The World Woman Summit has come to Little Rock, and Aristotle’s female leadership team will be there to join the conversation about challenges facing women today in their quest to make the world a better place for all of us. Some have asked why this global summit would be in Little Rock. The women leaders of Aristotle know why. They know that empowered women in middle-America can reach global audiences, create change in their communities and create opportunity without moving to bigger cities.
According to the 2016 Womenable’s Report commissioned by American Express, from 2007 to 2016, the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 45%. Aristotle has been owned and operated by a majority of females since 1995 in an industry that has not seen many female leaders, the technology sector.
The Women of Aristotle
Aristotle Inc. was founded in 1995 by CEO Marla Johnson and a small group of friends who decided to follow up the completion of a video game called Immercenary (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immercenary) with a dial-up internet service and web design and hosting company. Marla created a company focused on ongoing research and providing the latest in digital connectivity and marketing technology to its clients. The team of men and women pioneered Internet connectivity and web design, pushing boundaries and gaining international acclaim.
Today, she is focused on harnessing the power of storytelling and business intelligence from media and web analytics to unleash incredibly successful marketing efforts with unheard-of ROI. Marla works with tourism destinations and attractions from coast to coast, bringing her expert knowledge of tourism and travel to clients so they tell their stories well online and continue to grow. The learning has never stopped and the benefits keep coming to the Little Rock community, as Marla continues to be closely involved in helping push economic development, education and the arts in Arkansas.
Jennifer Peper, now President of the Interactive Division, joined Aristotle in 1998 and soon became invaluable, bringing her attention to operational detail and sales skills to the table. Jennifer had gained serious business acumen in several fields and found all of her experience was valued by businesses in Arkansas and around the country who needed intelligent, customer-focused web designs. Today, her knowledge of web platforms and application development helps Aristotle’s clients find the right fit for their growth and success.
Before Google came on the scene in 1998, Marla zeroed in on the importance of search engine performance and began to build that division. She prompted several women in the company to learn about the intricacies of organic and paid search performance, and then in 2004, Sarah Stashuk, who then was in customer service, took hold of SEO and ran with it like no other. Today, Sarah is at the top of her game and winning national awards and recognition for both paid media and search engine marketing in her role as Director of Digital Media and SEO.
In 2000, Elizabeth Bowles, now President and Chair of Aristotle Inc, as General Counsel of Business Development, joined the team. That same year, the decision was made to begin reselling DSL. By 2005, Elizabeth Bowles’s legal background and experience with the nuances of the internet industry exposed her to the plight of millions of Americans and businesses in rural areas without easy access to internet service. Fortunately, Aristotle had the means to do something about it. In the fall of 2005, Aristotle ISP began offering wireless broadband to rural areas near its home office in Little Rock.
Since 2005, Aristotle has provided wireless internet to thousands of local families and businesses in rural Arkansas whom traditional means of delivery such as cable are unable to reach. But Elizabeth didn’t want to stop there. She became an advocate for internet service to all Americans in rural society. In 2010, she became President of the Wireless Internet Service Provider’s Association (WISPA) where she is still a Legislative Vice Chair to this day. In April of 2017, she was nominated to become a member of the new Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), which advises the FCC. By September, she was appointed as the present Chair of BDAC.
Commitment to Client Growth, Community and Leadership
The Aristotle Inc. of today is an amazing company specializing in digital marketing and advertising, web design, rural broadband, beacons and the Internet of Things technology, and data-driven business consulting. Over half the employees are women, including award-winning developers and producers who are some of the best in the biz. Aristotle has a reputation as one of the leading companies in the U.S. for helping businesses grow and maximize ROI. Under these women’s expert leadership, Aristotle has improved the lives of many Americans and Arkansans and hopes to be an example to others of what is possible. From stimulating state economies through the improvement of their tourism industries to bringing the internet to rural America and advocating strategic and thoughtful uses of technology, Aristotle and the women who run it continue to make a positive impact in the world today.