Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Report Abuse   |   Sign In
December 2015 E-News!
Share |

                                  »In This Issue

Message from the
President & CEO

Class XXIX in McAlester

Class 30 Application Available

YLOK Class XVI Selection

Development Update

Helping Oklahoma Contest

UAV Member Event

Holiday Party at Ross Group

February Member Events

 Excellence in Leadership Gala

Deadlines & Upcoming Events

Did You Know?

Leaders on the Move!

Happy Holidays!

Member Updates

»Message From the President & CEO

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. - Hal Borland

Like many of you, as the end of the year approaches, I find myself reflecting over the past twelve months. For the first half of the year, things at work were fairly routine for me. Then came this wonderful opportunity to become the President and CEO of Leadership Oklahoma. I was proud and grateful for the chance to serve this matchless organization committed to creating a network of leaders who are equally committed to working together to make a difference in Oklahoma. It didn’t take too long in this new role for me to realize what a privilege it is to meet and work with the members of LOK and the leaders of this state.

To say that I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into is an understatement. To say that everyone I have come in contact with has been encouraging, supportive, and patient is no exaggeration. I am thankful for the encouragement of the Board of Directors, Advisors and past chairs; I am appreciative of the support from the staff, alums and donors; and I am indebted to the local planning committees and members of Class XXIX for their patience as we plan and deliver the program sessions.

As Leadership Oklahoma moves into 2016, I look forward to the experiences we will share and the wisdom we will gain as “Oklahoma leaders making Oklahoma the leader”.

I wish each of you a Happy Holiday and hope that the New Year is filled with health and happiness.


-Top of Page- 

»Class XXIX In McAlester

Class XXIX Criminal Justice System Session was held December 4-5, 2015 in McAlester.  Read reflections from members of Class XXIX below, and click here for more photos from the session.


-Top of Page-

Reflections on the Criminal Justice System

Hilarie Blaney, Class XXIX
Senior Vice President
BancFirst - OKC

Driving into town, I gazed off to the north at the massive white structure that has terrified me for 50 years. Growing up in McAlester, we were always extremely scared when there were prison breaks, so returning to my childhood hometown was unsettling for me. While I was apprehensive about this tour, it was a necessary step to opening my eyes to the human and financial cost of incarceration.

I found it shocking that virtually 50% of the people incarcerated in Oklahoma are there for non-violent crimes, the top three reasons women are in prison are drug-related and the top two for men are as well. Mental illness and drugs have got to be addressed as a separate issue. Read the December 6 story in The Oklahoman from Cathy Costello, whose son will probably serve life in prison for being mentally ill.

Former speaker, Kris Steele, pointed out that Texas created a structure to separate these issues from violent crimes and have been successful by tremendously reducing crime statistics for the state. In fact, on Saturday, December 12, the CBS Evening News reported a story about Lexington Prison in Oklahoma, where we have a man serving life in prison for drugs. In fact, we have 50 people in Oklahoma serving life sentences for drugs! In this interview, President Obama also pointed out that Texas has found a good solution to this problem. So, why aren't we looking into this? Why is our second largest budget item in Oklahoma the Department of Corrections?

Our speakers from the DOC stated that they need more funding in 2016, it seems like we are putting a band-aid on the wound.

We must have an overhaul of the system, reduce the budget, rehabilitate drug users, put the mentally ill in a safe place, house violent criminals in our prisons—we must have criminal justice reform and maybe take a trip to Texas!


Heather Griswold, Class XXIX
Deputy Chief of Staff
State Department of Education

The McAlester session was a very powerful one for me. I work in education, and as we so often discussed, if there was more of an emphasis on education – maybe we wouldn’t have as big of a corrections problem in our state. Of course, it’s a much bigger issue than just that one thing alone. However, I’d be remiss to say that we are “missing the boat” engaging parents early on with their child’s education and that Oklahoma’s parents play a critical role in their child’s development.

One take-away I had after McAlester was the need to establish a PR/communications strategy that is cross-functional with multiple agencies, including the State Department of Education, Corrections, DHS, Health, etc. and work together to help build capacity with our school children’s parents. I’m working right now to see about the feasibility of accomplishing something like this with my agency. All ships do rise in high tide, and it’ll take more than just one agency – one non-profit – one person…to really move the needle. I was overwhelmed with the generosity of our speakers but even more moved by the passion our speakers had to truly take a deep dive and collaborate to find solutions to these somewhat overwhelming problems we are facing as a state.

At the end of the day, I feel committed to help find workable solutions that will hopefully end the evil cycle of incarceration and the negative impacts it has on our state’s children.

We talk about collective impact, and the parent engagement piece is one that is ripe for the picking for collaboration with a variety of key stakeholder groups

-Top of Page-

»Application for Adult Class 30 Available

LOK is now accepting applications for its 2016-2017 adult class. Applications may be downloaded from the Leadership Oklahoma website by clicking HERE. Completed applications must be received in the Leadership Oklahoma office no later than April 8, 2016, at 5:00 p.m.

-Top of Page-

»YLOK Class XVI Selection Underway

The application deadline for Youth Leadership Oklahoma has come and gone, and we had a great response! Thanks to all of you who encouraged current high school juniors to apply!

The applications have been sent to the readers, and the selection process is in full swing. The dates for the YLOK program this year are June 5-10, 2016, and we are looking forward to another great week with Oklahoma youth!

Cristy Morrison, Class XV
YLOK Program Chair

  -Top of Page-

»Development Update

As this year’s Development Chair for LOK, I want to thank those of you that have generously responded to our Annual End of the Year Campaign. Every year our organization raises money to support our adult program and to provide our youth program at no cost to the participants. These donations are critical to the vitality of our programs and our commitment to initiate positive change for the benefit of all Oklahomans.

If you would like to contribute to our mission, please make an online donation at You may also mail a donation to Leadership Oklahoma, 5500 N. Western, Suite 142, Oklahoma City, OK 73118 in the self-addressed envelope sent to you earlier this month.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our annual fund drive. We appreciate you considering our request and remind you that any gift you give today is still tax-deductible for 2015. Happy Holidays!

Mark Williams, Class XXV

Chair, Development Committee
-Top of Page-

»Helping Oklahoma Contest Winner Announced

Leadership Oklahoma sponsored its fifth annual Helping Oklahoma Contest, which recognizes exceptional Oklahoma volunteers from across the state for their service to Oklahoma 501c3 non-profit organizations. The volunteer selected received $2,500 for the non-profit organization to further the work of the volunteer. This year’s winner is Gloria Barton. Gloria works as a volunteer for Variety Care, whose mission is to improve the health of communities that do not have ready access to health care.

As a community health center, Variety Care provides access to affordable health care services for all family members, regardless of age, medical history, immigration status, or insurance coverage. Variety Care provides a broad range of primary and preventative health care services at affordable rates. Gloria Barton has been involved with Variety Care for over 20 years, and is a great representative for our many volunteers who donate their time and talent outside of patient interaction. Variety Care volunteers serve in all kinds of capacities, from driving patients to and from clinic sites for dental and health care, translating English for patients, to public speaking and educating communities about the importance of preventative health. Volunteers are significant advocates to the overall mission of Variety Care, to provide quality affordable and assessable health care to Oklahomans.

Gloria began her service at Variety Care as a community volunteer board member. In 2005, she served as chair and led the board in purchasing a closed school from the Oklahoma City Public Schools and in helping raise funds to renovate the facility to become a pediatric clinic. In 2007, Gloria helped begin an annual showcasing the agency’s progress and securing operational funding. In 2010, the event became known as the Variety Show and Gloria served on the planning committee for that event through 2014. In 2012, Gloria was elected chair of the Variety Care Foundation board. Without loyal committed board members like Gloria Barton, Variety Care would not be able to provide the needed services to the community.

To read more details of the volunteers nominated for this contest, go to

-Top of Page-

»New Heights in Aviation: A Bird’s Eye View of UAVs

There was great attendance at this event! We had around 60 people who came to learn about the topic. The speakers were informative and entertaining ensuring no one “droned” out. Warren Thomas, Managing General Partner for Tinker Business & Industrial Park; Dr. Stephen McKeever, OK Secretary for Science & Technology; Dr. Andy Arena, Professor at OSU, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; and Congressman Jim Bridenstine, 1st District, discussed UAVs in Oklahoma giving insight into the marketable industries and its applications, an overview of the State’s interest in this industry, discussion from the academic perspective and potential policy and legislation regarding UAVs. Cu Nguyen (Class 3), CEO of HeliDirect and Founder of Vis-Analytics discussed business entrepreneurial and development along with Gary Ambrose, Director of Strategy & Applied Research at OSU Research Foundation. Inspector Billy Risley discussed the FAA’s role in the UAV industry and highlight new guidelines for the industry. The afternoon ended with tours through OSU’s indoor flight area, the wind tunnel and simulation facility. Thank you to Jason Kirksey, Class 27, and OSU for providing refreshments to the group.

LOK networking social event at MoJo’s Rock’n’Bowl Grill: A nice number of members came to the social event, networked with each other and bowled a few games! Thank you to Stan Clark for offering free shoes and bowling for everyone who attended. We learned Amy Ford, Class 28, is really good at bowling!

A big thank you to the planning committee: Lindy Ritz, Carolyn Stager, Rex Smitherman, Phil Kliewer, Ben Kimbro and Toney Stricklin.

Jodi Cline, Class XXVI

Chair, Membership Committee

Click HERE to see more photos from the event!


-Top of Page-

»2015 Holiday Party at Ross Group in Tulsa

A big thank you goes out to Warren Ross, Class XXIII, of Ross Group in Tulsa for providing their beautiful space, and to Brad Naifeh, Class XVII, of Central Liquor Company for donating beverages for the Leadership Oklahoma 2015 Holiday party. Below are a few photos from the event, and you can click HERE to see more!

-Top of Page-

»Upcoming Member Events for February


Current Issues Affecting the Middle East: A Conversation with Don Betz
February 9, 2016
CKH Central Boathouse
732 E. 6th St., Oklahoma City
5:30 pm – Reception
6:15 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Conversation with Don Betz
Cost: TBD

Mark your calendar now! More details to follow…

Legislative Reception
February 16, 2015
Jim Thorpe Building
2101 N. Lincoln, OKC
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Cost: TBD

Mark your calendar now! More details to follow…

-Top of Page-

»2016 Excellence in Leadership Gala


Excellence in Leadership Gala – OKC
February 27, 2016
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
The Skirvin Hilton
One Park Ave., OKC
Dress: Black Tie Optional

Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations! The gala Co-Chairs are Linda and Drew Edmondson and Nina and Robert Butkin. A reception will follow the awards instead of in the beginning of the evening. Please mark your calendars NOW to attend. Printed invitations will be mailed in January. Click HERE to register by February 17, 2016.

2016 Honorees:
Business Leadership Award: Cotton Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Distinguished Graduate Award: Don Betz, Class III
Statewide Community Award: George Kaiser Family Foundation
Lifetime Achievement Award: Burns Hargis

Click HERE for Gala Sponsorship Opportunities

$10,000 - Platinum Sponsor – Prime seating for table of ten, logo on the recognition video, company logo in the event program, representative acknowledged by the emcee during the program as a Platinum Sponsor, logo on the gala invitation as a Platinum Sponsor if received by December 22, 2015
$5,000 - Gold Sponsor – Preferred seating for table of ten, logo on the recognition video, recognition in the event program, acknowledgement by the emcee during the program as a Gold Sponsor
$2,500 - Silver Sponsor – Preferred seating for table of eight, recognition in the event program, acknowledgement by the emcee during the program
$1,000 - Bronze Sponsor – Preferred seating for two, recognition in the event program

LOK has secured a group rate of $129 for those wanting to spend the night at The Skirvin. To receive the discounted rate, you may either call the reservations line at 1-800-HILTONS and mention the Leadership Oklahoma Gala (or group code LOG) or use the link below to easily book online within the block:

Click here to book your group rate for the Leadership Oklahoma Excellence in Leadership Gala

-Top of Page-

»Deadlines and Upcoming Events

December 22, 2015
 Deadline for Gala Platinum Sponsor Logo on Invitation
February 17, 2016
 Deadline to RSVP for the 2016 Excellence in Leadership Gala
April 8, 2016
 Deadline for Adult Program Application Submission - 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Events:
February 9, 2016  Current Issues Affecting the Middle East: A Conversation with Don Betz
 CKH Central Boathouse
February 16, 2016
 Legislative Reception - Jim Thorpe Building - 2101 N. Lincoln - OKC
February 27, 2016
 Excellence in Leadership Gala - The Skirvin Hilton - One Park Avenue - OKC

-Top of Page-

»Did You Know?

Did you know.... You can find LOK Members with similar interests! Have you been working on a program, sitting on a board, or planning a meeting on a particular topic and wonder, “who in LOK would be interested in being a part of this?” Click here to learn more about "Areas of Interest"!

-Top of Page-

»Leaders on the Move

Jeannie Barbour, Class X, was honored by the Oklahoma Arts Council for longtime leadership and significant contributions to the arts in our state.

Teresa Meinders Burkett, Class XVIII, was awarded a 2015 Paragon Award by Leadership Tulsa. The Paragon Award honors exemplary volunteers for outstanding leadership and commitment to non-profit organizations and the Tulsa community. Ms. Burkett was also named the top healthcare lawyer in Tulsa this year by Best Lawyers in America.

Rhonda Hooper, Class XXI, was elected chair of the Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Development (OSTRaD) Board.

Stephen E. Smith, Class XXIII, and Janet Wansick, Class XXVI, have been selected to serve as advisors for The College Board, a national not-for-profit organization devoted to preparing students for and propelling them toward college success.

Jerry Steward, Class XX, was elected to the Integris Southwest Medical Center board of directors.
  -Top of Page-

»Member Updates

The 2015-2016 LOK Annual Report and Membership Directory has been mailed to LOK lifetime members and those members who have paid their 2015-2016 membership dues. Below are  membership contact information changes from November 16 to December 15. Click HERE to see all member updates.

Jim Arens • Class XXV
The Trust Company of Oklahoma
1610 S. Yale Avenue
Suite 1900
Tulsa, OK 74136

Allen Brown • Class XIII
215 NW 32nd Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Barbara Cuite • Class XIII
Lauhon, Halley & Cuite, PLLC
2727 E. 21st. Street
Suite 102
Oklahoma City, OK 74114

Kyle Essmiller • Class XXII
Vice President, Administration
CP Energy
317 Lilac Drive
Suite 200
Edmond, OK 73034
T: 405-513-6006 X3218

Sandy James • Class X
Contracts Administrator
AllianceHealth Ponca City
1900 N. 14th Street
Ponca City, OK 74601
T: 580-765-0500

Jerry Regier • Class XII
Regional Development Officer &
International Public Policy Ambassador
2405 N.W. 10th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73107

Darrell Weaver • Class XXIII
Chief Executive Officer
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma
224 NW 10th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
T: 405-606-6312

Lisa Wells • Class XXII

-Top of Page-

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal