Emma Willis, former executive director of 529 Plans and Financial Literacy at the Arkansas Treasurer of State, has been hired as a senior strategist at Team SI/Mangan Holcomb Partners (Team SI/MHP), an award-winning marketing firm in the 529 plan industry. Willis’ hire will spur the launch of an agency vertical consultancy in the 529 and government savings sector.
Willis has built a decade of experience in the 529 plan industry since she started as a marketing director at the treasurer’s office in 2009. She also served as the grants manager for Aspiring Scholars Matching Grants, as well as the director of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) programs.
Now, as a senior strategist, Willis will be responsible for providing strategic planning and counsel to ensure that clients in governmental, financial and other sectors benefit from advancements in data-driven marketing to meet their growth objectives.
“We are thrilled to welcome Emma to the team and announce the launch of a new venture for the agency,” said Sharon Tallach Vogelpohl, principal/president at MHP/Team SI. “Emma’s impeccable reputation as a thought leader in the category paired with the agency’s award-winning work in the 529 plan sector, is a winning combination.”
Under her leadership, the Arkansas 529 program grew from $600 million in assets under management (AUM) to close to $1 billion. The focus on grassroots marketing, utilization of a strong digital strategy and a keen understanding of industry partnerships has allowed the Arkansas 529 plan to see record growth since she took over as interim director in November of 2016, and as executive director from 2017 to 2019. Willis was born and raised in Little Rock where she went on to receive her bachelor’s degree from Philander Smith College, which she complemented with post-graduate work in finance and specialized computer science training.
After relocating to northwest Arkansas in 2018, Willis has served in leadership roles with many different organizations, including the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce's (RLACC) board of directors and Junior Achievement in NWA. She served as chairwoman of the RLACC Development Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Click here to read Arkansas Business's article on Emma's transition to Team SI/MHP.