New Members and Executive Officers Join OWC’s Board of Directors and Leaders from Across the State Join Working Committees
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Women’s Coalition announced the addition of new members to the 2022 slate of Board of Directors and the election of executive officers. New members include Brandi Sims of Lawton, Julie Davis of Tulsa, Kate Neary of Tulsa, Danne Johnson of Oklahoma City, Jennifer Winfrey of Yukon, Sheryl Gregory of Lawton, Tiffany Martinez Vrska of Lawton, Myriah Downs of Oklahoma City, Laura Bellis of Tulsa, Jacintha Webster of Shawnee, and Olivia Martin of Tulsa.
“OWC is working hard to truly represent voices and experiences from across the state and gaining the dynamic leadership of these new members is another huge leap in that direction. We are honored by their existing service to Oklahomans, and are even more excited to work alongside them to more firmly put meaningful gender equity and racial justice policy on the map,” Chelsey Branham, Interim Executive Director, Oklahoma Women’s Coalition said.
“Just before the pandemic, we revealed the Coalition’s new strategic direction and aggressive goals for the future. Now more than ever, the disparities in impact on underrepresented communities are glaringly obvious. Together with a whole host of committed leaders on our board and standing committees, we must and will collaborate to address these inequities structurally with policy and public education.”
“I am very happy to have been appointed as the Chair of the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition Board of Directors,” said Mrs. Sims. “During this time of significant exploration of policies focused on inclusion, diversity and equity, our executive leadership and staff have been reinvigorated to push toward helpful resources and advocacy for Oklahoma women. I look forward to working with the OWC management team in addressing the needs in our communities.”
The Board leadership includes: Laura Lang of Thrive, serving as Past Chair, Brandi Sims of Brandinc PR, serving as incoming Board Chair, Julie Davis, YWCA Tulsa, as Vice-Chair, Kate Neary, TulsaCares, as Secretary, Danne Johnson, OKCU Law, Asst. Secretary, Steph Dean, Dean’s Results PLLC, as Treasurer, and Jennifer Winfrey, Southern Plains Tribal Health, as Asst. Treasurer.
Many notable community leaders joined OWC for committee service including Hannah Royce of OKC Pride Alliance, Preston Shatwell of Amplify Tulsa, Commissioner Leslie Osborn of the OK Dept. Of Labor, and Emily Tate of Calm Waters. A full list of committee members, board members, and young professionals can be found on our website.
For more information on the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition, visit www.okwc.org.
About Oklahoma Women’s Coalition
The Oklahoma Women’s Coalition is a nonprofit organization working to champion the collective power of Oklahomans to advance gender equity and racial justice by dismantling systemic injustice through policy change, advocacy, and education.
Brandi Sims is the Founder & CEO of Brandinc PR. For the past 13 years, Sims has gained extensive knowledge in handling public relations, digital marketing, graphic design, and event planning for her clientele. Her diverse expertise is the result of work with nonprofit organizations, government sectors, sports figures, corporations as well as small to midsize businesses.
Julie Davis has served as the Chief Executive Officer for YWCA Tulsa since 2017, joining the team after having worked in the non-profit field for nearly 10 years in development and as the Associate Director for Up With Trees. Prior to Up With Trees, she worked at the American Cancer Society, and was a member of Leadership Tulsa Class 54, as well as the Tulsa Area United Way NexTulsa Class 4. She currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Kate Neary serves as the CEO of Tulsa CARES. She has also served in leadership positions for Planned Parenthood and H.O.P.E. Other work experience includes the National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps National Service Program, the Girl Scouts, and the Tulsa Health Department.
She is also a graduate of the Health Care Executive Program at the University of California Los Angeles, an HIV Prevention Leadership Institute Fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a graduate of Leadership Tulsa.
Professor Danne Johnson is the Constance Baker Motley professor of law Oklahoma City University. She is responsible for helping students to learn the law and how to best serve the needs of their clients through listening and cultural competency. She has 18 years of experience as a professor. Her research and scholarship interests are varied. She is a Certified Diversity Professional and has presented materials about race and implicit bias for a variety of organizations.
Jennifer Winfrey is the Finance Director for Southern Plains Tribal Health Board in Oklahoma City. She is also the the Owner of Oklahoma Nonprofit Partners, a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in nonprofit accounting and executive leadership. Other work experience include finance, human resources, and project coordinator at the the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She is a Certified Grants Management Specialist, credentialed by the National Grants Management Association (NGMA).
Tiffany Martinez Vrska, Lawton born, became the first Community Relations Director for the City of Lawton in May 2017. Before joining the City of Lawton, she reported for both the Grady County Express-Star and The Lawton Constitution newspapers and served Lawton Public Schools as Video Production Manager. Vrska is FEMA certified to serve in times of crisis and brings social media management, event coordination, strategic planning, live production, public speaking and branding development experience to the Community Relations Office. Under the direction of the City Manager, Vrska manages City relationships with the media and ensures quality and accurate dissemination of information.
Myriah S. Downs is an attorney and contemporary visual artist in Oklahoma. Myriah has diverse legal experience representing companies and individuals in all aspects of civil disputes and civil rights litigation in state and federal court. Myriah has served as an attorney for the State of Oklahoma where she worked to equitably reform civil asset forfeiture policy and investigate related police misconduct reports, including excessive force claims. As an artist, Myriah’s paintings have been featured in exhibition and galleries throughout the United States and are currently displayed in private collections. Myriah formerly served as lead designer for political campaigns and an in-house designer for non-profits and a lobby firm before transitioning to working as a visual artist.
Laura Bellis is a relentless community organizer, educator and mentor working across public health, education and local/state policy spaces. Within her first five years leading the Take Control Initiative, Laura has strategically scaled the team to incorporate a clinical quality improvement initiative, a post-secondary peer-health initiative, and incubate a statewide data collaborative, Metriarch. Prior to her work at Take Control, she taught English for five years at Nathan Hale Junior High. Laura is deeply involved in the Tulsa community. She has served on the City of Tulsa’s Human Rights Commission since 2017, serving as vice chair in 2018, and a subsequent two years as chair. Since 2015, she has worked on the municipal level of policing policy as a founding member of both The United League for Social Action (TULSA) and Demanding A Just Tulsa. In March of 2020, Laura co-founded Save Our State: Oklahomans United, a grassroots effort focused on COVID-19 resources & policies.
Sheryl Gregory has been the Executive Director of Great Plains Improvement Foundation, Inc., Community Action Agency, in Lawton, OK since 2019. She has worked for the agency for almost 18 years in the areas of Finance, Transportation, and Administration. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she is currently serving as the Internal Audit Chair. She is committed to making a difference in many people’s lives and advocate for those that go unheard.
Jacintha Webster is an Assistant Professor of Native American Legal Studies at East Central University. She is also the director of the East Central University Native American Legal Clinic where she supervises paralegal and pre-law students serving low-income Native Americans in Southeast Oklahoma and members of the ECU community. Jacintha previously served as a Staff Attorney for the Oklahoma State House of Representatives and as a Staff Attorney with Oklahoma Indian Legal Services and Adjunct Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She is admitted to practice law in the State of Oklahoma, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. Jacintha also currently serves as the Chair of the Indian Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association and as the Chair of the Young Democrats of America Judicial Council. Jacintha has authored “An Impossible Balance: Judicial Elections and the Constitution” published in the Albany Government Law Review and co-authored “Pitfalls and Pratfalls in the Indian Child Welfare Act” in the Sovereignty Symposium XXXI.
Olivia Martin is a Tulsan who has devoted her career to education and non-profit work for the past nearly-thirty years. She has served as a teacher, school administrator, development director, advocate, and volunteer for many different Tulsa organizations. She strives to connect people to build capacity and engagement around the causes that mean the most to her and that make the most significant impact on the community–education, equity, and social justice.