Business student balances her own business, classes and pageants

Ashley Walthall Square Roots Salon

Miss Southern Arkansas University 2013 Ashley Walthall learned balance on the dance floor at an early age. Gearing up for graduation with a business degree and having purchased her own salon nearly a year ago, she seems to have mastered balance off the stage as well.

Walthall showed off her dancing prowess during her top 15 performance at the Miss Arkansas on July 20, 2012. This accomplishment earned her a $500 scholarship.

The judges were certainly also impressed by the fact that Walthall owns her own business while completing her college education. She said that she mentioned her salon, Square Roots in Magnolia, during the preliminary and on-stage interviews.

Walthall recalled that the week in November 2012 when she took the Miss SAU title was also the time when she had to decide if she wanted to take the leap into business proprietorship. The owner of the salon where she had worked for three years was relocating. After talking to her parents getting their moral support, she scheduled a meeting with a loan officer.

“I went to the bank to take out a loan and the next day it was approved,” said Walthall. “It still feels unreal that I’m a business owner at such a young age.”

She also credits the SAU College of Business  and her advisor Ronnie Watson with giving her the confidence and the education to be a full-time student while running her own business.

Now that business and school are in balance, she is grateful for the management experience the salon is giving her.

“I am gaining knowledge from my classes and experience at the same time, which most students don’t have the opportunity to do,” said Walthall.

When her classes wrap up and she graduates in May 2014, Walthall plans to take her experience and business knowledge to see if she can expand her clientele by moving to Dallas.

The Miss SAU 2014 pageant is scheduled for January 23, 2014. Students are eligible to compete as long as they have earned at least 12 hours at SAU. To find out more information, contact Anne Sands at (870) 235-5084.