James Pepper Henry was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in the Pacific Northwest, but returned every summer to Oklahoma to attend the tribal dances of the Kaw people. James Pepper Henry’s family is originally from Kaw City and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
He is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a BA degree in fine arts and minor in art history. He is also a graduate of the Getty Leadership Institute (Los Angeles) with a graduate certificate in Museum Leadership.
James is the Director and CEO of the American Indian Cultural Center and AICCM.
He is former Executive Director of Gilcrease AICCM in Tulsa, OK; former Executive Director of the Heard AICCM in Phoenix, AZ; former Director/CEO of the Anchorage AICCM in Anchorage, AK; and the former Associate Director of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian.
James was most recently a member of the Downtown Tulsa Rotary Club, and a past member of the Downtown Anchorage, Alaska Rotary Club. He has been a member of Rotary since 2007.
James Pepper Henry is a member of the Kaw Nation Iloshka Society – a ceremonial dance society – and his hobbies include outdoor photography, painting, and hiking.
Rotarian Sponsors: Kathy Williams, John Michael Williams, Amber Sharples
Paul Warren was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and grew up an Army brat, living in South Korea as well as traveling the world and the United States.
Paul is proud that his father served in the military for 25 years, retiring as a Lt. Colonel.
He graduated from Oklahoma State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and majoring in Marketing.
Paul got to OKC by working for TriCorps Cybersecurity and is the Vice President of Business Development.
TriCorps – an integrated Physical, Surveillance (Cameras) and Cybersecurity firm – was formed when David Ross, retired Oklahoma Highway Patrolman, and Scott Klososky, well-known and respected technology futurist, merged companies.
In past positions, he worked at Microsoft for 14 years and at Salesforce for 3 years; he has worked in software and technology for over 30 years.
Paul enjoys spending time with family – his wife Dayna (also an OSU graduate) and both of his children (who went to OU; so yes, house divided). He currently has 1 grandson and a granddaughter is due in December.
He is into anything competitive in sports, especially NBA and OKC Thunder, is active in his church, and enjoys helping companies “prosper and protect” their business.
Rotarian Sponsors: Freda Deskin, Lou Kerr, Franci Hart
Rebecca Kaye grew up in Virginia and spent her adult life in Atlanta and DC, but her parents and extended family are in Oklahoma – from the metro OKC and the Binger/Gracemont areas – so being in OKC is like a homecoming of sorts.
She earned her BA from the University of Virginia, her MPA from Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, and her Ed.S. in educational leadership from the University of West Georgia. She is currently a doctoral candidate in educational leadership and policy at the Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.
Rebecca has served Oklahoma City Public Schools as their Chief of Staff since January of 2017.
Rebecca Kaye has served as OKCPS Chief of Staff since January 2017. In that capacity, she coordinates the district’s executive team, supports the superintendent, develops strategic plans for improvement, supports improvements to board governance, and builds relationships with our community and legislative leaders. She also filled in temporarily as the acting superintendent from February to June as the board searched to fill the role permanently. She is particularly passionate about building positive adult culture within our central administration teams and school teams in support of our students.
Kaye joined OKCPS from Atlanta Public Schools, a district serving a diverse student body of over 51,000 in Georgia’s capital city. There, she served as the superintendent’s Policy & Governance Advisor. In this role, she led governmental relations strategy, policy development, system and school governance processes, school board communications, and high-level problem solving on behalf of the superintendent.
Prior to her service in urban district leadership, she began her career teaching middle school language arts and social studies in Atlanta, before embarking on her career in education policy. Her prior work experiences include the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), the Presidential Management Fellows program in the US Department of Education, and the Georgia Department of Education.
Rebecca and her husband Michael have two sons who attend their neighborhood OKCPS schools. Through getting engaged in the OKC community, she has especially enjoyed learning more about her parents’ roots in central Oklahoma.
Rotarian Sponsors: Reed Downey, Mary Melon
Erika Lucas was born, raised, and schooled in Mexico, coming here with her mom and sister when she was young but returning to Mexico. Later in life she came to visit her mom, met her husband, and stayed.
Erika is the Co-Founder of StitchCrew and in partnership with the OKC Thunder, they run an accelerator program to connect technology entrepreneurs with the resources, network, and investment they need to launch and scale businesses in Oklahoma.
Prior to StitchCrew, she worked for a Private Equity company with investments in the US and Europe and before that she was the Director of Foreign Direct Investment and Trade for the State of Oklahoma – at the OK Department of Commerce. When living in Mexico, she helped international companies establish successful operations in-country.
Erika loves traveling with her family and investing in high-growth startups. They founded StitchCrew because they strongly believe that the most pressing challenges we face as a society will not be solved by traditional mindset or policy alone, but by bold entrepreneurs.
Rotarian Sponsors: Ann Ackerman, Pat Potts, Matt McGuire
Robert Cooke was born and raised in OKC.
He graduated from John Marshall High School and then went to Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. Afterward, he went to medical school at the University of Oklahoma and did his surgery residency at OU Health Sciences Center.
Robert practiced as a General Surgeon in OKC until his retirement at the end of last year.
He and his wife, Diane, have been traveling and trying to spend as much family time as they can with their 3 sons and their families. He is an avid golfer and has been enlightened by his short tenure in Rotary.
His Rotary Sponsors are: Ron Perry, Rick Vermillion, and Jim Jennings
Polly Anderson is a Floridian and a graduate of the University of South Florida (Go Bulls!). However, her first PBS station was at the University of Florida, so she also considers herself a Florida Gator.
Polly was recruited to OETA after a national search to fill the Executive Director position. OETA is the television network for PBS for the state of Oklahoma and she has worked for PBS stations for a little over twenty years, with this being the fourth organization where she has been the CEO.
Polly began her public broadcasting career at the University of Florida in a mid-management position, and fell in love with public broadcasting; both programming and the people who enjoy and are touched by the programming. She then accepted a position as Vice President of the state network in Alabama where she was in charge of all fundraising and communications. Her goal though, was to run a station and she got that opportunity when she was recruited for the position of President and CEO of the PBS (TV) and NPR (radio) station in Waco, Texas. She then was recruited to run the PBS TV station in Albuquerque, NM and then accepted the offer to run the PBS station in Orlando, Florida where she could be close to her elderly parents.
After three years there, she took some time off to spend time with her elderly mother, and then was recruited last fall to come to Oklahoma and run OETA. She began her tenure at OETA last December and is so proud to be running the number one, most-watched PBS station in the country.
Polly enjoys music, the arts, museums, reading, exercise, walking and yoga, cooking, and learning about food from other cultures.
Rotarian Sponsors: Mary Melon, Ted Streuli, and Glen Johnson
Sara Jane Smallwood Cocke was born and raised in Clayton, OK; the heart of the Choctaw Nation. She is honored to serve her Nation every day. She has helped to grow the Government Relations Department to serve all parts (over 100 departments) of the Choctaw Nation in relationship building at the federal, state, and local government levels.
She was a graduate and valedictorian of Clayton High School in Clayton, OK. She received a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications and American Indian Studies at OSU and was named an Outstanding Senior as one of the university’s top graduates. In 2007, she was chosen as a Scholar by the Morris K. Udall and the Stewart L. Udall Foundation and as a Fellow by the Public Policy and International Affairs Program, where she was part of the Princeton University summer fellowship. And she received a Master of Public Affairs with emphasis in local governance from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and was invited back to campus in Spring of 2018 to serve as the program’s first-ever Alum in Residence to talk about public service in Indian Country.
Sara Jane recently entered her 7th year working for the Choctaw Nation, and is now the Director of Government Relations and Promise Zone Coordinator for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. In this role, she serves as the liaison on behalf of the Choctaw Nation for state policy matters in Oklahoma, and opened an Oklahoma City office in fall of 2017. She also leads and directs the nationwide Promise Zone designation for the Choctaw Nation – the very first tribal designee – and has worked with hundreds of partners in southeastern Oklahoma to leverage more than $500 million in federal investment and technical assistance to the southeastern region of Oklahoma since 2014. She also directed and organized the visit of President Barack Obama to the Choctaw Nation in 2015; this historic event was the first-ever visit by a sitting President of the United States to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Sara Jane and her husband, Adam, are newlyweds and make their home in Norman where they are active in St. Joseph Catholic Church. They love to travel as well as visit their families in the beautiful mountains of southeastern Oklahoma.
Rotarian Sponsors: Anne Roberts, Lou Kohlman, and Clayton Taylor
Allen Gradnigo originally moved here in the fourth grade and graduated as a co-valedictorian from Moore High School. He is returning to Oklahoma via Grand Rapids, Michigan, after serving more than 22 years of active duty Air Force.
He apparently likes being in school, because he has a Bachelor in Science in Computer Science from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas; his MBA from Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama; an MA in International Relations from OU; an MA in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California; and is projected to defend his doctoral dissertation after damages from Hurricane Florence for his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.
Allen leads a team of 18 information technology professions located in Bangalore, India, for Cisco Systems. They deliver an annual subscription service called Technical Knowledge Library (TKL), which provides engineers and others with 24/7 access to Cisco Press books and direct access to industry experts. And if not enough, he also teaches Success Central as an adjunct at UCO.
Allen is married to Jennifer and has three children. His son is a junior, studying Applied Exercise Science at OSU; his daughter is a sophomore at Edmond Santa Fe; and his youngest is a second grader at Cross Timbers Elementary. Over the years, he has lived or worked in 19 states and 8 countries and during his spare time, he completed 6 full marathons and an Olympic distance triathlon. During the summer, he played short stop and left field for St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Edmond and is passionate about cultural intelligence and student retention in higher education
Rotarian Sponsor: Ted Streuli, Dave Rhea, and Herb Gilkey
Ron Kelly is originally from Illinois, and after stops in Indiana and Texas, came to Oklahoma City to serve as the President and CEO of Epworth Villa Retirement Community. Ron has worked in various senior living executive roles for
faith-based, non-profits since
He is a graduate of Illinois State University in Accounting.
Ron and his wife have 5 children and recently became empty nesters. Family and church fill their time outside of work, and he personally enjoys golf, music, and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Rotarian Sponsors: Laura Garrett, David Battles, and Ron Perry
While at OSU, she met her husband of 37 years and they lived in Tulsa upon graduation, until he was transferred to Atlanta. After 8 years there, they then moved to his hometown of Little Rock, but they had always talked about wanting to move back to Oklahoma. In 1997, that opportunity arose when she went to work for Jordan Advertising. After working at a variety of advertising agencies in Oklahoma City, she went to work selling advertising for the Journal Record. Although she left the Journal Record in 2015, she returned in 2017 and serves as their Advertising Director.
Sarah has 3 grown children – Audrey Barrow who works at Paycom; Abbey Barrow Trent who works at the Science Museum of Oklahoma; and Aaron Barrow is an attorney in Washington, D.C. She also has a wired hair fox terrier, Pete, who keeps her busy.
Sarah’s hobbies include tailgating at OSU football games, gardening, and playing with her super-cute 6-year-old grandson.
Rotarian Sponsors: Ted Streuli, Brooke Haneborg, and Mary Melon
Growing up in Midwest City, Jay Corwin has lived in Norman and Edmond for 12 years, each. Both of his parents were very active in Midwest City Rotary, each serving as President and they frequently brought up the four-way test in dinner conversations.
Jay has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism/Public Relations, a Master’s in Adult and Higher Education, and a Ph.D. in Adult and Higher Education – all from OU.
He originally came to UCO as the Director of Academic Advisement in 2006 and has worked in various capacities geared toward student success since then. He is the Associate Vice President for Advancement at the University of Central Oklahoma, and he is focused on helping raise scholarship dollars for the university and its students.
Jay and his wife, Jana, have 2 children – a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son – who keep them on their toes at all times. He has truly loved coaching their teams through the YMCA and Crossings athletics and enjoys spending time with family. He currently services on boards with the Deer Creek Schools Foundation and Edmond Mobile Meals. He is also a very passionate wish granter with Make-A-Wish Oklahoma and have helped grant wishes for ten years.
Rotarian Sponsors Georgia Fiering, Marion Paden, and Bill Hughes
Michelle Keylon was raised in Tonkawa, stayed in Oklahoma for college, and got her first teaching position at Okmulgee High School. She later went to work at the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech in Stillwater, and in 2005 moved to Oklahoma City to accept a director position with Francis Tuttle Technology Center.
Her Bachelor’s Degree is in Secondary Education from OSU, her Master’s Degree is in Adult Education from OSU, and her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership is from North Central University.
Michelle is currently the Deputy Superintendent/Chief Operations Officer, and she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the district, focused on the development of people and processes in the areas of instruction, business and industry training, human resources, facilities management and development, information technology, marketing, finance, and campus safety.
And she is the proud mom of two kiddos – Kolton who is 15 and Kinley who is 11. She enjoys all kinds of dancing (ballroom, tap, ballet, modern, lyrical, etc.), reading, and family movie time including watching the Star Wars Series, Jurassic Park Series, and anything Marvel!
Rotarian Sponsors Tom Friedemann, Russ Florence, and Bob Parrish
She stayed in Oklahoma for college, earning her Bachelors in Business Administration at the University of Oklahoma.
Jennifer has over 18 years of corporate banking experience and serves as the Senior Vice President of Treasury Management for Bank SNB, a division of Simmons Bank. As a Treasury Management officer, she has primary responsibility for providing cash management solutions and relationship management to commercial clients while building successful industry relationships and continued growth of the Oklahoma City commercial market.
Jennifer is a member of the Association of Financial Professionals of Central Oklahoma. A debt-free advocate, she provides personalized financial counseling solutions to people in the community seeking to become financially independent. She is also a recent Leadership Oklahoma City graduate, of Class 36. And she was a guest speaker for OU Women’s Day 2018.
Jennifer is married to Dustin Hamer, an electrical contractor who owns and operates Sledge Electric, Inc. And together they have two boys, Carson (11) and Dane (7). Her latest project is developing five and half acres in southwest Oklahoma City for her future family home.
Additionally, she enjoys cooking, traveling, reading, gardening, carpooling her boys to their activities, and being a personal financial counselor.
Rotarian Sponsors Lesli Massad, Ashley Smith, and Jeanette Nance
He graduated from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science.
David’s interests are most importantly his children and grandchildren, as well as politics, horticulture, Iowa State and the University of Oklahoma athletics, and golf.
Rotarian Sponsors Rick Vermillion, Ed Porter, and Barney Semtner
Stan Chase‘s father was an Air Force veteran and they came for his duty station at Tinker Air Force Base during his 9th grade year of Junior High. After high school graduation from Del City, he went on to graduate from Southern Nazarene University with both his Bachelor and Master degrees in Business Management.
Stan is the CEO of NvYA Technology, which focuses on an overall strategy for the company including growth, customer relations, and financial performance.
Stan and his wife of 37 years, Pam, have one son, Sam, an OKC Entrepreneur. We are appreciative of his service, as he is a Retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Oklahoma Army National Guard and interestingly, also the Former Co-Founder of Perimeter Technology Center and The Rock Island Group.
He enjoys working with entrepreneurs in OKC through the Thunder Launch Pad and Oklahoma Venture Forum. Additionally he is active in Leadership OKC, Leadership Oklahoma, Vizavance, and NewView Oklahoma. His hobbies are travel, reading, snow skiing, and “road trips”.
Rotarian Sponsors John Parsons, Lauren Branch, and Mike McAuliffe
Mike is now the Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Strategic Alignment for CompSource Mutual Insurance Company, leading the Information Technology department and including long term planning and strategic alignment.
Mike earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Houston in 1984.
Mike and his wife have 3 daughters and a grandson. Two of their daughters and their grandson live in the Houston area and their youngest daughter is a junior at OU. Mike and his wife enjoy all that Oklahoma City has to offer including great restaurants, theater, and quality of life. When not in OKC, Mike and his wife can be found at their bay house in Galveston, TX, where they like taking long walks on the beach. Mike is a member of the Men’s Dinner Club in OKC, and past board member of Ronald McDonald House Galveston.
Rotarian Sponsors Jason Clark, Nick Harroz, and Will Beckman
Melanie Thompson Stillinger was born in Houston, TX, as both her parents were. They moved from Houston to Greensboro, NC, then Mobile, AL, then to OKC as her dad transferred with the Better Business Bureau. As an adult, she moved with her late husband to the Dallas area, then to St. Louis, MO, and back to OKC in 1992 and she has remained here since that time. Rotary was strong in her family, as her dad, Forrest Wilkins, was a former Rotarian with perfect attendance while he was Executive Director for the Better Business Bureau in OKC.
She graduated Putnam City High School and attended the University of Central Oklahoma. She has both the SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) from HR Certification Institute and SHRM–SCP (Senior Certified Professional) from the Society of HR Professionals.
Melanie has had a 30-year career in Staffing/Recruiting and has been the Vice President of Business Development for Mosaic Personnel since 2014. She began with Manpower in Dallas, TX and after an 18-year career with them, she worked as Director, VP, then President of HLP Solutions in OKC and Dallas.
Melanie has been married to her husband, Richard Stillinger, since 2004 and together they have four grown children in OKC and St. Paul, MN and three granddaughters. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with three-year-old Nora!
She is passionate about her volunteer roles with YWCA and OKC Metro Employers Council, and her hobbies are primarily spending time with family, reading, and gardening. She loves making new friends and building relationships.
Rotarian Sponsors Brooke Haneborg, Jan Peery, and Donna Miller
We are appreciative of Hal Hoxie‘s service to our country, as he spent 27 years flying F-15s and completing an impressive career in the US Air Force. When he retired in 2010, he became President of the Central Christian College of Kansas, in McPherson. While serving as President, he joined the Butterfield Memorial Foundation board and they eventually hired him as their President. The Butterfield Memorial Foundation (BMF) is a charitable Foundation whose granting policies are limited to Christian 501(c)3 organizations for medical purposes. In addition to its typical foundation activities, the Foundation operates two wholly-owned subsidiaries – Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption Services (DPAS) and Open Arms Clinic (OAC). He and his wife moved here and he took the job August 2nd.
Hal has a MS in Strategic Studies from Marine Corps University, a degree in Political Science from Air Command and Staff College, a MA in Sports Administration from University of Northern Colorado, and a BS in Business Administration and Economics from Eastern Oregon State College.
Hal and his wife, Kathy, have 4 adult boys and 10 grandchildren, with another one due in November. His hobbies are his grandchildren, flying, golf, and coaching.
Rotarian Sponsors Tom Phillips, Marion Paden and Rick Vermillion
Russell Ray was born in Fort Polk, Louisiana, and grew up in Jenks, attending high school there. He went on to attend Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
Russell spent the last nine years living in Owasso, Oklahoma, working for Tulsa-based PennWell Corporation, serving as chairman of POWER-GEN International, PennWell’s largest convention, and seven years as Editor-in-Chief of Power Engineering magazine, the world’s largest trade magazine for the power sector. Ray was a business reporter for The Tampa Tribune, Tulsa World and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. For eight years, he covered the energy industry in Oklahoma and Texas for the Tulsa World. He has also covered politics, insurance, energy and agriculture in Florida for The Tampa Tribune. Ray also covered the big three in northwest Arkansas – Tyson Foods, Walmart and J.B. Hunt – for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Russell is now the Editor of The Journal Record, where he oversees the day-to-day editorial operations. In total, he has spent 25 years in journalism and is a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Association of Opinion Journals.
Russell and his wife, Deborah, who is a public school teacher of 6th grade math, have two grown sons, Jacob and Daniel. His passions are family, journalism, writing, and football.
Additional cool factoids about our new member: his football hero is Dick Butkus; his life hero is his dad, Rodney Ray. He loves Harley Davidson motorcycles (owns a softail slim). Ray was the editor of his college newspaper (The Northeastern) and he worked his way through college by working at the local radio station in Tahlequah and covering sports as a stringer for the Muskogee Phoenix (a Gannett newspaper at the time).
Rotarian Sponsors Sarah Barrow, Brooke Haneborg and Russ Florence