NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Organizers of the planned Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame said Wednesday they will begin taking nominations in March for the first group of inductees.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Organizers of the planned Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame said Wednesday they will begin taking nominations in March for the first group of inductees.


"Just take 15 seconds and think of women, past or present, that you think should be in this Women’s Hall of Fame," Lynette Watts, executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, said at a kickoff luncheon at the headquarters of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. "I bet all of you came up with at least five. It’s easy to do."


The chamber and Arkansas Business Publishing Group are partnering to launch the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame, the goal of which is to honor in perpetuity women, living or dead, who have had a positive impact on the overall well-being of the state.


"How would you teach the young women if we don’t tell them what has been before them?" said Terry Hartwick, the chamber’s president and CEO. "How are they to learn? How are they to go forward? It’s about time. It’s about doing the right thing."


Arkansas Business Publishing Group President Mitch Bettis said it was an "easy yes" when Hartwick proposed the project.


"The fact that we had a chance to partner with the North Little Rock Chamber and build a lasting tribute to the female leaders of this state is really a one-in-a-lifetime thing," said Bettis, whose company publishes Arkansas Business and other publications.


Bettis said calls for nominations will go out starting March 18. A committee of five to nine leaders from around the state, appointed by the Hall of Fame’s board of directors, will choose the first inductees, whose names will be announced June 22. A banquet will be held Aug. 27 to honor the inductees.


The process will be repeated annually and "hopefully for decades to come," Bettis said.


A long-range goal is to create a public space where information on inductees would be displayed, but the initial goal is to create a traveling exhibit, he said.


Holly Fish, founder of Women in Networking, said the Hall of Fame should "inspire women for years and years to come."


"We’re making history here," she said.