Virtual Reality: Real and Important

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Rotary Club of Okla. City Preparedness Plan

Virtual Reality : Real and Important

Technology is about to change our lives – again. Put on glasses or goggles and you enter a new reality. In this visually-rich talk, Ken Parker will explain the technology and share who is creating it and why. Bonus: VR is COVID-approved, no travel or human contact required. You’ll learn and have fun or your money back!

A native of Ohio, Ken Parker moved with his family to Oklahoma in 1975, when his father invested in the oil patch. A motivated student, he skipped his senior year of high school and became a college student in 1979 at Oklahoma Christian University. Ken received his undergraduate degree in Math and Computer Science in 1983. As a first-generation college graduate, he immediately joined Martin Marietta Aerospace, where he served as a Sr. Group Engineer and Principal Investigator until 1993 when he transitioned to JP Morgan on Wall Street. While at JPM, he was responsible for leading the team that created the JPM Analytics Library. During this time, Ken also earned a Masters in Computer Science degree from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1994. In 1998, he helped co-found RiskMetrics Group, which grew from 25 to 1200 employees over 12 years. Following the sale of the company in 2010 for $1.55 billion, he co-founded NextThought, LLC in 2011, where he currently serves as CEO. Ken is passionate about using technology to make education more effective and accessible. He loves Oklahoma, is a grateful member of Leadership Oklahoma Class 30, and serves on numerous State and higher education boards.

Ken and Carole, his lovely wife of 37 years, live in a log home on a ranch in Noble, OK. They have three grown children, all married, currently living in Oregon and Oklahoma. Best of all, they have six beautiful grandchildren, including identical 10-month-old twin girls.


Chair of the Day

Dr. Marion Paden is the President and CEO of Leadership Oklahoma, a statewide nonprofit committed to creating a network of Oklahomans focused on addressing the state’s most important challenges and opportunities. A Licensed Professional Counselor; her doctorate is in higher education. She worked as VP for Student Services at Oklahoma City Community College for more than 20 years.

Dr. Paden has served on the boards of numerous national and state organizations including The College Board, American Red Cross, Oklahoma All Sports Association, and the Junior League. A graduate of both Leadership Oklahoma and Leadership OKC, she is the only person to have served Leadership OKC as Program Co-Chair for the adult, young adult and high school programs. It was under her leadership as President of the Rotary Club of OKC that it became the world’s largest Rotary Club.

Recognition of her many contributions include induction into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame, OCU’s Dulaney-Browne Library Society, Association of Women in Communications Byliners and the Journal Record’s Circle of Excellence. Oklahoma State Regent John Massey established an endowed scholarship at OCCC in her honor to recognize students that serve their communities while achieving their educational goals.

She has travelled to all 50 states and 35 countries on five continents; including India to work with Rotary International’s polio eradication efforts.   She enjoys spending time with people committed to making their lives matter. She shares her home with Spencer, a rescued Silk Terrier, and is currently working towards Enneagram certification.

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