Women of Distinction

Tulsa Business Staff

For the first time, Tulsa Business Journal is honoring 20 notable women with our Women of Distinction awards.
Being privy to the inner goings on of the Tulsa business community, we couldn’t help but notice how many remarkable women were making significant contributions to their various industries. And we knew, for every one we knew about, there were countless others whose stories hadn’t yet been told.

So, we sought out nominations from folks in the community, asking them to recommend their favorite women for our award. After receiving more than 100 nominations, we, with much difficulty, whittled them down to the 20 you see featured in this issue’s insert.

They range in age from mid-30s to late 60s, and their industries and professions are even more varied. Six of them own their companies, three work for nonprofit organizations, and the others represent banking, academia, architecture, government, ecology, oil and gas, law, aerospace, health care, higher education and real estate.

All see opportunities for women in business in Tulsa.

“I think, in this time, women have as much of an opportunity as men, especially in Tulsa, an entrepreneurial mecca,” said Adrienne Kallweit, founder of SeekingSitters Franchise System Inc.

Jennifer Hays-Grudo, George Kaiser Family Foundation chair of community medicine at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa School of Community Medicine, said, “Women can and should be strong leaders. The world needs our voices.”

Colleen Payne-Nabors, president and CEO of MCI Diagnostic Center, said, “I believe when a woman walks with the power of who she is, she walks tall and strong and can accomplish anything.”

To honor and celebrate what these 20 women have already accomplished, TBJ is hosting an awards ceremony and luncheon Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 12 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, downtown at 100 E. Second St.

Kathy Taylor, top education adviser to Gov. Brad Henry and former mayor of Tulsa, will be the event’s keynote speaker, touching on the need for women to fill public servant roles. Julie Chin, morning and midday meteorologist for 2News, will be the emcee.

“We’re honored to be recognizing some of Tulsa’s most successful and highly regarded women,” said Chuck Branch, TBJ publisher. “In every industry, there are more women than we can count who have contributed in meaningful ways to the economic and community development of our city. We look forward to honoring 20 of them in at this event and even more in coming years.”

The luncheon and awards ceremony is open to the public. Tickets are $35 each, and a table of eight is $300. Reservations can be made by calling the TBJ office at 918-585-6655.