Leadership Tulsa Announces Paragon Award Winners

Lynn Conrad, of Operation Aware, Jim Langdon, of The Oklahoma Conference for Community and Justice, and Ellen Ralph, of Youth Services of Tulsa, are Leadership Tulsa’s 2007 Paragon Awards winners. The three individuals will be honored, along with ten other nominees, at the annual Paragon Awards dinner Friday, June 8, 6 p.m., at the Perryman Ranch in Jenks.

Each year the Paragon Awards recognize Leadership Tulsa graduates who have made outstanding contributions by providing community service to the metro area. Each award winner receives a $3,000 check for their respective charitable organizations. Local nonprofit agencies submit nominations and a selection committee chooses the winners.

Other nominees who will be honored at the event include David Been, Marlo Duffy Turner, Jan Figart, Alexis Higgins, Karen Langdon, Dwain Midget, Mercedes Millberry, George Smith, Justice Waidner and John Williams.

The selection committee included Sharon Bell of Rogers & Bell, Attorneys at Law, Gene Callahan of Tulsa Technology Center, Linda Jenkins of the Tulsa Area United Way, Ed Keller, business leader and Francisco Trevino of the Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Martha King-Clark and Nancy McNair are the event co-chairs. Other committee members include. Other committee members include Denice Brice, Julie Shields Emison, Monica Hamilton, Alexis Higgins, Kent Inouye, Terry Jakober, Karen Langdon, Mary Smith, Sandra Thomas. Wendy Thomas is executive director of Leadership Tulsa and Chris Metcalf is president of the board of directors.

2007 Winners
Lynn Conard is nominated by Operation Aware. Lynn has been a committed board member and volunteer of Operation Aware for over five years. Under Lynn’s leadership, two new curricula were added to the Operation Aware program expanding the range of healthy choice issues taught, service recipients, and ages served. She established the groundwork of the recruiting process for Board Development. Her expertise was critical during the agency’s decision to move from its long-time location downtown to its current office. Her assistance in special events led to a new financial record set for the Rick Couri Event and new participation levels established for the Red Ribbon Run. As President in 2006, she was unexpectedly faced with the transition of the entire agency office staff during her tenure. She stepped into the role of Acting Executive Director twice during the year, while also leading the search committee to fill the vacancies. Lynn smoothly navigated the organization through this challenging transition. Her focus has always been on continued success for the employees, and the students and communities we serve. In short, Lynn Conard has taught all of us by her example how to lead instead of follow.

Jim Langdon is nominated by The Oklahoma Conference for Community and Justice. As Vice President for Public Awareness, Jim catapulted the OCCJ organization to new levels of public consciousness. Under Jim’s leadership, OCCJ launched a new public awareness campaign in January of 2006 so that people could incorporate in their New Year’s resolutions the support of OCCJ’s mission to fight bias, bigotry, and racism in America. Through Jim’s professional ties, journalists and videographers at KOTV-6 crafted public service announcements and testimonials, and several local stations agreed to put the spots in rotation. The provocative “Join Our Hate Group: We hate racism, bigotry, prejudice and injustice” ads and still photographs took Tulsa by storm. The response was overwhelming: more contributions, more members, and a more widely understood mission. Thanks to Jim, OCCJ has a considerably higher profile in the community, and is now working to take its message statewide. This dramatic growth comes on the heels of a separation from our former national parent and a wildly successful fundraising campaign designed to insure our success as an independent nonprofit organization. Jim proved instrumental in these efforts as well. His deep conviction fuels his desire to rally others around the OCCJ mission and do everything in his power to insure our success.

Ellen Ralph is nominated by Youth Services of Tulsa (YST). Ellen joined the Board of YST in June 2002 after spending a year on the Board as a Leadership Tulsa Intern. Since that time, Ellen has been responsible for many innovative initiatives that have significantly improved the standing of YST in the community. One of the most important initiatives was the implementation of a Community Outreach Committee and the creation of the First Friday Events. These events have been instrumental in educating people about the organization and in recruiting Board Members, volunteers and donors. Since its inception in 2005, the First Friday events have been responsible for helping obtain six Board Members, over $33,000 in cash donations, a bequest of a house, and an incredible amount of in-kind donations. First Friday events have also doubled the volunteer base with the addition of hundreds of volunteers. Ellen was solely responsible for developing a partnership with the Tulsa Technology Center, which has since benefited YST in many ways. She also initiated the creation of the YST Ambassadors program, which trains volunteers who give presentations to groups and businesses about YST. Additionally, Ellen has had a key role in Board Development, helping to identify needs and recruit new Board Members. She was instrumental in working with a committee to refine the Strategic Plan and she has been a very generous contributor. Ellen is an exemplary Board member whose visionary leadership has made a dramatic impact on our organization.

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