Cathy Owen: Inductee to Arkansas Women’s Hall of FameEagle Bank|May 11, 2023
We would like to congratulate our very own Cathy Owen for being a 2023 Inductee to Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame!
Cathy Owen is Chairman of Eagle Bank & Trust Company, as well as Chairman, President & CEO of State Holding Company, in Little Rock. This year, she will enter her fiftieth year in banking. She was fresh out of college when the bank president died suddenly, and she was asked to take on the role of running the bank, where she had spent summers and holidays working. She officially began her career in the summer of 1974, although her memories of the bank go back to the day the First State Bank of Sherwood opened its doors in 1967.
As the daughter of the bank’s founder, there were questions from the moment she initially walked through the door about how she got the job, and whether or not she belonged there. She knew she had two options. She could quit, walk out, and prove her critics right, or stay, work hard, and prove them wrong. She chose the latter option, and she will tell you that this decision she made when she was sixteen years old changed the trajectory of her life, and has led her to the most rewarding career she could have imagined.
Cathy earned her BSBA in Finance and Banking from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and her Graduate Banking Degree from the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking, at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX. She is also honored to be a National Security Forum Air War College Alumnae, Montgomery, Alabama.
Not long ago, Cathy was one of very few women in a banking leadership role, and often the only female in the room. She is the only female to chair the Arkansas Bankers Association in its 132-year history. She currently serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the American Bankers Association, the largest financial trade association in the United States. She also chairs its Government Relations Committee, which is the American Bankers Association’s leadership council, and chairs its Professional Development Committee.
She also sits on the Board of Hastings Holding Company and oversees the management of One Financial Centre.
In 2022, Cathy was named One of the Most Powerful Women in Banking to Watch, by American Banker, New York. In 2019, she was knighted into the Knights of Saint Martin, in Rome, Italy, into the Order of San Martino of the Mount of Beatitudes, which is a knighthood sanctioned by the Pope in recognition of and focused on promoting equality and service to those less fortunate. This same year, she was the recipient of the Sandra Wilson Cherry Award, in recognition of leadership and exemplary community service.
Cathy has served on and chaired many community and charitable boards and committees. She is currently the Immediate Past Chair of the Baptist Health Foundation Board, a member of the Arkansas Bankers Association Government Relations Committee, Fifty for the Future Board, Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum Foundation Board, North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce Board, and is a member of the Arkansas International Women’s Forum. Highlights of her previous leadership roles and volunteer activities include the Arkansas Arts Center, Fine Arts Club of Arkansas, Junior League of Little Rock, Mount Saint Mary’s Academy, Arkansas State Fair, Little Rock Marathon, Girl Scouts, Pi Beta Phi Sorority, and the Little Rock Air Force Base.
She is especially proud of the work she and a small group of men did to save the USS Hoga (a towboat best known for her actions during WWII during the attack on Pearl Harbor) and bring her to her resting place in North Little Rock.
Cathy is also a proud daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother.