break and care for family members after a 30-year banking career.

She also began doing consulting work to determine the next step in her career, knowing she wanted to start something new.

In spring 2018, Brooks met with Stacy Leeds, who was interim vice chancellor for economic development at the University of Arkansas. Leeds was reaching out to people to seek guidance on her new role in the newly created Office of Economic Development. Leeds, former dean of the UA School of Law, was appointed in July to vice chancellor for economic development, and the next month, Brooks became director for the UA Small Business and Technology Development Center after she said Leeds convinced her to accept the position.

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