2019 SPI Speaker Bios Day 3

Speaker Bios [Day 3]

[2019 SPI Home]

Alphabetical by last name of person (sorted by agenda)

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Panel Discussion: Mental Health Care Panel

Dr. Bryan K. Blankenship – Executive Director of Counseling and Recovery Services

Bryan K. Blankenship, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and the Executive Director for Counseling & Recovery Services of Oklahoma (CRS) in Tulsa. CRS is a private, non-profit Community Mental Health Center (CMHC), under contract with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, serving indigent, under/uninsured individuals and families challenged with serious mental illness/severe emotional disturbance. For the last 35 years, Bryan has spent his professional career in the Oklahoma CMHC system in both direct service and administrative positions. He is also a Sanctuary Institute Certified Peer Reviewer for agencies seeking certification in the Sanctuary Model, a trauma informed approach to client care and organizational functioning.

Rep. Carol Bush – Oklahoma House of Representatives

Carol Bush is the representative for House District 70, and likes to say that all her professional endeavors prepared her to enter the world of politics. She previously owned and operated several retail stores in Oklahoma, and also has five years’ experience as a residential real estate sales associate. She formerly served a nineteen county area in Northeast Oklahoma as a Field Representative in the area of Community Development for the Oklahoma State Department of Health. In the legislature, she serves as Vice Chair of the Long-Term Care and Health Services Committee, and as a member of the Public Health Committee, the Children Youth and Family Services Committee, and the Finance Appropriations & Budget subcommittee. Carol has extensive experience as a community volunteer and has served on various boards in the Tulsa area including; Big Brothers and Sisters of Green Country, Tulsa Area United Way, Camp Fire U.S.A., Tulsa Public Schools Mentoring Council, Emergency Infant Services, Junior League of Tulsa, and YWCA. She is a graduate of Oral Roberts University with a degree in Business/Marketing.

Jeff Dismukes – Director of Communications, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Jeff Dismukes joined the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in 2003 and currently serves as the ODMHSAS director of communications. He coordinates department media activities throughout the state, and is responsible for various communications functions.

His interests in behavioral health stem from lived experience that resulted in significant life-changing events. These changes eventually led him to the department, and are what fuels a personal desire to help others overcome discrimination and seek care early in the disease process. Much of the department’s public outreach activities include education on the myths and realities of behavioral illness.

Prior to joining the department, Dismukes worked for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and later as the head of a non-profit partnership to provide regional training and support services for the United States Department of Justice. He has been recognized for his work with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, injury prevention and community development. His accomplishments have earned accolades and recognition both locally and at the national level; even an award for valor from the United States Secretary of Transportation. He is an experienced grant writer and fund raiser, researcher and training consultant. Dismukes is involved in numerous health advocacy and community non-profit organizations.

Mr. Dismukes earned a Bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising, and Master’s degree in journalism and mass communication, from the University of Oklahoma. He lives in Norman with his wife Sandy, a Doctor of Pharmacy. Their son Beau is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and currently in his second year of law school.

Sabrina Harrison – Recovery Support Specialist, Family and Children’s Services

Sabrina Harrison joined Family and Children’s Services in May 2017 as a Peer Recovery Support Specialist. She also graduated the Women in Recovery program in October 2015. Sabrina frequently attends the Friends of F&CS (Family and Children’s Services) luncheons to share her experience with community partners. She is active in continuing care at Women in Recovery. She chairs meeting for current participants and serves on the board at alumni. She is excited to begin her journey through higher education. Giving back to the community is something Sabrina strives to achieve every day.

Juli Skinner – Clinic Administrator, Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health

Juli, a member of the Ponca Tribe, has worked with Native children and families for the past 19 years for the Cherokee Nation and has extensive knowledge working within a Native population. In 2012, she helped develop and launch a Children’s Behavioral Health department for the Cherokee Nation. In this role she served as a project director for 2 multiyear cooperative projects with SAMHSA and launched Project HERO. Before working in behavioral health, she supervised Indian Child Welfare programs for Cherokee Nation, developing the guardianship and private adoption unit, which serves Cherokee children in all 50 states.


Zack Stoycoff – Senior Director of Policy & Planning, Healthy Minds Initiative

Zack Stoycoff is a legislative and municipal advocacy professional with experience developing and lobbying for policy solutions in education, health care and criminal justice reform. He is currently senior director of policy and planning for the Healthy Minds Initiative, an advocacy group exploring new policies and funding to transform how mental health is addressed in Oklahoma. Zack was previously a journalist at the Tulsa World and a public relations manager for Tulsa’s Young Professionals. He most recently served as vice president of government affairs for the Tulsa Regional Chamber, where he managed a nationally-recognized regional legislative advocacy and coalition-building process.

Zack serves on the Board of Directors for the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless; the Advisory Board for the Child Abuse Network; the Community Action Group for the Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy; the Board of Directors for the Rogers State University Alumni Association; and previously served on the Tulsa Public Schools Bond Oversight Committee and the Board of Directors for the Tulsa Press Club. He is also a graduate of The Mine Fellowship and a member of Tulsa’s Young Professionals. He has a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Rogers State University.

Breakout Sessions #2

Breakout Session: Gender in Public Policy

Tamya Cox – Regional Director of Public Policy and Organizing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains

Tamya Cox grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and moved to Tulsa when she was 15.  She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.A. in journalism and minor in French. In 2006, Cox graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law. After being admitted to the bar, Cox worked for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma as the first legislative counsel. She is currently the Regional Director of Public Policy and Organizing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains. Committed to civil rights and civil liberties, Cox has traveled across the state and country speaking to communities regarding issues that directly impact their lives. She has served on numerous panels and presented on a variety of topics. 

Awards: AC Hamlin Award by the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus and John Green Community Service Award by the Association of Black Lawyers, and Faith and Freedom Award for the Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Breakout Session: Gender in Public Policy

Liz Charles – Executive Director, Oklahoma Women’s Coalition

Liz Charles serves as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition, the state’s leading advocacy organization for women and girls. Liz brings a passion for women’s issues and social justice work to this role, paired with over ten years’ experience in nonprofit administration, government affairs, and community engagement.

Liz has a proven track record of success in cultivating effective partnerships and working at all levels of government to shape public policy.  As Executive Director, Liz convenes stakeholders, community partners, and legislative champions to promote forward-thinking policies aimed at improving the quality of life for all women and girls in Oklahoma. Under her leadership, the Coalition has advanced key legislative priorities at the Oklahoma State Capitol, including pay transparency, paid family leave, criminal justice reform, and sexual assault victims’ rights.

Prior to joining the Coalition, Liz served as the Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association, where she successfully advocated for policies to improve public health by increasing equitable access to physical activity and nutritious food options in Oklahoma. Liz secured multiple nationally competitive grant awards to support those campaigns.

In her free time, Liz enjoys reading, riding her mountain bike, and exploring the outdoors with her family of five.

Breakout Session: Direct Lobbying

Kyle Lawson – Senior Field Organizer, Together Oklahoma

Read about Kyle on the OK Policy staff bio page.

Breakout Session: Social Media and Design

Jessica Vazquez – Communications Associate, OK Policy

Read about Jessica on the OK Policy staff bio page.

Panel Discussion: The Lived Experience of Poverty

Eli Guererro – Community Health Worker, Youth Services of Tulsa

Eli Guerrero is the Community Health Worker at Youth Services of Tulsa. They are an indigenous, queer activist, sex educator, & outreach worker who has lived below the poverty line their entire life. They have extensive experience with the numerous barriers that underprivileged people encounter in their struggle to obtain financial independence, or simply maintain the limited amount they do have; many of Eli’s interpersonal interactions have centered around the prejudices stemming from classism, since they (an LGBT POC who exists in the lowest tax bracket) have experienced far-too often the biases which are openly held towards those living paycheck to paycheck, by government agencies, court officials, social workers, & the population at large. Despite being a non-profit employee with multiple jobs, they still reside in subsidized housing, take public transit to work, & feed their children on government benefits – all resources that provide vital services for the poorest people in this country, yet are held up as a shameful measure of their recipients’ character or worth. Eli’s goal in speaking openly about their struggles is to provide firsthand experiences that illustrate the difficulties impoverished people face every day in this state, & hopefully affect change regarding how those hardships are perceived in the minds of those working with at-risk populations as we seek to find better ways to serve them.

Camille Landry – Co-owner of Nappy Roots Books

Camille Landry is a writer, community organizer, and human rights activist. She is the co-owner of Nappy Roots Books, Oklahoma’s only black bookstore, which is a gathering place for a wide assortment of grassroots organizations, an incubator for progressive programs, a provider of academic, cultural, literary and social programs for children and adults, and a center for literacy and learning in OKC’s black community. Ms. Landry’s book “Neglected Oklahoma” illustrates the effects of flawed public policies on the lives of Oklahoma’s citizens.

Julie Sorrels – Manager of Operations for the Board, Workforce Tulsa

In 1997, Julie Sorrels graduated East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Social Work Degree. She worked as a Child Welfare Specialist at the Tulsa County Department of Human Services for over ten years. In December of 2013, she graduated from the Family & Children’s Services Prison Diversion Program, Women in Recovery. Julie was also a participant in the Lindsey House program. That program provided her and her daughter with a safe place to live as they transitioned from homelessness to self-sufficiency. She has since become a homeowner and served on the Lindsey House Board of Directors. Julie is the Manager of Operations for the Board that oversees Workforce Tulsa, and has been employed there since September 2013.

Paul Wakam — Artist and Humanitarian

Paul Michael Wakam Sillachoum is a son of Jasinta Wakam Otubu, a Cameroonian immigrant who came to Indiana while pregnant with Paul. After relocating to Oklahoma, Paul graduated from Union public schools in 2005. After graduation Paul returned to Cameroon until 2015 when he moved back to Oklahoma to be closer to his family. Since 2015 Paul has held a number of jobs, but continues to struggle with finances and stability. One thing Paul does not struggle with is his confidence to see the good in every situation – and a hope that things can always get better. 


Courtney Cullison, Policy Analyst, OK Policy

Read about Courtney on the OK Policy staff bio page.

Panel Discussion: Public Leadership—Myths and Realities

Chief James R. Floyd — Principal Cheif, Muscogee (Creek) Nation

James Floyd is the chief executive of the fourth largest tribe in the United States, located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation covers eleven counties in eastern Oklahoma with over 86,500 members worldwide. 

Chief Floyd oversees Departments of: Housing, Health, Social Services, Education, Training, Economic Development, Law Enforcement, Language, Tourism, Cultural/Historic Preservation, Media/Public Affairs, Community Development, Environmental, Veterans Services, and Roads. He coordinates with traditional church and ceremonial ground leaders (Mekkos), Tribal communities, Tribal Legislative and Judicial branches, as well as with other tribal, city, state and federal governments. 

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation operates a budget in excess of $290 million with more than 4,000 employees. Gaming enterprises consist of nine casinos; the largest is River Spirit Casino Resort featuring Margaritaville in Tulsa. Non-gaming business ventures include property management, information technology, staffing, and security to customers worldwide. MCN operates two Travel Plazas, two community hospitals, a community clinic, five tribal clinics, a rehab facility, and the College of the Muscogee Nation. 

Chief Floyd’s career spans more than 38 years of public service: 28 years of federal service, 23 years in the Senior Executive Service. He served as Director of:  the Eastern Oklahoma VA in Muskogee; the VA Heartland Network (VISN 15) in Kansas City, Missouri; the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System; the VA Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he coordinated health support for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games; and the Portland Area Indian Health Service in Portland, Oregon. He has been recognized nationally for establishing outreach to Native American Veterans, incorporating traditional healing practices, and establishing tele-health services in rural and Native American communities, and was awarded the American College of Healthcare Executives’ Regent’s Award.

Chief Floyd began his professional career with Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Environmental Services. He was Manager of Health Services, then Director of Community Services where he implemented the Tribe’s first food distribution, social services, burial assistance, and school clothing programs.

A graduate of Eufaula High School, Chief Floyd earned an Associate Degree from Oklahoma State University, graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration from Northeastern State University, and earned a Masters of Public Administration/Health Administration from Portland State University. He completed training at the University of North Carolina and at the Brookings Institute, and is a Fellow in the American College of Health Executives. 

Chief James Floyd is Wind Clan of his mother’s (Margaret) Koweta Tribal Town and a son of his father’s (Joe) Bear Clan. He attends the Tvlahasse Wvkokaye ceremonial ground. He has been married to Carol (Tustison) Floyd since 1979. They have a son and a daughter. 

Hon. David B. Lewis – Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Special Judge

Judge David B. Lewis was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Governor Brad Henry appointed him as Judge on the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on August 4, 2005. He served as Presiding Judge for 2013-2014 and is currently serving his second term as Presiding Judge. Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors from the University of Oklahoma in 1980 and earned his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1983. He served four years as a Comanche County prosecutor, after four years in private practice. Lewis served as Comanche County special judge from 1991 to 1999. He was a district judge for Comanche, Stephens, Jefferson and Cotton counties from 1999 to 2005. He formerly served as President of the Comanche County Bar Association. He has served as president of the Oklahoma Judicial Conference and is a fellow of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. He is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the American Bar Association. Lewis was selected as a member of the Class of 2008 Henry Toll Fellowship Program of the Council of State Governments. He was inducted into the Order of the Owl at the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2017. Lewis serves on the Board of Visitors of the University of Oklahoma College of Law, and is co-chair of the Bench and Bar Committee of the Oklahoma Bar Association. Lewis also serves on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma, and served as chairman of Reach Out and Read Oklahoma. Lewis became Presiding Judge January 1st, 2019. Lewis has two children – a son, David Jr., and a daughter, Danielle.

Steve Lewis – Former Speaker of the Oklahoma House

Steve Lewis is former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma. He graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a B.A. in government then received his J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Lewis served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps and for three years was Station Legal Officer for the U.S. Naval Station, Sangley Point, Luzon, Republic of the Philippines. He returned to Shawnee after serving in the Navy and was an Assistant District Attorney and the elected District Attorney in Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties between 1971 and 1979. He tried numerous felony cases and served as legal counsel for two grand juries. Mr. Lewis was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in the fall of 1980 and In 1983, after only three years in the House, he was appointed Chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee where he served for five years. In 1989, Mr. Lewis was elected Speaker. Mr. Lewis’ legislative career is probably best noted for HB 1017, the education reform and revenue measure that he authored and helped push through the legislative process in 1989 and 1990. In 1993 Mr. Lewis was appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma where, for over seven years, he supervised the trial of numerous federal criminal and civil cases on behalf of the government. Mr. Lewis has served in numerous civic capacities. He was president of the Pottawatomie County Bar Association and is currently a member of the Oklahoma and Tulsa County Bar Associations. He was president of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association and chair of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council. Mr. Lewis is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church currently assigned to St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church. He has served as chair of the board for the Crossroads Academy, an after school program for at risk children, as a member of the board and treasurer of Greenwood Cultural Center, on the boards of Youth Services of Tulsa and Tulsa CASA, Inc. and chaired the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine Advisory Committee for Graduate Programs in Forensic Sciences. Mr. Lewis’ legal and lobbying practice includes business, social service provider agencies, medical, legal and professional entities and associations.

Leslie Osborn – Oklahoma Labor Commissioner

In 2018 Leslie Osborn was elected State Labor Commissioner. Prior to that she served ten years in the OK House of Representatives for District 47. During her time there she was the first female to chair the Judiciary committee of the House, and in December of 2016 she was named the first Republican female chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. During her tenure she authored landmark workers compensation reform and passed into law the first Pay for Success contract in Oklahoma, which was a public-private partnership with the Department of Corrections and the Kaiser Foundation to move women from incarceration to the Women in Recovery Program.

The Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women recognized Leslie Osborn with the 2019 Kate Barnard Award for her efforts in advocating for women. The award was established in 1998 to honor elected or appointed public officials who have made a difference in Oklahoma.

Osborn 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 selling heavy duty truck parts, Osborn Pick-Up Accessories, and is the mother of two children.

Osborn serves on the advisory board of SBDC, the Oklahoma Academy advisory board, and the Canadian Valley Technology Center Foundation Board. She was in Leadership OK Class 27 and served as the state director of the national group Women in Government.


David Blatt – Executive Director, OK Policy

Read about David on the OK Policy staff bio page.