BENTONVILLE, AR: Bentonville nonprofit Downtown Bentonville Inc. (DBI) announced Tuesday (February 28th) the hiring of Dana Sargent Schlagenhaft as Executive Director. Schlagenhaft previously served as DBI’s Communications Director and has been serving as Interim Executive Director since November 2022.
“Dana stepped into the interim role as our organization was approaching the busiest time of the year. She rallied our team and under her leadership, DBI successfully executed Toyland, Lighting of the Square, and the largest Bentonville Christmas Parade that our city has ever experienced,” said DBI Executive Board President Kirk Gober. “Dana has earned the respect of the staff and has constructive, collaborative working relationships with our community partners, sponsors, and city officials. She has exceeded our expectations in carrying out our mission and we have full confidence that great things lie ahead for DBI.”
With an upcoming season of events on the horizon for DBI, the non-profit organization has already matched and surpassed 2022 sponsorship totals and will focus on enhancing popular downtown events that provide free or low-cost access to Downtown Bentonville for all residents.
“As someone who played under the downtown water tower as a child and am now raising my children in Bentonville, I understand the importance of feeling connected to home. My ultimate goal in this role is to make sure that all residents and visitors – long-time and brand new – enjoy this special community that we live in and feel included, connected, and informed,” Schlagenhaft said.
Schlagenhaft’s prior work roles include over twenty years of experience in broadcast news, digital marketing, publishing, and strategic communications. She launched a small business in 2014 and participated as a vendor in Downtown Bentonville Inc.’s First Friday events. Dana eventually opened a small retail store in downtown Springdale and sold the business in January 2019.
“Small business owners are the toughest, most creative, and dedicated people that I’ve encountered and I know firsthand that it’s not a role for the faint of heart. I understand the joys and challenges that they experience operating in a growing downtown and hope that they view me as a champion for their cause because I’ll go to bat for them every day,” Schlagenhaft said.
“Dana knows the challenges that a small business owner faces because she lived it firsthand. Her passion to create community through small business has inspired me since we met many years ago. I’m thrilled to see that someone with Dana’s background and heart is leading an organization that exists to make others feel welcome and continue to make our community the best of the best,” says 211 Cafe owner Mauricio Guerrero.
Downtown Bentonville Inc. will kick off its First Friday season on Friday, April 7th, and Bentonville Farmers Market on Saturday, April 8th.
ABOUT DOWNTOWN BENTONVILLE INC.
A private, not-for-profit organization, Downtown Bentonville Inc. is uniquely positioned as a driving force to promote community and enhance the downtown Bentonville experience for everyone.