Natalie Shirley concurrently serves as president of Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City and as Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce Development. Shirley was hired in May 2011 as the first female president in the OSU system. In January 2015, Shirley was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to serve in her Cabinet as Secretary of Education and Workforce Development. In this position, Shirley is working with the Governor to implement the Oklahoma Works program, which is designed to increase educational attainment for Oklahomans in order to produce a more educated workforce to support and cultivate the state’s economy.
From 2007-2011, she also served in Governor Brad Henry’s Cabinet as Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism. In this position, Shirley was the liaison between the governor, five major state agencies and more than 30 small agencies, authorities and institutions. During this time, she also served as Executive Director of the Department of Commerce, the state’s leading economic development agency.
Formerly, Shirley was president of ICI Mutual in Washington, D.C., after serving in various leadership offices in the company. ICI Mutual is the captive insurance company of the mutual fund industry.
In addition to her dual roles as OSU-OKC President and Secretary of Education and Workforce Development, she also serves on the United Way board, as well as several business boards, including: the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, BancFirst, AAA Oklahoma/South Dakota and the Oklahoma State Fair Board. She also serves on the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum Board of Trustees.
As an Oklahoma native, she graduated from Oklahoma State University and earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma. Shirley and her husband, Russ Harrison, live in Oklahoma City, have six children and are members of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.