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State’s Top Businesswomen to Speak at OCU Conference

State’s Top Businesswomen to Speak at OCU Conference

     OKLAHOMA CITY – Sixteen executives will participate in a powerhouse panel discussion next month at the Third Annual Women in Leadership Conference at Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business.

The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. March 29 in the Gardner Conference Center inside the Meinders School of Business at N.W. 27th Street and McKinley Avenue.

Presenting sponsors include Chesapeake Energy, Chaparral Energy and Oklahoma City University.

Panel leaders include Martha Burger, Chesapeake Energy; Barbara Crandall, Oklahoma City University; Barb Denny, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce; Patrice Douglas, Oklahoma Corporation Commission; Kelly Dyer Fry, The Oklahoman; Robyn Elliott, Chickasaw Nation; Debbie Fleming, SemGroup Corporation; Jennifer Grigsby, Chesapeake Energy; Kim Henry, Sarkeys Foundation; Jenny Love Meyer, Love’s Travel Stops; Donna Miller, Chaparral Energy; Valerie Naifeh, Naifeh Fine Jewelry; Kristin Peck, Cox Communications; Lisa Putt, Willis; Shannon Warren, Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium; and Avilla Williams, Integris Health Edmond.

“We have assembled some of the state’s top executives and thought leaders who will share their perspectives and personal stories on topics impacting women as professionals, entrepreneurs and students,” said Melissa Cory, director of communications for the Meinders School of Business. “The conference is designed to give participants access to expertise with a highly interactive program format that will provide the insight, tools and motivation to be successful leaders in their personal and professional lives.”

Burger is senior vice president of human and corporate resources for Chesapeake Energy. She joined the company in 1994 as a revenue accounting manager. She has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility since and now provides leadership for human resources, administrative services, facilities, communications, security and ethics. She is the campaign chair of the United Way of Central Oklahoma, serves as vice chair of the Education and Workforce Development Division for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and is an at-large member of the MAPS 3 Citizen’s Advisory Board’s Oklahoma River Subcommittee.

Crandall is a professor of management at Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business. She specializes in organizational behavior, organizational culture and leadership and serves on a variety of campus committees. She is a certified mediator and has contributed articles and cases to several books. Crandall was active in fundraising and building activities for the Ronald McDonald House of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Children’s Health Foundation and the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Denny serves as the chief financial officer and vice president of operations for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She previously worked as a senior audit manager at Arthur Andersen LLP for publicly and privately held clients. She is responsible for the chamber’s administration, human resources, technology and facilities areas including oversight of the chamber’s annual budget. She has been active with Leadership Oklahoma City, Lyric Theater of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, Allied Arts, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity and Junior Hospitality.

Douglas took office as an Oklahoma corporation commissioner in October 2011. She practiced law full time for 13 years before joining her family’s business, ACP Sheet Metal. During her five years at ACP, she served as vice president and general counsel and faced first-hand the challenges of small business owners. Douglas also served as president of SpiritBank and executive vice president of First Fidelity Bank. She currently serves on the Oklahoma Bankers Association Board of Directors. Douglas has been appointed by three governors to serve on six statewide boards and task forces. She served two terms for the Edmond Economic Development Authority and as mayor of Edmond.

Fry is editor of The Oklahoman and vice president of news for OPUBCO Communications Group. She oversees content across multiple platforms including The Oklahoman and NewsOK. Prior to her current role, she served as director of multimedia and general manager of Fry led the team that launched in 2001. Fry serves on the boards of the Oklahoma Outreach Foundation and Citizens for Juvenile Justice Advisory Council. She has also served on boards for the American Red Cross and Travelers Aid.

Elliott serves as the division administrator for the Chickasaw Nation Division of Communications, Media and Community Development and as press secretary to the governor of the Chickasaw Nation. Elliott previously served as director of public affairs for the Chickasaw Nation and as business manager for the D.R. Management Group. Elliott is responsible for tribal affairs including media relations, broadcast production, public affairs, special events and services, film and video production, community development and the tribal newspaper. She also is overseeing construction plans for the Artesian Hotel in Sulphur.

Fleming serves as vice president and treasurer of SemGroup Corporation and is responsible for overseeing the company’s corporate finance, banking and cash management activities as well as insurance functions. She was responsible for refinancing all of SemGroup’s credit facilities upon emergence from bankruptcy. Before joining SemGroup, Fleming served as vice president and treasurer of OGE Energy Corporation. She also has served as an adjunct finance professor for Oklahoma City University’s Great Wall MBA program at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics in China.

Grigsby is senior vice president, treasurer and corporate secretary for Chesapeake Energy Corporation. As treasurer, she oversees the company’s cash management, risk management and debt compliance functions. As corporate secretary, she has primary responsibility for the company’s public debt and equity securities, the company’s corporate compliance and governance initiatives and the administration of the company’s stock compensation plans. Prior to joining Chesapeake, Grigsby worked as an accountant for Deloitte & Touche LLP and Commander Aircraft Company. She was inducted into the Silton T. Anderson Hall of Fame at Oklahoma State University in 2011, was named to the inaugural class of The Journal Record’s Achievers Under 40 and was included in OKC BIZ’ Forty Under 40 list and Oklahoma Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list.  She serves as vice president of development of the Board of Directors of Leadership Oklahoma City and serves on the boards for Sunbeam Family Services and the YMCA.

Henry has devoted much of her life to education. She spent most of her teaching career at Shawnee High School and was awarded the Close-Up Foundation’s Linda Myers Chozen Award for Teaching Excellence in Civic Education. Henry serves on the boards of directors for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Conference of Southwest Foundations. She is the executive director of the Sarkeys Foundation.

Meyer is the vice president of communications for Love’s Travel Stops. She oversees public and media relations, internal communications, community relations and charitable giving for the Love’s family of companies. The daughter of Love’s Travel Stops founder Tom Love, Meyer began her career serving in business and operational management roles in 1991. She is a past board member of the American Red Cross and the Arthritis Foundation, past chairperson of the statewide Children’s Miracle Network Council and a Leadership Oklahoma City alumna.

Miller joined Chaparral Energy in July 2011 with more than 25 years of human resources experience. She has held leadership positions with several Fortune 500 companies, including Sun Microsystems, AT&T Broadband and Cox Communications. Prior to joining Chaparral, Miller founded the Executive Resource Center, a management consulting firm focused on executive coaching, leadership development and teambuilding.  She partnered with Oklahoma City University to initiate and co-chair the Women in Leadership: Powerhouse Panel Discussion and co-founded the senior Organizational Development association of Oklahoma. She also serves on the Executive Advisory Council of the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium.

Naifeh is an award winning jewelry designer and owner of Naifeh Fine Jewelry. She apprenticed as a bench jeweler and designer with Ann Garrett and moved to Oklahoma City in 1987 to manage a lease department for her. Naifeh is a two-time winner of the DeBeers Diamond’s Today Award and received an honorable mention in the International Japanese Pearl Design Competition. She also worked at Samuel Gordon Jewelers before opening her own retail business in 1998 inside Balliet’s. She moved the business to its current location in Casady Square in 2002. Naifeh designs and manufactures her own line of jewelry, which is sold in her store and through a small number of retailers throughout the country.

Peck is the vice president of government and public affairs for Cox Communications Oklahoma. In her role, she oversees local, state and federal affairs, media relations, community outreach and employee communications initiatives. She has worked for Cox since 2001, starting in the Kansas operation, moving to Omaha in April 2005 and Oklahoma in 2009. She previously worked as the public information officer for the City of Wichita and as a reporter and news anchor for KNSS in Wichita. She is on the executive committee of the State Chamber of Commerce and is a board member for Smart Start Oklahoma and the United Way of Central Oklahoma.

Putt is the vice president of employee benefits for Willis. She is responsible for new business and client management functions of the group employee benefits department. She was named one of the Top 50 Women in Oklahoma by the Journal Record. She serves on the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board and the OCU Meinders School of Business Advisory Board. She is vice chairman for the YWCA Board of Directors and a member of International Peace Through Business.

Warren is the founder of the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium, a non-profit, non-sectarian grassroots professional organization dedicated to promoting integrity at work. Beginning as a small discussion group with only six members in October 2003, the Oklahoma initiative has become a forum for the promotion of high ethical standards in business. Warren writes a local monthly column on business ethics and contributes to a national magazine.

Williams serves as president of Integris Health Edmond. She has more than 30 years of clinical and administrative healthcare experience. She was named Who’s Who in Nursing Today and Nurse Manager of the Year. Williams is active in the healthcare and civic community. She belongs to the Oklahoma Organization of Nurse Executives, the Rotary club of Edmond, Oklahoma Association for Healthcare Ethics and the Oklahoma Hospital Association.

The Women in Leadership Conference benefits the Meinders School of Business scholarship program. Corporate sponsorships and individual tickets are available. For more information visit or contact Melissa Cory at (405) 208-5540 or Online registration is available at