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February 2016 E-News!
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                                  »In This Issue

Message from the
President & CEO

Class XXIX in Stillwater

Class 30 Application

YLOK Class 16 Selection

February Member Events

2016 Excellence in Leadership Gala

Other News

Deadlines & Upcoming Events

Did You Know?

Leaders on the Move!

Member Updates

»Message From the President & CEO

“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.” Fleetwood Mac

Your help is needed in finding the perfect members for LOK’s 30th Class. You are the best person to explain the value of the class experience and the ongoing benefits of staying involved. We need more people like you - leaders who have demonstrated a history of leadership and giving back to their communities; are successful in their professional and personal lives; and who have potential for greater leadership. Look around you and identify individuals who would make good LOK members and encourage them to apply for Class 30. With your help, LOK Class 30 will be another outstanding link in our LOK network.

While this is my first time to help facilitate the selection process, I understand that, in general, applicants are more successful if they:

• Show their uniqueness – what they bring to the class and how they will contribute;

• Demonstrate a track record of continued involvement in their community and/or state;

• Serve in leadership roles, in addition to member participant roles;

• Present a picture of broad involvement across a number of efforts or organizations;

• Ask a member to review their application before submission;

• Fully utilize the space allocated for answers on the application, while staying within the word limits;

• Provide references from active Leadership Oklahoma members.

Thank for your work on this very important matter. Applications are on the LOK website or click here.

Marion Paden
President & CEO

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»Class XXIX In Stillwater

Class XXIX Education Session was held February 5-6, 2016 in Stillwater. Read reflections from members of Class XXIX below, and click here for more photos from the session.



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Reflections on Education

Paula Barrington, Class XXIX
SVP, Director Treasury Services
BOK Financial Corporation

Our recent program on Education at Oklahoma State University was extremely enlightening and just reconfirmed the complexity of the subject. The program ensured we gained a better understanding of all levels of education from early childhood education, K-12, Career Tech and higher education as well as the differences in funding of each. I most enjoyed hearing the dialogue around early childhood education and left wondering how do we ensure that we don’t lose that positive momentum as we move forward in K-12 and beyond.

Since I am a “foodie”, I also thoroughly enjoyed the Culinary Arts program at Meridian Technology Center. They provided us with an amazing breakfast spread which allowed them to showcase their talent in providing a fantastic feast. Probably the most enlightening aspect of the program was the Education Alternatives panel of Private Schools, Home Schooling and Rural Schools. What a fantastic representation on the panel and provided eye opening content, many aspects of which I was not aware. Obviously we rounded out our experience with looking into the future of where education is going as well as current issues facing Oklahoma schools including teacher shortfalls, retention of talent, curriculum and the list goes on. This isn’t a simple problem to solve, but rather a much larger complex topic. At the end of the day, even though we have problems we need to address and solve, I was very proud of our public education system and the talented individuals whose passion is to educate our children. They do a fantastic job!

But, on a somewhat humorous note, as a diehard Sooner fan taking the tour of the OSU Athletic Center drew many comments from my friends when Marion posted our picture at center court in Gallagher-Iba Arena on Facebook. To say the least, my account blew up from friends who were posting things like: “Are you lost?”, “Are you sick?”, “You look good in orange.”, etc.   Boomer Sooner to all my Cowboy friends!

Dan Martel, Class XXIX
Senior Vice President/Chief Creative Officer

“Boy: Dad, when I grow up, I want to be a teacher.
Dad: Why would you want to be a teacher? Wouldn’t you want to choose a more noble profession; after all you could be a lawyer or a doctor?
Boy: But dad, where would we get lawyers or doctors if we didn’t have teachers?”
Dad: (Pause) Hmm.”

This was a paraphrased bit of copy from a national banking campaign from a few years back, but it has always stuck with me, because it’s accurate.

I was excited to attend the recent Leadership Oklahoma weekend on Education. The topics covered over the course of three days included Early childhood, K-12, Higher education, Career Tech, Private and Home-school education. As a member of Class XXIX, it was going to be interesting to see how some of my classmates were going to react with the information that was presented – as their careers are in Oklahoma education. All of the information did prompt a great deal of discussion.

You know we’ve all heard a lot of the negative talk surrounding Oklahoma schools, and we are constantly hit with statistics that rate Oklahoma public schools as some of the worst in the nation. As a citizen of our state, we all ask why, and what we can do to improve these terrible statistics. What are we missing? For one thing, there is a huge divide between the have’s and have not’s within our state – It makes a big difference depending on where our schools are located. But for every negative thing we heard, we also heard a lot of positive things that are happening within our schools - Student test scores are improving and getting stronger every day, our Career Tech programs are ranked as one of the highest in the nation, higher education is a lot more affordable than most states. So as one can see, it’s not all bad news.

With all of that being said, I think the most troubling statistic I heard over the weekend however, was that Oklahoma had a teacher shortage for the upcoming year – as many as one thousand openings that will go un-filled. Many want to contribute it to low teacher salaries across the board, but the reality is that many of our brightest teachers have been turned off from the profession due to so many federal and state government mandates. This has sucked the life out of the profession and these mandates have made it much more difficult to attract and retain good teachers.

Until we recognize that teachers are not baby-sitters, they are professionals; we will continue to see a decline in the workforce in public education.  If we do not address this crisis head on, and realize the seriousness of our current situation, it will only continue to get worse.

For me the biggest take away was that we all have a place and a role to play in our state’s education system, we all have a voice that needs to be heard and we are the ones who can advocate for change – for the better. After all, if Kentucky can have a school system ranked in the top five in the nation, why can’t Oklahoma?

Wayne McMillin, LOK Class XXIX
Dean of NWOSU Enid Campus
Northwestern Oklahoma State University

As a 19-year veteran of Higher Education, I walked into the Saturday session wondering what my classmates would think about the state of education in Oklahoma. I knew that the previous day’s message centering on the budget problems of the state had set a sour mood. But, to my relief, the day quickly turned to a more encouraging tone, especially as Dr. Tom Deighan began to uncover some of the more positive aspects of what we do in education. For example, he iterated that it may seem we are losing ground to other countries in terms of academic metrics until you consider that our public education system, compared to others, is open and free to any and every one of our citizens. Therefore, it’s not an apples to apples comparison. His enthusiasm and optimism about what he does helped highlight an overarching idea “our education system has a great responsibility and we do it better than anyone else in the world.” 

The morning then took an even better turn when we were able to see some of our most precious highlights, the kids themselves. The rousing game of “Are you smarter than a 5th grader” was a perfect end to the week. They were impressive in their knowledge, impressive in their eagerness and impressive in the shear amount of support they received from friends and family. I think this really brought home to me a simple conclusion to making education a positive force in our state; it really does take a village.  Support from family, support from community and support from our leadership can only bring out the best in our kids.

So, four days later I sit here thinking about the entire session and I wonder how did we get into this mess? I can’t help but recall many of the national statistics that continually rank Oklahoma among the lowest in various measures of state well being. In many of these rankings it’s not hard to see that most states that are highest in general prosperity also tend to rank among the highest in education attainment. So with this in mind I’ll sign off with this parting shot: It is absolutely imperative that we, the leadership of Oklahoma, continue to invest in our future by supporting and strengthening all the great educational opportunities this great state has to offer.

Stillwater was a gracious host and I look forward to the next one!

Mike Simpson, Class XXIX
Superintendent of Schools
Guthrie Public Schools
Guthrie, OK

Most people would think taking a short 30-minute drive to their hometown to discuss their lifelong profession would sound like a fun holiday. That being said, I was dreading the trip to Stillwater; long billed as Oklahoma’s Education Community. These are not easy times in our state as our economy continues to be in a free fall and the effects are felt in so many areas, including education. Most of the time when I drive on the highway, my mind is on solving problems related to improving education in Guthrie including funding and staffing challenges. Somewhere along the drive that day, I was reminded of the origins of Leadership Oklahoma and the intent to bring the best minds of the state together to solve problems from the mid 1980’s collapse of Oklahoma’s economy.

Our topics included early childhood education and it’s importance in brain development. We also discussed different education models such as parochial and home schooling as well as career tech and higher education. Class XXIX has many educators from all levels so the discussion during free time was lively to say the least. As the discussions in the sessions turned to addressing a teacher shortage, those outside of education began to ask how we are in a position of having 1,000 open public school teaching positions during a school year. The ensuing discussion highlights the complexity of the problems when attempting to pair them with solutions.

My takeaways from this session as an educator center around how poorly those of us in my profession have communicated the evolution of our role in the lives of young people. When coupled with the growth of dysfunctional families, schools are now expected to cure many of societal issues previous generations left to the families. Seldom do I get an opportunity to discuss these issues with those in other professions who are as gifted as my class. Sadly, they seemed as perplexed as I often do with some of the challenges but thankfully, the session ended with some of the great things we are doing in education as 5th graders from Stillwater demonstrated some of their knowledge to our class. Driving home, I realized continual focus on the challenges requires an occasional reminder of the successes as well.

»Application for Adult Class 30

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.

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»YLOK Class 16 Selection Underway

The selection process for LOK Class 16 is almost complete! The committee meets this week for their final selection. 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! Stay tuned!

Cristy Morrison, Class XV
President and CEO
Visit Stillwater, Inc.
YLOK Program Chair

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»February Member Events

On February 9, 2016, Leadership Oklahoma held its second membership educational event for the current fiscal year. Don Betz, President of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, and member of Class III, gave a presentation focusing on current issues in the Middle East. The event was held at the Chesapeake Boat House and was attended by more than 100 Leadership Oklahoma members and their guests. Below are a few photos from the event. Click HERE to view more!

On February 16, 2016, Leadership Oklahoma held its first ever Legislative Reception. We were honored by the attendance of 29 Oklahoma legislators, one US Congressman, 64 Leadership Oklahoma members and 21 guests. Below are a few photos from the event. Click HERE to view more.

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»2016 Excellence in Leadership Gala


Excellence in Leadership Gala
February 27, 2016
The Skirvin Hilton
One Park Ave., OKC
Seating begins at 5:45 pm | Dinner and Program begins at 6:00 pm
Dress: Black Tie Optional

Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations!  The gala Co-Chairs are Linda, Class VII, and Drew Edmondson, Class IV, and Nina and Robert Butkin, Class IV.  Due to the Oklahoma City Thunder game on this day, we are planning to start the event earlier so people could come to the gala, then possibly head off to the game (or stick around and watch it downtown).  A reception will be after the awards are presented instead of in the beginning of the evening. Please mark your calendars NOW to attend.  Printed invitations have been mailed.

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

$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

Individual Tickets: $125 per person

Click here for sponsorship opportunities!  Click here to purchase individual tickets

Stay Tuned!!! Other events are being planned for the spring/summer of 2016!

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»Other News

LOK 30th Anniversary is quickly approaching!  If you are interested in being on the planning committee to discuss ideas for next year, please email Allyson as soon as possible.

LOK Class Reunions

Class 23               April 14-16, 2016
                             Contact: Katie Kimberling

Class 27               June 2016
                             Contact: Scott McDaniel

Contact the LOK office if other classes are hosting reunions!  We’d like to include them in E-News!

Class XXVIII held a reunion on February 4-5, 2016 at the Chickasaw Event Center. Check out some photos from the event below, and click HERE to view more.

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»Deadlines and Upcoming Events


February 27, 2016 

LOK Excellence in Leadership Gala, The Skirvin, One Park Ave., Oklahoma City,

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

March 16, 2016

Deadline for early bird registration fee for LOK Class Application ($25 application fee)

April 8, 2016

Deadline to apply for LOK Class 30 application ($40 application fee)

May 6, 2016

Deadline for Community Applications

August 21, 2016

LOK Class 30 Orientation

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»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"!

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»Leaders on the Move

John Armitage, Class XXVI, was elected vice chairman of the Oklahoma Heath Center Foundation board.

Lee Baxter, Class XIV, was named to the executive committee of the E Foundation for Oklahoma Inc.

Lauren Brookey, Class XXIV, has been named president of the Tulsa Community College Foundation.

Samonia Byford, Class XX, was elected as treasurer to the board of The Friends of the Oklahoma History Center.

Joe Dorman, Class XVIII, will take up a one-year term on Rush Spring’s City Council.

Mike Hembree, Class XVI, was elected an officer for the Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association board of directors.

Kevin Matthews, Class XXVIII, was promoted to Senate Minority Assistant Floor Leader.

Ken Miller, Class XXV, was elected as a member of the Oklahoma Heath Center Foundation board. He also received the 2015 Citizen of the Year award from the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce.

David Rainbolt, Class I, and Jeanie Webb, Class VIII, received the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce Visionary Leader Award.

Meg Salyer, Class VIII, was elected secretary of the Oklahoma Heath Center Foundation board.

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»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 January 15 to February 16. Click HERE to see all member updates.

Allen Brown • Class XXIII
Allen Brown Architects

Heather Griswold • Class XXIX
Chief of Public Affairs
T: 405-522-8758 

Russ Harrison • Class XXI
Cemplex Group
5600 N. May Avenue
Suite 120
Oklahoma City, OK 73112

Danny Morgan • Class XXIII
T: 405-567-4501
F: 405-567-1208

Deidre Myers • Class XVII

Saundra Gragg Naifeh • Class III

Wayne Pettigrew • Class XIX
Vanguard Benefits Group, LLC
3325 French Park Dr., Suite 1
Edmond, OK 73034
T: 405-340-9290
F: 405-285-5333

Cassie Reese • Class XXVI
T: 405-632-7200

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