Award-Winning Mayor, Author to Address Leadership Oklahoma

Graham Richard, mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Anthony Shadid, a native Oklahoman who is the Islamic affairs correspondent for the Washington Post, will be featured speakers at Leadership Oklahoma’s annual conference Sept. 22 in Oklahoma City.

The conference marks Leadership Oklahoma’s 20th anniversary.

Ann Ackerman, CEO of Leadership Oklahoma, said the speakers will offer insightful views for community leaders across Oklahoma, and those who are interested in Oklahoma’s presence around the world.

Richard is seen as one of the most innovative mayors in the United States. Paris said his achievements in Fort Wayne, the second largest city in Indiana, can be applied in communities of all sizes across Oklahoma.

First elected in 1999, Richard has been widely recognized for using technology and business practices to help protect taxpayers, reduce costs, and provide additional services with fewer employees.

Since Richard took office, Fort Wayne has invested more than $200 million in infrastructure improvements, gained 4,000 new jobs, and reduced crime to its lowest rate in 20 years. One of his recent initiatives was to deploy a “fiber to the premises” technology to more than 65,000 households.

Before joining the Washington Post, Shadid worked for the Washington bureau of the Boston Globe. An Oklahoma City native of Lebanese descent, since Sept. 11 Shadid has traveled to Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Europe, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Israel and Palestinian territories.

His career also includes stops in Los Angeles and Cairo, where he reported from most countries in the region from 1995-99.

Shadid speaks and reads Arabic, offering him insights not available to most Western journalists working in the Middle East. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and did graduate work at Columbia University in New York.

Shadid will be speaking to the Leadership Oklahoma conference live via satellite from Beirut. His address comes during the noon luncheon.

Co-chairs of the conference are Bob Hammack, Shirley Hammer and Leslie Paris.

The conference runs from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. Registration is $60.

Leadership Oklahoma is a statewide organization whose mission is to create a dynamic network of leaders whose increased awareness and commitment to service will energize Oklahomans to shape Oklahoma’s future. Now in its 20th year, more than 1,000 Oklahomans have graduated from Leadership Oklahoma’s annual leadership class.

For more information, visit or call (405) 848-0001.

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