Chief Development Officer, Baptist Health Foundation
Missy Lewis is the chief development officer at Baptist Health Foundation, which raises millions of dollars each year to support needs and projects within the Baptist Health System and the surrounding communities. The money the foundation raises helps provide funds to myriad programs, the procurement of technology and resources, scholarships for nursing staff, and assists patient families in need.
Lewis grew up in Louisiana, attended LSU – Shreveport, where she studied accounting, and has a degree in fashion merchandising from Louisiana Tech. She moved to Arkansas to work with Dillard’s. She then moved to the non-profit world to work with the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and American Heart Association.
Her husband, Billy, is retired and spends several months of the year sailing in the Caribbean. The couple has three children and three grandchildren.
Hometown: Bossier City, La., moved to Little Rock in 1997.
First job: Babysitting.
Favorite food: Lobster.
What was your first big break? I was working as an area sales manager at Dillard’s in Shreveport, La., when I was promoted to a buyer sales manager. It introduced me to the fashion markets, open-to-buy, managing customer needs, etc.
What attracted you to your career? I worked in the retail industry first; the attraction was a love of fashion. There was no real attraction that brought me to my current career. However, today I believe it is very attractive to anyone who seeks to do good in this world.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am most proud of taking Baptist Health Foundation in a new direction of fundraising for people in our community who are at risk of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases, which generally checks them in to our hospitals. Our current support comes from people who are truly interested in measurable improvements for the communities in which we live.
What’s something others would be surprised to know? My family and I survived American Airlines Flight 1420 in June 1999. (The plane overran the runway in inclement weather due to pilot error upon landing in Little Rock.)
What do you love most about what you do? I absolutely love working with the Little Rock Open, a professional men’s tennis tournament. Players ranked from 100-300 in the world will join us in June 2019 to compete for prize money and points that accumulate for Grand Slams such as Wimbledon and the US Open.
What quality do you most admire in other women? I mostly admire an ability to truthfully discuss other women’s accomplishments fairly without jealousy.
Personal motto: Do what you say you will do.
What talent do you wish you had? I really wish I could sing. I mean, really, I just can’t. I even lip sync “Happy Birthday.”
Hobbies: Sailing, travel.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would love to live in New York City, but honestly, I could live anywhere with my family and love it.