By AMBER NEVILLE
YOUTHFUL LEADERSHIP: Jessica Pitman has used her community volunteer experience to learn how to become an effective leader at the Bixby Chamber of Commerce.
DANIEL C. CAMERON for GTR Newspapers
Jessica Pitman was raised in Bixby, Okla., so it is no wonder she feels right at home as the Bixby Chamber of Commerce Events and Programs Coordinator.
Pitman graduated from Bixby High School in 2000 and went on to attend Oklahoma State University, both at the Stillwater and Tulsa campuses. She received her bachelor’s degree in marketing with a minor in management.
It was 2005 when Pitman was asked to become the chair of the Ambassador Crew of the Tulsa’s Young Professionals, and she willingly obliged. “I consider myself to be a professional volunteer,” she says laughing bashfully. Pitman may just be a professional volunteer indeed. Since 2005, she has been a volunteer or served as chair or on a committee or worked for one of the following: Tulsa’s Young Professionals, Mayfest, DFest, Oktoberfest, The Arthritis Foundation, Quota, and most recently as the Bixby Chamber of Commerce Events Coordinator.
Today, most of Pitman’s activities are through the Bixby Chamber, but she manages to find time to help out wherever she can. In her role as E&P Coordinator, she calls herself a glorified “party planner.” Pittman helps to organize and plan several events throughout the year. The responsibilities include everything from organizing the major concept of events, to picking the napkin color and texture, to marketing, all the while staying within a budget as a non-profit and still ensuring the recuperation of costs while adding funds towards the operating budget for future programs. Pitman also has an understood role as a recruitment and retention specialist for the Bixby Chamber and its partnerships.
A sampling of programs the Bixby Chamber currently offers includes Leadership Bixby, Taste of Bixby and various networking events and general marketing ideas for the chamber and their partnerships.
A very fun and notable event that Pitman plans annually is “The Taste of Bixby,” held in June. It brought over 20 food and wine vendors, and 15 visual artists, including painters, photographers and jewelry makers. The event was a success with about 400 people in attendance.
Pitman’s current major project is “The Chamber Classic” golf tournament. It will be held in October at the Broken Arrow Golf and Athletic Club. Registration is happening now for all levels of player abilities and is open to interested individuals, teams or companies.
Pitman is also working on the chamber’s Annual Gala, happening in early 2010 with a White Party theme, similar to that of Miami Beach but without having to leave Tulsa. The Annual Gala will be inside the Spirit Bank Event Center.
So what is the Bixby Chamber doing to attract more young professionals? “We have a lot of young professionals who are starting their own businesses, or they may be operating as independent consultants for large companies. Many of them are marketing themselves in the Bixby community. Trends are showing the city of Bixby and south Tulsa in general attracting more and more families and young professionals because of the new attractions such as the SpiritBank Event Center at the Regal Plaza with several restaurants that offer live music throughout the week, the new 100-acre Bentley Park under construction, local farmer’s markets and good schools and new homes.”
Pitman and the Bixby Chamber have formed alliances with the Jenks and Glenpool chambers in what is called the Tri-City Chamber to provide more services, benefits and opportunities to their members. At the Bixby Chamber, members are known as “partners” because the Bixby Chamber feels that every member is investing in a partnership. “By investing in us, we’re investing in your business and we want to see everyone succeed,” says Pitman in summarizing the goals of the Tri-City Chamber.
Pitman will continue as the chamber’s E&P Coordinator to develop personal and intimate relationships with the chamber’s partners. Pitman says in summation, “Everything is built around those relationships. People work with people they have relationships with because they know and trust them.” For more information about the city of Bixby and its events, visit www.bixbychamber.com.
Editor’s Note: Tulsa-area leadership has been working hard over the past few years to keep young professional talent in the region. One organization that has been very effective with these efforts is Tulsa’s Young Professionals, known by its acronym “TYPros.” This is the seventh of the Newspapers monthly series spotlighting young Tulsa leadership. Greater Tulsa is fortunate to have young talent contributing to its betterment.
The Tulsa Young Professionals, or “TYPros” is a group of diverse young professionals, whose typical ages range from 21-40, working together to showcase Tulsa as an excellent place to live, work and play. The mission of ros is to retain and attract young talent, while focusing on fostering Tulsa’s next generation of leadership. Membership is free. ros provides its members with opportunities to get in front of and build relationships with local community and business leaders. For more information or to become a member, visit www.typros.org.