2016 SPI Speaker Bios [H-M]

2016 SPI Speaker Bios [H-M]

Alphabetical by last name. 

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Nikki Hager

Panelist: Careers in Public Policy

Nicole is a Staff Assistant for Senator Inhofe in Washington D.C. She is the Co-VP of Marketing and PR for the Oklahoma State Society and VP of Events for the D.C. TU Alumni Association. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2015 with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science. During her time at TU she was News Editor of TU’s student newspaper, The Collegian, and interned for OK Policy.

Sterlin Harjo

Panelist: Film Discussion

Harjo, a member of the Seminole Nation, has Muskogee heritage, was raised in Holdenville, Okla. He attended the University of Oklahoma, where he studied art and film. He received a fellowship from the Sundance Institute in 2004. His short film, Goodnight, Irene, premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and received a special jury award at the Aspen Shortfest. In 2006, he received a fellowship from the newly formed United States Artists foundation.

Harjo’s first feature film, Four Sheets to the Wind, tells the story of a young Seminole man who travels from his small hometown to Tulsa to visit his sister after the death of their father. The film premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival where it was nominated for the grand jury prize. Harjo was named best director at the 2007 American Indian Film Festival. Harjo’s second feature, Barking Water, premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. It portrays a road trip by a dying man and his former lover across Oklahoma to see his daughter and granddaughter in Wewoka, the capital of the Seminole Nation. Barking Water was named best drama film at the 2009 American Indian Film Festival.

Harjo’s first feature documentary, This May Be the Last Time, is based on the story of Harjo’s grandfather, who disappeared in 1962 in the Seminal County town of Sasakwa. It explores the subject of Creek Nation hymns and their connection to Scottish, folk, gospel and rock music. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

His third feature film, Mekko, a thriller set in Tulsa, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2015. Mekko paints the portrait of a homeless Native American parolee who seeks to save his chaotic yet beautiful community from the darkness that threatens it. 

He has directed a series of shorts for This Land Press in Tulsa, where Harjo is the staff video director. He was a member of the 2010 Sundance shorts competition jury.

Harjo is a founding member of a five-member Native American comedy group, The 1491s. He also is one of the directors of Cherokee Nation’s monthly television news magazine, Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People, which is produced by Fire Thief Productions, a Native American production company which he cofounded with Cherokee photographer, Jeremy Charles.

Kendra Horn

Panelist: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections

Kendra Horn is the Executive Director of Sally’s List and Women Lead Oklahoma. A practical idealist, Kendra believes that “can’t” is a dirty word, that limits are meant to be challenged, and conventional wisdom questioned. A native of Chickasha, Kendra’s career has taken her from Washington DC to Colorado and California before returning to make a difference in her home state.

Today, Kendra is deeply committed to supporting women, creating conscious leaders, and working toward a reality where everyone’s voice matters. Through Sally’s List she leads a concerted effort to get more women to run for and serve in elected office. Her work with Women Lead Oklahoma focuses on women’s empowerment, leadership, and civic engagement. Kendra’s previous experience includes managing Joe Dorman’s 2014 gubernatorial race, serving as the press secretary for Rep. Brad Carson, leading government affairs and communications efforts for the Space Foundation, strategic consulting as a small business owner, practicing law and managing a large yoga studio.

Kendra earned her BA in Political Science at the University of Tulsa, and Juris Doctor at SMU in Dallas. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She encourages the next generation of leaders by working with the NEW Leadership program, Girl’s State and the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature among others. She is also a lifelong Girl Scout and Gold Award recipient. A certified yoga teacher, Kendra keeps herself grounded by teaching and a regular practice.

Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

Chuck Hoskin Jr. serves as the Cherokee Nation Secretary of State. He was appointed to the cabinet position by Principal Chief Bill John Baker and unanimously confirmed by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council in August 2013.

He interacts with federal, state, local and tribal officials on matters relating to sovereignty, government relations and funding. He also manages several human services, community services and infrastructure programs.

His passion to serve the tribe and Cherokee citizens runs deep, formerly serving as the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council representative for District 11 for six years. He held the position of Deputy Speaker for the council.

Chuck graduated from Vinita High School in 1993 and the University of Oklahoma in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He graduated from OU Law School in 2000 with a Juris Doctorate degree. He served as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board from 2005 to 2013, leaving agency to take the cabinet post. The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development selected him as a “2014 40 Under 40 Native American Award”.

He resides in Vinita with his wife, January, and their two children, Triston and Jasmine.

Rep. Scott Inman

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

Rep. Inman was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in November of 2006 and is currently serving his fifth term. Rep. Scott Inman was born and raised in Del City, OK. He attended the University of Oklahoma where he graduated in 2001 Summa Cum Laude with a degree in political science with a Spanish minor. Rep. Inman also attended the University of Oklahoma School of Law where he received his juris doctor in 2004. Upon graduating from law school, Rep. Inman practiced law with a firm in downtown Oklahoma City. When State House District 94 became vacant in the spring of 2006, Rep. Inman decided to put his law practice on hold and run for office. Upon his election in the fall of 2006, Rep. Inman became the first graduate of Del City High School to ever serve the city of Del City at the State Capitol in its more than 60 year history. And in May of 2009, Scott was elected to serve as Leader of the House Democratic Caucus. When elected Leader at the age of 32, Scott became the youngest person in state history to ever lead a caucus in the House or Senate. Rep. Inman married his high school sweetheart, Dessa, and the couple has two daughters, Ella Grace and Sophia Claire.

Danne Johnson

Presenter: Gender Breakout Session

Danne Johnson is the Constance Baker Motley professor of law at Oklahoma City University.  She is engaged in research and writing that involves the intersection of race, gender, and the law.  Johnson is engaged in a host of civic and charitable endeavors. She serves on the board of the YWCA and several other organizations. She is a wife and mother of two. Johnson believes in genius and philanthropy.

Michael Kelsey

Presenter: State Question 777

Michael Kelsey grew up in Rush Springs, Oklahoma on a commercial cow/calf operation.  He attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College on a livestock judging scholarship then transferred to Oklahoma State University to finish a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science in 1992.  He served as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Beef Council from 2000 to 2004 and the Executive Vice President of the Nebraska Cattlemen from 2004 to 2013.  In July of 2013, he came home to Oklahoma to serve as the Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.  He and his wife Tonya of 22 years have four children and live in Tecumseh.

Ryan Kiesel

Panelist: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections

Ryan Kiesel served three terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2004 to 2010. During his time in the legislature, Kiesel held various leadership roles and often led the fight against efforts to curb reproductive rights and trample civil liberties. In addition to his service in the legislature, Ryan has filled key roles on local, state and national campaigns. Ryan continues to write and speak on a wide range of political and legal issues, and has been cited by local and national media outlets. Prior to joining the staff of the ACLU of Oklahoma, Kiesel was in private practice with a law firm in Oklahoma City. Ryan also taught a seminar, Politics and the Law, as an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Ryan received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Randy Krehbiel

Moderator: Campaigns and Elections

Randy Krehbiel has been a Tulsa World reporter since 1979, when he joined the newspaper as a sports writer. He now primarily covers state and federal politics and government. Krehbiel is a native of Hinton, Okla., and a graduate of Oklahoma State University. 

Logan Laydon

Moderator: Debate over SQ777

Logan Layden is a native of McAlester, Oklahoma and a University of Oklahoma graduate whose been in public radio since 2008 as host of All Things Considered and a capitol reporter for KGOU. Since 2011 he’s been a reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma, a collaboration of Oklahoma’s public radio stations, including KWGS on the TU campus. His reporting focuses on Oklahoma’s environment and natural resources. 

John Lepine

Panelist: Education

John Lepine is an OK Policy Research Fellow. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision at the University of Oklahoma. He is also a reading specialist and English department chair at the McLain Magnet High School for Science & Technology and a research associate with the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy.

Marq Lewis

Panelist: Criminal Justice Reform

In the last several years Marq Lewis has evolved into a man with a mission. A mission to improve not only his life but the life of others through community activism and art. Besides being a writer, photographer, filmmaker and producer, Marq is also a social activist. He was recently honored with a United Nations Association humanitarian award, named 2015 Tulsan of the Year and also named one of the four Oklahomans of the year.

As an entrepreneur Marq is a nationally recognized rising star whose images and stories are colorful, energetic and captivating. His images have been used by the Associated Press and other news based organizations. “I have always been a fan of the arts. From music to movies, I love the talent and creativity that goes into making every new project. I feel the most alive while behind a camera creating the art that I love.

Vince LoVoi

Introduction of G.T. Bynum

Past-Chair of the OK Policy Board, Vince is a resident of Tulsa, a managing partner of Mimosa Tree Capital Partners, LLC and publisher of This Land Press. Vince previously was a managing partner of the European Union policy practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Brussels. He has also worked for United States Representative Mike Synar from Oklahoma’s 2nd District and the Warner-Lambert Company. Vince serves of the boards of the Texas Observer, Oxford American, and Oklahoma Watch. He completed his undergraduate education at Notre Dame University and received his law degree from George Washington University.

Adam Luck

Panelist: Criminal Justice Reform

Adam Luck is the Policy Director for the E Foundation for Oklahoma. He is an Oklahoma native and left the state to serve five years in the U.S. Air Force as a Korean Cryptologic Linguist. Adam was recently appointed to the Oklahoma State Board of Corrections. He also serves on the advisory board for the Oklahoma City branch of the Center for Employment Opportunities, a non-profit dedicated to providing immediate, effective and comprehensive employment services to men and women with recent criminal convictions. Previous to his role at the E Foundation, Adam was the state director for Right on Crime, a initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation focusing on criminal justice reform. 

He has a B.S. degree in Global Security and Intelligence Studies from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Public Policy degree with a concentration in democracy, politics, and institutions from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Adam and his wife Sarah both grew up in Oklahoma and now live in Oklahoma City with their three young boys and yellow lab.

Charity Marcus

Panelist: Campaigns and Elections

Charity Marcus is a successful, young entrepreneur currently finding success in her second small business as the CEO & Chief Consultant of Avenu Consulting, LLC; a boutique consulting firm specializing in political consulting, public relations, business & non-profit development and government relations.

While working on several 2014 campaigns, Charity uncovered her hidden passion for politics. She quickly realized that she could make positive social and political changes by helping the right people get elected to office. In February 2015, she started Avenu Consulting, LLC. Charity has worked on a range of campaigns from local city council race to district judge race to three Tulsa County races. Beyond campaigns, Charity is an active volunteer with the Republican Party of Tulsa County and a member of the Republican Women's Club of Tulsa County, Oklahoma Young Republicans, Tulsa Young Republicans, Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women (OFRW) and is an OFRW First Lady.

While being politically active is a very important job, Charity is also a very active citizen & community volunteer in the Tulsa metro area. In December 2015, Charity began working on a long awaited passion, cultivated from working in the public school system, to mentor middle and high school girls. She began her social entrepreneurship journey by founding Girls Leadership Society, Inc. (GLS), a nonprofit dedicated to educating, empowering and emboldening young girls through social education, leadership training and entrepreneurship development to become leaders in their social constructs.

She is the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa; Associate Board of Directors for DVIS; Leadership Tulsa class 52 graduate; Leadership Bixby class 13 graduate; and a member of the Tulsa Rotaract, Tulsa Young Professionals & Greenwood Chamber Young Professionals. She has previously volunteered with various local organizations & nonprofits like the North Tulsa Economic Development Initiative (nTEDI), Neighbors Encouraging Other Neighbors (N.E.O.N.), Starlight Concerts, and Tulsa Mayfest. She also assisted with launching the Summer Entrepreneurship Shadow Program, founded by State Senator Kevin Matthews.

Sen. Mike Mazzei

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

Mike Mazzei, CFP®, is the President of Tulsa Wealth Advisors. He created The Financial Freedom Process™ to help individuals leverage their wealth in order to achieve their lifetime visions. He enjoys helping retirees and entrepreneurs develop comprehensive life, financial and investment strategies that enable them to reach greater success, enjoy life to the fullest and leave lasting legacies. In 2013 Mike authored and published his book, “Solving Your Financial Planning Puzzle.” Mike was ranked #1 in Tulsa, and #2 in the state of Oklahoma, for Barron’s 2016 list of top advisors in the country. He has been named to Barron’s Top Advisor list every year since 2010 and has been the #1 advisor in Tulsa for the past four years. He is an Oklahoma State Senator representing Senate District 25 and serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Mike is also a member of Financial Planners Association, Kiwanis Club of Tulsa, and serves on the board of directors for The Salvation Army. Mike graduated from George Mason University and the College for Financial Planning.

Pat McFerron

Panelist: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections

Pat McFerron serves as a senior political consultant and lobbyist for CMA Strategies. McFerron began his career in survey research and market analysis at Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates. As Director of Survey Research McFerron has overseen political polling and phoning programs in 39 states and has implemented survey research projects across the nation and throughout the world. He has been the lead pollster for gubernatorial, senatorial, congressional and legislative campaigns across the country and has led hundreds of market surveys with near-perfect accuracy.

McFerron was recently named to Campaigns & Elections’ “Influencers 500”list as one of the Top 10 Influencers from Oklahoma.

Kara Joy McKee

Presenter: Grass Roots Advocacy Breakout Session

KJ joined OK Policy in December of 2013. She is a native Oklahoman and an OU graduate. As OK Policy’s Outreach & Advocacy Specialist, she coordinates the Together coalition and works to make it easier for all Oklahomans to advocate for sensible public policies. She has been active for years with the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, Oklahoma Sustainability Network, and other community projects, and in 2011 she was honored with the City of Norman’s Human Rights Award. Prior to joining OK Policy, KJ was Executive Director of Kendall Whittier, Inc. (KWI), a Tulsa neighborhood nonprofit, and she currently serves on the KWI board of directors.

April Merrill

Panelist: Moving People Out of Poverty

April Merrill is the Lead Attorney for Medical-Legal Partnership Initiatives for Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. She currently chairs the 2-1-1 committee as a board member of the Community Service Council. She enjoys teaching for the Tulsa Community College Paralegal Program. April is a proud TU College of Law Graduate. She previously served as a Senior Fellow with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation managing the Child Advocacy portfolio.

Don Millican

Moderator: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

Don is the Treasurer of the Board of Oklahoma Policy Institute and a resident of Tulsa. Don is the Chief Financial Officer for Kaiser Francis Oil Company and is Chair of the Oklahoma Christian University Board of Trustees.  Don retired in 2003 as a partner with the accounting firm Ernst and Young.

Angela Monson

Panelist: Health Care in Oklahoma

Angela Monson has been engaged in activities related to health care policy for more than 30 years.  She is currently employed by the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center as Associate Provost for Community Partnerships and Health Policy and is responsible to the Provost and Senior Vice President of the Health Sciences Center. She also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Monson is a member of the OU Medical Center (Hospital) Board of Trustees and previously served as a member of the Oklahoma City/County Board of Health. She also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Families USA, a national consumer health advocacy organization, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Health Policy Development, the parent entity of the National Academy for State Health Policy.

Monson was a member of the Oklahoma State Senate from 1993 until November, 2005 and the Oklahoma House of Representatives from November 1990 until her election to the State Senate. 

As a member of the State Senate, Monson served as First Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Chair of the Finance Committee, Chair of the Appropriations Sub-committee on Group Health and Employee Benefits and Appropriations Vice-Chair of the Sub-Committee on Health and Social Services.  During her tenure in the Legislature, she was the primary sponsor of many critical bills now law, including mobile phone 911 access, ad valorem tax reform, early voting, mental health parity, and was also one of the chief architects of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the state’s Medicaid agency. 

Sen. Monson is a past president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and also served as chair of the NCSL Health Committee and as a member of the NSCL Executive Committee.  During her tenure as Health Committee Chair, Monson was instrumental in developing the Conference’s position and actions on the Tobacco Settlement between the states’ attorneys general and the tobacco companies. Monson has also testified before Congressional Committees on various topics including Medicaid and the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.  She was also a member of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Executive Committee.  

In February, 2009, Monson was elected Chairperson of the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education and served one four year term in that district-wide elected position. 

A graduate of Oklahoma City University, Monson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Corrections from that institution and also received a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma at Norman. She is also a graduate of Douglass High School in the Oklahoma City Public Schools District.

Angela is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at both Oklahoma City University and the University of Oklahoma. She remains very active in her community and her church, the Voice of Praise Baptist Church.

Andy Moore

Presenter: Grass Roots Advocacy

Andy Moore is a guy who likes to stay busy. He has been a Licensed Professional Counselor for more than 10 years, working in a range of private and public settings. He operates his own online counseling and consulting firm, WiseTherapist, dabbles in freelance PR, does a fair share of public speaking and teaching, and even sells residential roofing from time to time. He also serves as the clinical administrator for the largest and most comprehensive HIV/AIDS program in Oklahoma. In early 2016, Andy organized Let’s Fix This, a grassroots movement aimed at getting regular, everyday folks involved in the political process by helping them have conversations with their elected representatives. When he needs to relax, Andy likes to goof off with his kids, run half marathons, and eat tacos.

Rep. Cyndi Munson

Panelist: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections

A first generation college student, Cyndi graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where she earned a Master of Science in Leadership Education. She used a semester of her undergraduate career to study non-profit and voluntary services at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. While at the University of Central Oklahoma, Cyndi was awarded the Presidential Gold Medal for Leadership and Public Service. Cyndi spent a decade working and volunteering in Oklahoma City’s non-profit community. In the community, she serves as chair of the Infant Crisis Services Young Professionals Group, member of the Oklahoma Messages Project Board of Directors, and member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma City Resource Board. Cyndi is a 2006 graduate of the National Education for Women’s (N.E.W.) Leadership program through the University of Oklahoma, a program for undergraduate women interested in public service. Elected in September of 2015, Cyndi became the first Asian-American woman elected to the Oklahoma Legislature.

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