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March 2015 E-News
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»In This Issue

 Message from the Chair

 Message from the CEO

 Class XXVIII Visits Tulsa

Community Support

Recruiting Class XXIX

Excellence in Leadership Gala

LOK Ambassadors

Cushing Member Event

Deadlines & Upcoming Events

2015 Fall Forum

Leaders on the Move

Member Updates


»Message from the Chair

Bruce Benbrook, LOK Chair

Another great month for Leadership Oklahoma. Class XXVIII had an outstanding visit to Tulsa where they focused on healthcare issues and their effect on the state and country. They continue that LOK tradition of debating the issues and gaining a better understanding of our state.

It is now time to bring attention to the importance of finding quality applicants for Class XXIX. The deadline for applications is April 1st, so please take the time to seek out and encourage those that you think would be great members of LOK to get their applications in.

Unfortunately, the weather kept us from having our gala in Tulsa this year; however, we will be honoring our award recipients at the next LOK board meeting in Tulsa on March 27th. Congratulations to Wymer Brownlee for the Business Leadership Award, the Oklahoma Heritage Association for the Statewide Community Award, Ken Busby for the Distinguished Graduate Award, and Robert H. Henry for the Lifetime Achievement Award. These award winners are truly deserving of this special recognition for all they have done to help make our state the best it can be.

 As you can see from Ann’s comments below, LOK will be looking for a new CEO. A committee has been formed and a search firm will be hired to assist in the process. On behalf of all members of Leadership Oklahoma, I want to give a heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the tremendous job Ann has done leading our organization the past 9 ½ years.

As always, many thanks to all of you for the time, effort and resources you donate to Leadership Oklahoma. You are all appreciated.

Bruce T. Benbrook
Leadership Oklahoma

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»Message From the CEO

Ann Ackerman, LOK CEO

“There is nothing permanent except change.”

It is with some degree of emotion that I tell you of a major change for me - my intention to resign my position as CEO of Leadership Oklahoma at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2015.

When I accepted the position of CEO 9 years ago, I hoped I would make a positive difference, build on the great legacy of the past and lead the organization forward. I also hoped that I would know when it was time to step down. My affection for LOK and my joy in doing the work as CEO remain strong; however, I also have a clear sense that making this year my last as CEO is the right decision.

I consider one of the greatest privileges and honors of my life to serve as the CEO of Leadership Oklahoma — the best and most respected community leadership program in the state and the nation! My time here has been fulfilling and rewarding beyond measure — primarily because of the opportunity to work with all of you, LOK’s great members. Your amazing commitment to our organization and its mission to stimulate action for the betterment of our state has been, and continues to be, the source of my inspiration. I am proud to have been associated with LOK for twenty-eight years and plan to continue to be involved.

Our Board Chair, Bruce Benbrook, has named a search committee that will identify the next CEO for Leadership Oklahoma. If you have any questions, please contact Bruce,

While I know the time will pass quickly, we have a little more time together before June 30. I look forward to continuing to work with you as we finish out another great year at LOK.

One last quote, “Always look on the pink side of life.”


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»Class XXVIII Visits Tulsa

Class XXVIII was in Tulsa this month to examine critical issues in Oklahoma healthcare. Below are some reflections from Class XXVIII members Jennifer Meason and Brandon Long:


Robin Roberts Krieger, Class XXIV

2014-2015 Chair, Adult Program Committee

Jennifer Meason, Class XXVIII
Vice President
Cotton Electric Co-op

As Class XXVIII progresses on our journey together, we continue to learn more about our state, our classmates and ourselves. The experiences I have each session are proving invaluable as I see my perspective change and viewpoint broaden.

Our recent session in Tulsa focused on the health of Oklahomans and our healthcare system. The statistics for Oklahoma in the areas of preventable death are abysmal and overwhelming. When compared to the nation, we continue to struggle with physical inactivity, poor diet, obesity, smoking and access to healthcare. When our state’s resources are limited, where do we invest?

Although there may not be one “magic bullet” to solve the problem, I believe we can immediately begin investing in our own health and that of our communities. It can be as simple as participating in a company wellness challenge, volunteering as a youth coach, passing out water at a local charity race, or walking with a neighbor. There are so many options surrounding us – we just have to make it a priority.

I love the analogy of the ripple effect and feel it’s evidenced through the work of Leadership Oklahoma. We alone may not be able to change our state, but we can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. I challenge all of us to find a stone to cast.

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Brandon Long, Class XXVIII
McAfee & Taft

For about five years now, I have coached my youngest son’s soccer team. On practice days, every single time, I think all day long “I do not have time for practice tonight.” I’m always tempted to cancel practice and crank out some extra work. But then, like tonight right before I typed this short article, I get out on the field with my son and my dirty and rough little fellas, and it is – by far – the best part of my day.

LOK is very similar. We (Class XXVIII) just finished up in Tulsa a few days ago. As usual, as the LOK weekend approached, I thought “I do not have time for this.” I suspect a good number of my classmates, perhaps all of them, thought the same. And then I got to the Philbrook Museum and saw my classmates – and it is like we hadn’t even skipped a beat since last month. LOK is – by far – one of the best parts of my month – and it has been one of the highlights of the past year.

We always learn so much during our LOK weekend. In Tulsa we learned about the tremendous health challenges facing our state. It was awesome. It was well organized. And it was so fun. But as great as the substantive content was, getting to hang out with my classmates again was the best part of the weekend. There are so many good, talented, fun people in Class XXVIII. I’m so grateful for each of them. I’m already looking forward to Guymon.

Click here to see photos from this session.

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»Community Support Applications Sought

The foundation of Leadership Oklahoma is its class program, which meets monthly in different communities across Oklahoma. Each year LOK seeks communities who are willing to host a class session. Bringing LOK Class XXIX to your community means you are exposing approximately 50 statewide leaders to your area, and increasing the awareness of the many treasures there.

To host a class program for 2015-2016, a completed community application must be submitted no later than May 8, 2015.  Communities will be notified no later than June 1 regarding the selection of host communities.  After notification, communities work with the statewide Leadership Oklahoma Program Committee to submit a draft agenda and budget.  Responsibilities of a host community and the selection criteria used to determine host communities are attached along with the application.

Click here to download the Community Support Application.

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»Recruiting Class XXIX

"Mr. Lebowski asked me to repeat that: Her life is in your hands... Her life is in your hands, Dude." - The Big Lebowski

At the risk of being overly-dramatic, the life of Leadership Oklahoma is in your hands! We are just a few short weeks away from the deadline for applications to Class 29 and need your assistance in helping the next great class of leaders find their way into this program.

Applications are on the LOK website. Completed applications are due in the LOK office no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 1, 2015.

Please take a moment to think about how much participation in your class meant to you, and then help someone else enjoy that experience over the coming year. Thank you!

G.T. Bynum, Class XXIV
Adult Recruitment Committee Chair

Contact for the regional recruitment chairs below:





Michele Campbell

Ed Fulmer

Jason Hitch

Tom Evans















Julie Daniels

Jason Kirksey

Greg Elliott

Rick Henry















Jesse Boudiette

Cassie Reese

Kristin Peck

Marnie Taylor




Oklahoma City






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»LOK Ambassadors

It’s that time of year again when the LOK Ambassadors Nominating Committee prepares for the 2015-2016 slate of Class and Regional Ambassadors. This year, all even numbered classes are up for renewal or selection of a new ambassador. If you are interested in volunteering to be a Class or Regional Ambassador, email Allyson prior to March 18, 2015 at

Click here to view the current list of LOK Ambassadors.

»Excellence in Leadership Gala

Unfortunately, the weather forced us to cancel the LOK Gala Saturday night due to hazardous road conditions. With the Tulsa World and Oklahoma Highway Patrol advising against any travel, we felt like the safety of those coming from all parts of the state was paramount.  Above all else, your safety and well-being was the most important thing to us. The late cancellation of the Gala resulted in direct costs and obligations that LOK had to cover even though the event did not happen.  The silver lining was the many people at Iron Gate, a soup kitchen and food pantry feeding the hungry and homeless in downtown Tulsa, were able to enjoy a wonderful meal as a result of our donation of the Gala dinner to them. 

We would like to give a special thank you to our Gala sponsors and recognize their support to the event and LOK.  Below is a list of sponsors.


BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma


Bank of Oklahoma


AT&T Oklahoma • BP America • Bruce Benbrook/Stock Exchange Bank • Ken Busby • Choctaw Nation • Rita and Sam Combs/ComStar Advisors • First National Bank and Trust Company of Miami • Jan and Robert Henry • Joe Moran III • Public Service Company of Oklahoma • Donald Rowlett and Martha Burger • Tulsa Community College


Billie and Howard Barnett • Clayton Bennett • Joseph Parker, Jr. • Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc. • RVA Market Research, LLC • RedAnt, LLC • Tactical Electronics • Marnie and Clayton Taylor • Randi and Fred Wightman

Although we didn't get to honor our four very deserving honorees on that evening, we will present the awards at the upcoming LOK Board of Directors meeting. We will not be able to duplicate the Gala, but we plan to present each honoree with a beautiful etched glass award and view specially filmed videos highlighting the leadership of each. In addition, we will send a press release to media outlets from across the state about the awards listing our honorees and sponsors. The Gala honorees and videos can be viewed on the LOK website.  Click here to see them.

Congratulations to our honorees:

   Lifetime Achievement:

Robert Henry

   Distinguished Graduate:

Ken Busby

   Business Leader:

Wymer Brownlee

   Statewide Community:

Oklahoma Heritage Association & Gaylord-Pickens Museum

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»Upcoming Member Events


March 31, 2015

Cushing: The Center of America’s Energy Hub and Its Global Impact

Fechner Pump and Supply Conference Center

LOK Members and Guests – Space is limited to the first 50 people who register!

11:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Dress:  Casual

Cost:  $10 per person (lunch provided)

Deadline to register: March 20, 2015

All that crude has to be stored somewhere—and a good portion of it makes its way to tanks in the small Oklahoma town of Cushing through a vast network of pipelines.  It is a vital transshipment point with many intersecting pipelines, storage facilities and easy access to refiners and suppliers.  Crude oil flows inbound to Cushing from all directions and outbound through dozens of pipelines.  Presentations will be around the impact Cushing has on the world energy market and an explanation around the pricing of oil/gas (how it is determined).  With the current issues surrounding oil prices and the economic impact this will have on the state makes this a very timely event.  This article, The Small US Town Holding Billions in Black Gold, was just published on CNBC giving a clearer picture of what is happening right now. 

Click here to register now!   Space is filling up quickly!

»Save the Date!

2015 Fall Forum

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. We are in the planning stage right now, so join us if you’d like to be a part of the committee!

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»Deadlines and Upcoming Events

  March 16, 2015: Deadline for Discounted Adult Program Application Fee
  March 20, 2015:
Deadline to Register for Cushing: The Center of America's Energy Hub and Its Global Impact
  April 1, 2015:
Adult Applications Must Be in the LOK Office by 5:00 p.m. on April 1, 2015
  May 8, 2015 :
Deadline for Community Application to Host a Program
Upcoming Events:
  March 31, 2015:
Cushing: The Center of America's Energy Hub and Its Global Impact
  October 20, 2015 :
Fall Forum - Save the Date!

»Leaders on the Move

Janienne Bella, Class XXVI, has resigned her position as the Regional Chief Executive of the Oklahoma- Arkansas Region American Red Cross. Her last day with the Red Cross will be Wednesday, April 1, 2015. She is looking forward to a new chapter in her career with A Chance to Change in Oklahoma City.

Dan Boren, Class XVII, has been appointed to the IBC Bank-Oklahoma board of directors.

Governor Mary Fallin has named six Leadership Oklahoma members to her Education Advisory Committee.  Ann Caine, Class XXIII, and Tom Deighan, Class XXVIII, from common education; Jane Bowen, Class XXIV, and Tom Friedemann, Class III, from career technology; and Don Betz, Class III, and Cheryl Evans, Class XXI, from higher education.

The Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women (OCSW) will honor Representative Lee Denney, Class VII, and Dr. Janet Cunningham, Class XIV, as recipients of the 2015 Kate Barnard award, which recognizes outstanding women in public service. Nominees are from the ranks of elected or appointed public officials serving in Oklahoma.

Patrice Douglas, Class XVII, has been named President of Emerging Markets for Premier Consulting Partners.

Roger Gaddis, Class XXV, has been appointed to serve a second term as a trustee on the board of the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System (OTRS).

Oklahoma State University has inducted Dan Gilliam, Class XXI, into the School of Accounting Hall of Fame.

Don Gooch, Class XXI, will preside as King of the First Ever 12th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hot Springs, Arkansas on Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Oran Hall, Class XIX, has been named Chairman of the Mayes County Republican Party.

Judge Robert Hudson, Class XVII, has been appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Manufacturing Institute has announced they will honor Rachel Hutchings, Class XXVII, by presenting her with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award at the STEP Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. on March 26, 2015.

Beth Kerr, Class XXIV, was named to the 2015-16 National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA) board.

The Oklahoma Home Care and Hospice Advisory Council have named Greg McCortney, Class XXVIII, to a second term as chairman.

David Nimmo, Class XXVIII, was appointed to the Norman Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

The Oklahoma Farm Bureau awarded Scott Pruitt, Class XVI, the 2014 Champion Award.

Norm Ranger, Class XXI, was elected to the Choctaw Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees for District F.

Lloyd Snow, Class VII, has been named the winner of the Medal for Excellence in Elementary/Secondary Administration by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.

Carolyn Stager, Class XIII, has been inducted into The Rose State College Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

Renzi Stone, Class XVIII, has been appointed to the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents.

Roger Webb, Class V, has been named a 2015 Creativity Ambassador by Creative Oklahoma. He will be honored at the Creativity Ambassadors Gala on March 30.

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»Member Updates


The 2014-2015 LOK Annual Report and Membership Directory has been mailed to LOK lifetime members and those members who have paid their 2014-2015 membership dues. Below are the membership contact information changes from February 16 to March 15. Click here to see all the member contact updates for the 2014-2015 Directory.

If you have not received your member directory, please send us an email or call 405.848.0001.

  Jimmy Dailey, Class XXV

  John Fidler, Class XIII

  John Mabrey, Class I

  David Stringer, Class XIX
V/P Advertising
  Tyler Morning Telegraph
  410 W. Erwin St.
  Tyler, Texas 75702
  P: 903-596-6364

  Marilyn Mabrey Sulivant, Class II 


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