AWC Honors Four Women At 40th Newsmakers Luncheon

WINNERS: Honored at the 40th AWC Newsmakers Luncheon are, from left, Barbara Santee, Nancy McDonald, Lee Clark Johns and Shirley Elliott.

Courtesy AWC

Shirley Elliott, Nancy McDonald and Barbara Santee received Newsmakers Awards and Lee Clark Johns received the Saidie Lifetime Achievement honor at the Tulsa Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications’ luncheon “Winning Women: 40 Years of Newsmakers” at Southern Hills Country Club, May 8.

Shirley Elliott
Shirley Elliott is program and development director of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust (TPACT). Working closely with the George Kaiser Family Foundation (), Elliott was instrumental in creating the Tulsa Awards for Theatre Excellence () and, also in partnership with the , brought Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County to the Tulsa stage. Elliott was program director for the launch of Guthrie Green, an urban park and amphitheater in downtown Tulsa, and continues to program at the park through the “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012, she was one of 14 arts administrators from around the United States chosen to participate in a year-long study for the Association for Performing Arts Presenters’ Leadership Development Institute researching the theme: Know and Connect with Community. A published author, Shirley’s book, The Ghost Signs of Downtown Tulsa, archives approximately 50 faded advertisements painted on the sides of brick buildings in the downtown Tulsa area.

Nancy McDonald
McDonald has spent 47 years volunteering in Tulsa and played a key role in the development of the magnet schools and the Adopt-a-School Program, now Partners in Education. She served as vice president of the National School Volunteer Board of Directors, the National Partners in Education Board and is past president of the National Board of PFLAG. McDonald has received many honors including the League of Women Voters Pathfinder Award and Keeping the Dream Alive Award, presented this year by the Society. She presently is on the Board of Directors of the Community Service Council, Oklahoma Conference for Community and Justice, the Metropolitan , Booker T. Washington’s Hall of Fame, and All Souls Unitarian Church.

Barbara Santee, Ph.D.
Barbara Santee is a native Tulsan and a long-time advocate for women’s reproductive rights and the separation of church and state. A Union High School graduate, she holds three masters degrees as well as a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Recently, the University of Tulsa’s Women’s and Genders Studies Program named its new library after her. Santee founded Oklahoma’s first pro-choice group in 1970, three years before the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion. She also was a founding member of the Women and Resource Network, the Incest Survivors Network, Oklahoma Progressive Alliance, and the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance, and has received awards from the National Organization for Women (), League of Women Voters, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the Islamic Society of Tulsa, the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women, and the State of Oklahoma. The of Oklahoma awarded Santee their highest honor, the Angie Debo Award. She was a research associate for two years at the United Nations Headquarters in Santiago, Chile, and speaks fluent Spanish.

Lee Clark Johns, Saidie Adwon Lifetime Achievement Award
As president of Strategic Communication Inc., Johns is a nationally recognized expert in business communication. She has taught professional writing and presentation skills seminars in the corporate world since 1978. As the founding president of the Association of Professional Communication Consultants (), Johns has received several outstanding training awards from and from the American Society for Training and Development (). Her book, The Writing Coach, won the 2004 Award for Excellence in Writing. Her article, “The File Cabinet Has a Sex Life: Insights of a Professional Writing Consultant,” has been published in three books and is widely taught in universities. Johns helped found Concerned Oklahomans for Reform of Education, a grassroots citizen coalition that influenced content of and then supported passage of HB 1017, Oklahoma’s historic education reform bill. She also served Duke University as president of its alumni association and as a trustee. A member and officer on numerous Tulsa boards, Johns has most recently devoted her energy to the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, Inc.

The Newsmakers Awards luncheon benefits Tulsa Chapter programs including scholarships for young women at Oklahoma colleges and universities who are majoring in communications fields. The two 2013 Rising Star Communicator Scholarship Awards go to Heather Crain of Broken Arrow, a Rogers State University communications major, and Tanner Thurman, a public relations major at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Each will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Committee members included Melissa Baker, Nancy Bizjack, Emily Bolusky, Martha Cantrell, Betty Casey, Bernie Dornblaser, Melani Hamilton, Debra Hogue, Molly Jarvis, Linda Jordan, Sharla Koob, Missy Kruse, Beverly Moore, Brandi Moore, Judy Morency, Meghann Ray, Ruth Richards, Erin Shackelford, Heather Smith, Pat Atkinson and Tina Fincher.

Sponsors included Cherokee Nation Businesses, Fincher Design, Indian Health Care Resource Center, Meeks Group, Strategic Communication Inc., Guthrie Green, ONEOK, Ruth Nelson Family Foundation, Tulsa Community College Foundation, The University of Tulsa, Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, Arvest Bank, Bank of Oklahoma,, Greater Tulsa Reporters Newspapers, Jackie Cooper Imports, Kathy Taylor, Langdon Publishing, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Oklahoma State University in Tulsa, TulsaKids Magazine, The Write Company and of Greater Tulsa.

is a national professional organization that champions the advancement of women across all communications’ disciplines by recognizing excellence and promoting leadership. The Tulsa chapter is the largest in the nation and has two members serving on the national Board of Directors.

For more information about , visit or call Judy Morency at 918-492-5240.

Updated 05-30-2013

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