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With Help from Hendrix Alumni, Apptegy Continues Growth Trend

Some of the Hendrix grads who work at Little Rock startup Apptegy, from left: Travis Howk ’17, Bob Berardi ’15, Dominique Kelleybrew ’11, Zelda Engeler-Young ’21, Sarah Hyndman ’13, Michala Roberts ’17, Kathleen Conley ’16, Barrett Goodwin ’17, Will Poff ’11, Anna Holmes ’18, Andrew LeMay ’15, Sydney King ’16 (back), Rachel Elmakiss ’20 (front). Photo Courtesy Apptegy 

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (July 22, 2022)—As Apptegy grows, so grows the number of Hendrix College graduates who work to further the company’s success.

The Little Rock-based education-technology company began in 2015 by working with only a handful of beta school districts in Arkansas. Today, it works with and supports more than 2,500 school districts across the U.S. through Thrillshare, its communication platform that empowers school leaders to control their messaging and the people closest to these stories to be the storytellers. Thrillshare allows K-12 administrators to create news, stories, and media on a single platform, which then distributes the content to linked tools like social media accounts, SMS, voice calls, mobile apps, and websites.

In 2022, Apptegy counts nearly two dozen Hendrix alumni among its employees—some who graduated in the 1980s and ’90s, and others who earned their Hendrix diplomas just a few months or years ago.
“A Hendrix education doesn’t just happen in the classroom,” says Leigh Lassiter-Counts ’01, director of Career Services at Hendrix. “Through the Odyssey Program and our strong commitment to active and engaged learning, Hendrix graduates enter the world prepared for work… consistently noted for their flexibility, creativity, and growth mindset.”

What draws Hendrix graduates to a company like Apptegy? And what draws Apptegy to hire liberal arts college graduates?

“At Apptegy, we value thoughtful people that can really own their work and take responsibility for it,” says Jeston George, the company’s founder and CEO. “Hendrix challenges its students to think of others and to challenge themselves; that’s very attractive to fast-growing companies.”

“The liberal arts is all about setting you up to be a lifelong learner—and the curiosity and creative thinking that Hendrix fostered in me have been incredibly valuable skills during my time at Apptegy,” said Barrett Goodwin ’17, a politics major and history minor who has been with Apptegy since shortly after graduating. “In a fast-moving startup, you have to be able to adapt and think on your feet. Hendrix prepared me for that, no doubt.”

Will Poff ’11 agrees. “A liberal arts education—like the one provided at Hendrix—helps many graduates learn to think critically, communicate efficiently, and approach problems and solutions in a dynamic way,” he said. A classics major/gender studies minor while at Hendrix, Poff now works in sales development for Apptegy, and pointed out that using the skills he honed at Hendrix in his daily work has enhanced his personal and professional growth.

Kelsi Stimack ’18, who graduated from Hendrix with an interdisciplinary studies major in entrepreneurial management, says that designing her own major prepared her to figure out how to solve problems. “It forced me to confront and figure out what skills I would need in the workforce and then figure out how to grow in those skills,” she said. “At Apptegy, one of the biggest things they expect from everyone is personal and professional growth. Being able to identify and intellectually think through the things I want to grow through, make a plan, and then actualize that is something I picked up from Hendrix.”

Though she’s proud of her degree in history with a minor in French, Kathleen Conley ’16 says it isn’t so much about what someone learned at Hendrix, but how they learned it. “One of the biggest benefits I received from my Hendrix education was the development of skills and qualities that aren’t tied to a single academic field—communication, adaptability, and curiosity are the first three that come to mind, but there are many others that have been fostered by my Hendrix experience,” she said. “Not only did I end up in a completely different career field than the one I’d planned for as a senior in college, but in my time at Apptegy I’ve also had the opportunity to grow into new roles and responsibilities that previously never would have seemed like options to me. I believe that I am where I am now in large part because of those foundational skills I developed at Hendrix.” 

Much like Conley, Michala Roberts ’17 says her Hendrix-acquired ability to see things from multiple perspectives works to her advantage now. “On the Client Success team at Apptegy, you have to be able to balance your roles as tech support, product expert, client representative, and teammate. Because of the rigorous coursework and culture of high expectations at Hendrix, I was prepared to work hard, learn quickly, and imagine creative solutions to both expected and unexpected situations. No matter your major, Hendrix would prepare you to be successful here.” 

“I firmly believe it is because of the diverse array of skills that Hendrix cultivated alongside the connections I made that not only prepared me for my role here at Apptegy, but also allowed me to feel like I belonged in an atmosphere as amazing as this one,” said Nathan Painter ’22, who majored in international relations. 

Beyond their academic coursework, Hendrix students participate in many extracurricular activities. Those experiences develop skills such as leadership and time management. “Hendrix best prepared me for Apptegy by helping me be able to work well under pressure,” said Rachel Elmakiss ’20. “Working on the yearbook especially helped me to learn to balance my own work schedule and be self-sufficient.”

Allison Epperson ’22, who majored in sociology and minored in Spanish, sees parallels between Hendrix and Apptegy: Both organizations require high efficiency and productivity. “The workload and culture of Hendrix is comparable to Apptegy’s because everyone here strives to produce quality work while also having fun,” she said.

That culture of high performance and thoughtfulness is seen as key to the company’s success. The approach has gained recognition for Apptegy: It was named one of America’s Best Startup Employers by Forbes in 2020 and 2021, and awarded a spot on Inc. 5000’s list of the fastest-growing private companies in 2021 and 2022. Apptegy was also featured by Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces in 2022, one of only 475 companies in the U.S. with that recognition.

Apptegy is among a number of companies hiring across Arkansas, and Hendrix College Career Services offers assistance for both current students and alumni who are considering their employment options. Email the team at or visit their section of the College website for more information.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit