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June 2015 E-News!
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                                  »In This Issue

Message from the Chair

Message from the CEO

Donor Thank You


Mix & Mingle

Distinguished Leadership Award

Annual Membership Campaign

Save the Dates for these Upcoming Events!

Class Reunions

Deadlines & Upcoming Events

Did You Know?

In Memory

Leaders on the Move

Member Updates


»Message from the Chair

Bruce Benbrook, LOK Chair

As I finish my term as chairman of Leadership Oklahoma, I realize more than ever, what a tremendous organization we have and what a positive influence we make on the state of Oklahoma. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t see someone from LOK making a difference in the quality of life for our respective communities and our state.

I want to especially thank Dr. Ann Ackerman for the tremendous job she has done leading us the past 9 ½ years. Ann, you have truly “left your mark” on LOK and every individual that has come through our program. Your management and leadership skills have been remarkable in every sense. The organization will be forever grateful for the legacy you will be leaving behind.

A big thank you to a tremendous executive committee and board who have all donated their time and talents to make LOK the best it can be. We are so fortunate to have so many volunteers throughout the state who always step forward and assist whenever they are called upon. The main reason we are successful is that our graduates are always willing to step up and make sure every program is first-class in every respect.

Thank you Allyson, Lee Anne, and Tina for making sure the office and our programs are always run in a superior manner. You are appreciated.

I know the future of Leadership Oklahoma is bright and I know that Dr. Marion Paden will continue to move our organization forward in a positive way. Please join me in making sure that Marion’s start is a big success.

Russ Harrison will be an outstanding chairman and leader for the coming year. Thank you Russ for all you do for LOK and I know that you and Marion will make a super team leading us forward.

Please make sure and join me in celebrating Ann’s tenure by attending a special reception at the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club on Friday, June 26th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your chairman. I have enjoyed every moment of being a part of this special group. I know that our great state will continue to grow and prosper as a result of what we do as members of Leadership Oklahoma.


Bruce T. Benbrook
Leadership Oklahoma
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»Message From the CEO

Ann Ackerman, LOK CEOI know you have all heard that I have decided to resign my position at Leadership Oklahoma. My last official day as CEO will be on June 30, 2015. I am looking forward to new adventures, but of course, I am saddened by the thought of leaving LOK.

First, I will state the obvious - I will miss you all. Believe me, that is not a trite generalization. Over the years, I have learned something valuable from each class. Together we have marveled at the opportunities and resources that Oklahoma has and we reminisced about the challenges that we face. I have seen more of Oklahoma than most people, have met remarkable people statewide and experienced more unique situations than anyone will ever believe. We have laughed and cried together; we have had fun and learned a lot with each other. One of my favorite expressions is that I can have a flat tire anywhere in the state and help is not far away.

I am leaving my position with LOK but not leaving the organization. I am taking many friendships with me. My plan is to be an active LOK member and to keep connected to everyone. I would like to stay in touch with you, whether it is through Facebook, LinkedIn or a lunch when you are in OKC. You all have my cell phone number, 405-694-3773, and my new email address is Please feel free to contact me to say hello, go to lunch or whatever. I will miss you all. Thank you for making my “work” a real pleasure.

Remember, "Life is pink".


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»Thank you to our Donors and Sponsors

Thank you to all of our donors and supporters!!!!   Through your generosity, LOK has had the resources this year to continue the quality of our programs and reach new heights. Our annual end-of-the-year sustainability campaign to LOK members was a success. In addition, we are fortunate to have strong corporate, community and foundation support.

During FY 2014-2015, LOK had multi-year commitments from The Chickasaw Nation and Continental Resources at the Premier Level; The Cherokee Nation at the President Level; H.I.G., Mary K. Chapman Trust, MidFirst Bank, OGE Energy Corp. Foundation and The Journal Record at the Director Level; Bank SNB, Bill Burgess, Jr., Groendyke Transport, First United Bank, Joe Moran III, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Sonic, America's Drive-In.  Other multi-year sponsors are ARL BIO Pharma, Inc., Clark & Wanda Bass Family Foundation, Dillingham Foundation, McGowan Foundation, Puterbaugh Foundation and SAXUM. We are actively seeking others to join them with three-year pledges.

Annual donations at the President Level were made by Bank of Oklahoma, Bank of Oklahoma Foundation, Boeing, BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, ConocoPhillips, Hardesty Family Foundation, Russ Harrison/Natalie Shirley, Hillcrest Medical Center, Lippert Media, Williams and Wymer Brownlee.

Other annual donors giving significant support include: American Fidelity Foundation, Anchor Stone Company, Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, ASTEC Charter Schools, AT&T of Oklahoma, Atwood Distributing, BancFirst-Seminole, Bank of the Panhandle, Howard & Billie Barnett, Jr., Clay Bennett, BP America, Inc., Jari Askins, Martha Burger, Ken Busby, Burrage Law, G.T. Bynum, Candor Public Relations, Central Liquor, Cherokee Nation Businesses, The Chickasaw Nation,  City of Guymon, City of Stillwater, City National Bank of Guymon, Sam & Rita Combs, Steve Cortes, Cox Communications, Cotton Electric Coop, CRI Feeders, Carolyn Cummins, Devon Energy Corporation, Dillingham Foundation, Downtown Oklahoma City, Scott Draghon, Enable Midstream, Enid Regional Development Alliance,  Fechner Pump & Supply, First National Bank of Miami, FSB, Jerry Franklin, Gaddis & Gaddis Wealth Management, Groendyke Transport, Shelley Hamby, Shirley Hammer, Hampton Inn of Stillwater, Molly Helm, Robert Henry, Hitch Enterprises, Inc., Idabel Coca Cola, Jasmine Moran Children's Museum, Krista Jones, Sherrel & Stephen Jones, Jones PR, Jordan Advertising, Julia D. Chew Insurance Agency, Inc., Phil Kaiser, Jason Kirksey, JACA Restaurants, Lawton/Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Stillwater, Sharon Lease, Shawn Lepard, Manhattan Construction Company, McCasland Foundation, McCortney Family Hospice, Scott McDaniel, Jane, McDermott, Bill McKamey, Mercy Health System of Oklahoma, Meridian Technology Center, Vicki Miles-LaGrange, Joe Moran III, Nabholz Construction Services, Deidre Myers, New View, Richard Ogden, OGE Energy Corporation, Oklahoma Association of Electric Coop, Oklahoma Blood Institute, Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma City CVB, Oklahoma Hall of Fame at Gaylord Pickens Museum, Oklahoma History Center, OSU, OSU-Alumni Center, OSU-Diversity Office, OSU Foundation, OSU-OKC, Jon Patton, Philbrook Museum, Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Steve Potts, Professional Basketball Club, LLC, PTCI, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Red Ant, Remington Park, Ross Group, RVA Marketing, John Ryerson, Sarkeys Foundation, Neil Schemmer, Seaboard Farms, Security Bank, Seminole State College, Seminole Tourism Council, Susan Shields, Smacc Dab Creative, Rob Stallings, Standley Systems, Stillwater Designs, Stan Clark Companies, Scott Stidham, Stock Exchange Bank, Ted Streuli, Marilyn M. Sullivant, Tactical Electronics, Clayton & Marnie Taylor, Tri County Electric Coop, Tulsa Community College, Visit Enid, Ward Petroleum, Western Framers Electric Cooperative, Cody White, Fred & Randi Wightman and WinStar Casino.

LOK could not fulfill its mission of “Oklahoma Leaders Making Oklahoma the Leader” without these supporters. Thank you to all of LOK’s sponsors and supporters.

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»YLOK Class XV

Youth Leadership Oklahoma Completes Class XV

YLOK wrapped up their week long adventure this past Friday, June 12, 2015 and what a fun filled week it was!

The 52 outstanding members of YLOK Class XV started the week at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame with an opening session, icebreakers and an activity entitled, “You Zoo,” that really helped them understand their own leadership skills better, as well as, how to work with others better.

Monday, they spent most of the day at the ropes course at the University of Oklahoma where they got to know one another better, learned to trust and take risks. They wrapped up Monday at the National Weather Center and a wonderful activity about the criminal justice system with Justice Jim Winchester, LOK Class XIII, before heading on to Lawton for the night.

Tuesday morning came early for the group as they loaded the bus at 5:30 a.m. for PT with soldiers at Ft. Sill. Following PT, they had a chance to tour the barracks, have breakfast with active duty soldiers and spend time on base. Lunch was served at Wayne’s Drive Inn, where Joe Abshere, LOK Class XXVII, served up burgers and talked about his family’s business. Bill Burgess, LOK Class IX, owner and publisher of the Lawton Constitution, had a reporter write a story about the youth experience in the paper. If you haven’t seen it, click here! KSWO, the local news station, highlighted the youth program as well including interviewing a Lawton youth class member about her experience so far. Click here to see the video. After Lawton, the students headed to The Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur to learn more about Native American Culture and then spent the evening in downtown Tulsa.

Wednesday, the group started early at Tulsa Educare, where they learned about the importance of investing in early childhood education, toured the Philbrook Museum, and were the very first of the public to get the chance to see the new Gathering Place simulator set up at Guthrie Green. Lunch was spent at the Dust Bowl where they had a ball eating and bowling. Stillwater was next where the students got a tour of Joe’s Printing Press from Stan Clark, LOK Class IX, and then a driving tour of Stillwater before landing at Eskimo Joe’s for dinner and speeches from YLOK graduates.

Thursday, the group headed to Enid where they visited Leonardo’s Discovery Center, Integris Bass Hospital, where they performed laparoscopic surgery on pumpkins and learned about robotic surgery, took a tour of the Enid Convention Center and had a wonderful lunch there hosted by Enid LOK alums.

The group then made their way back to OKC where they had a tour of the Farm Bureau by CEO and LOK Class XXVIII grad, Monica Wilke, toured the OKC National Bombing Memorial and spent time at Devon learning about energy, oil and gas in Oklahoma. The night wrapped up with dinner in Stockyard City at Cattleman’s and ended with an 80’s themed dance back at the hotel.

Friday morning was spent at the State Capitol where the students participated in a mock legislative session with Joe Dorman, LOK Class XVIII, and Representative George Young LOK Class XVIII. The Graduation luncheon was held at the Oklahoma History Center where former Governor George Nigh was the keynote speaker. In his usual flare, he reinforced what this week was all about, that Oklahoma is a great place to live and anything you want to do, you can do it from here!

To read more about the youth experiences, click here to read the YLOK blog page.

What a wonderful addition these students are to the YLOK family! Big thanks to our chaperones, Katie Kimberling, LOK Class XXIII; Andy Stewart, YLOK Intern;  and the Youth Chair for the LOK Board, Xavier Neira, LOK Class XXV.

Lee Anne Stone, Class XXVII
Youth Leadership Oklahoma



YLOK Class XV at the Chickasaw Cultural Center


Bowling at the Dust Bowl in Tulsa


“Life of a soldier” at Ft. Sill/Lawton


Taking a break at the ropes course in Norman

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»Mix & Mingle

Click HERE to RSVP by June 18!

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»Distinguished Leadership Award

Distinguished Leadership Award Nominations Sought

It’s not too early to nominate an LOK member for the Distinguished Leadership Award. Each year we are privileged to recognize an individual that has made significant contributions to Leadership Oklahoma. We honor them for their efforts to promote and support the vision of LOK, their involvement and participation with LOK, and finally, the contribution of their talents to LOK. Click here to download a nominating form.

Past Distinguished Leadership Award recipients are:


2014 – Sam Combs III, Class VII

2003 - Brad Henry*, Class IX

1994 - Hal Pennington, Class I

2013 - Ronda Hooper, Class XXI

2002 - Jess Nelson*, Class X

1993 - Ann Ackerman, Class I

2012 - Michelle Finch-Walker, Class XV

2001 - Lindy Ritz*, Class I

1992 - Nance Diamond, Class I

2011 - Cristy Morrison, Class XV

2000 - Larry Brummett*, Class I

1991 - Ron Yordi, Class I

2010 - Mary Mélon, Class XVI

1999 - Drew Edmondson*, Class IV

1989 - Clayton Taylor, Class III

2009 - Howard Barnett, Class II

1997 - Bob James, Class IV


2008 - Steve Brown, Class VIII

1995 - Jack Herron, Class II



As a reminder, the nominee must be an LOK dues-paying or lifetime member who has demonstrated exemplary service to Leadership Oklahoma. The deadline for nominations is July 28, 2015 by 5:00 p.m. in the LOK office. Email the completed form to or mail it to 5500 N. Western Ave., Ste. 142, Oklahoma City, OK 73118.

* The Distinguished Leadership Award honoree was also the LOK Excellence in Leadership Distinguished Graduate Honoree. No awards were given in 2004-2007. Starting with 2008, Distinguished Leadership Award honorees were selected based on service to Leadership Oklahoma.

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»LOK Annual Membership Campaign

LOK began its annual membership campaign June 1st. You should have received your graduate update profile and invoice for 2015-2016 membership in the mail. Please contact the LOK office if you have not received the mailing. To update your profile online, click here to preview the contact information we have for you and make changes as needed. Don’t forget to sign up for a committee or two as well!

If you would like to update your photo, email it to Allyson (required format: jpeg file, 600 x 725 pixels at 300 dpi). Changes need to be made no later than June 30th to be included in the 2015-2016 LOK Directory and Annual Report.

LOK is successful because of you – your time, energy, ideas and resources. We share a commonality of a sincere concern about the future of Oklahoma and how each of us individually can do our part to help shape that future. Your commitment to sustain the organization enables us to keep providing innovative and challenging programs for Oklahoma’s leaders offering that “once in-a-lifetime” experience and ensures students continue to attend the Youth Leadership Oklahoma program free of charge.

As a reminder, annual membership dues are $150 (in state), $25 (out-of-state), or $2,500 for a lifetime membership. LOK is continuing the three-payment options to become a lifetime member. Option 1: one-time payment of $2,500. Option 2: four quarterly payments of $625 (beginning July 1, 2015). Option 3: eight quarterly payments of $312.50 (beginning July 1, 2015).

Invoices for the 2015-2016 LOK membership were mailed and available online June 1, 2015. LOK will use your business address unless you notify the office to use your home information.

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»Save the Dates! Upcoming Member Events

October 20, 2015
Embassy Suites Oklahoma City Downtown/Medical Center

Ted Streuli, Class XXIV, will be chairing the forum this year! If you would like to be on the planning committee, please email Allyson at

The focus this year will be on mental illness and its impact on the many challenges Oklahoma faces today.

Prevention, education and services are needed to make a positive difference.

It’s not too late to join us if you’d like to be a part of the committee! Come be a part of this fun group…..Amy Ford, Becky Hodgen, Ben Kimbro, Beth Kerr, Carolyn Stager, Cassie Reese, Dawn Byram, Jodi Cline, Kathleen Patton, Kay Martin, Mark Williams, Mary Blankenship Pointer, Matt Guillory, Megan Simpson, Melinda Johnson, Michele Campbell, Mike Strain, Michelle Hardesty, Hayley Thompson and Nancy Parrott.


  Unmanned Arial Vehicle Industry:
  Understanding Its Uses and Impact to Oklahoma
  November 23, 2015
  Details TBD – Mark your calendar now! 


 LOK Holiday Party - Tulsa
 December 11, 2015
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
The Ross Group
510 E. 2nd St., Tulsa

LOK has secured a group rate of $94 (King) or $104 (Double Queen) at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Tulsa Downtown for those wanting to spend the night.  To receive the discounted rate, you may either call the reservations line at (918) 879-1800 and mention the Leadership Oklahoma Holiday Party.


Excellence in Leadership Gala – OKC
February 27, 2016
The Skirvin Hilton
One Park Ave., OKC

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:

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»Class Reunions


Class VIII celebrated their 20 year reunion on May 30, 2015 at the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower in Oklahoma City. Classmates and spouses/significant others had a wonderful time catching up and the venue was a perfect place to gather. They are already making plans for their next get together!

June 19-20, 2015
Aloft Hotel - Oklahoma City
Contact: Scott McDaniel -

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»Deadlines and Upcoming Events

June 18, 2015
Deadline to RSVP for the Mix & Mingle honoring Ann Ackerman
June 30, 2015 Deadline to update your photo for the directory
July 14, 2015
Deadline to submit graduate update information and committee interest
July 28, 2015
Deadline for Distinguished Leadership Award Nominations

Upcoming Events:
June 26, 2015 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Come and Go Mix & Mingle honoring Ann Ackerman
Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club
October 20, 2015
Fall Forum - Embassy Suites, Oklahoma City Downtown/Medical Center
November 23, 2015
Unmanned Arial Vehicle Industry: Understanding Its Uses and Impact to Oklahoma
Details TBD – Mark your calendar now!
December 11, 2015
LOK Holiday Party - The Ross Group - 510 E. 2nd Street, Tulsa
February 27, 2016
Excellence in Leadership Gala - The Skirvin Hilton - One Park Avenue - OKC


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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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»In Memory of Mike Thralls, Class I

Sadly, Mike Thralls, LOK Class I, lost a lengthy battle with cancer this past February. Mike was a full-time farmer and actually farmed the land near Billings, Oklahoma, where his family had settled and claimed from the Land Run of 1893. His love of the land and farming went deeper than most since the land not only meant production of crops, but was also a priceless family heirloom. In Class I, there were numerous urban versus rural discussions and Mike was always a part of those.

Oklahoma's conservation efforts profited from Mike's love of the land and desire to protect and improve the soil and water health across the state. In 1997, he became the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, a position he held for seventeen years.

Besides his love for the land, Mike was also a part of numerous associations, such as the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, The Noble County Cattlemen's Association, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, and past member of The Noble County Community Board for Ag Stabilization and Conservation Service. Mike also served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture before becoming Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission. In addition, Mike served his community as a school board member at Billings Public Schools for 10 years and on the Board of Regents for Northern Oklahoma College from 1989-1991.

A man of faith, dedication to family, the community and the agricultural industry, Mike was a great man to know. He leaves a mark on Oklahoma agriculture and conservation that will never be forgotten.

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»Leaders on the Move

Jari Askins, Class VI, was selected as a 2015 Williams Women of Inspiration.
Roger Beverage, Class III, was presented the Chairman's Award at the Oklahoma Bankers Association 118th annual convention.
Julie Bohannon, Class XXIII, was named Chief Operating Officer by the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma.
Martha Burger, Class I, was selected by the Oklahoma Arts Council to have a photography exhibition in the North Gallery of the State Capitol June 29-August 30. She will exhibit around 20 pieces!
Ken Busby, Class XVII, is the new director of the Route 66 Alliance.
Ann Caine, Class XXIII, joined the Oklahoma State School Boards Association as Director of Education Leadership.
Paul Cornell, Class XVII, was inducted as chairman of the Oklahoma Bankers Association.
Elaine Dodd, Class IX, was recognized as Distinguished Community Leader by the Oklahoma City Division of the FBI.
Dee Faircloth-Porter, Class XIX, was named CEO of the Oklahoma Primary Care Association.
Keith Jackson, Class XX, was reelected to the Lawton City Council.
Myron L. Pope, Ph.D., was honored as a Pink Tie Guy by the Susan G. Komen Central and Western Oklahoma Affiliate.
Isaac Rocha, Class XXVIII, was confirmed to the Greater Tulsa Area Commission for the City of Tulsa.
Meg Salyer, Class VIII, was honored for her work, dedication and contributions to Oklahoma City by Upward Transitions.
Carl L. Short Jr., Class III, was presented the Zack D. Taylor Servant Leadership Award by Leadership Oklahoma City.
Ted Streuli, Class XXIV, was awarded a first place honor at the 2015 AP/ONE Awards.
Stephen C. Vaughan, Class XX, was named President and Chief Financial Officer of Café Rio.
John Woods, XXVI, was appointed Chairman of Oklahoma Long-Range Capital Planning Commission.

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»Member Updates

Below are the membership contact information changes from May 16 to June 15. Click here to see all the member contact updates for the 2014-2015 Directory.

Ann Ackerman, Class I

13108 Oakcliff Road

Oklahoma City, OK 73120


James Bowen, Class XXV


Gene Christian, Class XIV

Lou Christian, Class XVII


P.O. Box 1362

Norman, OK 73070

Sammye Cravens, Class X

Joe Dorman, Class XVIII

Community Outreach Director

Heart Mobile

215 W. Wilshire Blvd.

Oklahoma City, OK 73120


Susan Ellerbach, Class IX

Executive Director

Mark Funke, Class VII

Michelle Hardesty, Class XXVIII

Diana Hartley, Class XXIV

University of Oklahoma Nonprofit Management Program

Molly Helm, Class XXV

Self Employed

Dennis Jett, Class IX

Employer Address

Jetree, LLC

10802 Quail Plaza Drive, Suite 207

Oklahoma City, OK 73120

Gracie Monson, Class X

Executive Assistant to Senator Kevin L. Matthews

Jane Mudgett, Class XXVII

Vice President

Kara Gae Neal, Class II

Hal Pennington, Class I

Executive Vice President

Debbie Schramm, Class XXVIII

Paul Sechrist, Class XVI


Carl Shortt, Class III

Eddie Wyant, Class XXIII

C: 405-226-3939


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