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Former Mayor Kathy Taylor named Anna C. Roth Legacy Award winner

This article was archived on 10/7/2017

Former Mayor Kathy Taylor will serve as the keynote speaker for the Women of the Year – Pinnacle Awards as the 2018 Anna C. Roth Legacy Award winner (photo attached).

To be given in conjunction with the Women of the Year – Pinnacle Awards on March 8, 2018, this special recognition is reserved for highly-deserving Tulsa icons who are able to reflect on a lifetime of worthwhile contributions to the field of social justice.

“The theme of this year’s awards,” said YWCA CEO Julie Davis, “is ‘The Pearl Party.’ We’ll be focusing on the timeless beauty of these natural gems and how each pearl is created under great duress over a tenuous period of time – much like the time and effort needed to break down race and gender barriers. Given her tremendous contributions to our city and state over her career, I can think of no greater steward of this idea than Former Mayor Kathy Taylor.”

Taylor is known as a change agent. She is a proven leader, business executive, public servant and corporate attorney. She currently serves as Chief of Economic Development for the City of Tulsa and Chair of Impact Tulsa – an unprecedented partnership focused on the collective impact business, education, philanthropic and civic leaders can have to increase student success in the Tulsa region. 

Taylor led Tulsa as its Mayor from 2006 until 2009. Her leadership success helped create after-school and mentoring programs, launched the city’s first entrepreneur business model competition, increased trust between the community and law enforcement and revitalized downtown with the completion of the BOK event center and developed ONEOK field.

Taylor initially entered public service full time in 2003 when she was appointed Oklahoma’s Secretary of Commerce, Tourism and Workforce Development and Executive Director of the Department of Commerce. Her leadership at the state helped Oklahoma land the largest Dell facility in the U.S. outside of its corporate headquarters. 

After completing her term as Mayor, Taylor served as the Oklahoma Governor’s Chief of Education Strategy and Innovation. She spearheaded a bipartisan dialogue across the state with business, teachers and parents about necessary education reforms. In 2012, she served as a resident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, teaching a course on Pathways to Public Service.

Taylor served as the regional board chair and on the national board of Reading Partners, an early literacy intervention that empowers communities to help students succeed in reading, and currently serves on the board of SONIC®, America's Drive-In®, the nation's largest chain of drive-in restaurants with more than 3,500 drive-ins serving approximately 3 million customers every day.

“I am humbled to have had the opportunity to connect with amazing Oklahomans over the years with whom I have worked to carry out the vision of Anna C. Roth. Together we have moved forward the mission of YWCA to empower women and strengthen families and communities,” said Taylor. “This recognition is shared with those who have persevered to make Anna C. Roth’s mission of changing the status quo for all a reality.”

Anna C. Roth, YWCA Tulsa’s founder, established the organization’s legacy in 1914, declaring that “to see before others see, and to see beyond what others see, to look down the years to a new day,” would be the rally cry of Tulsa’s most progressive advocates for decades to come.

The range of services and transformations undergone by YWCA in the past century in order to serve Tulsa’s most critical needs is impressive, to say the least. Transforming when necessary to serve Tulsa’s needs, YWCA has embodied Anna C Roth’s vision by providing: a women’s only cafeteria during a time when women were not able to venture into the community unescorted; a refuge to those displaced after the Race Massacre engulfed Black Wall Street in 1921; assistance to women and girls suffering unemployment and homelessness during the Depression; meeting space for people of all races to discuss issues of race during the Civil Rights movement, and a Women’s Resource Center as child care for working mothers became necessary in a changing society.

Today, the work of YWCA begins with empowering and advancing women, and recognizes that if you truly want to empower women, you must focus on ALL women. This is why racial justice and civil rights continue to be core components of our mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. These ideals are infused into our two largest direct services; Health and Wellness and Immigrant and Refugee Services, serving more than 20,000 women, girls and families every year.

Because of Anna C. Roth’s leadership and vision, YWCA’s legacy is one of change, perseverance and hope. YWCA’s Anna C. Roth Legacy Award seeks to honor one deserving Tulsa change-maker whose contributions to Tulsa’s most marginalized populations serve as a similar testament to the ideals of peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all, and we are proud to honor Former Mayor Kathy Taylor alongside the 10 outstanding award winners of the Women of the Year – Pinnacle Awards on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Tulsa. Visit www.tulsapearlparty.com for more information.

History of the Two Awards
Two powerhouse advocates for women’s rights merged in 2015 to bring the first ever Women of the Year – Pinnacle Awards ceremony to Tulsa. The Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women has honored more than 200 Tulsa women with the Pinnacle Award since its inception in 1987. After celebrating their 100-year anniversary in December 2014, YWCA honored their first Women of the Year at Wine, Women and Shoes in April 2015. Given the success of both awards and the shared objective, YWCA’s board of directors voted unanimously to approve the organic partnership.

About YWCA
YWCA is on a mission to stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities. Each year YWCA creates real change in the lives of more than 25,000 women, men and children through direct service programs while also focusing on advocacy efforts that reduce disparities in wellness, wealth and education. YWCA’s work begins with a focus on empowering and advancing ALL women, making racial justice - along with women’s empowerment – a core component of its mission of eliminating racism, empowering and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

Infusing the ideals of the mission, YWCA’s direct service departments are:

  • Health & Wellness – supporting more than 8,000 women and their families by offering year-round fitness and aquatics programs at two locations, a community garden that provides fresh produce for the residents surrounding the East facility, and partnerships with dozens of community organizations providing health screenings and education classes to help increase the quality of life of all Tulsans.
  • Immigrant & Refugee Empowerment – serving more than 13,000 newcomers every year by providing English Language classes, citizenship courses, immigration legal services, job placement, wrap-around social service case management, and translation and interpretation support. For more information, visit ywcatulsa.org.

About the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women
The Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women acts as the central clearinghouse and coordinating agency for activities and information relating to women. The commission is charged with helping women develop a collective voice to influence public policy and effect positive changes in their lives, in addition to stimulating research in the area of women’s legal rights; educating the community on the status of women by publicizing information on women’s rights and obligations; reviewing the range of services available to women to enable them to fully contribute to society through their homes and participation in community life; and to strengthening existing services and assisting public, commercial, cooperative or voluntary agencies in pursuing needed services. For more information on the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women, visit MCOSOW.