Charting a New Course: Publisher Steers Baptist Health Toward New Fundraiser

Instrumental in the development of civilization throughout history, sailing traces its roots back to the 5th millennium B.C. Americans associate it with the pioneering spirit of Christopher Columbus and images of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, the last in a generation of one of the nation’s most famed political dynasties. Sailing captures our imaginations, tests our resolve and connects us with the past in an almost primal way.

The attraction, then, for Baptist Health is apparent. This summer, the medical center’s foundation announced a new fundraising event, the Baptist Health Regal Regatta, to be held Saturday, October 31, at the Grande Maumelle Sailing Club on Lake Maumelle. At the helm as chairman of the racing event is Arkansas Business Publishing Group President Jeff Hankins.

His fellow board members didn’t choose him as the event’s captain for his sailing experience though, he says.

“I made the rookie mistake of showing excitement for a new fundraising event … and suddenly found myself as chairman.” In fact, the Pine Bluff native has “no clue” how to sail but reports he’s learning a lot.

The good news is sailing experience isn’t required to participate. Each boat will have an experienced captain and first mate on board. And to keep things even, one race will be for those with no experience, another for those with experience. Television stations will compete in a third race.

A $1,000 racing sponsorship entitles three people to race, while a $5,000 vessel sponsorship allows you to bring up to five people aboard. Contributions can also be made via spectator sponsorships, which range from $75 to $250. For land lovers, there will be a silent auction and family festivities. The event is a great way for the unacquainted to get introduced to the sailing club, which regularly hosts races that draw sailors from across the region.

Although Hankins lacks sailing knowledge, he’s got plenty of business savvy. In addition to his involvement with the Baptist Health Foundation, he also serves on college advisory councils for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Arkansas State University and is in the Arkansas Executive Forum at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He knows it won’t be easy to launch a new fundraising event in the rough waters of a recession. But here’s where that resolve kicks in.

“We’re determined to fund more eCare Mobile Units at Baptist Medical Center Little Rock Emergency Department,” he said.

The units contain a laptop, camera, microphone and patient care tools and is part of an external intensive care unit.

“This unique system gives critical patients additional monitoring from a remote area using the eCare Unit while the nurses in the emergency room are with other patients,” he said.

Although Hankins has been on the board less than a year, his relationship with Baptist Health stretches a ways back.

“Both of my children were born at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, and I have always admired fellow ASU alumnus Russ Harrington, who is CEO of Baptist Health,” he said. “I really like the fact that the Baptist Health Foundation enhances medical care in so many different ways throughout Arkansas.”


SÉ: Tell us about your family.

JH: My wife, Dr. Carrie Hankins, is a pharmacist, and we have two children: Luke, 8, and Sarah Kathryn, 6. My parents and 92-year-old grandmother live in our neighborhood at The Ranch.


SÉ: Have you always wanted to work in publishing?

JH: My dream was to be editor of either The Dallas Morning News or The Philadelphia Enquirer, but niche magazine and Internet publishing became my passion.


SÉ: What do you love most about your career?

JH: Working with an incredible team to create informational, entertaining products that people need and want. We serve both readers and advertisers with quality publications and Web sites.


SÉ: Do you tweet, and are you on Facebook?

JH: You can follow me @JeffHankins on Twitter, and I’m active in the black hole of time known as Facebook.


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