Top 100 Women of Impact: Angela Duran

Angela Duran

Executive Director, Excel by Eight

About me: I have spent most of my career working to help children and families reach their full potential. I love learning about what is working (or not working) in communities across the state and helping families and communities impact policy decisions at the local, state and federal level that make it easier to succeed. I am the executive director of Excel by Eight, a statewide network that partners with families and communities to improve health and education outcomes for children from prenatal to age 8.

Lives in: Little Rock • Works: Statewide

Best Career Advice: Listen to your heart and pursue a career about that which you are passionate. While you will still have daily ups and downs, working through the challenges will be much easier and more enjoyable if you are motivated by your passion.

Lesson Learned the Hard Way: Having a great idea, even one backed by data and research, is not enough. It has to be developed in collaboration with others so the idea reflects the needs of a diverse group of people and their thoughts about how best to address those needs.

Proudest Moment of Impact: The school districts in Independence County understand the importance of exposure to language and “conversational turns” to early brain development. They have worked with early childhood educators to increase the number of conversations they have with students each day. Last fall, the districts saw a 65% increase in conversational turns for children who were talking the least with their teachers.  

Call to Action: The first three years of a child’s life are when the most brain development happens. We need to invest in high-quality early childhood education, early identification of developmental delays and other challenges that prevent children from reaching their full potential.

What Keeps Me Motivated: We’re working with amazing parent and community leaders around the state. They are so thoughtful about what they need and extremely creative and resourceful when designing strategies that address those needs. Collaborating with people committed to our mission keeps me motivated. 

A Women’s Foundation of Arkansas Initiative

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