WHAT OUR MEMBERS ARE SAYING

"Going through Leadership Oklahoma is an eye-opening experience to the diversity of our state. From Guymon to Broken Bow, we heard similar themes by our host communities and its residents. Our people define the "Oklahoma Standard" by their grit of endurance and tenacity to overcome obstacles or challenges that faced them. Taking the time to listen, collaborate and compromise will lead Oklahoma toward its greatest days ever!" -- Lyle L. Roggow, Duncan, Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation, Class 30 and Lifetime Member.

Excellence in Leadership Gala

Annually, Leadership Oklahoma honors outstanding leaders from across the state to highlight the great work of individuals and organizations making a positive and meaningful difference in Oklahoma.  The four categories include the Distinguished Graduate Award, the Business Leadership Award, the Statewide Community Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

There are four awards designed to honor state leaders and entities that make a meaningful difference in Oklahoma. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have used their leadership abilities to improve the quality of life for Oklahoma's citizens and its future generations. 

The Distinguished Graduate Award honors a Leadership Oklahoma graduate whose recent leadership activities have exemplified the highest standards of Leadership Oklahoma and whose activities achieved results or set an example of statewide significance.

The Business Leadership Award commends a business entity for its impact in promoting leadership principles and practice, implementing programs worthy of example, and fostering the growth of quality leadership. 

The Statewide Community Award acknowledges an organization or company that, through specific projects or efforts, has reached across valued differences to develop among Oklahomans a sense of common purpose and a more profound sense of loyalty to their state. This award has been created to promote a heightened sense of appreciation for the possibilities available when Oklahomans work together as a single statewide community.

The Excellence in Leadership Gala was held April 1, 2017 at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa.

2017 HONOREE LIST

Click HERE to view Honoree Video

TOM McDANIEL | Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have used their leadership abilities to improve the quality of life for Oklahoma's citizens and its future generations. This year’s Leadership Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Tom McDaniel, of Oklahoma City. McDaniel became president of American Fidelity Foundation on September 1, 2011, after having served as president and Chancellor of Oklahoma City University from July 1, 2001 to August 31, 2011. He retired as vice chairman and director of Kerr McGee Corporation in 2000 and then served as president of Northwestern Oklahoma State University, becoming the first graduate of that school to ever serve as its president, before joining OCU. Prior to Kerr McGee, McDaniel served as Administrative Director of Courts for the State of Oklahoma. He holds a business degree from Northwestern, a Jurist Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from OCU. He is active in the community, serving on numerous boards and commissions and currently serves as Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Board for the MAPS III projects. McDaniel and his wife, Brenda, were selected 2010 “Treasures of Tomorrow” by the Oklahoma Health Foundation. Among his recognitions, he was recently named Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEO in large non-profits and was the recipient of the Dean A. McGee Award from Downtown OKC, the Urban Pioneer Award, and OKCityan of the Year Award. He has been included in the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame and in 2006 was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

 

Click HERE to view Honoree Video

 STEVE TURNBO | Distinguished Graduate Award
The Distinguished Graduate Award honors a Leadership Oklahoma graduate whose recent leadership activities have exemplified the highest standards of Leadership Oklahoma and whose activities achieved results or set an example of statewide significance.  The Distinguished Graduate Award belongs to Steve Turnbo, of Tulsa, who has dedicated his life serving his community and investing in the people around him. Turnbo serves as chairman emeritus at Schnake Turnbo Frank, a consulting firm with offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, where he has worked for more than 34 years. He dedicated his life to serving his community and investing in the people around him, and his commitment to integrity and activism is demonstrated by the many merits and honors he has received throughout his life. Turnbo’s professional accolades include the Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows Inductee and 1985 Professional of the Year. Turnbo is a Tulsa Advertising Federation “Silver Addy” award recipient and the 2011 Tulsa Press Club Headliner. His civic involvement with the Oklahoma State and Tulsa Chambers of Commerce, Rotary International and the Oklahoma Heritage Association is also demonstrative of his continued leadership in his community. A graduate of The University of Tulsa, Turnbo is in his 28th year on the TU Board of Trustees and was inducted into the Collins College of Business Hall of Fame as an Outstanding Business Leader in 2015. Turnbo’s passion for human relations is evident in his work with the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, an organization he has been involved with for 31 years. He served as board chair and is currently the Director for Life. OCCJ honored Turnbo in 2003 with the National Conference for Community and Justice Humanitarian Award and again in 2005 with the Interfaith Understanding Award. Turnbo also served on the Leadership Oklahoma Board of Directors from 1994-1997. His involvement with Leadership Oklahoma and the many other professional and civic organizations continue to make a positive and lasting impact on Oklahoma and its citizens. Turnbo has left a legacy of leadership, development and contribution across Oklahoma, yet maintains a genuine sense of humility, earning him Leadership Oklahoma’s Distinguished Graduate Award.

 

Click HERE to view Honoree Video

PERRY PUBLISHING & BROADCASTING | Business Leadership Award
The Business Leadership Award commends a business entity for its impact in promoting leadership principles and practice, implementing programs worthy of example, and fostering the growth of quality leadership. The Business Leadership Award will honor Perry Publishing & Broadcasting Company (PPBC), the largest independently minority owned and operated radio broadcasting company in the U.S. and headquartered in Oklahoma. Under the direction of Russell Perry, and now his son, Kevin S. Perry, together they have brought more diversity in serving the African American community. Currently, PPBC owns and operates radio stations, newspaper, digital platforms, in the states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina and Georgia. The PPBC, established in 1979, continually gives back to the state through many community service events, as well as charities and foundations. Russell M. Perry is involved in numerous civic and professional activities and associations such as a board member of the National Association of Broadcasters and member of the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, and former member of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Advisory council, he has also been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the American Urban Radio Network Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City Public School Foundation Wall of Fame; Oklahoma Afro-American Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, while Kevin is actively involved on the board of First Security Bank of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City College, Oklahoma City All Sports Association, Eckerd Kids Foundation and the Oklahoma Associations of Broadcasters.

 

 

Click HERE to view Honoree Video

OERB | Statewide Community Award
The Statewide Community Award acknowledges an organization or company that, through specific projects or efforts, has reached across valued differences to develop among Oklahomans a sense of common purpose and a more profound sense of loyalty to their state. This award has been created to promote a heightened sense of appreciation for the possibilities available when Oklahomans work together as a single statewide community. The Statewide Community Award acknowledges the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB).  In 1993, leaders representing Oklahoma's oil producers and royalty owners, working with the Oklahoma State Legislature, formed the OERB. Oklahoma's natural gas producers joined soon after. The mission was to use the strength of the industry to improve the lives of all Oklahomans through education and restoration. OERB's ongoing commitment to clean up Oklahoma's orphaned and abandoned well sites left to ruin by those who have long since passed or disappeared is the core mission of OERB. Funded through voluntary contributions paid by producers and royalty owners, the OERB's environmental restorations cost nothing to landowners or taxpayers. Since 1994, they have dedicated more than $100 million to restoring 15,385 orphaned and abandoned well sites across the state; currently restoring 2 to 3 sites per day. OERB has had a positive impact as seen not only in restored pastures, hillsides and ponds, but also on the faces of landowners, students and teachers across the state. OERB expanded their outreach by sharing an exciting energy curricula and safety messages, training 14,317 teachers to date, educating students about the oil and natural gas industry and energy conservation. These numbers, along with the economic impact the petroleum industry brings to our state economy, continue to prove that Oklahomans work together as a single statewide community producing positive results for Oklahoma.  

​Multi-year Sponsors
With the generous support from the following multi-year sponsors, LOK continues to provide exceptional opportunities for Oklahoma leaders to make Oklahoma the leader.

Premier 
 The Chickasaw Nation
 
Chairman
 Cherokee Nation

Directors
 Mary Chapman Foundation • Russ Harrison & Natalie Shirley • SONIC, America's Drive-In

Benefactors 
Groendyke Transport, Inc.  • Western Farmers Electric Cooperative

Additional Multi-year Sponsors
ARL Bio Pharma, Inc. • Clark and Wanda Bass Family Foundation • Dillingham Foundation • McGowan Family Foundation • Puterbaugh Foundation

2017 Gala Sponsors
Platinum
American Fidelity Foundation • BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma • Lippert Media

Gold
American Fidelity Foundation • AT&T • Bank of Oklahoma • Rita & Sam Combs - COMSTAR Advisors • Cox Communications

Silver
B
ruce T. Benbrook/The Stock Exchange Bank • MidFirst Bank • OERB • OSU – Tulsa • RedAnt, LLC • Tulsa Community College

Bronze
Clayton I. Bennett • Sandy & Art Cotton/Cotton Consulting • Hardesty Family Foundation • Cheryl and Tom Evans • Joseph L. Parker, Jr. • Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc. • Public Service Company of Oklahoma • Nabholz Construction • SMACC Dab Creative, LLC • Tulsa Regional Chamber

LEADERSHIP AWARD GALA PHOTOS & VIDEO:

Browse through the photo and video gallery by clicking on the box you are interested in viewing. View past Gala photos here. 

 

WHAT OUR MEMBERS ARE SAYING

"The experience was beyond expectation. The people I met in the class are incredible, each with their own talents and strengths. It was interesting to see leadership from this widely varied perspective. I never left a session without feeling deep admiration for the passion and depth of knowledge demonstrated by my peers. Also, I think the communities of Oklahoma have much to be proud of, each one with its unique character. I think every Oklahoman needs to travel to the far reaches of our state to better appreciate where we come from. This state has a lot going for it! All in all, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Veritas LOK XXIX!" -Wayne McMillin, Class XXIX.

 

 2016 HONOREE LIST



2016 Honoree:
Don Betz, President, 
University of Central Oklahoma










DON BETZ | Distinguished Graduate Award

In August 2011, Don Betz became the 20th president for the University of Central Oklahoma. He has enjoyed a distinguished career in higher education that spans more than 45 years, developing a reputation for teaching and encouraging students, and leadership development.  He also is known for his diplomacy skills, developed through his international activities, most notably with the United Nations and its affiliated non-government organizations. Enhancing that reputation, he currently is serving a three-year term on the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) executive committee and as chair of its North American Council. Prior to returning to Central, he served as president of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., since July 2008. Before that, he served as chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls from 2005 until his appointment at Northeastern, and as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Palmer College, Davenport, Iowa, from 1994-1999. In the 23 years prior, he fulfilled various capacities at Northeastern, including the vice president of University Relations, a professor of Political Science, as well as the executive director of the Educational Foundation and assistant to the president. From 1999-2005, Betz served as Central's provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. He served as a member of the founding implementation committee for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) American Democracy Project and is the past chair of Creative Oklahoma Inc. He is also a member of the Oklahoma Academy, and Leadership Oklahoma.  He serves on the boards for the United Way of Central Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, Oklahoma A+ Schools, Great Expectations, the DaVinci Institute, the Edmond Economic Development Authority, Allied Arts and the United Way. In 2013, Betz was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. A frequent writer and speaker, Betz has addressed international, educational and motivational topics, and has worked with newspapers, radio and television. His life-long interest in global issues and his passion for promoting cross-cultural understanding has led him to more than 80 countries.




2016 Honoree:
Burns Hargis, President,
Oklahoma State University
BURNS HARGIS | Lifetime Achievement Award

Burns Hargis, of Stillwater, has had several high profile and impactful roles in the leadership of Oklahoma, including key positions in higher education, banking and the law. As leader of the Oklahoma State University system, President Hargis oversees a comprehensive land-grant university system with more than 35,000 students, 7,400 employees, and campuses located in Stillwater, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Okmulgee. Under President Hargis’s guidance, OSU has reached record levels of enrollment, and attained the goal of a $1billion “Branding Success” campaign two years ahead of schedule.  He has inspired a building boom on the campus, overseeing construction developments that have provided innovative and high quality academic, athletic, and residential facilities. Prior to becoming president at OSU, Hargis had a distinguished career in business, including service as Vice Chairman of the Bank of Oklahoma; he practiced law for 28 years, most recently with the McAfee & Taft law firm.  Hargis also served the legal profession as a president of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation, and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. His civic and philanthropic service is noteworthy, and includes the role of vice-chairman of the Oklahoma State Election Board, Chair of the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services, service to the Oklahoma Constitutional Revision Commission, and to the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges of Oklahoma State University. He has lived a life of tireless service to others.  Whether inspiring civil political discourse on Flashpoint or spending countless hours promoting the educational, financial or personal well-being of his fellow Oklahomans through service on several advisory boards – President Hargis is a role model of how to contribute one’s knowledge, time and talent to better the futures of one’s fellow citizens.




2016 Honoree:
Cotton Electric Cooperative, Inc.

COTTON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. | Business Leadership Award

Cotton Electric Cooperative, Inc., a member-owned electric utility that serves eight counties in southwest Oklahoma. Their most significant contribution, beyond providing electricity to their members, has been their commitment to improving the quality of life in their communities through the establishment of the Cotton Electric Charitable Foundation (CECF) and Operation Round Up® program, designed to provide financial assistance to worthwhile individuals and organizations. CECF has issued more than 340+ grants totaling $895,382.54 since CECF’s inception in 2004. Education, public safety and services for senior citizens have benefited from the program.




2016 Honoree:
George Kaiser Family
Foundation 




















GEORGE KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATON | Statewide Community Award

George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) supports the community, state and other charities focused principally on reducing the cycle of poverty. GKFF invests in opportunities relevant to its areas of focus regarding early childhood education, social services support, civic enhancement projects and community health initiatives. The impact of programs the foundation has supported is far reaching and difficult to quantify the emotional impact – hope. Educare has been a favorite project of Kaiser, which has been replicated in dozens of other locations across the nation.  To ensure the facilities have great teachers, GKFF donates $1.2 million a year to Tulsa Community College and the University of Oklahoma to fund programs to train early ed specialists. If young teachers work in Oklahoma for four years after graduation, their tuition will be reimbursed in full. In breaking the cycle of poverty, health care is as important as education. In an effort to entice doctors into poor communities, GKFF donated $62 million to the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa’s campus to create the School of Community Medicine. Students work to set up and staff clinics in schools and housing projects across town. Mirroring the teacher program, doctors can get all tuition reimbursed after working five years in the community. Women in Recovery is an intensive outpatient alternative for eligible women facing long prison sentences for non-violent, drug-related offenses. Program participants receive supervision, substance abuse and mental health treatment, education, workforce readiness training and family reunification services. GKFF’s partnership with this organization has expanded this model to Oklahoma City establishing ReMerge. These programs offer women who are dedicated to changing their lives to becoming positive, contributing members of their community. A momentous transformation in Tulsa, is underway with the construction of A Gathering Place for Tulsa—a world-class 100-acre park that stands as one of the largest gifts of public space in U.S. history. GKFF is leading the charge in transforming the Arkansas riverfront into a dynamic and active space to improve the city’s social, economic and environmental sustainability. A Gathering Place for Tulsa will serve not only as a statewide but national attraction. By focusing their resources within the state, GKFF is able to make a greater impact in the lives of all Oklahomans. Additionally, with the construction of A Gathering Place for Tulsa, there is no better showcase of what Oklahoma can accomplish when the community comes together under the leadership of generous and dedicated organizations.


PAST AWARD HONOREES