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2016 SPI Speaker Bios [N-Z]

Alphabetical by last name. 

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Leslie Osborn

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

In 2008 Leslie Osborn was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, District 47. She has served as deputy majority whip, assistant majority floor leader, and has chaired the Revenue and Taxation committee, the Judiciary committee, and currently is Chairman of the Natural Resources Appropriations committee. She received a B.S. in business administration from Oklahoma State University and resides in Mustang, Oklahoma. Leslie owned and operated her own business for 22 years, Osborn Pick-Up Accessories. In May of 2013 Leslie Osborn was awarded the Guardian of Small Business Award, after successful running the workers compensation reform bill in the House. She has also received the legislator of the year award from the District Attorneys council, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, and the State Chamber of Oklahoma. 

Bailey Perkins

Panelist: Careers in Public Policy

Bailey Perkins is a 26 year old native of Lawton, Oklahoma. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and history as a Clara Luper Full Tuition Scholar from Oklahoma City University and later earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma. Her first experiences in the nonprofit field came from working as the Coordinator of Teen Leadership Initiatives for the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City and serving two years as a board member and advocacy chairman of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. Her work in policy and politics began as a National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership alumna and graduate assistant, a staffer in the Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor’s office, a campaign manager for an Oklahoma U.S. Senate primary campaign, and being an inaugural research fellow/ summer policy institute participant for the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

She spent the past two years as a state policy fellow through the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Through this fellowship, she worked for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families where she researched, analyzed, and advocated for education and fiscal policies that help low and moderate income families in Arkansas. Bailey is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the board of directors for the Young Non Profit Professionals of Little Rock – an organization committed to “learning, networking, and serving.”

Gene Perry

Presenter: Education Issues

Gene Perry joined OK Policy in January 2011. He is a native Oklahoman and has a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Oklahoma. At OK Policy, Gene supervises policy staff, helps to identify policy priorities for the organization, and does research focusing on tax and budget, education, and criminal justice issues. Gene also serves on the board of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, and chairs the communications advisory committee for the State Priorities Partnership, a nationwide network of state fiscal policy think tanks.

Rep. Pam Peterson

Panelist: Criminal Justice Reform

Pam Peterson was born in New York City and came to Oklahoma in the 1970s where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Oral Roberts University.

Pam won election to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in January, 2004, from House District 67, in Tulsa. She has previously served as Majority Whip and was appointed Majority Floor Leader for the 54th Legislature.

2006 – Chaired Task Force to Stop Sexual Violence against Women

2007 – 2011 Commission for the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women

2008 – 2012 Chaired Human Services Committee

2011 – 2012 Served as Vice-chair of the Oklahoma House Human Services working group, renewing policy, procedures and administration

2011 – Public official of the year – Oklahoma Chapter of National Association of Social Workers

2012 – Guardian Award from Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women

2012 – Legislator of the Year – Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs

2013 – Kate Barnard Award

2013 Women of Distinctions – Tulsa Business and Legal News

2013 Protector of Children – Institute of Child Advocacy

2013 – 2014 Majority Floor Leader (first female in state history)

2014 Guardian of Free Enterprise Award – State Chamber

2015 Chair – Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee

Tina Pollard

Panelist: Film Discussion/Panelist: What do we do to move people out of poverty?

Tina Pollard has worked for the CPCDC since 2008 and served as the Consumer Lending Manager since 2009. She has been instrumental in closing almost $4 million in consumer loans and provided one-on- one credit counseling at each loan closing. She has countless hours teaching a range of personal finance subjects to adults and children. Ms. Pollard serves as a member at large for the Oklahoma Jump$tart Coalition and was recently nominated to serve as the Government Relations Chair. Ms. Pollard also serves as the Chair for the Public Awareness Committee for the Salvation Army’s Bridges Out of Poverty Getting Ahead program in Shawnee, OK and is a facilitator for the current Getting Ahead class. She has successfully lobbied against predatory lending during the 2013 Oklahoma legislative session. Ms. Pollard earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in March, 2016 and will begin graduate school in September, 2016. When not studying, she enjoys the company of her cat, Friday, attending the theater, going to concerts visiting art galleries, traveling, and playing Canasta with friends.

Carly Putnam

Presenter: Oklahoma’s Health Landscape

Carly joined OK Policy as a full-time policy analyst in January of 2014. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern. A Kansas City native, Carly graduated from the University of Tulsa in December 2013 with a BA in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. She was a leader in several TU organizations active in feminist, LGBTQ, and anti-racist education and advocacy. She is a graduate of the National Education of Women (NEW) Leadership Institute, worked as an editor for the campus newspaper, tutored students at Will Rogers High School, and interned with Planned Parenthood. Her work at OK Policy focuses on healthcare, poverty, inequality, and race and gender.

Susan Savage

Panelist: Health Care in Oklahoma

Susan Savage is a native Tulsan who was elected Tulsa’s first woman mayor following her election to office in 1992. Her unprecedented tenure of service as mayor ended in 2002, after which Savage was appointed as Oklahoma’s Secretary of State by Governor Brad Henry from 2003 until January of 2011. Savage has been recognized for her decades of leadership, management expertise and policy work. She currently serves as the CEO for Morton Comprehensive Health Services, the largest community health center system in northeastern Oklahoma.

John Schumann

Moderator: Health Care in Oklahoma

John Henning Schumann, MD was named the 4th President of the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa in 2015. He practices internal medicine and has spent his career training residents and medical students in Boston, Chicago, and Tulsa. His academic interests include medical education, health policy and clinical medical ethics.

He’s an avid blogger (GlassHospital) and a frequent contributor to NPR. Locally, he hosts ‘Medical Mondays’ for the program ‘StudioTulsa‘ on KWGS-FM 89.5, Public Radio Tulsa. 

Joe Siano

Moderator: Education 

Joe Siano, a resident of Norman, became superintendent of Norman Public Schools in 2000. Joe received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1976 from Oklahoma City University, his Master of Science in 1979 from the University of Central Oklahoma, and his Doctor of Philosophy in 1985 from the University of Oklahoma. In addition to his Superintendent certification, he is certified in guidance and counseling, elementary education, and elementary administration. Joe is a member of numerous civic organizations, including service as chair of the United Way of Norman for 2013-14. 

Damario Solomon-Simmons

Presenter: Legislative Introduction

Damario Solomon-Simmons joined OK Policy in December 2013. He is a community-oriented lawyer and diversity professional with almost two decades of verifiable success as an adviser, consultant, and advocate. He is a University of Oklahoma (OU) football letterman and OU’s first African-American “Most Outstanding Law Graduate.” Since 2005, Damario has represented clients in federal, state, and tribal courts, business transactions, and legislative and community relations matters. Recognized as a “40 Under 40” resident by Oklahoma Magazine in 2007 and Tulsa Business Journal in 2012, Damario is passionate about creating environments and resources that promote fair and sustained opportunities for the neediest of society. His mission is to build and strengthen the awareness and support for OK Policy’s priorities with policymakers, elected officials, the media, opinion leaders, and issue-based coalitions. Damario is passionately in love with his high school sweetheart and wife, Mia, and they live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Sen. Gary Stanislawski

Panelist: What do we do to move people out of poverty?

Senator Gary Stanislawski was elected to the Oklahoma Senate on August 26, 2008 by the voters of Senate District 35. His district includes Tulsa County. In 2011 he was elected by his caucus to serve as a Majority Whip, and he currently serves as Chair of Transportation and is on the following committees: Education, Appropriations, Insurance, and Appropriations subcommittee for Education. Gary M. Stanislawski, CFP® is the president of Regent Financial Services, Inc. Gary was awarded a four-year ROTC scholarship and attended Oregon State University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Upon graduation, Gary entered the Air Force and subsequently earned his wings as a pilot in 1984. Gary has a Master of Arts degree from Oral Roberts University, and is a member of the Financial Planning Association. Gary served on the Jenks Public Schools Board of Education from 2000 – 2008. Gary works with individuals and businesses in investment, retirement and estate planning services. Gary and his wife Dayna have been married for 35 years and have two children, Shawn and Kristie.

Kris Steele

Moderator: Criminal Justice Reform

Kris Steele is the Executive Director of TEEM (The Education and Employment Ministry), a nonprofit specializing in reducing poverty, unemployment and homelessness in the greater Oklahoma City area. TEEM seeks to empower individuals and strengthen communities through education, job training, social services and job placement. Prior to joining TEEM, Kris represented Shawnee as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representative for twelve years, serving as Speaker from 2010 – 2012. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, and a Master Degree in Education from East Central University in Ada. Kris and his wife Kellie reside in Shawnee and are blessed with two daughters, Mackenzie and Madison.

Erin Taylor

Presenter: Grass Roots Advocacy

Originally from Costa Rica, Erin is a mother to five adolescents, married to Jack and lives in Oklahoma City.  Her background is in higher education access for special populations such as first generation, refugee, veteran and single parent students. For many years, she worked in Academic Affairs at the OK State Regents for Higher Education until the birth of her son who required multiple heart surgeries and then a transplant before the age of six. Now, she serves as the Adult Advocacy and Training Coordinator at the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council where she coordinates the Partners in Policymaking program.  She is also a recurring instructor at the OU Women and Gender Studies program. Erin holds a PhD in Adult and Higher Education and is a post-doctoral Fellow of the Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Education (LEND) program. She is the author of two books but still not as smart of OK Policy summer intern Amy Smith.

Etta Taylor

Panelist: Education

Etta Taylor is President-Elect of the Oklahoma Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), Oklahoma’s largest and oldest child advocacy association, founded in 1922. She attended Tulsa Public Schools and Tulsa Community College and now serves in the community where she grew up. Her roles in PTA have allowed her to be the President of the Wilson Middle School PTSA and Booker T. Washington Council delegate. She is currently the President at the new Will Rogers Jr/High School PTSA and the Tulsa Council President.

Kim Teehee

Panelist: Careers in Public Policy

Kim Teehee is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She joined Cherokee Nation Businesses in 2014 after serving as Partner for the Mapetsi Policy Group, a federal advocacy group representing Indian tribes and tribal organizations. She served President Obama as the first-ever Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs, and is especially proud of her work toward the Administration’s support of proposed legislation to hold perpetrators of domestic violence against Native women accountable for their crimes. Ms. Teehee has worked with federal agencies to develop policies focused on environmental justice, tribal consultation and self-determination, economic growth, and more.

Lawrence Ware

Presenter: Race in Public Policy Breakout Session

Lawrence Ware is an Oklahoma State University Division of Institutional Diversity fellow. He teaches in OSU’s philosophy department and is the diversity coordinator for its Ethics Center. A frequent contributor to The Root and Dissent magazine, he is also a contributing editor of NewBlackMan (in Exile) and the Democratic Left. He has been a commentator on race and politics for HuffPost Live, NPR’sTalk of the Nation and PRI’s Flashpoint. Ware’s book on the life and thought of C.L.R. James will be published by Verso Books in the fall of 2017. 

Jill Webb

Panelist: Criminal Justice Reform

Jill Webb received her undergraduate degree in Education at Texas A&M University and began her first career teaching English, Psychology, and Theory of Knowledge in the International Baccalaureate Program in Texas public school system. After serving in the United States Peace Corps, she returned to the United States from Armenia, and began law school in 2003 at Chicago Kent College of Law in downtown Chicago. She made the decision to attend law school so that she could become a public defender.

Jill joined the Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office in 2006, shortly after earning her law degree. After practicing a on a felony docket for nearly 5 years, she began her private practice focusing on federal and state criminal defense. She returned to the Public Defender’s Office in September 2015 as the Community Resource Coordinator.

Summer Wesley

Presenter: Tribal Sovereignty in Oklahoma

Summer Wesley, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is a tribal attorney who dedicates her efforts to social issues and safeguarding tribal sovereignty

Steve Whitaker

Panelist: What do we do to move people out of poverty?

Steve Whitaker, 59, is President/CEO and Senior Pastor of John 3:16 Mission, a Gospel rescue ministry that serves Tulsa’s homeless men and women as well as at-risk children and families. Steve’s career at the Mission began in 1989 when he was charged with founding the Mission’s outreach to urban children, teens and their families.

As Family & Youth Ministry Director, Steve oversaw the development of programs that today provide tens of thousands of needy people with food, clothing, and utility assistance as well as spiritual counseling and practical guidance. Programs he initiated for children and youths include fine arts, summer literacy, after-school care and recreation, vacation Bible school and martial arts and self-defense training, mentoring. Computer training and GED classes are also offered.

In 2001, Steve became John 3:16 Mission’s 6 th President. Since then, he has focused on growing the Mission’s capacity to serve the homeless and at-risk and to inspire Christ-centered life transformation. During Steve’s tenure as President/CEO & Sr. Pastor the Mission has added a dayroom for homeless women, enhanced its homeless men’s program, rejuvenated its volunteer corps, and added a life skills program for low-income parents at the Family & Youth Ministry.

Recognizing the need for upgraded facilities, Steve led efforts to expand John 3:16 Mission through the construction of its first ever purpose-built facility “New Life Hall”, a new kitchen/cafeteria/chapel building in 2011. The Mission’s overnight homeless shelter is being fully renovated to allow for more programs and services. Additionally, a rural recovery campus for homeless men, The Refuge, remains central to Steve’s long-term vision of providing the best ministry possible to the homeless of Tulsa. This School building and 160 acres will provide the opportunity for untold numbers of men and women to be made whole in Christ. The Oklahoma Senate appointed Steve to the Oklahoma Food Security Committee to further study the needs of the hungry and homeless throughout the state. Steve just finished a time of serving on the

National Board of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. Before answering the call to inner-city ministry, Steve was pastor of Romulus Baptist Church in southern Oklahoma for four years. Prior to this, he served as Youth Minister of Temple Baptist Church in Shawnee, Okla. Steve grew up in north Tulsa where he graduated from McLain High School before later earning a degree in Pastoral Ministries from Oklahoma Baptist University. He then attended Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

On a personal note, Steve has been married to his wife, Sandy, for 40 years. He is the father of three grown sons and grandfather of seven. An accomplished martial artist, Steve holds a 6th Dan in the Kyokushinkai, a 3rd Dan in Tae Kwon Do, and a 1 st Dan in Shurite. He is a three time A.B.K.A. U. S. Heavyweight Champion in full-contact karate. In his free time, he enjoys martial arts, shooting sports, hunting, camping, fishing and hiking. His civic and ministry activities include membership positions with various organizations including The Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, Christian Community Development Association, American Bushido Kai Karate Association, Oklahoma / Texas Shurite Association, United Martial Arts Association, Combat Team Ministries, and Founder of Open Door Ministries for abused women.

Jane Wiseman

Panelist: Public Leadership: Myths and Realities

Jane P. Wiseman is a Judge of the Court of Civil Appeals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University, a Master of Arts degree in American History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law.

She began clerking for Rosenstein, Fist & Ringold in her second term in law school continuing as a legal intern and then as an associate until her first child was born when she practiced as a sole practitioner until being appointed a Special Judge for Tulsa County.  The Governor appointed her a District Judge in 1981 when she was assigned to the Family Relations Division and then to the Civil Division.  As a trial judge, she tried close to 1,000 jury trials.  In March 2005, Governor Brad Henry appointed her to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals in Tulsa where she currently serves.

Judge Wiseman has served as President of the Oklahoma Judicial Conference and currently serves on its Executive Board and Legislative Committee.  She has taught trial court case management as a member of the National Judicial College faculty in Reno, Nevada.

She has also served on the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee, Evidence Committee, and the OBA Special Task Force on Tort Reform.  She is active with the Tulsa County Bar Association, serving on its Awards and Nominations and Bench and Bar Committees and as a frequent continuing legal education presenter.

She is married to Jim Hodges and has two sons, Jamie and John, and two sons-by-marriage, Clayton and Kevin, and two granddaughters, Cecilia and Grace.

Rep. George Young

Panelist: Criminal justice Reform

Reverend Doctor George E. Young, Sr. was born in Memphis, Tenn.  He retired from 30 years of Pastoral service in 2013.  Dr. Young was elected to the Oklahoma State House of Representative in 2015.  Dr. Young is the author of “Christology:  A Look At Practical Christianity.”   He was selected to attend the 2015 Class of the Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills in Little Rock, sponsored by the Southern Legislative Conference.  He has been selected to attend the 2016 Class of the prestigious Henry Toll Fellowship, the national leadership program of the Council of State Governments.  He was invited and attended the Medicaid Leadership Policy Academy in Washington, DC and the follow up Advanced Academy, sponsored by the Council of State Governments.  He is a Certified Mediation Specialist in Family and Divorce issues. He received his undergraduate degree from Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee.   He continued his education receiving a Masters of Arts in Ministry from Oklahoma Christian University, graduating Magna Cum Laude, a Master of Divinity Degree from Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, Oklahoma, graduating Cum Laude, and a Master of Business Administration from Oklahoma Christian University in December of 2006 and completed his Doctorate of Ministry from Phillips Theological Seminary in 2010.  

He completed a term as a Commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services where he served as Budget Chair.   Pastor Young was a trustee for Phillips Theological Seminary. He is a board member of the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma (where he served two years as Chair of Volunteers), Ethics Officer for The United Way of Greater Oklahoma City (Chair of the Ethics Committee and (former board member ) of Leadership Oklahoma City and Leadership Oklahoma.    He is a graduate of the Oklahoma Aging Leadership Advocacy Academy class of 1999 (Charter Class).  He is an alumnus of Leadership Oklahoma City (Class XX),  completed two years as Co-Chair of Classes XIX and XXX and an alumnus of Leadership Oklahoma where he was awarded the “Golden Bull” Award for most socially provocative. He received the Good Citizen Award and The Social Justice Award from the Oklahoma Conference of Churches where he served as President.   He is an adjunct professor for Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa.   He is married to the Reverend Dr. Thelma Chambers-Young, has two children and three wonderful grandsons. He is the CEO of Young Management Consulting, a mediation and nonprofit management and leadership development firm.

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