LEADERSHIP DISCUSSION: Alison Anthony and Mark Graham discuss the leadership role at the Tulsa Area United Way. Anthony was named TAUW Chief Operating Officer in August 2017 where she has served alongside retiring President and CEO Mark Graham.
When Mark Graham walked door-to-door to raise money for the Tulsa Area United Way as a young man, he never imagined he would eventually reach a quarter of a billion dollars.
As a young banker in his mid-20s at Sooner Federal, Graham responded to a request for United Way volunteers.
That early volunteer experience was Graham’s introduction to community service and philanthropy. Through the next several decades of his career in banking and insurance, he would serve on the United Way’s Campaign Cabinet, as well as other community volunteer roles.
“I realized it was time to pursue a career in service – to give back to the community in a more significant way.”
Soon after, he was named president and of the Tulsa Area United Way. During his tenure, Graham has presided over community campaigns raising more than a quarter of a billion dollars: $252,759,483. Under his leadership, the Tulsa Area United Way continued building on its reputation as one of the most successful United Way organizations in the U.S.
As a testament to his character, Graham is most proud of the help his family received from seven United Way agencies during his tenure. Remarked one volunteer, “For Mark, it has always been about service and helping those in need. That’s just who he is.”
Alison Anthony has been involved in community service and philanthropy most of her life, but her heart has always been with the United Way.
“I really do think of this new role as a calling,” she says. “And I answer that call with joy, knowing I will wake up each day focused on serving the people of our community.”
Anthony will become the next president and of the Tulsa Area United Way on April 1.
She was named chief operating officer in August 2017 and has served alongside Graham ever since.
“Mark is a treasure in this community, and I am so grateful for his guidance and mentorship over these past months. What a legacy of impact and excellence he leaves. And I take the responsibility to honor and continue that legacy very seriously,” she says.
Previously, Anthony served as president of the Williams Foundation and director of strategic outreach at Williams. She also led efforts in diversity, employee relations and leadership development, and organizational effectiveness at Williams.
Anthony is no stranger to the local United Way or the Tulsa community. She has served in numerous roles for the United Way – as a member of its Board of Directors and Campaign Cabinet, a founding member and former chair of its Women’s Leadership Council, and chair of the 2020 Strategic Planning Initiative, among many others.
She has served on the board of countless non-profit organizations in the Tulsa area and state, including the Tulsa Community Foundation, Community Action Project, Community Service Council and more.
She received master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Oklahoma State University and has completed several leadership training programs, including the Harvard University Talent Pipeline Development Program and senior human resources professional certification from the Society of Human Resources Management.
She is married to Mark Wilson and they have five children.