Hi, I'm Jannie
WHERE I COME FROM
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, I am the 2nd oldest of eight children raised by my mother and stepfather in the East End of Little Rock. My father remarried and, in that union, I have four other siblings. As the eldest girl, I took on a leadership role early on in the family, helping my mom and dad take care of the younger siblings. Sometimes it meant getting them dressed and feeding them before I went to school. Other times, it meant buying basic necessities with the money I earned at my part-time job. Each opportunity and many more after that built my foundation of putting others first.
My mother was my most exceptional mentor and role model. She was a devoted minister in the gospel, who taught me at an early age how to be a servant in the community and church and to give back to others. She passed away in 2018.
My stepfather was one of the first African American supervisors at Southern Cotton Oil Mill in the East End and taught me the values of hard work and responsibility to myself and others. He passed in 1991.
Putting communities first is not a random slogan for me. It is my family's creed. As a divorced mother of three beautiful daughters: LaKisha of Little Rock, Arkansas, and identical twins, Apryle and Adria of North Hollywood, California, I passed the torch to them to serve, represent, and help their community. It was the same torch my mother passed on to me.
All three of my girls are active in their community through their non-profit organizations. As a grandmother of five grandsons and five great-grandsons, I plan to make sure the legacy of leadership, serving, representing, and hard work carries on.
JANNIE COTTON, MS, LPC
I received my bachelor’s degree in child development from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and my master’s degree in counseling from the University of Central Arkansas. Some of my career highlights include:
The first African American woman in the state of Arkansas to serve as Chief Executive Officer of a community mental health organization
Director of Outpatient Services, expanding children services and early childhood services to the most extensive programs in the agency, establishing a specialized team of clinicians and case managers, and securing over $4 million in grant funding for the agency
Sustained academic licensure for fourteen consecutive years, expanded licensure for Day Care Summer Programs, and the Juvenile Justice program
Opened and started the first Family Resource Center at the agency to provide Supportive Services free to the community
Assistant Director of AR Children and Family Services Preservation Unit, and Administrator of Emergency Services and the Juvenile Justice Program at the largest children’s facility in the state
I have received numerous awards including the 2019 Monroe "Billy" Murdock Woman of the Year Award, 2013 Senator Erma Hunter Brown Leadership Award, 2010 Women of Excellence Award. Currently, I serve on the board of directors for the Delta Presents Outreach Foundation and am active in my church.