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May 2015 E-News!
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                                  »In This Issue

Message from the Chair

Message from the CEO

Class XXVIII Graduates!


Mix & Mingle

LOK's New CEO!

LOK Ambassadors

Distinguished Leadership Award

Annual Membership Campaign

Save the Dates for these Upcoming Events!

Class Reunions

Deadlines & Upcoming Events

Did You Know?

Leaders on the Move

Member Updates


»Message from the Chair

Bruce Benbrook, LOK Chair

Wow!! What an exciting month for Leadership Oklahoma! I had the good fortune to spend graduation weekend with Class XXVIII in Enid. It was a wonderful session focusing on economic development highlighted by the graduation of our newest class. I would like to give a big thank you to the City of Enid and to all the Enid LOK alums for a tremendous job hosting our group. The last day even included what may be an “LOK first” with a police escort to their graduation ceremony. Class XXVIII has been a tremendous class and I am confident their LOK experience will help each of them provide strong leadership for their communities and our state for many years to come.

As you all know by now, our outstanding CEO, Ann Ackerman, will be leaving us June 30th. Ann has been a tremendous leader in every respect, but most importantly a dear friend to all of us. I will always be thankful for the opportunity to work with her this past year and see first-hand what a tremendous legacy she has left for LOK. We will be celebrating Ann’s tenure at LOK on Friday, June 26th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club. I hope each of you will make a special effort to be in attendance as we honor Ann.

I am pleased and excited to let you know that after an extensive search, Dr. Marion Paden has agreed to become the next CEO of Leadership Oklahoma. Dr. Paden has a long, varied and distinguished record of service to our state and I know will be a strong and effective leader for LOK for many years to come. I hope that all of you will join me in getting to know Dr. Paden and welcome her to her new position as she will begin July 1st.

This past month I was honored to host the past chairs of Leadership Oklahoma for a meeting to discuss the past and the bright future of our organization. After the meeting, I realized how thankful I am to all who served in the past and donated their leadership, time and effort to make LOK what it is today.

I will look forward to seeing all of you in Oklahoma City on June 26th.

As always, thank you to all who make Leadership Oklahoma the best!

Bruce T. Benbrook
Leadership Oklahoma
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»Message From the CEO

Ann Ackerman, LOK CEOClass XXVIII has graduated and we have 49 new LOK members. During their class, they saw all quadrants of Oklahoma from Guymon to Lawton to Durant to Stillwater with stops at St. Crispin’s, McAlester, Enid, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. At graduation they vowed to be actively engaged in serving our state and participating in LOK. As always, it has been a year with lively discussions and lots of fun. I know that everyone joins me in welcoming the new graduates to the LOK network. Kent Carter from Norman and Michelle Hardesty from Tulsa were selected as the Class Ambassadors and charged with keeping the class members connected to each other and to the LOK network.

As has been the tradition since Class I, a new Golden Bull Award winner was named. Jeb Boatman with Boeing is the latest honoree of the coveted award. Do you know the story behind this unique award? Here is the way I remember the creation of the Golden Bull. Sharon Gotcher Adams, Class I, decided that an award needed to be created to recognize someone in the class who was fearless, who was not afraid to ask difficult questions and who was willing to take risks. Sharon designed the first Golden Bull in her McAlester art studio. The original mold that Sharon created continues to be used to make the award. The first Golden Bull was presented by Class I to Sue Ann Hyde during our class session in McAlester. We had finished listening to Speaker Carl Albert after dinner at Pete’s Place. As I reflect back, it is hard for me to imagine us christening the award in the presence of such an outstanding Oklahoman! We also never imagined that it would become a tradition for all classes. Congratulations to Jeb, the 28th winner of the Golden Bull, and the others honored before him:


Bruce Benbrook, Chair of LOK Board of Directors and Golden Bull honoree from Class XIII and Jeb Boatman Golden Bull honoree from Class XXVIII

I. Sue Ann Hyde

XV. Mac Wall

II. Art Cotton

XVI. Shahla Rahimi-Reynolds

III. Cliff Hudson

XVII. Ken Busby

IV. Terry Childers

XVIII. George Young

V. Ben Baer

XIX. Robin Cauthron

VI. Brother Benedict

XX. Jo Ann Haysbert

VII. Kim Holland

XXI. Ziva Branstetter

VIII. Donna Murphy

XXII. Stan Chase

IX. Joe Edwards

XXIII. Alison Anthony

X. John Mowen

XXIV. Mark Towler

XI. Virginia Lang

XXV. Xavier Neira

XII. David Woods

XXVI. Che Miller

XIII. Bruce Benbrook

XXVII. Lance McDaniel

XIV. Lee Baxter

XXVIII. Jeb Boatman

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»Class XXVIII Visits Enid

It was an amazing honor for me to serve as the Adult Program Chair for LOK Class XXVIII. While I certainly understood what being in Leadership Oklahoma  meant to me as a Class XXIV graduate, I do not think I had a clear picture of how impactful this program is for so many of our future Oklahoma leaders. Spending time monthly with the class since August of last year has allowed me to know and enjoy the individual members of the class. I now understand the different filters and/or drivers that cause each of the individual members of the class to process and embrace the LOK experience in so many different ways.

This class as a whole was engaged, funny, compassionate, intelligent, random (yes, they were random at times!) and dynamic. They created company concepts during the hospitality suite hours – very entrepreneurial - and asked questions of each session and speaker until we ran out of time. They debated amongst themselves how they might make a difference. They talked about what making a difference means. They wanted more time to talk about making a difference. They stayed amazingly connected as a group of 49. When a class member had challenges, they closed ranks and lifted them up. When class members had reason to be celebrated, they did so. They self-organized in a way I have never seen, and that is a good thing.

One class member said, “This experience has given me a greater appreciation for the opinions and viewpoints of others. I am a far better listener than I previously was and I am a better person because of the influence of my classmates.” To me, that is a very powerful statement of the LOK experience. That defines success for our program.

Enid did an outstanding job of hosting the graduation. Brent pulled out all of the stops (literally as we had a police escort one day!) and made it a special way to end the year. He will be your Adult Program Chair next year and will do a fabulous job. He can be my wingman any day. We learned about Economic Development, and we learned about life after LOK. We were happy, we were sad, and we had one last “group therapy session”.

The Golden Bull was awarded to the wonderful Jeb Boatman. I am hopeful I will see it in his office when I visit next time. Michelle Hardesty and Kent Carter will be Class XXVIII Ambassadors, and I already see great communication from them to the class. All three were honored by their fellow class members and I am so proud for them. Class XXVIII is now part of the LOK Alumni family, and they will help to lead us to the next level I am sure. I expect great things from each of them. Thank you all for being so much fun, and for allowing me to be part of this year’s journey with you.

One unique item for this class, and one they take great pride in, is the fact that they are Ann’s “last” class, and they took great care to let Ann know what she has meant to them this year. I think it was bittersweet for Ann (I know it was for Brent and me) to graduate her last LOK class. But as always, it was done with her characteristic class, grace, shades of pink, and as always, putting the class and its needs first.

So a huge thank you to the Program Committee (you rock) and the local community LOK Alumni members who helped make it such a great year; the LOK Board and Chair Bruce Benbrook for allowing me this honor, and to Brent Kisling. He was amazing. Michele Campbell, you nominated me for Adult Program Chair Elect three years ago (wow). And finally, to Ann; what can I say. She has become a close friend for life because of LOK, and my admiration for what she has done for LOK and the Adult Program is endless.

Robin Roberts Krieger, Class XXIV

2014-2015 Chair, Adult Program Committee


Click here to see photos from this session.

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»YLOK Class XV

YLOK is gearing up for their week long program set for June 7-12, 2015. The class has been chosen and the plans are in place for a wonderful trip across our great state. This year the class will be traveling to these communities: Oklahoma City, Norman, Lawton/Ft. Sill, Ada, Tulsa, Stillwater and Enid. If you are an LOK grad in one of these communities we would LOVE to see you during our time in your city. Come meet us and welcome us to your corner of the state! If you are interested in finding out more of the agenda, please email Lee Anne Stone, Youth Director at

Also, visit us on social media to find out the latest happenings with YLOK. Instagram (YOUTH LEADERSHIPOKLAHOMA), Facebook (Youth Leadership Oklahoma), Twitter (YLOKYLOK), and our blog ( Follow us on our adventures…it’s a lot of fun!

Lee Anne Stone, Class XXVII
Youth Leadership Oklahoma

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»Mix & Mingle

Click HERE to RSVP!

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»LOK's New CEO!

Leadership Oklahoma proudly announces the hire of the next chief executive officer, Dr. Marion Paden.

“As chairman of Leadership Oklahoma, I am pleased and excited that Dr. Marion Paden has agreed to become the next CEO of LOK,” said Bruce Benbrook, president of the Stock Exchange Bank in Woodward. “Dr. Paden has a long, varied, and distinguished record of leadership and service to the state of Oklahoma. With her many years of experience in communication, management, education, public service, and community development, she has all the skills to be a tremendous CEO of Leadership Oklahoma.”

“As Leadership Oklahoma begins its 29th year, I am confident Dr. Paden will be a strong, vibrant, and effective leader for many years to come.”

Dr. Paden currently serves as the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at Oklahoma City Community College.

Dr. Ann Ackerman, the current CEO of Leadership Oklahoma, first met Dr. Paden when they both worked at OCCC.

“Having worked with Marion at OCCC before I became CEO of LOK, I know the talented, capable hands that will be leading LOK in the future,” said Ackerman. “She has the passion to grow LOK to new heights and I am excited about what the future will be for this organization under her leadership.”

Paden will start as CEO July 1 and Ackerman’s last day is June 30.

“I am honored to have been selected to serve as the next CEO of Leadership Oklahoma,” said Paden. “I know of no other organization that is as committed to Oklahoma’s future. I look forward to serving this organization and the diverse group of Oklahomans working together to understand the complex issues facing our state and creating solutions that benefit all of our citizens.

Click here for Dr. Paden’s Biography.

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»LOK Ambassadors

This last year as chair of the Ambassador program has been such an honor and blessing for me! This amazing group of LOK members were very involved in planning, implementing and attending the educational events with the goal of keeping the membership engaged and involved. I think we were very successful! LOK continues to thrive because of its membership and the networking opportunities provided through the continuing educational events. I encourage each member this next year to attend at least one LOK event. You won’t regret it!

This group is in good hands with Tony Zahn, Class VI, as the 2015-2016 chair. Tony is an amazing leader and I look forward to continuing to serve as the ambassador for Class XXIV. Thank you to the ambassadors who have served this last year! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you all better and look forward to what the new year has in store. To those who will begin serving as ambassador in June, get ready, it will be the time of your life!


Beth Kerr, Class XXIV
2014-2015 LOK Ambassador Chair

2015-2016 LOK Ambassadors

LOK would like to welcome the new 2015-2016 class and regional ambassadors! A kick-off meeting will be June 8, 2015 at McNellie’s in the heart of Midtown in Oklahoma City at 5:00 p.m. for the new fiscal year. This group has some fun and educational member events in the works already.

Click here to see who your LOK Ambassadors are!

If you have ideas for member events, please contact your ambassador or Allyson Carson at

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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 a 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 to Kick Off Annual Membership Campaign

LOK will begin its annual membership campaign June 1st. You will be receiving your graduate update profile and invoice for 2015-2016 membership in the mail soon. To get a head start, click here to preview your contact information online and make changes as needed. Don’t forget to sign up for a committee or two as well! Click here to download the form, check the committees you are interested in, and email it to Allyson.

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).

Class I has proved that it’s never too late to be a lifetime member; three of them paid for lifetime memberships in the last few years!

Invoices for the 2015-2016 LOK membership will be 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.

We are in the planning stage right now, so 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, Monica Wilke, and Nancy Parrott.

Unmanned Arial Vehicle Industry:
Understanding Its Uses and Impact to
November 23, 2015
Details TBD – Mark your calendar now!  
LOK Holiday Party - Tulsa
December 11, 2015
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Details TBD and invitation to follow 
Excellence in Leadership Gala – OKC
February 27, 2016
Details TBD and invitation to follow

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»Class Reunions

On April 16-18, 2015, Class XXIII celebrated their 5th Annual Reunion at Lake Murray on floating cabins. At graduation, the class decided to meet once a year and travel to a different state park each time. So far, the group has been to Beavers Bend, Roman Nose, Sequoyah State Park, Lake Tenkiller State Park, and now Lake Murray. Time was spent enjoying food, outdoor fun, and conversations. As always, the conversations were stimulating and educational. And what conversations we had….thanks Dr. Joe!

Classmates who came to the reunion included: Darrell Weaver, Kelly Nemecek, Matt Guillory, Allyson Carson, Laurie Tilley, Anil Gollahalli , Alison Anthony, Michele Campbell, Joe Nicholson, Bret Burns, Eddie Wyant, Katie Kimberling, Steve Smith, Julie Bohannon, Jane McDermott, Shawna McWaters-Khalousi, Max Myers, Ann Caine, Aaron Fulkerson, Tom Gray, Greg Phillips, and Jeff Moen. Warren Langford was there in spirit. The friendships found because of LOK are held dear to this bunch.

Class XXIII is already planning for year six!



Class VIII
May 30, 2015
Chesapeake Finish Line Tower, Oklahoma City
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Contact: Steve Brown -

June 19-20, 2015
Details TBD – 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 1, 2015
Annual Membership Campaign Kicks Off!
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 - Tulsa - Details TBD and invitation to follow

February 27, 2016
Excellence in Leadership Gala - OKC - Details TBD and invitation to follow
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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

Gary Armbruster, Class XXVI, was awarded the Cornerstone Award by The Council of Educational Facility Planners International.

The Oklahoma Hospital Association presented the Advocacy in Action award to Richard Boone, Class X.

Ziva Branstetter, Class XXI, was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She is also the Editor in Chief of The Frontier, an enterprise/investigative news site.

The Augustinians of the Midwest appointed G.T. Bynum, Class XXIV, to serve a two year term on their advancement advisory council.

Teresa Meinders Burkett, Class XVIII, was recognized by SuperLawyers as one of the Top 25 Women Attorneys in Oklahoma. She recently joined the Board of Directors for The Oklahoma Academy and serves as its Tulsa Region Chair.

Stephens County named Ed Darling, Class I, a Liberty Bell award winner.

Joe Dorman, Class XVIII, was named Community Development Director for the Heart Mobile.

Bruce Day, Class IV, was appointed to the Commission for Educational Quality and Accountability.

Bank SNB has elected Patrice Douglas, Class XVII, to its board of directors.

Ford Drummond, Class XIV, was reappointed to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.

The American Institute of Architects awarded the Oklahoma Community Service Award to Shane Fernandez, Class XXVII.

Mitzi Hancuff, Class XIX, will be inducted into the Edmond Hall of Fame on June 19, 2015.

The University of Oklahoma named Diana Hartley, Class XXIV, Professor of Practice in the College of Arts of Sciences, a new position in the Nonprofit Management Program in the Political Science Department.

Judy Hatfield, Class XIV, was awarded the Dean A. McGee Neal Horton Award for renaissance of a downtown Oklahoma City area.

The American Institute of Architects awarded the Distinguished Service Award to Anthony McDermid, Class XX.

Oklahoma Hospitality Club recognized Mary Blankenship Pointer, Class XXII, for her contribution to her profession and service to her community.

Connie Schlittler, Class XXIV, was named Oklahoma Department of Human Services Social Worker of the Year.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence awarded Lloyd Snow, Class VII, the Medal of Excellence in elementary/secondary administration.

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»Member Updates

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

Mark Barcus, Class XX
Former District Judge

Christy Counts, Class XXVI
Watershed Animal Fund
156 Katonah Ave.
Katonah, NY 10536

Phil Cook, Class XXVII
Vice President Rockies Business Unit
Well Construction & Technology

Karen Jordan, Class XXVIII

Dee Faircloth-Porter, Class XIX
Chief People Officer

Clint Parr, Class XVI
Partner and CMO
401 E. California Ave.
Suite 201
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

David Petty, Class IX

Neil Schemmer, Class XIV
Community Bank President

Haley Thompson, Class XXVIII
Regulatory Consultant, Regulatory Services
Public Service Company of Oklahoma
1601 Northwest Expressway

Oklahoma City, OK 73118
P: 405-841-1310

Jason Winborn, Class XXVII
Director External Affairs
AT&T Texas
208 S. Akard Street
Room 2537
Dallas, TX 75202
P: 214-464-3622

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