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April 6, 2021
Erika Lucas Co-Founded StitchCrew and runs an accelerator program in partnership with the NBA Team, the Oklahoma City Thunder to support entrepreneurs in the middle of the country. Erika also Founded VEST, a curated network of influential women working together to expedite the pipeline of more women in power. Her TED Talk, America’s Trillion Dollar Blindspot is highly regarded in the Venture Capital Industry for addressing the funding gap that exists for women and entrepreneurs of color. Prior to launching StitchCrew and VEST, Erika was a Partner at a Private Equity Firm with investments in the U.S. and Europe. Before that she was the Deputy Director for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. She serves as Director and Advisor to multiple private and public Boards including: US Global Leadership Coalition, Arvest Bank, Oklahoma Policy Institute, the Diversion Hub, and the Oklahoma City County Health Department.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SALES AND MARKETING
Brian Byrnes joined the Thunder organization in April 2005 and developed and executed the strategic sales and marketing efforts to launch business operations in Oklahoma City in 2008. Byrnes’ current responsibilities include oversight of revenue platforms including corporate partnerships, ticket sales, retention and operations; luxury suites, terrace lounges and unique inclusive experiences; game theatre, event planning and corporate hospitality; brand architecture and marketing disciplines.
Capitalizing on the unique platform of being Oklahoma’s first permanent major-league sports team, Byrnes continues to foster programming that extends the reach of the Thunder brand to fans throughout the region.
Initiatives such as Thunder Alley and the Thunder Rewards Zone make the game-day experience accessible to all Thunder fans visiting Chesapeake Energy Arena. Year-round, the Blue Alliance and Thunder Youth Basketball activities connect fans throughout Oklahoma, while the OG&E Thunder Bolt brings an interactive Thunder experience to regional fairs and neighborhood celebrations. In 2018, the Thunder Launchpad, fueled by MidFirst Bank, opened as a platform to support the growing startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Oklahoma. The Launchpad also hosts year-round programs to inspire growth in STEM education, computer science and innovation.
Previously, Byrnes served as executive vice president of business operations for the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, guiding the organization through an organizational rebranding in conjunction with a transition to a new venue. Prior to joining the Coyotes, Byrnes built nearly 10 years of experience with the NHL’s Dallas Stars and MLB’s Texas Rangers.
Byrnes is actively involved in the Thunder Cares Foundation, Allied Arts, Leadership Oklahoma City, Leadership Oklahoma, National Sports Forum, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Greater Oklahoma City Sports Consortium and the Oklahoma state marketing and rebranding committee: OklaX. A graduate of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Byrnes and his wife Ashley reside with their three children in Edmond.
Gail Huneryager has over 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations and communications.
Gail served as the Chief Marketing Officer for HoganTaylor LLP for 7 years. In 2020 she stepped down as CMO to enjoy more time with her family and now serves the Firm as Development Strategist and “brand ambassador”. She was instrumental in helping the Firm establish the HoganTaylor Foundation and was a Trustee for 5 years.
Prior to joining HoganTaylor, Gail served as the Marketing Director for Crowe & Dunlevy, which she greatly enjoyed.
Gail has been the recipient of numerous marketing and leadership awards. She is a three time Journal Record “50 Making a Difference” honoree, and has been awarded the Women in Communications Byliner Award, three Hermes Creativity Awards, and numerous professional services industry marketing honors.
Gail moved to Oklahoma City from Houston in 2003. She immediately became involved in the city’s art and social services nonprofit agencies. She has served on numerous boards including Carpenter Square Theater, Ronald McDonald House Charities, The OU Breast Institute, the Library Trust, Creative Oklahoma and Sunbeam Family Services. She currently serves on the Executive Committee boards for Allied Arts and Leadership Oklahoma and the Board of Directors for The Myriad Gardens Foundation. In 2018 she chaired the Library Trust Annual Literary Voices event featuring international best-selling author Lee Child. She has also chaired fundraising events for Go Red for Women and Sunbeam Family Services.
Gail is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma and Leadership Oklahoma City and is a member of Rotary.
In her free time Gail is enjoying more international travel, reading and art. Gail and Gary have 6 grandchildren who live in Denver, Seattle and Sacramento. Trips to see the children bring her the most happiness, as well as when husband Gary has a great day playing golf!