OUR TEAM

As programming has expanded so too has the creative and professional staff at INTERFORM. With expertise ranging from art curation, fashion design and education, master tailoring, creative and artistic direction, non-profit development, public and radio personality, music production, and live event production, the team at INTERFORM is set to take on big ideas with a community focus. Learn more about this great group

Robin Wallis Atkinson

(She / Her / Hers)
Chief Executive Officer, INTERFORM

Robin Wallis Atkinson is the founder and CEO of INTERFORM (formerly known as NWA Fashion Week and Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum). Atkinson’s professional career as a curator and arts organizer began in Northwest Arkansas in the early 2000’s. One of the founding members of Art Amiss Inc., she has been an active participant in the Northwest Arkansas arts community for over twenty years. She holds a BA in Art History from the University of Arkansas and a Masters of Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York. Her curatorial highlights include serving on the curatorial team of Prospect. 1 New Orleans, the largest international contemporary art biennial in the United States, teaching curatorial curriculum at Bard Early College in Manhattan, a curatorial fellowship at the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands, and assisting on traveling exhibitions throughout Asia and Europe.

Since Atkinson’s return to Arkansas and the reboot of NWA Fashion Week in 2016, she has provided opportunities for creatives of all backgrounds, working with a deep focus on inclusion and representation. Her work continues to lead by example towards the pursuit of equity, diversity, and inclusion. A nimble and expansively creative thinker, Atkinson saw the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to incubate sewn trades production to help close the gap in crucial PPE supplies in Northwest Arkansas through the development of a mask making campaign. By the end of 2021 INTERFORM has produced more than 25,000 face masks for donation to the local community. In 2021, she became a member of the NWA Business Journal’s 40 under 40 club, and in 2022 she secured a transformational three-year grant from the Walton Family Foundation that will allow INTERFORM to scale its sewn trades programs with the goal of reestablishing apparel manufacturing in the heartland.

Basana Chhetri

(She / Her / Hers)
Vice President of Programming and Community Engagement, INTERFORM

Basana Chhetri is a Nepalese-American designer from Arkansas. Born and raised in Nepal and educated and trained in Nepal, Japan and England, Basana Chhetri is a costume designer and & artist by profession. After completing her fashion design education in Kyoto, Japan, she returned back to her native country Nepal and started multiple businesses and boutiques along with the first Fashion School in Nepal, called “Contemporary Institute of Arts and Fashion”. Over the span of 20+ years she has contributed towards the Govt. of Nepal’s fashion design curriculum, showcased her designs in various fashion shows, been a panel judge for Miss Nepal, managed a business that produced and marketed designer pashmina products in Japan, been an educator and advisor to fashion institutions in Nepal and the founder and main designer for a boutique in London. She has also showcased her creative work in fine arts with paintings on stretched canvases, plain silk and wearable fabrics while creating a fusion of traditional art-work and apparel design. Her solo exhibitions were  held in Tokyo, New York and the Walton Art gallery in Fayetteville Arkansas. She has also presented her work in NWA Fashion week for two seasons. Previously, Basana has worked with Arkansas Arts and Fashion Forum in teaching sewing & stitching classes focused on Marshallese students to empower women in the local community. Basana is quintilingual with an extensive cross cultural upbringing and exposure that shapes her creative expressions.

Joel Manning

(They / Them / Theirs)
Chief of Staff, INTERFORM

Joel (they/them), founder and sole proprietor of As Is Consulting, brings over eight years of Human Resources expertise, holding a SHRM-CP certification since January 2022. A Northwest Arkansas native with 17 years of residency in Bentonville, Joel’s passion for intersectional advocacy and holistic wellness is evident in their work as a wellness consultant, public speaker, and HR professional. Certified in Mindfulness Meditation Teaching through Dharma Moon & Tibet House since January 2023, Joel, as a healing trauma survivor and thriving transgender individual, offers an empathetic, trauma-informed approach to clients’ challenges. With experience as the former board president of The Transgender Equality Network, Joel remains dedicated to community-informed education and fostering a path to a joyful and fulfilling life.

James Whalen

(He / Him / His)
Senior Director of Public Programs, INTERFORM

James Whalen is the Director of Events & Production for INTERFORM. He grew up in Northwest Arkansas, but is originally from the United Kingdom. As a graduate of SAE: Institute of Technology, New York City in Audio Engineering, James has spent the last 15 years working in all aspects of production, design, and support for events, theatre, and house-of-worship productions. He has been a Sound Designer and Engineer on Off-Broadway productions that have received critical acclaim, helped teams produce almost 2,000 events in a single year, and has been involved with NWA Fashion Week since 2014. James has spent his career supporting the teams and people around him and is excited to bring that same level of care and commitment to the INTERFORM team and the communities and programs they work with. When not in the office, you’ll usually find James going on adventures with his wife Jess and their two dogs, Ron and Leslie, renovating their house, researching something, watching YouTube, playing Destiny 2, or spending time laying down on the pickleball court.

Rochelle Bailey

(She / Her / Hers)
Communications and Evaluations Manager, INTERFORM

Ro Bailey is a former radio personality, veteran, and model who joined INTERFORM as the Communications Manager in October 2020. Born in California and raised in East Tennessee, Bailey moved to Fayetteville in 2012 with her son True and has enjoyed living and working in Northwest Arkansas. Shortly after moving to NWA, she became involved with Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week in 2015 as a runway and editorial model. By 2017, she became NWAFW’s Assistant Director of Modeling where she mentors new models and trains them in how to walk confidently on the runway, build their portfolios, prioritize their health and safety, and expand their brands. With her background in radio, Bailey currently hosts INTERFORM podcast, a biweekly podcast with a fresh perspective on current events with insightful guests and thought-provoking episodes. In less than a year, INTERFORM podcast had over 500 downloads. Ro strives to be an asset to her family and her community through cultivating diversity and visibility for local models. 

Berenice Alcalá-Jimenez

(She / Her / Hers)
Marketing Manager, INTERFORM

Berenice Alcala, originally from the colorful country of Mexico, was raised in Northwest Arkansas. Her journey in working for the community began in 2017, where she has been able to gain vast experience in the nonprofit sector in event coordination, project management, social media management, marketing, and creative work, catapulting her career as a young professional. She is very passionate about community integration and making a positive impact. She holds a Bachelors degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Her love for fashion and modeling introduced her to INTERFORM where she has participated in various fashion week events. Her two passions merged when she officially joined the INTERFORM team in the summer of 2022. She is excited to continue growing and learning and being a part of an amazing team and serving her community.

Abwe Abedi

(He / Him / His)
Coordinator of Sewing Operations, INTERFORM

Abwe Abedi moved to Northwest Arkansas on May 8, 2018. He is a survivor of his original country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1996, he fled to a refugee camp in Tanzania where he was for 22 years. Abwe graduated with a degree in Church’s Leadership and Growing at Colorado AFMIN Leadership Institute while he was at Nyaruguse Refugee Camp in Tanzania on June 4, 2017. He is the founder of Grace Church and Of Grace (Groupe de Réflexion et d’Actions Communautaires d’Epanoruissement), a development initiative in that refugee camp. They worship, teach English as a Second Language (ESL), and sewing practice. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Abwe’s previous employer reduced his hours, but he (Jabez; 1 Chronicle 4:9-10) got grace to recover a full-time contract job with INTERFORM (formally known as Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum) in April 2020 to share the sewing skills he has acquired over 25 years to sew masks to donate to prevent the community spread of COVID-19. On May 29, 2020, Abwe became Director of Sewing Operations as a full-time employee of INTERFORM in June 2020. That did he rejoice in. Psalm 46:1

Jessica Robin McClendon

(She / Her / Hers)
Education Program Manager, INTERFORM

Jessica Robin McClendon has lived in Northwest Arkansas her whole life.  She has sewn since she was a child learning from both her mother and grandmother, but really explored it in a whole new way in the Theater Department at the University of Arkansas.  Excited by this new possibility she worked as a seamstress at the theater costume shop most of her college years and graduated in 2001 with a theater degree having specialized in costuming.   In the early 2000s she began selling items she had created including hand embroidered bags, velveteen bunnies, and other creations.  Recent sewing explorations include creating a sewing club for elementary children, creating a sewing curriculum for a middle school classroom, learning to block print fabric, trying natural dying with avocado pits (which makes a pink color surprisingly), patterning stuffed animals, hosting a kids craft show, sewing clothing using vintage patterns, studying ethnic clothing, repurposing and repairing clothing, knitting a sweater, getting vintage sewing machines working again, perfecting pocketed skirty pants, and sewing with her 12 year old daughter.  She loves the way sewing and working with your hands creates a shared space. 

Jen Marie

(She / Her / Hers)
Programming Manager, INTERFORM

She has been involved with Interform in multiple contexts, including presenting a small collection in the inaugural NWAFW, co-managing the mask production workshop during Covid, and serving on the board of directors.  She has also created custom and small-batch apparel under the self-owned label j.marie.  She competed in an apparel design competition at the American Sewing Expo, placing in the top three over two consecutive years.  She enjoys many creative endeavors including sewing, carpentry, graphic design, interior design and painting.  She also enjoys travel, exploring, and trying new things- her most recent adventure is learning how to roller skate.  She has two amazing daughters, June and Vivienne, and two ridiculous dogs, Lulu and Theo.

Braxton Carney

(They / Them / Theirs)
Programming & Apparel Education Coordinator, INTERFORM

Braxton Carney has been creating and making things since childhood here in NWA. Growing up their family members always enabled them to pursue anything they could get their hands on from quilting and crochet, to baking and cooking. In early school years they started a 9 year journey into ceramics and pottery. After high school they moved to St. Louis for a few years and attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. During the beginning of the pandemic they moved back to NWA and started pursuing the creative arts again. They were brought onto the Format Festival build team and created everything from a 30 foot drag queen DJ booth to a disco ball finger. In May 2022 Braxton started taking classes through the Learn Studio and has now been brought onto the Interform team as an assistant instructor of Sewing & apparel education. Outside of the arts Braxton enjoys spending their time outdoors gardening, kayaking, hiking, or swimming.

Tie Matthew

(She / Her / Hers)
Assistant Teacher & Supplies Coordinator, INTERFORM

My name is Tie Matthew and I was born and raised in the Marshall Islands. I moved to Arkansas in 2017. Beginning in 2019, I attended my first INTERFORM sewing class and since then have continued to expand my knowledge and skills here.

Tyler George

(He / Him / His)
Operations Coordinator, INTERFORM

My name is Tyler George. I was born and raised for a majority of my life in Mena, Arkansas- then I moved to beautiful Springdale in 2022. With my roots in Ireland, I strive to maintain an attitude much like my heritage’s. “Tús maith leath na hoibre” When faced with a problem it states, “A good start is half the battle.” So when I’m faced with adversity or hard times I move to start solving the problem, as once I get started, I simply can’t stop; whether it’s studying the arts and music, literature, or my day to day in Interform. I’m also a massive nerd, with my pastimes being playing Magic the Gathering or studying guitar theory. (or rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the 1,000th time). No matter what I simply try to keep moving and improving all that I can! I am currently studying further into the sciences that invigorate my ever moving mind. Evolutionary biology, psychology, theology, and musical theory being just a few. I hope to push the boundaries of what is possible with the knowledge I attain.

The only thing more powerful than the problems I face in life is my own desire to persevere and thrive; To see life’s paintings presented before me and marvel. Human experience is a gallery of flourishing independence coming together to create one canvas of togetherness. I strive to put the brightest colors, the most careful brushstrokes, and the most clairvoyance I can into my corner of the picture.

Rulli Torres

(He / Him / His)
Apparel & Fashion Design Instructor, INTERFORM

Meet Rulli Torres, a talented fashion designer and esteemed instructor at Interform in Northwest Arkansas. Rulli‘s current role as a Graduate Assistant sees him teaching Introduction to Sewing while simultaneously pursuing his Master’s in the Apparel Merchandising and Product Development Program at the University of Arkansas. Before settling in Northwest Arkansas, Rulli resided in Dallas, Texas, where he launched his design studio. Although his brand is still gaining traction, he devotes a significant portion of his time to fulfilling custom orders for his loyal clients. Additionally, Rulli has participated in Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week in the past and plans to showcase his work once again in NWAFW SS/2024. Rulli‘s passion for fashion is only matched by his dedication to the community. He has made a firm commitment to stay in the area after completing his degree, working with non-profit organizations, and giving back to the community he considers home. Currently, Rulli is working on various exciting projects, including a Rulli PINK Breast Cancer Awareness Fashion Show, Dia De Muertos Catrinas Fashion Show,  Doggie Fashion Show, to raise funds for Best Friends Pet Resource Center in Bentonville, Arkansas.

OUR BOARD

Chair, Interform

Sonia Spinks

Sonia started at Sam’s Club in 2008 as the program lead for
the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology initiative.
This resulted in the first ever proof of concept for a point of sale
checkout in less than 30 seconds. In 2010, Sonia transitioned to
Merchandise Transformation Strategic Planning and Systems
Development to build systems and processes for assortment,
replenishment and PO management. In 2011 she was promoted
to Operations Innovations Supply Chain Strategy Manager
focused on in-club stocking and receiving processes. Sonia then
moved into the core merchandising organization in 2014 as the

Planning and Allocation Director for Home, Tire Battery Center, Planning and Allocation Director for Seasonal in 2017 and Merchandise Strategy Sr. Director for Home, Apparel, Seasonal, TBC, Jewelry in 2018 and in 2019 moved to Walmart US as the Merchandise Operations Sr. Director for Beauty. Leadership Development includes being a co-chair on the Women’s Resource Council and a co-lead for the Walmart Career Moms. Graduate of the Leadership Academy Program. Successfully completed GAP Partnership Negotiations Training – The Complete Skilled Negotiator, and now participates in the ASCENT Program and led a Mentoring Lean-In Circle. Sonia is an Arkansas native and loves being a wife to Darryl and mother to Daniel, Cori and Drew. She’s also a writer, social content contributor, a Big Sister with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program of Northwest Arkansas, active in her local graduate chapter of her sorority, and youth sports coach.

Secretary, Interform

Kathleen Gonzalez

Kathleen Gonzalez is a native Californian who was raised in Mexico and returned to the United State to attend school at the University of Arkansas in 2007. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with her BA in Architecture Studies in 2011. In 2018 she received her Master’s In Business Administration from John Brown University in Siloam Springs. She has been a part of the NWAFW family since 2013 where she began as a model. She is currently participating in her current role as Director of Modeling for NWAFW where she trains and coaches models on the runway and editorials. She lives in Bentonville with her son, Christopher, and works for The Coca-Cola Company as a Data Analyst.  She is also currently serving on The University of Arkansas Alumni Board of Directors. 

General Counsel, Interform

Meredith Lowry

Meredith is a patent attorney, assisting a variety of individual entrepreneurs and companies in their efforts to obtain a patent, trademark, and copyright protection. Her practice is focused on the variety of consumer goods and fashion items developed and commercialized here regionally and internationally. In 2015, she drafted the legislation to protect the likeness of individual Arkansas residents from commercialization, which is commonly known as the Broyles Act and is the most recent legislative change to intellectual property law in Arkansas. Meredith has been named a Rising Star by Mid-South Super Lawyers from 2012-2015 in the field of Intellectual Property and is included in the 2018 and 2019 editions of The Best Lawyers in America® in Patent Law.

Meredith is an active volunteer in Northwest Arkansas, also lending her time beyond AAFF to the following committees and organizations:

*Alzheimer’s Association’s Blondes vs. Brunettes Flag Football team as co-captain for NWA Team Brunette

*American Diabetes Association planning committee for the annual Kiss a Pig Gala

*Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families Northwest Arkansas Soup Sunday committee

*Arkansas Small Business Technology Development Center, Fayetteville speaker

*Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Artinfusion council

*Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fayetteville planning committee

*Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit planning committee and as co-chair in 2017

*Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit Women in Technology planning committee chair

*Scott Family Amazeum annual Ungala planning committee

*Single Parent Scholarship Fund of NWA Development Committee and Community Leadership Council

Board Member (Ex Officio), Interform

Denise Thomas

A respected business strategist both in Arkansas and across the globe, Denise Thomas has more than 25 years of experience in international trade. She has built a career connecting people and products through bilateral partnerships that focus on ethical sourcing and sustainability. Denise is passionate about helping small businesses grow and access the global marketplace, and she uses her expansive network to empower professionals with the tools they need to increase clientele and connect with the right partners.

A 14-year veteran of the World Trade Center Arkansas, Denise most recently served as the Center’s director of Africa, European and Middle East trade. But her career in economic development began in Florida, where she joined the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce in 1998. There she created a small business center with the U.S. Small Business Administration to house several chambers and centers under one roof. The location became a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs.

A California native, Denise has made her home in Northwest Arkansas since 2003, when she joined Walmart as a recruiter. She worked with the world’s largest retailer to build strategic teams in diverse markets, both domestically and internationally. Eager to share her talents and resources, Denise works to empower the next generation of Arkansas leaders by encouraging them to live complete, rich, harmonious, love-filled lives.

Board Member, Interform

Tony Waller

Tony Waller is Senior Director, Constituent Relations for Walmart in Bentonville, AR.  In his position, he actively works in helping to set strategy for the company’s outreach opportunities and social investments in diverse and multicultural communities.  His portfolio includes the African American, Hispanic, Asian American & Pacific Islander, and Native American communities as well as Women, People with Disabilities, and Millennials. Tony joined Walmart in December 2006.

Tony is a strong supporter of the arts and serves on the Corporate Advisory Council of the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, AR. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is a diehard WAHOO. He remains very active with The University and served on the board of the Walter N. Ridley Scholarship Fund, named after its first African-American graduate. In addition, he is a passionate collector of African-American art & sculpture, antique watches, vintage cuff links, eyewear, children’s storybooks and quotes. Shoes however are his kryptonite.

Tony strives to live each and every day by the words of his mother, Barbara jean Motley Waller, “Keep flowing with The River for The River knows exactly where It is going.”

Board Member, Interform

Korto Momolu

Korto Momolu (pronounced Cut • Toe – Mo • Mo • Lu)A fashion designer and stylist. Korto was born in Monrovia, Liberia and lived there until 1990 with her parents and siblings. They left due to civil war and settled in Canada where Korto pursued her passion and studied fashion design at the L’Academies des Couturiers Design Institute in Ottawa, Canada. Since her stint on Project Runway & Project Runway Allstars, Korto has traveled the world showcasing her collections and accessory lines. Her works have been privately labeled by the National fashion chain Dillards. Korto designed the inaugural uniforms for the Crystal Bridges museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas  and her accessories have been showcased at the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C.  Fashion Press include but are not limited to  Vogue, Elle, Ebony, Essence and Arise Magazines. Korto continues to make Arkansas home with her son and daughter.

Board Member, Interform

Betsy Soos

Acquiring her business acumen with Sam’s Club right after college, Betsy soon moved on to develop a national CPG account across the country.  Her entrepreneurial spirit lead her into real-estate and eventually to open FreeRide Studio.  Having sold the studio, she now enjoys riding bikes more than ever and encouraging women to also find the joy that comes from being on a bike.

Board Member, Interform

Deborah Wright

Deborah Wright, owner of DJW & Associates, LLC in Bentonville, AR, specializes in travel and has a proven track record of driving profitable growth cost-conscious decisions. As a foward-thinking, results-driven professional, Deborah’s leadership spans various roles at Walmart corporate, including operations, private brands, merchandising, quality, sourcing, and buying. Her notable achievements include overseeing the construction of Walmart’s Culinary and Innovation Center. With a passion for travel that dates back to high school, Deborah has visited all seven continents and is a dedicated supporter to empowering women, she has chaired committees for organizations like NEW (Network of Executive Women) and Dress for Success. A Chicago native and a Depaul University graduate, Deborah brings a wealth of experience and dedication to her work. 

Board Member, Interform

Danélle Jackson-Howard

Danélle Jackson-Howard, a motivated merchandiser with 13+ years at Walmart, excels in roles like Brand Management, Product Development, and Sourcing. As a senior merchant for multi-cultural haircare, she leads her team to innovate in the ever-changing retail landscape, managing a multimillion-dollar hair business with a passion for customer needs. In the past 9 months, Danélle has built strategic partnerships with CPG giants like Unilever, P & G, and small businesses like Kaleidoscope and 4U by Tia. A University of Arkansas Interior Design graduate, Danélle, from Little Rock, now resides in Northwest Arkansas with her family. Beyond work, she enjoys supporting her kids in sports and bringing interior design concepts to life. 

Board Member, Interform

Bradford Payne

Bradford Payne, AIA, NCARB, holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture (2006) and a Master of Architecture (2008) from North Carolina State University CoD. As a principal at spacebar design in Northwest Arkansas, he brings over 20 years of experience in domestic and international architecture. Having worked over a decade at Marlon Blackwell Architects, Bradford contributed to diverse projects, earning National Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects. Beyond practice, he manages projects for a local organization and serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Arkansas, contributing to exhibitions and conferences nationwide. Bradford’s expertise extends to construction management, with over $100m in completed projects across multiple states. 

Board Member, Interform

Andrea Wilson

Fort Smith native and Arts Advocate, Andrea holds a BSBA in Marketing Management from the University of Arkansas. Andrea’s career includes representing Ivie & Associates at Sam’s Club Home Office. After starting a family, she dedicated time to volunteering, fostering children, and earning a level 3 sommelier certification. Philanthropy became her focus from 2015 to 2019, contributing to the Helen R. Walton Early Childhood Initiatives Center’s fundraising and supporting the Best Friends Pet Resource Center in Bentonville. Currently, she serves on TheatreSquared Board and Thaden’s Athletic Council, and supports her husband’s company, NewRoad Capital Partners. Andrea is passionate about Arkansas, arts, fashion, nature, animals, and wine, advocating for local businesses and nonprofits to enhance our community. 

Board Member, Interform

Thai Trower

Thai Trower, Esq., is a highly regarded expert in counterterrorism, financial crime compliance, and economic trade sanctions, boasting over two decades of experience as a licenses attorney and former bank general counsel. Renowned for her expertise, Thai has addresses prestigious organizations such as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Notably, she was appointed to the Counter Threat Finance Working Group at the United States Special Operations at Google Inc., and Walmart, Inc. Beyond her professional achievements, Thai contributes to the community by serving on the board of directors of INTERFORM and engaging in charitable events like CTF’s Dancing With Our Stars in Northwest Arkansas. As a proud “New Jersey-Arkansasn,” Thai cherishes her roles as a mom and daughter. 

Board Member, Interform

Raina Vaughan

Raina Vaughan is a Beauty and Personal Care brand builder and Team leader with a proven history of launching & building brands at scale at Walmart and Walmart.com. Category disruptor and innovator with a keen eye for identifying and capitalizing on white space within brands & categories. Consistently delivers A+ launch and growth strategies through partnership with Walmart. Community minded individual striving to improve quality of life and standard of living for others.