40 Under 40: Visionaries Forge Tulsa’s Future

To meet the 2008 40 Under 40 class, click HERE.

The Tulsa Business Journal’s 2008 class of 40 Under 40 represents a wide range of young professionals who have already left their marks on Tulsa business and community service.
Mentors, peers and community leaders impressed with their accomplishments and character nominated the members of this 40 Under 40 class.
“She has a passion for this,” said Daven Tackett, writing about her business partner, Shannon Wilburn. “She sees the big picture. She can plan out five years and then follows it.”
These Tulsans are among the next generation of movers and shakers. They are a take-charge bunch — 12 already own their business and 13 serve as the president, CEO or principal of a company.
Actually, there are 41 in this class with one slot taken by a husband/wife team.
Women make up 35 percent of this group — split 26 to 15.
Class members represent a variety of professions. Executive recruitment, which is an extremely active field in the area, is the most represented, filling six seats in the class. The technology and communications sector and the community relations, PR and marketing field claims five members each. Four are bankers with two in other financial services. Four are university employees and two are in medical fields. Other professions represented include an attorney, creative services, American Red Cross CFO, meteorologist, pastor, realtor, auto restoration and babysitting services.
Although only eight of the class work downtown, all but one indicated they attend an event in downtown at least once a month.
Yet nearly two-thirds of them admitted they have no idea what streets are open downtown during reconstruction.
“I avoid downtown like the plague now – I was nervous getting here this morning,” answered one in a survey on a variety of topics.
Other comments included:
“It changes daily – travel at your own risk.”
“All the ones I drive on are closed. The others should be.”
“It’s the game of the week.”
When asked where they would park when the BOk Event Center opens, nearly half of them indicated they were unsure or had no idea.
“No idea yet, but ready to check it out. Exciting stuff!”
Others had already begun to formulate creative parking plans:
“I would take the bus so I wouldn’t have to deal with parking!”
“The BOk Center is working hard to bring in large events/acts – it would be worth it to park anywhere I can get a space. Not completely sure where that space would be, but I’ll find something.”
“At the nearest shuttle stop.”
“Cheapest/Close. Not afraid to walk.”
“Probably illegally.”
At 75 percent, this group is overwhelmingly Republican.
Well over three-fourths think Democrat Mayor Kathy Taylor will run for re-election, some adding comments like “I hope!”
The youngest of the class at 24, Shari Alexander has already founded a company, Presenting Matters LLC, which couples with executives create “powerful, compelling and captivating presentations.”
James Yates is just one example of how active the class is in the community. Yates volunteers with the Tulsa Area United Way, serving on the Venture Grants Board and the Community Investment Board. He’s also active with Habitat for Humanity.
“It allows me to take a step back from business and help those who struggle daily, who face adversity,” he said.
Several point out they have been successful because they found their niche, they discovered an unmet need.
“Creating and running this business is not about the money,” said Wilburn, one of the co-founders of Just Between Friends.
This class is strong on conservation.
When asked what they were doing to go ”green,” half of them said they were recycling, with one answering, “Not as much as I should.” Only one said “Nothing.”
Only one drives a hybrid vehicle; 31 said although they don’t now, but that they “would.” ?

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