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Olivia Farrell graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and began her publishing career in 1978, joining the Arkansas Writers Project as part of the ad sales department at the Arkansas Times. She was among the founders of Arkansas Business in 1984 and Southern magazine in 1986.
In 1984, she was honored in New York by the National Council of Women of the United States as a Young Achiever, one of six young women in the country achieving exceptional success at a young age. She was the first woman from Arkansas to receive this honor. In May 1985, she was featured in Good Housekeeping magazine’s 100th anniversary issue as one of the “100 Young Women of Promise” and the only woman from Arkansas to be included.
In 1995, she became CEO and principal owner of the newly formed Arkansas Business Publishing Group, which has been honored with more than 115 national and local awards for outstanding journalism, publication and website design, and excellence in publishing and web development.
From 1995 to 1999, she created a publication featuring the top 100 women in Arkansas and their accomplishments. In 1998, this publication led to co-founding the Arkansas Women’s Foundation with Pat Lile.
In 2012, Gov. Mike Beebe presented her with the Distinguished Citizen Award. As of February 2019, she has retired from ABPG.
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