In a new series, Power Couples, Arkansas Money & Politics will introduce you to some of the most interesting and influential pairs in the state of Arkansas. Mica Strother and Greg Hale, both of Little Rock, are the first couple in this series.
Mica Strother and Greg Hale are a passionate, driven and well-known couple throughout the Arkansas community. The two met doing political work in the late ‘90s and early 2000s and married in 2008.
In 1994, after Strother graduated from college, before she attended law school, she served as a volunteer on former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker’s campaign.
“From that experience, I was hired to serve in Tucker’s administration. During those years I met Mike Beebe, who was a state senator,” Strother says.
After Strother attended law school, she went to work for a consulting firm, and Beebe became a client.
“I worked on his first statewide campaign and eventually was his primary fundraiser. Shortly after serving eight years in his administration, I had the opportunity to parlay my fundraising skills to another passion by taking a job with the Razorback Foundation,” she says.
Hale started his career as a volunteer on the Bill Clinton and Al Gore reelection campaign in 1996. “That opportunity led me to my first job as an advance person for President Clinton, traveling the world and setting up events. My entire business and career is a result of that first job experience,” Hale says.
Strother and Hale have been involved in politics throughout their careers. Strother worked on Tucker’s campaign, Beebe’s campaigns for attorney general and governor, and Mark Pryor’s senatorial campaign.
Hale worked on the Clinton and Gore reelection campaign, Gore’s presidential campaign, John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, Mike Beebe’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns. Hillary Clinton mentioned Hale in her recently released memoir, What Happened. She describes him as “an Arkansas farmer and event-production-and-visuals wizard.”
Strother says she has not considered running for office. Hale, on the other hand, has thought about the possibility.
“I considered running for Congress in 2012. It was an enjoyable experience getting right up to the starting line; luckily I wised up and decided not to run. Congress is way too partisan and I don’t think I would have enjoyed the job,” he says.
For someone who might want to get involved in Arkansas politics, Strother says no one should be afraid to allow their opinions and beliefs to evolve.
Hale says it’s important to be open-minded. “We are living in a very partisan world. Be civil and try to find common ground; don’t be discouraged. Arkansas needs more bright stars in both parties. If you feel passionate about something, go for it.”
Strother currently serves as the director of development for the Razorback Foundation, while her husband Hale is a partner at The Markham Group, an event firm with offices in Little Rock, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.
Strother works in athletic fundraising for the Razorback Foundation. Her job duties includes cultivating and assisting donors by connecting them to giving opportunities in order to support Razorback athletics, she says.
“Fundraising is a great way to help people use their financial resources to connect and support a program or organization they feel passionate about. Meeting people, sharing a common love for the Razorbacks and helping people understand that their gifts make a difference in the lives of our student athletes is the most rewarding part of my job,” Strother says.
Strother is very passionate about her current job and extremely thankful to be part of the Razorback Foundation.
“As a lifelong Arkansan, my role with the Razorback Foundation is one of the most enjoyable jobs I’ve held. Funds donated by the Razorback community allow our 460 plus student athletes to compete at the highest level of college athletics while pursuing an education that will bring lifelong benefits. Being part of the program is challenging, competitive, enjoyable and rewarding all wrapped into one,” Strother says.
Hale creates world-class events for private, political and nonprofit clients at the local, state, national and international levels. He has organized multiple events to raise awareness and support for the internationally recognized ONE campaign, including a series of high-level delegation trips to Africa, he says.
Hale says his team has also organized hundreds of events for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and has built one of the largest veteran-focused employment programs in the world and provided jobs to thousands of veterans who would otherwise be out of work.
He has also managed events and advanced operations for national nonprofit clients and Fortune 500 companies.
The two have never worked closely together during their careers – although they have often worked in the same sphere on the same issues.
“Mica is way too organized for me, so when we do work together, I frustrate her,” Hale says.
The couple’s careers span several different industries. Strother has worked in politics, nonprofit fundraising and briefly worked in construction. Hale has worked in politics, event production and cattle farming. He says his dream job would be to own a ranch the size of Texas, and ride the range each day to check the cows.
Strother’s son, Eli, is 15 years old and attends Central High School. Strother and Hale agree that raising him is their proudest accomplishment.
“Family is everything to us. We plan our entire lives around our time together, and make it a priority every day,” Strother says.
In regards to following in the couple’s footsteps, career-wise, Strother says to find a job you enjoy. “Don’t be afraid to leave a job you don’t like. Life is too short to not enjoy your day job.”
Hale says don’t be afraid to dream big: “Small pond fish can make it in the big sea.”
Strother is 44 and Hale is 42. The couple lives in Prospect Terrace in Little Rock.