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Johnson to receive Leadership Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award

Johnson to receive Leadership Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award

Leadership Oklahoma Honors Four State Leaders

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., January 31, 2020—Leadership Oklahoma will present four awards for leadership at its annual Excellence in Leadership Gala at The Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

“Each year, Leadership Oklahoma recognizes the outstanding contributions of Oklahoma corporate and individual leaders for their commitment and service to elevating the quality of life and empowering our state for greater prosperity,” said Marion Paden, President and CEO of Leadership Oklahoma.  “This year’s Excellence in Leadership award recipients are truly deserving based upon the remarkable and meaningful differences they have made in Oklahoma. It is our privilege to honor them.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have used their leadership abilities to improve the quality of life for Oklahoma’s citizens and its future generations. This year’s Leadership Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Glen D. Johnson, of Oklahoma City. Johnson is the chancellor and chief executive officer for the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. He leads a state system comprised of 25 state colleges and universities, 11 constituent agencies, two university centers, and independent colleges and universities coordinated with the state system. As chancellor, Johnson provides leadership on matters relating to standards for Oklahoma higher education, courses and programs of study, budget allocations for institutions, fees and tuition, telecommunications, and strategic planning. He is responsible for an annual higher education budget in excess of $2.7 billion as well as the state endowment fund, with a market value over $777 million. He is responsible or OneNet, which is Oklahoma’s most advanced technology network designed to provide the infrastructure to support high-speed broadband services, as well as the Oklahoma College Assistance Program, which has guaranteed more than 2.5 million student loans exceeding $8.1 billion in insured debt. Before his selection as the eighth chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education in January 2007, Johnson served as the 16th president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant for 10 years. During his tenure as president, he implemented an $85 million capital campaign to build a new student union, residence hall, arena and convocation center, biological sciences building, Small Business Development Center, campus security, and a new large classroom building.  Prior to his presidency at Southeastern, Johnson served as director of public policy and adjunct professor of law at the University of Oklahoma’s (OU) College of Law. He served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1982 to 1996 and was elected Speaker of the House from 1990 to 1996. At the time of his election as speaker, he was the youngest sitting speaker in the United States. Chancellor Johnson has been recognized both statewide and nationally as a strong, untiring advocate for funding for education, both secondary and higher education, in Oklahoma. His powerful political career was a model of success in leadership, as evidenced by the variety of his many major accomplishments not only for his own House District 24 (Hughes, Okfuskee and Okmulgee counties), but also in major initiatives, funding and improvements for the entire state of Oklahoma as Speaker of the House and chair of important legislative committees. He was the principal House author of the transformative Quality Jobs Bill, responsible for the creation of over 86,000 qualifying jobs since 1994. During his tenure in the legislature, Speaker Johnson was also instrumental in the passage of HB 1017, Oklahoma’s landmark education reform legislation, and he served as chair of the Appropriations and Budget Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. He authored Senate Bill 180 in 1988, which created the Endowed Chairs Program. In 1992, he was principal House author of HB 2428, the $350 million higher education bond issue, which included $14 million for the creation of the OneNet telecommunications system. Chancellor Johnson holds memberships in numerous professional, state and national organizations and has been the recipient of many awards and honors during his career. In 2010, he was appointed to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and is currently serving his fifth term as vice-chairman of SREB. In 2014, Glen was appointed to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) Council of Presidents. He was also appointed to the Board of Directors for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in 2014, having previously served on AASCU’s Board of Directors from 2004-2006 while president of Southeastern. As a member of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), he served as Chair of SHEEO from May 2018 – October 2019. In 2019, Johnson was selected as the recipient of the SHEEO Exceptional Leader Award, the organization’s highest honor an individual can receive, which recognizes the outstanding chancellor in the nation. He is a founding member of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in 1986. He also currently serves on the State Fair Board of Directors, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) Board of Directors, and the Epworth Villa Board of Directors. He previously served on the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum Board of Trustees. Johnson is a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s Executive Board of Directors and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in November of 2006. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2016. Johnson is an honors graduate of the University of Oklahoma, with an undergraduate degree in political science and a juris doctorate degree from the OU College of Law. He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Johnson has exhibited outstanding service to the citizens of Oklahoma spanning his lifetime.

The Distinguished Graduate Award honors a Leadership Oklahoma graduate whose recent leadership activities have exemplified the highest standards of Leadership Oklahoma and whose activities achieved results or set an example of statewide significance. This year, the Distinguished Graduate Award belongs to powerhouse couple, Marnie and Clayton Taylor of Oklahoma City, who have dedicated their lives serving their community and state while investing in the people around them. Although a dual recognition for this award is not typical, the Taylors’ leadership and support of organizations is often so interwoven between them, separating their influences does not seem to do their collective sufficient recognition. In her tenth year as CEO of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, Marnie represents and serves as the voice of more than 20,000 nonprofit organizations in Oklahoma. These nonprofit organizations employ 45% more people than the oil and gas industry. With 16.7% of Oklahomans living in poverty, Oklahoma’s nonprofit sector plays a significant role in “filling in the gaps”. Marnie’s work in leading our nonprofits to operate efficiently and socially and fiscally responsibly directs Oklahomans as we contribute nearly $2 billion annually to charitable organizations and over 100 million hours of volunteer service. The results of Marnie’s work can be seen daily across Oklahoma as nonprofits deliver needed services to our citizens. Under her leadership, the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits has grown from 7 to 25 employees, tripled its revenue, and received two real estate gifts that serve as the offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Her current and past professional and civic engagement is too numerous to list, however, it includes board service on the National Council for Nonprofits, the Potts Family Foundation, World Neighbors, Notre Dame Club of Oklahoma City, Junior League of Oklahoma City, Friends of the Governor’s Mansion, Sunbeam Family Services, ReMerge, CASA, and Center for Juvenile Justice. Marnie has received recognition from the Junior League of Oklahoma City, the National Association for Community Leadership’s Distinguished Alumni, the Oklahoma Outreach Foundation, and was named the Journal Record’s Woman of the Year in 2013 and Journal Record’s 2019 Nonprofit CEO of the Year. She is a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class XXIV.

LOK Class III member Clayton Taylor was part of Phillips Petroleum when he helped form Leadership Oklahoma, about a two year process. In the early 80’s, the oil bust was in full swing and a whole generation of leaders were at risk of being lost. As Clayton worked in other states and saw ideas he felt would benefit Oklahoma, he got folks excited and helped formed the organization. He was also active with Leadership OKC. Another reason for the formation of LOK was to break down the OKC/Tulsa barrier and to just be Leadership Oklahoma, a true statewide organization. The goals were to break down barriers, train and improve leadership, support leaders and have a statewide vision. The six founders met around state (three from Tulsa and three from OKC), then started pulling others into the concept. Being on the ground floor of Leadership Oklahoma is one of the most meaningful things Clayton feels he has helped create. He has fought to keep Leadership Oklahoma independent and on track. He in many ways had the original idea, or “spark”, but was transferred to Denver before the first class started, thus he was in Class III upon his return. He chooses to volunteer where he feels he can make the most difference, and when he does, he’s all in. Clayton is tenacious and forward thinking. His family, OSU, and the State of Oklahoma are his passions. He graduated from OSU as the Outstanding Senior Man in the College of Business Administration and as Top Ten Senior in the University. In 2003-2004, he served as president of the National OSU Alumni Association Board and previously chaired the Building Design Committee for the $14 million ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center built on the Stillwater campus. Currently, he serves on the Building Corporation for his OSU Phi Delta Theta Fraternity Chapter and was recently recognized by Oklahoma State University as a 2012 Distinguished Alumni. For the past 30 years, Clayton has maintained a close working relationship with the Oklahoma State Legislature and the U.S. Congress. He has always been heavily involved in community activities in Oklahoma ranging from his early start as Oklahoma 4-H Club State President and continuing as a founder of Leadership Oklahoma – serving as president in 1991.  Other leadership positions have included president of Oklahoma City Rotary Club #29, foundation chair for Oklahoma City Rotary Club #29, alumni president of Leadership Oklahoma City, president of Rural Enterprises Institute of Oklahoma, administrative board chairman of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, founding chairman of Oklahoma Leadership Congress, Metropolitan Oklahoma City Library Commissioner, one of 6 founders and past president of Leadership Oklahoma, Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Executive Board, Board of Ballet Oklahoma, Oklahoma 4-H Foundation and the Community Advisory Board of the Junior League. His latest passion is working to improve lives in Africa by working to combine efforts with OKC St. Luke’s Methodist, OKC-based World Neighbors and OKC Rotary.  Clayton has recently been named to the International Board of Rotarian Malaria Partners and has joined in with their efforts in Zambia. He currently serves as the chair for the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals.

The Business Leadership Award commends a business entity for its impact in promoting leadership principles and practices, implementing programs worthy of example, and fostering the growth of quality leadership. The Business Leadership Award will honor McNellie’s Group located in Tulsa. Elliot Nelson, the company’s founder and CEO, went to the University of Notre Dame for college. During his junior year, he left South Bend to study abroad in Dublin, Ireland. While in Ireland, he fell in love with the atmosphere and unique hospitality that he experienced every time he walked into classic Dublin pubs. Returning to his hometown of Tulsa, his unsuccessful search for a pub that felt like the ones he fondly remembered from his time in Dublin prompted him to build one himself. A fourth generation Tulsan, he’d listen to his parents and grandparents tell stories of downtown, and inn March 2004, he opened James E. McNellie’s Public House. The location was a lonely and desolate corner of downtown Tulsa at 1st and Elgin. The vision he saw, although risky, proved to be the right decision. The area wasn’t growing as fast as Nelson had hoped. Instead of waiting for others to build up the neighborhood, he set out to build it himself which is why McNellie’s Group has so many different concepts under their brand. Nelson and McNellie’s Group have been at the forefront of Downtown Tulsa, Brady and Blue Dome districts’ revitalization. These areas are a thriving and eclectic mix of businesses and continue to flourish today. In 2009, he formed McNellie’s Group and the organization has grown to ten unique brands spread across ninteen locations, three cities, and two states to include Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, AR, and soon to be in St. Louis, MO. Sixteen years later, with an employee base of more than 900, the economic impact is significant, but the leadership, energy and forward thinking approach of McNellie’s Group has played a huge role in Tulsa’s downtown revitalization. Starting this venture as young twentysomethings who really didn’t know what they were doing, leadership within the organization is a team effort. They continue to grow, build and create opportunities for those who have been loyal over the years and who have guided them through their inexperience. They focus on keeping talented people and being true to their loyalty. Kitchen and manager staff are now in leadership positions within the company, managing people to utilize their talents with what they are interested in, all for the betterment of the company. Industry averages of employee turnover are almost quadrupole that of McNellie’s Group. Taking care of its people, creating an atmosphere of longevity, and opportunities not typically offered within the industry have separated them from other companies. The ripple effect impacts the entire family which leads to more spending power within the community. They lead the industry with their civic and community focus as well. This organization generously and frequently donates to non-profit fundraising events and has a great reputation for its support of the community through volunteer efforts, board service and championing community causes. Mentoring other entrepreneurs to achieve success has also been a way to pay it forward. The mission statement of McNellie’s Group is to make cities a better place to live. And while they are in the restaurant business, their focus is the embetterment of our communities. Nelson is a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class XXVI.

The Statewide Community Award acknowledges an organization or company that, through specific projects or efforts, has reached across valued differences to develop among Oklahomans a sense of common purpose and a more profound sense of loyalty to their state. This award has been created to promote a heightened sense of appreciation for the possibilities available when Oklahomans work together as a single statewide community. The Statewide Community Award acknowledges theCherokee Nation of Oklahoma. The Cherokee Nation is transforming the future of health care in northeastern Oklahoma. On the W.W. Hastings medical campus in Tahlequah sits the new 469,000 square-foot outpatient health center, the largest in the U.S. to be operated by a tribe. As part of the historic Indian Health Service joint venture between a tribe and the federal government, Cherokee Nation invested $200 million in construction and equipment for the facility and IHS is providing $100 million annually for staffing and operational costs. The outpatient health center features more than 240 exam rooms, an ambulatory surgery center, two MRI machines, primary care, 34 dental chairs, full-service optometry and specialty health services. The tribe is expected to add 850 new health care-related jobs in the coming years, including 100 physicians. “It’s an honor to receive this year’s statewide community award for the Cherokee Nation’s advancement in rural and tribal health care,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. said. “Opening the largest tribal outpatient health facility in the country in the fall of 2019, and constructing the first medical school on tribal land to open in 2020 was the result of our leadership coming together to share input, vision, funding and determination to help get these projects in place for our tribal citizens, and community to benefit from long into the future.” The OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cherokee Nation, also on the Hastings campus in Tahlequah, is the first tribally affiliated medical school on tribal land in the country. The $40 million medical school will focus on educating primary care physicians who have an interest in serving Native and rural populations in Oklahoma. The first class of students will start this August.

Co-chairs of the Leadership Oklahoma Excellence in Leadership Gala are Rose Washington of Tulsa and Robin and Brad Krieger of Edmond. For ticket information or sponsorship opportunities, go to or call 405.848.0001.

Leadership Oklahoma is a statewide organization with 1,630 graduates from 183 Oklahoma communities whose mission is to create, inspire and support a dynamic network of leaders whose increased awareness and commitment to service will energize Oklahomans to shape the Oklahoma’s future.


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