For more information, contact:
Kathryn Norton - Development Officer

Download Membership Form
Volunteer Opportunities

Who We Are
The Guardians are a group of young professionals whose goal is to support Easterseals Arkansas in its mission to help children and adults with disabilities achieve independence. The Guardians accomplish this through volunteering, educating members to be advocates within the community for Easterseals and developing leaders to serve on the Easterseals Arkansas Board of Directors.

What We Do
The Guardians have two parts – the Board and the Membership Group.

The Membership Group provides young professionals with the opportunity to learn about Easterseals and be involved without a large time commitment. Members of The Guardians are asked to select at least one or more commitments from a list of volunteer and financial giving opportunities. For example, you can volunteer at an event (Arkansan of the Year, The Fashion Event, or Art & Soul), sponsor a child or adult at Christmas, volunteer in Easterseals' programs or organize a donation drive. The Membership Group also meets twice a year at social gatherings hosted by The Guardians Board, which will give members a chance to learn more about specific programs and needs at Easterseals.

Become a Member
To become a member of this exciting and dynamic group, fill out a Membership Form and return it to Kathryn Norton, Development Officer at Easterseals.

The Guardians Board

Katrinka Shields USEKatrinka Shields - Chair
Katrinka Shields went to the University of Central Arkansas and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration. She has spent her career in the Human Resources field in different industries including telecommunications, engineering, and the medical field and is currently the Director of Human Resources at the EdTEch start-up, Apptegy. She also currently serves on the Central Arkansas Human Resources Association
board as the Vice President of Communications. Outside of work and volunteering, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her friends, family, and Goldendoodle, Oliver, and frequenting any restaurant with good queso.

jake keetJake Keet - Fundraising Chair
Jake Keet was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from Florida State University. In 2008, Jake brought Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe to Arkansas with his brother, Tommy Keet, and father, Jim Keet. Over the past ten years they have opened seven locations in Arkansas along with three in Oklahoma. In the meantime, they opened a construction management company with Luke O’Gary, called KO Construction (Keet O’Gary Construction.) This last year they partnered with Louis Petit to open Petit and Keet Neighborhood Bar and Grill. Jake is blessed to be married to Stephanie Keet since 2009 and have two wonderful sons, Holden and Dashiell.

James Chavez UseJames Chavez
James is a Partner at Encompass Financial Partners in Little Rock, Ark. He graduated from Harding University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing. In addition to his involvement with the Guardians, James is also a member of The Hat Club of Little Rock. James joined the Guardians in 2018 and served as co-chair of Art & Soul that year. He chaired the event with Joey Lambert in 2019.

Emily Cobb

Emily Cobb
Emily Cobb attended the University of Mississippi on an Art scholarship, but decided very quickly she was not a big fan of structured art classes. After much thought, she returned to her hometown of Little Rock and received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and minored in Psychology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Upon graduating, she worked in property management for 7 years, got married and started a family. Currently, Emily helps run her father’s commercial cleaning business, Cleanco. Most know Emily as the very talented artist of Art E Cobb. In most recent years, her work has become more abstract. “I love the process of creating a piece and experimenting with color, medium, and texture." In 2014, Emily was named a Soiree Woman to Watch. Emily was raised to be an avid believer in giving back. She has been involved with Rock the Runway, Fighting Fancy, Junior League and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Guild’s Designer House. She joined the Guardians’ Board in 2016 and served as chair of Art & Soul in 2017 and co-chair in 2016.

Patrick LaughlinPatrick Laughlin
Patrick Laughlin is Chief Operating Officer (COO) at iProv, a Little Rock-based digital marketing agency and finalist for the 2019 Arkansas Business of the Year. Prior to iProv, Patrick served as Art Director at Bozell Ad Agency in Omaha and Nicholson Kovac in Kansas City and as Director of Strategy for Kirkpatrick Creative. Drawing on over 20 years of leadership experience in marketing and advertising for clients in the energy, manufacturing, agricultural, and healthcare industries, Patrick helps create solutions that grow Arkansas businesses with real, lasting results. Outside of work, he enjoys serving on the Easterseals Guardians Board, playing golf, and coaching his daughter’s soccer team.

Mallory Rogers
Mallory Rogers is the manager of Enterprise Business Intelligence Medical Informatics R&D at Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield. She has a B.A. from the University of Arkansas and a Master’s of Public Health specializing in Epidemiology from UAMS. Prior to working at Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mallory worked at Easterseals Arkansas Children’s Rehabilitation Center as the Social Services Coordinator. She joined the Guardians Board in 2014.

Wes BuchmanWesley Buchman
Wesley Buchman graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. After volunteering in Rwanda teaching science and math, he completed his training in dentistry at Louisiana State University in New Orleans. Wes also completed residency training in Advanced Education in General Dentistry at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He is married to Jessica and they are members of Mosaic church. He works at Central Dental in Little Rock and Kidz Choice Dental in Conway. Wes is also involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as well.

Erin DeesErin Dees
Erin Dees attended the University of Arkansas, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Interior Design. She began her career in commercial design in St. Louis then relocated to her hometown of Little Rock where she continued with residential design in 2003. However, she changed career paths after realizing her love for helping others, especially for children, and has been teaching elementary school ever since. She continues pursuing art and creating with her side business, Deesigns by Erin, by teaching paint classes. Erin was active in the JLLR and had roles of being the PR coordinator for Stuff the Bus, design chair for several committees and chaired KOTA Camp for Camp Aldersgate. She joined the Guardians Board in 2017 and served as chair of Art and Soul in 2018 and co-chair in 2017.

Jared Landrum 2Jared Landrum
Jared Landrum, originally from Searcy, graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in business. Today, Jared is Vice President in Business Development for BOND.AI. Outside of work and the Guardians, Jared is actively involved with Make-a-Wish Foundation Young Professionals, UAMS Consortium, The Hat Club of Little Rock, Create Little Rock, and Rotaract Club.

Juli WaitsJuli Waits
Juli Waits was born in Paragould, Arkansas, but has called Little Rock her home since 2009, and began her dream job as a hairstylist. She currently works behind the chair at Red Beauty Lounge in The Heights. In 2016, she became an ASK Educator for Schwarzkopf Professional. Through this opportunity, she gets to travel and teach new skills and techniques to Hairstylists and inspire them with new trends in hair color and cutting. She became involved with Easterseals Arkansas in 2014, when she was asked to do hair and makeup for the Easterseals Fashion Event. In her spare time, she can be found cooking, remodeling their home, and searching for the best charcuterie board in town.

Heath ShearonHeath Shearon
Heath Shearon is an insurance advisor at iTrust Insurance group. A graduate of Ouachita Baptist University 2003, he spent nearly a decade in youth ministry before transitioning into the insurance business. Heath is very involved in the community, where he serves as an ambassador for the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the board of directors for the Rodney Parham Merchants Association, West Village, the Young Insurance Professionals and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Heath is also a member of the Hat Club of Little Rock and an active member of The Summit Church Little Rock. Heath is very involved with his family. He is blessed to be married to Staci Shearon, and the proud father of Reese, Sydney and Emma. Emma Shearon, the youngest, was born prematurely and spent five years at Easterseals, which propelled Heath’s interest in Easterseals.

Bob SmithBob Smith
Bob Smith leads the Major Markets division for Paychex, across the state of Arkansas and a portion of Louisiana, where he works with businesses to implement actionable solutions to maximize productivity, control costs, and develop their people processes. A graduate of the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, Bob volunteered with Bost, Inc. while in college, executing fundraising events for the organization. A few years after graduating and moving to Little Rock, Bob again felt the call to serve and joined the Easterseals Guardians in 2019 becoming a member of the Board in 2021. When not working, or volunteering his time, you are likely to find Bob at home with his dog Jangles, collecting vinyl records and equipment, or trying to master a new recipe. 

SaraCate MoerySaraCate Moery
SaraCate Moery is an attorney with Hilburn & Harper, Ltd., where she primarily practices family law, estate planning, and probate administration. She earned her B.A. from the University of Arkansas and was a member of Chi Omega. SaraCate obtained her law degree from the UALR Bowen School of Law and passed the Bar in 2015. Outside of work, SaraCate enjoys visiting Greers Ferry Lake, traveling, and playing tennis. She is also actively involved with Easterseals Arkansas, Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Pulaski County and Arkansas Bar Associations. SaraCate and her husband Robert live in Little Rock with their two dogs, Carl and Ernie.

JC KeetonJC Keeton
JC Keeton serves as SVP, Controller for Simmons Bank in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Arkansas, a Master’s of Accountancy from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and is CPA. In addition to the Guardians, JC is involved with The Hat Club of Little Rock and the University of Arkansas Little Rock School of Business. 

Jacob Spears
Jacob Spears
As Vice President of Business Development, Jacob Spears manages the advancement of Baldwin & Shell Construction Company’s Division of Construction Services. A Little Rock native, Jacob graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation, the direction of his career shifted when he was offered a seat in an EIT Program in Houston, TX with Schlumberger. Jacob then spent six years in the oil and gas industry, later joining the construction industry in 2015. His motivation to serve the mission of Easterseals is rooted in his relationship with his aunt who lived with a disability. Jacob was appointed to the Guardians Board in 2019 and has been supporting Easterseals since moving back to Little Rock in 2017. Jacob also serves on the Catholic High Young Alumni Board and is a member of the Little Rock Hat Club. He and his wife, Lindsey, live in Ferndale with their two children, Sutton and Rowan.

Amy Byford
Amy ByfordAmy Byford is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones helping individuals plan and protect their financial goals. She has been with the firm for over 6 years and works with clients from all walks of life. Amy and her husband Rob have lived in Little Rock for over 10 years and have two boys, 8-year-old Banks and 5-month-old Bakers. Being involved in the community is extremely important to Amy. She has been involved with Rotary Int'l for the past 4 years and Easterseals for the past 7 years. Amy has served on the Fashion Event committee since 2013 and served as co-chair in 2018 and chair in 2019. She has also coordinated a canned food drive along with her clients for the past 3 years for the students at Easterseals Center for Training & Wellness. Amy loves all that the community of Little Rock has to offer including biking, fishing, and walking the beautiful trails of the River Valley.

Chase CainChase Cain
Chase Cain is a Little Rock native and graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2017 with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. He serves as a Clinical Pharmacist with Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield and an Advisor for PatchRx. Prior to working at Arkansas Blue Cross, Chase worked for Walgreens as a Project Manager through the corporate headquarters in Deerfield, IL. In his spare time, Chase enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and supporting Razorback sports.

Arpan AgrawalArpan Agrawal
Arpan Agrawal is a Delivery Leader for New Business Innovation at Deloitte. He is responsible for the delivery of CortexAI, which is the Deloitte AI Platform for AI, analytics, and data solutions. In addition to his work at Deloitte, Arpan started a local real estate investment group, 3A Real Estate Investments. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Computer Science Computer Engineering degree and has 15 years of experience across technology, sales, and consulting. In his spare time, Arpan likes to travel and enjoys reading, fitness, and spending time with his family. Arpan, his wife, Alicia, and daughter, Madelyn, volunteer with and are passionate about various nonprofit organizations throughout the area, including Easterseals Arkansas, Our House, Mended Little Hearts, Maumelle Friends of the Animals, Real Good Dog Rescue, and the Angel Tree Program for the Salvation Army. They have fostered and rescued three dogs, who are now officially part of the Agrawal family – Zoey, Louie, and Coco.

Josh Reaper
Josh Reaper

A member of BKD National Health Care Group, Josh Reaper provides reimbursement services to health care providers, including hospitals, health systems, federally qualified health centers, and rural health clinics. His experience includes preparing and reviewing cost reports, reviewing cost report adjustments, performing profitability analyses, and other consulting projects. Josh is a graduate with high honors of Ouachita Baptist University with a B.A. degree in accounting and business administration. Josh currently resides in Benton with his wife, Molly, and their two dogs, Chief and Tucker.

Wade LuethyWade Luethy
Wade Luethy has worked at BKD for 12 years. He provides audit and consulting services to clients in a wide range of industries. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants. He also serves as an internal instructor for a variety of training courses in accounting, auditing and internal controls and is an occasional speaker at regional insurance conferences and state-wide employee benefit plan conferences. Wade is a 2009 cum laude graduate of the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), with a B.S. degree in accounting. He currently sits on the board of the UCA chapter of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries.