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OCU Conference to Feature Leading Businesswomen

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City University’s Fifth Annual Women in Leadership Conference will feature some of the state’s leading business women for a powerhouse workshop and panel from 8 a.m. to noon March 25 at the Meinders School of Business.

Speakers include Susan Barber, Oklahoma City University provost; Linda Kissler, vice president for J.P. Morgan Private Bank; Teresa Rose, senior director of community relations and events for Chesapeake Energy Corporation; and Christy VanCleave, president of Muddy Paws/Pets Helping People. Former Lt. Gov. Jari Askins will moderate the panel discussion and Jenee Naifeh Lister, senior vice president of wealth management for Merrill Lynch, will serve as master of ceremonies..

Composer and Author David Friedman will give the keynote address and lead a workshop. With multi-platinum recordings, Broadway shows, Disney animated films, television scores and a teaching and lecturing career that spans the nation, Friedman has made his mark in all areas of show business.After conducting musicals on Broadway, including “Grease,” “Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and “Song and Dance,” Friedman went to Hollywood where he conducted and vocal arranged Disney classics including “Beauty & The Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Pocahontas” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” His songs have been sung and recorded by luminaries such as Diana Ross, Barry Manilow, Allison Krauss, Petula Clark, Laura Branigan, and many others. He appears regularly on “The Today Show,” writing new songs for the Everyone Has a Story segment. Friedman spends part of his time teaching workshops and coaching privately across the U.S. in schools, theaters, churches and Fortune 500 Companies.

Askins served as the lieutenant governor of Oklahoma from 2007 to 2011 and has the rare distinction of serving in all three branches of government. She served as a special district judge, executive director of the Pardon and Parole Board, deputy general counsel to the governor and as a state representative.

Lister has been in the financial services industry since 1988, all with Merrill Lynch in Oklahoma City. Her focus is on developing strategies and solutions for high net worth individuals, their families and their businesses.

Barber served as an OCU faculty member for 20 years before joining the administration and later becoming provost. She was chair of the biology department for 17 years.

Kissler was a founding partner of Marlin Capital prior to becoming a banker with J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Her team is dedicated to providing high net worth individuals and families with a full range of wealth services as part of an overall wealth management strategy.

Rose joined Chesapeake Energy in 2008 and was later promoted to senior director of community relations and events. Her responsibilities include developing the company’s corporate responsibility goals, overseeing corporate philanthropy, developing relationships with community partners and employee engagement and volunteerism. Rose previously was an attorney for The Center for Education Law.

VanCleave began her career in the pet grooming industry in 1978 at a veterinary clinic. She has traveled across the country and worked in many salons enriching her knowledge and technical skills as a pet stylist. She now operates Muddy Paws and started a non-profit organization, Pets Helping People, which trains incarcerated women and felons for careers in the pet industry.

The conference is sponsored by OCU’s Meinders School of Business, ERC and the Women Presidents’ Organization.

Registration is $75 and can be completed by calling Melissa Cory at (405) 208-5540, emailing or visiting