1Aaron Wilson, 37

Owner, Wilson Auto Family and Wilson Powersports

Aaron Wilson has his hands full as the owner of three different enterprises: Wilson Chevrolet, Wilson Buick-GMC-Cadillac and Wilson Powersports. “I have the privilege of working with 110 employees across the three storefronts in Stillwater,” he says. Before he joined the auto industry, Wilson used his economics degree as an analyst and commercial logistics manager. He describes his current role, however, as “a great blend of my strengths and passions – people and numbers. I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people and math classes, so it’s a perfect fit.” A perfect fit, indeed – Wilson’s crowning achievement thus far is growing his Cadillac location from the 500th to the 29th largest in the U.S. in just three years. However, he doesn’t go it alone – he attributes a lot of his successes to his employees and their collective drive. “We challenge each other to increase our capacity each day, which leads to everyone creating more value for the store. That, in turn, increases their capability, pay and overall fulfillment.” In his off hours, Wilson spends time with his wife, Allison, and their two daughters. He golfs and is active with the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, his church and Payne County Youth Services. “My wife told me long ago that youth and energy is an asset that you won’t have forever, so don’t waste it,” he says. “I remind myself and my team that every day.”

2Justin Lockwood, 32

Director of Preconstruction, Crossland Construction Company

As a director of preconstruction, Justin Lockwood “provides commercial construction cost and schedule information to clients, from the design phase through start of construction,” he says. “Most of our clients have been planning to build their facilities over many years, and I enjoy getting to assist in seeing these buildings go from paper to construction.” Lockwood says he’s been interested in creating things from a very young age – which led him to getting his bachelor’s degree in construction management technology from Oklahoma State University. “I always wanted to build things on the largest scale possible,” he says – and now he does. What makes him proudest on the job is “the day our clients get to break ground on a project they’ve been planning for years,” and he believes his greatest achievement at Crossland thus far is “being part of a team from our company that got to build a world renowned park. This required procuring materials from across the globe over several years.” Outside work, Lockwood volunteers to help out those experiencing homelessness, and spends time with his kids, as well as outdoors – fishing, playing volleyball and mountain biking. 

3Tesia Zientek, 36

Oklahoma City
Education Director, Citizen Potawatomi Nation

Not only is Tesia Zientek the director of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Department of Education – she also founded it. “This means I had the honor of hiring our original team and developing our strategic direction,” she says. “Now, when a tribal citizen needs educational help, they know who to call, and we have countless programs in place to serve them.” Her day-to-day responsibilities are vast; her department “manages the internship program, provides advising services and administers our tribal scholarship for over 1,600 Citizen Potawatomi college students annually.” For all of this and more, Zientek acts as the point of contact for tribal consultations and local schools. “I love the opportunity to serve our tribal citizens and center my Potawatomi values every day in my work,” she says. Zientek is also the president of the National Indian Education Association, president of the Oklahoma Council for Indian Education, and vice president of the Tribal Education Department’s National Assembly. “I am extremely passionate about supporting tribal educational programming and advocating for positive change for our Indigenous students,” she says. You can find Zientek off the clock spending time with her partner, reading, listening to podcasts, doing puzzles and scouring thrift stores and estate sales. 

4Adam McCreary, 35

Director of Government Relations, Cherokee Nation Businesses

Building positive relationships “with lawmakers, community leaders and other tribes” is the goal for Adam McCreary in his position with Cherokee Nation Businesses. In addition, he provides support to the Nation’s delegate to congress, Kim Teehee, and works closely with the Principal Chief and Cabinet on special projects. “By advocating for the Cherokee Nation’s interests, we hope to create a brighter future for its communities,” he says. “I work for a progressive government that prioritizes services for the people it serves, like healthcare, education and community support. The work that we do has a direct impact on people’s lives, and knowing that we’re making a difference is truly rewarding.” Along with impacting his communities and forging paths for generations to come, McCreary spends his time off volunteering at the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma. “Through my work with the [MHAO], I have been able to make a difference in people’s lives by helping to eliminate the stigma about mental illness,” he says. He also enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, along with reading and fishing. 

5Meghan Garrett, 39

Sand Springs
Marketing and Graphic Design, KKT Architects, Inc.

At KKT Architects, Meghan Garrett “ideates, creates and executes digital and print graphics for internal and external marketing communications on behalf of the firm,” she says. “I have an eye for details and enjoy working collaboratively to create different designs and explore a variety of ideas through graphics.” Additionally, she says, she likes “problem-solving and creating eye-catching graphics, along with finding new ways to creatively market and promote our firm and our work.” What makes her proudest at KKT is that she is allowed to “play a key role in multiple projects simultaneously.” Off the clock, Garrett has spent time volunteering for the Route 66 Marathon since 2018. “I have been a part of all aspects of the event and love being a part of something that promotes a healthy lifestyle and brings people from around the world to Tulsa,” she says. “Witnessing people achieve their goals when they cross the finish line is incredibly inspiring.” In her spare time, Garrett puts her artistic skills to use, creating content for several Etsy shops; her current store is called OctoberInkStudio. 

6Clint Black, 37

Chief Operating Officer, Ross Group Construction Corporation, LLC

Although he started out as an intern at Ross Group, Clint Black now leads the charge at the prolific construction company. His day-to-day consists of “ensuring our projects are completed safely, with a high level of quality – on time and within budget,” he says. “I work daily with our project management staff to find creative ways to work through challenging situations with subcontractors, end users, designers and other outside agencies to provide the best experience possible for our clients.” His favorite aspect of the job, he says, is “seeing young construction managers grow in their career. It gives me great joy to see how the career of a young person grows over the years.” Black says he was called to construction from a young age. “I enjoyed taking toys and mechanical items apart and putting them back together to understand how they work,” he explains. Outside work, Black enjoys exercise, golf and spending time with his family. He also volunteers with the Bixby Outreach Center. “There is a true need in our community to help those in need, and through the BOC I feel I can impact others,” he says. 

7Eric Williams, 39

Director of Information Technology, Williams Companies

Solving problems, driving solutions and positively influencing the careers of those around him are key objectives for Eric Williams as the director of IT at Williams Companies. “My team and I are responsible for providing technology solutions and IT support to a large portion of our Williams organization, including finance and accounting, human resources, supply chain, engineering, project execution, legal and many others,” he says. “Our team is also the ‘center of excellence’ for Williams in the areas of analytics, business intelligence, digital automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning.” Driven by his desire to learn and grow, Williams is “passionate about working collaboratively across teams and supporting others, and my interest in technology drew me to the field of IT,” he says. “It wasn’t so much a conscious decision to choose a career as it was a natural progression of following my passions and finding a job that I truly enjoy.” As the Williams Tulsa United Way Campaign Chair, Williams raised $1.5 million for the organization in 2020. He’s also active with the Owasso Rams Golf Booster Club, Owasso Education Foundation and Operation Bikes for Kids. His off-hours are spent with his family – traveling, golfing and listening to music.

8Joshua Wilson, M.D., 32

Orthopedic Surgeon, Ortho Central – Norman Regional Health System 

As a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, Joshua Wilson, M.D., specializes in sports-related injuries, arthroscopic surgery, cartilage restoration and orthopedic care of the knee, shoulder, hip, wrist and hand. He most enjoys “working with my patients to help them get back to doing the things they love,” he says. “I spend time on the sidelines of sporting events, and when an athlete is injured, we work together to find the best treatment possible. It is incredibly rewarding to see an athlete return to play and know you played a part in their recovery process.” He truly takes pride in his patients’ successes – big and small – “whether it is returning to the football field, having the ability to walk or dance without pain, or simply playing with their grandkids.” Outside the operating room, Wilson has gone on a variety of medical aid trips, and also spends time volunteering at sporting events to provide medical coverage. He’s an avid outdoorsman, and enjoys running, hiking, biking and lifting weights. “I am Chickasaw, so I have really enjoyed visiting some of the historical sites in Oklahoma and learning more about my heritage,” he says. 

9Nicole Schultz, 36

Executive Officer of Public Affairs, The Chickasaw Nation

Nicole Schultz’s job is all about communicating with the Chickasaw Nation and its citizens – a network of over 77,000 people worldwide. “My team is responsible for overseeing tribal social media, publications and campaigns to ensure strategies and content are aligned with the mission and vision of the Chickasaw Nation,” she says. “I love that my job is to inform Chickasaw citizens of opportunities that really can make a difference in their or their family’s lives.” Schultz feels passionate about sharing the history and culture of her Nation. “We have the opportunities to be creative in the storytelling of our citizens,” she says. “We also help citizens connect no matter where they live.” Off work, Schultz is a member and the past president of the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women. “I am proud to be a part of this organization of strong women who work tirelessly on behalf of Native women throughout our state,” she says. “The federation has supported me throughout my life, so I am honored to be able to give back through advocacy efforts.” Her leisure time, she says, is family time – from day trips to OU sporting events, cooking, Thunder games, outdoor activities and the First Friday Art Walk at the Paseo. 

10Travis J. Small, D.O., 39

Orthopedic Surgeon, Saint Francis Health System and Warren Clinic 

A long educational journey led Travis J. Small, D.O., to his current position as an orthopedic surgeon. After getting his bachelor’s in zoology at OU, Small went to Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine to receive his D.O., followed by an M.S. in medical education. Now, he specializes in knee and hip replacements at Saint Francis Health System. “I love science and working with my hands,” he says. “While playing sports, I was exposed to orthopedic surgery at a young age.” What he most loves about his job is that he “gets to improve people’s quality of life almost immediately,” and says his greatest achievement in his job thus far is “fixing a patient’s knee that had eight previous procedures and had been turned down by multiple surgeons.” He says that if he weren’t a physician, he’d be using his talents as a teacher or a basketball coach. Small, who believes the secret to success is good, old-fashioned hard work, can be found outside the operating room spending time with his family, exercising, listening to music and spending time outdoors. “I grew up on a farm in western Oklahoma and love horses, outdoors and hunting,” he says. He also volunteers with the Knights of Columbus and Holland Hall. 

11Jeremy Tan, M.D., 37

Oculofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Dean McGee Eye Institute

Specializing in rehabilitative, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery on the eyelids, eye sockets and tear duct systems, Jeremy Tan, M.D., describes his speciality as both “functional and aesthetic … using both a clinical and artistic viewpoint for each case,” he says. “I always enjoyed the face as an aesthetic unit. I enjoy living in the details and working with my hands; the two combine perfectly in the field of oculoplastics.” His favorite aspect of the job is “being able to bring someone back to feeling like themselves after a procedure with me,” and he tries to enjoy each success as it comes. “Satisfied patients, when I walk in and see a big smile – it’s a moment I cherish, and it really sticks with me.” Tan uses his medical expertise outside work to provide eye screenings and general care to lower access areas, both in Oklahoma and around the globe. “These exchanges remind me what drew me to medicine and viewing life with different sociocultural contexts,” he says. Tan, who got his bachelor’s degree in ceramics and sculpture, continues honing that craft in his off-time, as well as spending time with his wife and two sons, fishing and trying out new restaurants around OKC. He’s most looking forward to “seeing my boys grow up … but not too quickly!” 

12Karly Ranck, 36

Controller, AAON, Inc.

As AOON’s controller, Karly Ranck works with the accounting and operations departments to “make sense of what happened on the shop floor and how that affected the company’s financials,” she says. “In my position, I am able to see the company as a whole. It is important that I understand what other departments are doing to be able to translate that into explaining and understanding financial data. It is really a big puzzle that requires coordination from all departments.” Ranck feels proud of her personal growth; early in her career, she says, “I could have never envisioned myself as someone who people looked to for learning and guidance. But now, one of my favorite parts of my job is the teaching aspects of it – getting to pass on the knowledge that so many have patiently shared with me.” Outside work, Ranck loves quilting and cooking, as both outlets “allow me to use the creative side of my brain, but also still have structure to them through the use of patterns or recipes.” She is a Certified Public Accountant, and volunteers with Camp Fire Green Country as treasurer. This year, Ranck has a lot on the docket – along with securing tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, she and her husband are going to France for a five-day cooking school at the house once owned by Julia Child.

13Carie Lichtenwalter, 38

Business Development, Cowen Construction 

Driving business growth, building relationships with clients, partnering with companies around the city and helping Tulsa grow and expand are all in a day’s work for Carie Lichtenwalter at Cowen Construction. “I love our industry partners, the team at Cowen and the values in place within the company,” she says. “Real estate has always interested me, and the commercial side is especially exciting.” Her proudest accomplishment thus far is “helping Cowen be awarded significant projects,” she says. And if she weren’t at Cowen? “I can’t imagine doing anything but business development,” she says. “And if I weren’t doing this, I’d like to think I’d be doing nothing more than traveling.” Lichtenwalter is heavily involved in volunteer efforts around town. “In the past I have volunteered with CASA, the Demand Project and helped build community gardens,” she says. “I am currently involved with United Way and Cura for the World. I believe it is important to do our part in bettering the community we live in. I feel such pride exemplifying a kind heart and helping hand to my daughter.” Lichtenwalter, who believes being kind to everyone is the secret to success, spends her off-hours outdoors, spending time with her daughter.

14Terrisa Muskrat Smith, 34

Marketing Manager, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa

Terrisa Muskrat Smith’s days are filled to the brim in her role at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. If she’s not working on special projects, she’s coordinating and scheduling photoshoots, executing monthly promotions or overseeing the multimedia content on all social media pages. All in all, it’s safe to say Smith is passionate about her job. “I love my team, our leadership team and colleagues. I love our events, the teamwork and most of all, watching my employees grow in their professional development,” she says. “We have an amazingly talented team behind the scenes that work hard to make each event unique and fun. And I hope I’m an influence to them the way my mentors have influenced and encouraged me.” In her tenure with Hard Rock, Smith is most proud of “playing an intricate role in projects – such as an expansion, Track 5., the 65’ guitar monument install and digital sign upgrades.” In her spare time, she volunteers with Blue Thumb and Bell Pow Wow. As for leisure time, she says she doesn’t have much – as she’s a full-time employee, mom of two, wife and graduate student; she aims to get her Master of Business Administration in 2024. 

15Pooja Singhal, M.D., 39

Physician Gastroenterologist, SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital

As a gastroenterologist, Pooja Singhal, M.D., has the privilege of “listening to my patients and treating their gastrointestinal and hepatology [liver] diseases. I love the connection and trust I get to develop with my patients and their families.” Singhal is now board certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and hepatology, as well as obesity medicine. What makes her proudest about her job is that it “gives me an opportunity to prevent colon cancer by doing a colonoscopy and removing any polyps,” she says. “I am also grateful that through this profession, I get a chance to help people in their most vulnerable state.” In her off-hours, Singhal volunteers for the Homeless Alliance and the OK Humane Society. She is also passionate about health advocacy. “I believe that all my training, hard work and achievements have allowed me to help, and learn from, my patients – which has led me to advocate for diseases like colorectal cancer awareness at a state level and national level. I have also been inspired my patients’ struggles with insurance companies, cost of medications, and coverage issues for procedures like colonoscopy, which has led me to advocate at the Capitol in Washington D.C.” 

16Jessica Smith, 36

Director of Human Resources, CORE Hospital 

As a human resources professional, Jessica Smith spends her days at CORE Hospital recruiting, on-boarding, managing performance and talent, training and upholding policy compliance. “I love that I get to come in every day to something different,” she says. “One day I am on-boarding and training new employees, and the next I am ensuring compliance. Not only are HR laws and regulations ever-changing, but so is healthcare. I appreciate that no two days are the same; it keeps me motivated and excited to come to work.” Smith started in the industry thirteen years ago as an administrative assistant – growing through many positions in finance, IT and business before settling in human resources. “I’ve stayed in HR for the relationships I get to maintain; I look at my coworkers like they are family,” she says. “I appreciate their ability to work together to ensure patient safety and satisfaction.” In her off-hours, Smith is involved with Bristow Public Schools and Bristow First Baptist Church. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids, and is currently working on her second master’s degree in the Studies of Law with a specialization in Human Resources Law.

17Prince Ittickathra, 31

Project Manager – Aviation and Mission Critical, FSB Architects + Engineers

Taking a client’s vision to reality is Price Ittickathra’s favorite aspect of his job at FSB Architects + Engineers. As a project manager, his role “involves coordinating with contractors, as well as planning, scheduling and working with our in-house team of architects and engineers to execute designs that meet our clients’ visions,” he says. “I love the people I work with. Our clients are unique, and their projects are always interesting and challenging. We also have a really special and talented group of architects and engineers that work on our market sector projects.” Ittickathra has been fascinated by the world of design and construction since he was young, he says. “I have always been amazed by the built environment and the way it shapes the world around us.” In his spare time, Ittickathra travels with his wife, plays a variety of instruments and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity in the New Construction division, where he works directly with the families for whom he’s building. “Working alongside them and learning their stories really brings to life the impact the organization, and hours spent volunteering, have on the community,” he says.

18Krysten Marshall, 37

Water Marketing and Business Development Team Manager, Garver

Krysten Marshall says her career is a convergence of three things she loves: “the natural environment, science and communication.” In her role, Marshall leads the marketing and business development team for Garver’s Water Business Line. “We have more than a dozen people on our marketing team, and it’s my mission to give them the big picture goals and empower them with all the tools and support to successfully execute our plans,” she says. She’s continually inspired by her work. “I feel like I’m making a positive impact on our community. Clean, safe, affordable water is essential for human life to thrive, and I get to play a small part in communicating the value of water to the public,” she says. Her hard work was recently rewarded, as she won the Spirit of Garver Award – the highest honor an employee can receive at the company. Recipients are chosen “for exhibiting a passion for their profession and a dedication to upholding the company’s values and standards,” she says. Outside Garver, she enjoys volunteering with the Oklahoma Water Environment Association, and spending time with her family – kayaking, surfing or skiing. 

19Megan Rooney, 39

Consulting Executive, HoganTaylor LLP

Working directly with clients is a joy for Megan Rooney at HoganTaylor. In her job, she helps people “work toward and achieve their business objectives. I also lead our transaction advisory team that assists potential buyers and sellers with financial due diligence related to potential mergers and acquisitions,” she says. “I love that every day is different. I can go from presenting financial statements to a business owner and helping them understand the business’s performance to digging into complex and industry-specific accounting processes for a financial due diligence project.” Though Rooney began her career in marketing, she soon pivoted when she found her true calling. “I always enjoyed accounting classes and determined that my passion was really helping companies develop efficiencies in their accounting and operational processes. In particular, I enjoy teaching clients how to use financial information and data to make informed management and operational decisions,” she says. Rooney sits on the board of Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, and also teaches financial literacy courses through the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce. 

20Jody Vivion, 36

Director of Business Development, Flintco, LLC

Staying connected and informed about the construction industry as a whole is one of many tasks Jody Vivion takes on each day at Flintco. While attending events and connecting with organizations, he “builds relationships to better serve our clients, design partners and other entities that we partner with to grow our community,” he says. “I truly enjoy getting to know people better. Building relationships and caring for others is something I’ve gravitated towards since a young age, and being able to do so as part of my day-to-day operations is very gratifying.” Vivion says his greatest achievement at work thus far was leading the development of the Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center as project manager. “It is a large healthcare facility for the Cherokee Nation, of which I’m a citizen. Seeing the positive impact this facility had on its community, and for the citizens of Cherokee Nation, is truly something I look back on and take great pride in,” he says. In his off-hours, Vivion spends time with his wife and two children, and volunteers with his church, Leadership Tulsa, Tulsa Ballet and Tulsa Youthworks – where he serves as board president. 

21Katie Vondrasek, 35

Project Architect, Dewberry

For Katie Vondrasek, her interest in architecture began in an unexpected way: “A 3-inch floppy disc of a 3D home modeling program that we got with our first home computer when I was about 6 years old,” she says. “Which then evolved into SimCity, the Sims and borrowing my brother’s LEGOS. Once I decided I was going to be an architect, I was determined, and nothing was going to stop me.” In her role, Vondrasek meets with clients and consultants, organizes programs and plans, and walks through construction sites. “I love being able to build relationships with my clients, from the initial meeting all the way through to the ribbon cutting,” she says. “When there is a problem – because all projects will have a problem – my clients know that they can come to me, and I will make sure that it gets solved.” In her off hours, Vondrasek plays the flute with the Tulsa Peoples’ Orchestra and sits on the board of the American Institute of Architects Eastern Oklahoma Chapter. She also completed the Tulsa Citizen’s Police Academy last spring and volunteers with TPD. You can also find her gardening, hiking or cheering on the Green Bay Packers. 

22Theresa Robinson, 38

On-Site HR and Strategic Account Manager, Express Employment Professionals

Theresa Robinson chose to enter the world of human resources “to make a positive impact on the lives of others,” she says. In her current position, she works with clients to provide a wide variety of strategic solutions for both HR and project management. “I enjoy being able to help people and support them in achieving their goals,” she says. She is most proud of “the growth and success of the members of my teams. Over the course of my last few projects, I have had the opportunity to work with amazing people.” The secret to her success, she says, is “hard work, determination and a great group of people in my corner.” Robinson enjoys volunteering with a variety of nonprofits, including the OKC Animal Shelter, Salvation Army and National Angels. She’s an avid dog person. “The love and loyalty from my dogs has had a tremendous impact on the person I am,” she says. In her off-hours, you can also catch Robinson watching movies, listening to music, planning her upcoming trip to Alaska or cheering on the University of Oklahoma Sooners during football season. 

23Gregory Root D.O., FACOOG, 39

Obstetrician/Gynecologist and Chief Medical Officer, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital

Greg Root, D.O., has his hands full at both chief medical officer and OB/GYN physician with INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital. In his first role, Root advocates for physicians and works to ensure quality, safe medical care. In the second, he specializes in minimally invasive robotic surgery, high-risk pregnancy and reproductive endocrinology. “I love that every day I get to help people, whether that be delivering a baby, performing surgery or serving our medical staff,” he says. “I feel blessed to have the opportunity to not only serve patients directly as their physician, but to also be a part of the INTEGRIS team that ensures our patients receive the highest level of care possible.” Root says he felt called to be a doctor from a young age, and obstetrics and gynecology won out because “it is the only medical specialty where you get to deliver babies and perform surgery, but also experience lifelong milestones with your patients.” Root volunteers with his church as a youth leader, and also started a program at INTEGRIS for families who have lost a child. Off the clock, he enjoys spending time with his wife, reading, or practicing on the tee-ball field with his kids. 

24Madison Wedel, 29

Marketing Coordinator, Wallace Design Collective

As the marketing coordinator at Wallace Design Collective, Madison Wedel does everything from social media management to internal marketing and graphic design. “I love the freedom to be creative,” she says. “I also enjoy designing and keeping up with the current design trends and styles with Adobe suite. Marketing, and more specifically graphic design, have given me the ability to do so while simultaneously putting my business degree to use.” Outside work, Wedel finds that volunteerism affects her life in a positive way. She is the sponsorship chair for SMPS Oklahoma, and spends time with AIA Central Oklahoma and Dinner With Love, which offers “complete, totally cooked holiday dinners to families in Oklahoma City who do not have the financial means to provide a similar meal for themselves.” In her spare time, Wedel enjoys taking trips to hike, snowshoe, raft or ski. “I enjoy taking advantage of the majority of my weekends by traveling,” she says. As to what she’s looking forward to, Wedel stays in the here and now. “I’m really enjoying the phase of life I’m in right now. I’m in a great place in my career and personal life. I look forward to every day.”

25Am’re Ford, 32

Founder and CEO, SymDesign, Inc.

Utilizing his passion for teaching and spreading his love of music is all in a day’s work for Am’re Ford. Alongside teaching private and group music lessons, he “collaborates with arts education organizations to develop and implement curriculum and programming that centers groups from marginalized communities,” he says. “I love interacting with students and changing their perception of what education should look and feel like. I also enjoy working with adults to explore new ways of engaging students in learning environments.” Ford says he’s known since the second grade that he wanted to be a teacher, “and as I got older, I really enjoyed the learning and teaching process – so it really was a natural progression for me to be an educator.” His proudest moments on the job, he says, are when he hears about how his efforts pay off with students. “I work really hard to engage people – especially K-12 students – in a way that recognizes their humanity and experiences,” he says. “This is sometimes a difficult task, so it’s very rewarding to hear proof that I’m achieving what I set out to do.” In his off hours, Ford spends time advocating for what he believes in – including LGBTQIA+ rights, and access to education and the arts. 

26Hillary Burkholder, 39

Oklahoma City
CEO, Palomar

In her leadership role with Palomar: Oklahoma City’s Family Justice Center, Hillary Burkholder aims to curate a community of strength and healing for survivors of violence and abuse. “I get to help connect people and resources to our mission of providing protection, hope and healing,” she says, while also leading support staff and partners in that effort. “It is such an honor to be surrounded daily by people who come from different fields, working collaboratively for the people that need them most. It gives me great hope.” While Burkholder says she didn’t make a conscious choice about her profession, she’s “always been driven to pursue what feels like an opportunity to make the world better. I have been so fortunate that each step in my journey feels like it has prepared me for the next, but I never could have mapped that out on my own.” In her off hours, Burkholder keeps her philanthropic passion alive; she is a founding board member for Magdalene House OKC – a home for female abuse survivors. At home, you can find Burkholder spending time with her husband and their son, Ben. 

27Taralee Montgomery, 31

Senior Policy Advisor, The Cherokee Nation

Every day, Taralee Montgomery strives to create real change for the Cherokee Nation and its citizens. “My primary role in the Office of the Principal Chief is to act as a liaison with Cherokee Nation branches of government, and the businesses and outside partners, to best facilitate the initiatives and goals of the Cherokee Nation,” she says. She leads tribal legislation efforts, community engagement efforts and policy review. She’s proud of many of her team’s accomplishments. “We have raised the minimum wage for Cherokee Nation employees twice, we have implemented mental wellness leave for all employees, and most recently, my favorite policy was our family leave policy, that recognizes and provides for the many ways that families are made up in the Cherokee Nation.” Outside work, Montgomery can be found cooking, hosting dinners and spending time with her family. The secret to her success – alongside a great support system – is not taking herself too seriously. “Titles are wonderful, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t roll my sleeves up and help with any task that comes through the door.” 

28Emeka Nnaka, 35

Motivational Speaker and Therapist, A New Way and Open Arms Foster Care

Emeka Nnaka spends his days inspiring others, “shining a light for people to find their way in the dark,” he says. As both a motivational speaker and a therapist, Nnaka works diligently to find the good. “I found purpose in spreading a message of hope, and it aligned with my skills, heart, personality and experiences,” he says. “With speaking, it’s giving people a fresh perspective on life, its challenges and its opportunities. With counseling, it’s helping young people process and recycle their trauma.” After a collegiate sports injury, Nnaka says the Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges “saved my life. It was a safe haven of community and support.” He now volunteers there, along with a variety of other Tulsa-based nonprofits, including Youth Services of Tulsa, the Metro Tulsa Transit Authority, ONE Tulsa and Phoenix Rising Alternative School. Nnaka returned to school and got his bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation services and his master’s in clinical mental health counseling – which he calls “a test of endurance.” He’s got a lot to look forward to; he’s planning to write a book and launch a podcast in the near future. In his spare time, Nnaka enjoys watching sports, spending time with friends and attending events around town. 

29Tom Cassidy, 25

Oklahoma City
Director of Government and Community Relations, INTEGRIS Health

Tom Cassidy surrounds himself with passionate individuals and organizations “who want to help Oklahomans live healthier lives,” he says. In his role, he collaborates with public policymakers, government agencies and community partners “to improve Oklahoma’s healthcare outcomes through public policy,” and he also oversees the system’s community health improvement projects. His favorite aspects of his job? The people with whom he works. “Whether it is working with my coworkers at INTEGRIS Health, advocacy partners at the Capitol or non-profit partners across Oklahoma, I am lucky to work alongside so many people who want to help our neighbors.” Intent on contributing to lasting improvements for the state, Cassidy mentions a few things he’s proudest of thus far: “Improving the delivery system for Oklahoma’s Medicaid patients, expanding access to telemedicine and securing authorization for healthcare innovations like Hospital at Home,” he says. Cassidy serves on the Young Professionals Board for the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, and can be found cooking, riding his bike and exploring OKC in his downtime. 

30Erica Kumar, M.D., 39

Physician Pathologist, Pathology Laboratory Associates

For Erica Kumar, M.D., each day as a pathologist welcomes the opportunity to solve hundreds of mysteries. “I look at biopsies and tissue samples under the microscope and render diagnoses to other physicians,” she says. “It is very much like a puzzle with clues that have to align so that you can crack the code. I am proudest when I am able to make a diagnosis that no one considered – for instance, when someone thinks they might have a cancer but it turns out to be an easily treated infection mimicking a cancer. Sometimes you have to think outside the box to make an accurate diagnosis.” In her spare time, Kumar volunteers for Junior League of Tulsa and Resonance Center for Women, which runs various programs to help women transition out of prison back into society – assisting them in maintaining sobriety, continuing their educations and obtaining jobs. “Through working with these women, hearing their stories, seeing them turn their lives around, it has made me appreciate the strength of community,” she says. “Women are a vital part of any community, and to not recognize that hurts everyone.” Kumar is also a second-degree black belt and volunteers as a karate instructor. 

31Andrew W. Mock, 35

Vice President and Regional Engineering Director, HP Engineering

Andrew W. Mock’s love for engineering, he says, is in his genes. “My grandfather’s career in structural engineering provided me with exposure to the profession from an early age that I never strayed from. I feel incredibly fortunate that I knew with certainty I wanted to pursue this field.” In his day-to-day, Mock manages HP Engineering’s operations at their OKC firm, and is also the company’s director of structural engineering, where he “leads structural services for building projects, including new construction, additions, renovations and assessments.” Mock says his favorite part of the job is collaborating with his coworkers. “I work with a fantastic team of people that is supportive and positive, which enables us to do our best work.” Outside work, Mock’s volunteerism is focused on professional service, mentoring and teaching, most notably with the American Society of Civil Engineers on the Committee for Preparing the Future Civil Engineer. “We focus on outreach and tools to support students, early career and mid-career professionals, focusing on knowledge, skills and attributes to foster career growth and job satisfaction,” he says. 

32Matt Rodgers, 33

Vice President and Commercial Banking Team Leader, Commerce Bank

Matt Rodgers’ interest in a finance career began at a young age, he says. “As a child, I was fascinated with saving money and loved trips to the bank. My first job after high school was a bank teller. I quickly realized the banking industry would provide advancement opportunities and the chance to help clients solve financial challenges.” Now at Commerce Bank, Rodgers and his team are responsible for business development and relationship management across all industries in the Tulsa metro. “I love building and sustaining meaningful relationships with business owners, passionate community members and other local professionals,” he says. “I am proud to be a trusted advisor and deliver tailored solutions that meet my clients’ financial needs and allow them to focus on growing their business.” In his off-hours, Rodgers volunteers with Ability Resources, where he’s “gained a greater understanding of the challenges individuals with disabilities face.” He enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling and playing keyboard in his church’s band. In addition, he’s currently working towards his Master of Business Administration. 

33Justin Langston, 32

Owner, Two Men And A Truck 

As the owner of three Two Men And A Truck locations in Tulsa; Brevard County, Florida; and Waco, Texas, Justin Langston says he gets the “awesome opportunity to work with amazing employees and wonderful organizations that support so many in our community.” He didn’t choose this industry, he says – it chose him. “I took a leap of faith to start a new career early on and it has changed my life.” Within his day-to-day, he’s most proud of “getting the chance to help employees grow in their careers.” As a team player, Langston says the secret to his success is the belief that “success is not singular. If you surround yourself with the right people and provide them with the support that they need, you can accomplish great things.” Outside work, Langston is the chair of the board for the Bixby Development Foundation and is involved with Humble Sons Bike Community and the Bixby Chamber of Commerce. He’s most looking forward to a family vacation in Greece and Italy this year, and recently welcomed his second son. If his life were a movie, he says, it would be called “Sleepless in Tulsa – with two kids under five, and three businesses, it’s pretty hectic!”

34Jennifer Z. Vickery, 37

Vice President of Operations, Ocean Dental

In her role, Jennifer Vickery oversees the operations of 15 dental clinics – eight of which are in Oklahoma. Ocean Dental, she says, is “committed to improving access to quality dental care in underserved communities.” What makes her proudest is “seeing our patients smile and hearing how thankful they are to have access to quality dental care,” she says. “Some of our patients have gone years without being able to see a dentist, so it can be a very emotionally rewarding experience for them and us.” Alongside great clients, Vickery feels grateful for an excellent staff. “Most of my team members have been with our company for 15-20 years,” she says. Outside work, Vickery is currently serving as the Henry Schein Cares Foundation 2022-2023 AADOM Green Leader, where she educates the dental industry on the importance of sustainability and green leadership. “With each office I help, we are exponentially reducing paper consumption, preventing contamination to protect staff and patients, and spreading a legacy of sustainability across the country.” She is also active in the Junior League of Oklahoma City, Women in DSO and Leadership Edmond.

35Walton Chan, 35

Oklahoma City
Business Development Officer, Tinker Federal Credit Union

Walton Chan’s main goal at work, he says, “is to increase the membership base for TFCU, through building relationships with current partners and new partners.” That means he spends a lot of time making connections, and he loves being able to give back to the community. What makes him proudest is “seeing the smiles on people and the communities that I am able to serve and help.” Chan’s history with Tinker Federal Credit Union is long, he says. “I volunteered a lot with the TFCU marketing team before coming on and found it to be very rewarding. I knew I had to get into this position.” He credits his boss, Kristy Viravong Portis, for much of his success. “She has taught me so much and is a wonderful mentor,” he says. In his off hours, Chan – a California native – volunteers his time to various chambers of commerce. “It has helped me learn about different organizations and businesses in the local community that I would have never known about,” he says. You can also find him traveling, playing video games, watching TV … and in TFCU’s marketing efforts. “I’m in some of TFCU’s commercials,” he says. “And I was on a billboard for TFCU last year!” 

36Jennifer Rush, 38

Broken Arrow
Economic Development Manager, City of Broken Arrow

Overseeing the City of Broken Arrow’s Tourism and Economic Development division (TED), Jennifer Rush is responsible for everything from retail development to land sale and acquisition negotiations. “It is exciting to be part of the economic development and vitality of a fast-growing city,” she says. “I love networking and building relationships. I also love utilizing data and research to drive current and future strategic growth plans.” Rush began her career in early childhood education and administration, but “after building and growing schools from the ground up, I fell in love with the construction and development process,” she says. “I saw first-hand how economic development is vital to not only education, but also quality of life, infrastructure and public safety, and wanted to be part of the whole process.” Due to those career roots, Rush is passionate about supporting causes for children. As a part of the 2023 Class of Leadership Broken Arrow, Rush helped to create a project that benefited A New Leaf, Broken Arrow Schools and the Broken Arrow Senior Center. Off the clock, Rush spends time with her husband and three boys and enjoys four-wheeling and tackling home renovation projects. 

37Tori Holland, 32

Attorney and Proposed Congressional Delegate, Devol & Associates and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians

Tori Holland saw a need in her tribe – the United Keetoowah Band – and decided to fill it. “I worked for my tribe when I was in college. At the time, we were ensued in legal battles that … ended with the closure of the UKB’s only casino, and an economic downturn ensued,” she says. “We had zero members that were attorneys, so I decided to go to law school, come back and work to lift up my people.” Now, she advocates for the tribe’s right to a congressional delegate. “I educate local and national media outlets … I travel to Washington, D.C. to advocate directly to Congress, and I educate my Tribe about why it matters so much for the UKB voice to be present in Congress,” she says. In addition, she’s a tribal attorney who spends her days drafting laws, working on gaming issues and preparing for court. “Honoring my heritage and culture is important to who I am, and I am lucky I get the chance to serve to advance Tribe’s across Oklahoma,” she says. Despite a busy schedule, Holland takes time to volunteer with Indian Child Welfare offices. You can also find her in her off hours with her family, usually at the lake. 

38Aba Hammond, 31

Strategy Officer and Consultant, FANSUB

If you haven’t heard of FANSUB yet, you will soon – and Aba Hammond got in on the ground floor of the burgeoning tech start-up that helps users create special, ticketed experiences for their fans. “FANSUB solves a real time problem for creatives and businesses, and I get a front row seat,” Hammond says. “This ties into my passion of being solution-based and making sure that those that typically fall through the cracks, or are invisible, are seen and heard.” In her role, Hammond works on product strategy, personnel support and business development. “Every day is different; nothing is ever the same. Being foundational in a start-up is a lesson all on its own,” she says. Outside work, Hammond has been heavily involved in Tulsa Young Professionals for nearly a decade, and served as the 2022 TYPROS Chair. “I have seen Tulsa transform in these eight years, and more importantly, in doing this, I was able to see the impact of my work and the work of my peers over the years,” she says. She spends her downtime cooking – her favorite stress reliever – and is currently working towards a Master of Strategic Public Relations at George Washington University. 

39Lauren Finch, 33

Oklahoma City
Marketing Director, CEC

In her role, Lauren Finch oversees the marketing department at CEC – a full-service engineering firm. “I not only manage the day-to-day activities in our department, but I also lead strategic planning and implementation for all campaigns and initiatives within our department,” she says. The dynamic nature of her job keeps her on her toes. “I love that it’s different every day; I’m not working on the same task day after day. It’s always something new, which keeps it exciting,” she says. “However, most of all, I love my team and the people I work with.” Finch has worked at CEC for eight years, and is pleased with how far the company has come in that time. “We’ve done some cool things and made great strides in the development of our campaigns and projects, and I’m just really proud of our team.” At CEC, Finch coordinates blood drives, walks and fundraisers for various nonprofits, including spearheading the Lymphoma and Leukemia Light the Night Walk and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. “The love and support that I felt from family, friends and coworkers really inspired me to get involved to help and support other causes so that I can spread that joy to others in need,” she says.

40Brian C. Gosnell, D.D.S., 37

General Dentist with expertise in restorative and cosmetic dentistry, Utica Dental

Providing cosmetic and restorative dentistry, along with a full range of dental procedures, fills the days of Brian Gosnell, D.D.S, at Utica Dental. “Our goal,” he says, “is individualized diagnosis and treatment, to provide optimal dental health as an important component of overall health and wellness.” The healthcare field appealed to Gosnell for as long as he can remember. “I knew at a young age I wanted to pursue something in the medical arena, as my dad is a retired physician,” he says. “It wasn’t until I shadowed Dr. Matthew Walker, D.D.S., that I knew I wanted to become a dentist. It is the perfect combination of a work/life balance.” While he loves every aspect of his job, Gosnell has two favorite components: “Performing smile makeovers for patients and seeing the look on their face when we reveal their new smile to them,” he says, “and hearing and seeing our staff receive compliments from satisfied patients.” Outside work, Gosnell volunteers his talents with Catholic Charities, providing dental services to underserved Tulsans. He enjoys singing, playing guitar and staying active outdoors. 

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