Jill Dabbs

Mayor, City of Bryant, Ark.

Jill Dabbs describes herself as “an optimist to a fault” as she looks for the best in people, situations and opportunities. That outlook has helped the mayor of Bryant, Ark., one of the state’s fastest growing areas, to remain positive and focused through growth, change and moving from one season of life to the next in unsettling times.

“I consciously choose happiness and enjoy today because we do not know if we’ll have tomorrow,” she says.

Dabbs graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a B.A. in Speech Communication with a minor in biology and the University of Central Arkansas’ Community Development Institute.

Hometown: Malvern, Ark.

First job: Dental assistant when I was 14 years old to my late father, Dr. Ernest I. Williams Jr.

What attracted you to your career? In 2005, I volunteered for a major grassroots community development project that was very successful. The results and the relationships realized through such dynamic collaboration was very satisfying. My skill set was very beneficial to the overall process, and once I recognized this, I wanted to expand my professional career in this area.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? My most treasured title is “Mom.” I am so proud of the smart, talented, kind, strong, independent young women both of my daughters have become. I look forward to all they will do and give back to the world and people around them.

What’s something others would be surprised to know? For the past ten years, I have organized a spring break group ski trip for 50-70 people to Salida, Colo.

What do you love most about what you do? At the local level of government you can really see the immediate impact as well as still work on positive long-term impacts for the community.

What quality do you most admire in other women? Confident women that lift up and encourage other women and also work well with their male counterparts. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Person, past or present, you admire most? My mother, she is the strongest, kindest, hardest working, woman I know. She lifts and inspires everyone around to do their best and use whatever their unique talent is to make the world a better place.

Do you have a personal motto? “Keep on keeping on!!” and “Ain’t it great” were both quotes my father said almost every day of his life. I find them the most applicable quotes to facing challenges with an attitude of realizing a solution.

What talent do you wish you had? Telepathic time travel.

Hobbies? I enjoy reading and travel as it broadens our understanding of others and the world around us. We live in the most beautiful state in the country. I take every opportunity to get out in it and enjoying its beauty, whether it is on a bicycle, a road trip, hiking, or on one of our beautiful waterways.

Childhood nickname? Jilly (Now I’m Aunt Jilly to Laszlo (4), Stella (3) and Birdie (1).

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Bryant, Ark.