Breweries are a common watering hole for people in Northwest Arkansas, but Bentonville’s Bike Brewing Company saw a unique group of people gather the last Friday of March. The Arkansas Fellowship held its first ever Fellow Reunion, reuniting past Fellows from across the state for an evening of storytelling, street tacos, and (of course) beer.
Soon to officially welcome its fifth class, the Arkansas Fellowship is a program built to retain and develop young professional talent in the state of Arkansas. College seniors from a variety of backgrounds apply for the competitive program in their final fall semester, and are matched with a post-graduation host company before they take their finals.
With two classes of Arkansas Fellows graduated and with another class to graduate this spring, the current Arkansas Fellows held the inaugural Fellow Reunion, beginning an annual tradition of all Fellows, past and present, gathering annually to reminisce on their experiences, reconnect with classmates and pass wisdom down to future classes.
Part of the Arkansas Fellowships development mission is to foster meaningful relationships between Arkansas Fellows–the kinds of relationships that transcend companies, careers and locales. Fellows meet monthly for a family meal, tour startups often, and attend annual conferences designed to grow Fellows in their personal character and professional value. Two years of that kind of shared experience fosters longer-lasting friendships.
Relationships matter in the Arkansas Fellowship, and not just between Fellows. Board Members represent a resource for Arkansas Fellows across the state. As Class 3 Fellow, Harrison Hollingsworth, wrote a couple of week ago, Board Members are entrepreneurs and business leaders around the state that take a personal interest in helping Fellows. Whether it’s aiding in a career change or advising a personal venture, Board Members can be there for Fellows.
It should then come as no surprise that the inaugural Arkansas Fellow Reunion was held at a Board Member’s place of business. Jeff Charlson, a former Walmart Vice President, began Bike Rack Brewing Company in 2014 with some friends and lent his back brewroom for the event. A special thanks to Jeff and his friends at Bike Rack Brewing Company for a wonderful evening.
Here’s to many more Arkansas Fellow Reunions to come!