By Bear State Bank

About Us:

The Bear State of Mind


At Bear State Bank we’re inspired by stories, whether they be informative and insightful or simply fun and entertaining.

We created this site to share our stories and to hear yours. Along the way we hope our financial tips will enrich your lives. Maybe our stories on places to see and things to do will offer new ways to wake up your weekends. And perhaps our focus on uncommon companies will remind us all to eschew the ordinary and follow our passions in business and life.

We welcome you to the Bear State of Mind.

Meet the Team

  • Gwen Rockwood

    Gwen Rockwood is a syndicated freelance columnist and author of "Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile." She is also the co-founder of, the largest mom-focused website in Northwest Arkansas. Gwen and her husband Tom have three great kids, one stubborn Beagle and one fat cat.

  • Sara Dacus

    Hot Springs resident Sara Dacus is an 8th grade English teacher, writer, horse racing enthusiast and lifelong Arkansan. She believes in southern hospitality, and that there is no greater entertainment than watching fast horses run in a circle while wearing a ridiculously large hat. Sara shares life with a phenomenal husband and a curious son.

  • Gina King

    Gina King is a freelance writer and former newspaper reporter who previously worked as a U.S. Army journalist and public affairs specialist, served as director of public relations for the Charlotte (NC) Convention and Visitors Bureau Charlotte (N.C.), and was director of public relations and executive manager of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas alumni magazine.

  • Shelly Loftin

    Shelly Loftin is a mom and career banker who has a passion for customer service, advertising and design. As Bear State's Chief Marketing Officer and Retail Director, she is a brand ambassador, training enthusiast, design fanatic, team builder and infographic nerd; covey facilitator, creative collaborator, culture advocate, professional learner and happiness sharer. Oh, and a millennial. Kind of. Hobbies include playing superheroes, reading, soccer and softball.

  • Jessica Reese

    Jessica Reese is a sideline contributor and currently serves as the Community Happiness Director for Bear State Bank.  While her daily work pursuit is Team Member and Customer Happiness, she also enjoys the adventure of being a wife and mom.

  • Lauren E. Johnson

    Lauren Johnson helps develop, execute and promote bank's products and services, and strives to ensure all team members and customers have an exceptional experience in the Bear State. She is a proud dog mom, loves volunteering her time to help better her community and takes every opportunity to travel or see live music.

  • Charlie Hughes

    Charlie Hughes is a freelance writer and former ad agency creative director, newspaper editor and corporate spokesperson. He was a principal in Register Hughes & Associates, served as the director of communications and publications for Cooper Communities, Inc. and was chief spokesman for the Cuban-Haitian Task Force at Fort Chaffee.

  • Reynolds Sharp

    Reynolds Sharp is a designer at DOXA and art director of the Bear State of Mind. He spends his free time running on the bike trails, hanging with his four cats and practicing Danish, a language he was drawn to during a trip to Copenhagen with his grandfather. He also serves as the Communications Director for the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of AIGA, The Professional Association of Design, and is on the Kessler Trail Stewardship Committee. He’s a fan of architecture, industrial design and art history, and hopes to make a return trip to Scotland in 2020.

Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC