The following article was originally found in the Tulsa World.
Heera Sheikh: Sheikh is president of the Surayya Anne Foundation, which assists women and children in disadvantaged circumstances due to domestic violence, catastrophic illness and homelessness.
YWCA Tulsa will celebrate its centennial by honoring 100 women who possess the quality known as moxie.
Since 1914, the YWCA has led a charge for inclusion and empowerment in Tulsa — but never alone. Women of all ages, races, classes and backgrounds have worked to promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all in the community. On Dec. 2, the YWCA will recognize 100 of the trailblazers, hidden heroes and leading ladies in Tulsa’s history. The YWCA and Sharon King Davis will host the 100 Women of Moxie ceremony to honor the chosen and to celebrate the first 100 years of YWCA Tulsa. The list of honorees was made available to the Tulsa World and can be seen below or at 100womenoftulsa.org.
So what is “moxie”? To honoree Missy Kruse, the word means being action-oriented and “doing things regardless of whether they are easy to do or not.”
“I like moxie,” said honoree Dale McNamara. She interprets it as having confidence and being a free spirit and unafraid to jump in the middle of things. “It’s a word that seems to have been around for a long time,” honoree Sheryl Siddiqui said. “I can remember my parents and grandparents talking about women who had the guts to do what needed to be done.”
Said honoree Risha Grant: “Women have always been expected to stay calm, be passive and act ladylike, but in my experience those women who have truly made a difference have shown courage, not been afraid to speak up and are passionate. Ultimately, they have raised hell and made a difference. I have always admired women like this, and I am honored to be considered one of them.” Among the honorees is Tulsa World managing editor Susan Ellerbach, who later this year will become the newspaper’s first female executive editor. “When I think of people I admire whom I consider to have ‘moxie,’ it’s because they have courage,” Ellerbach said. “Their concern isn’t of what others might think of them or what’s in it for them, but rather how they can accomplish a goal for the betterment of the community as a whole. They take a positive approach and proceed with enthusiasm where others may fear to go.” Tulsa World Opinion Associate Editor Julie DelCour also was among the 100 women selected. DelCour joined the World staff in 1977 and moved to Opinion in 1998. She has received numerous honors and covered various high-profile news events, including the three-year investigation and trials of Oklahoma City bombing conspirators Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. An independent committee of community members gathered to review more than 200 nominations received.
Women from the past and present were chosen who exemplify the mission of the YWCA and share its core values. They must have had a connection to Tulsa through residence, work or volunteerism. According to a release that accompanies the list of 100 honorees, the committee looked for extraordinary women with a mix of exceptional qualities — plus that “special something.” The committee paid special attention to honoring a wide variety of women of different eras, ages, races and ethnicities, sexual and gender identities, and class and experience backgrounds. Looking for unsung heroes, quiet catalysts and known leaders, the YWCA sought women from all parts of Tulsa and didn’t limit the list to those with a connection to the YWCA. 100 Women of Moxie honorees from YWCA Tulsa
Caroline Abbott: Attorney for the Mental Health Association in Tulsa and active with the YWCA and Tulsa City-County Library. Alison Anthony: Director of diversity and community relations for Williams Cos. She received the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women Pinnacle Award and has been active on the board of directors for the Oklahoma State Council for Human Resource Management, Community Service Council of Greater Tulsa, and Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.
Dr. Laura Arrowsmith: Director of gender outreach for Oklahomans for Equality. Pat Bailey: Recipient of the YWCA Angel award, a longtime supporter of DVIS, Resonance and the arts in Tulsa. Lena Bennett: For more than 50 years, she worked and advocated on behalf of prisoners, minorities, underprivileged youth, the developmentally disabled and elderly. She died in May. Betty Boyd: Known as the “Queen of Tulsa TV” during her 25 years with KOTV, channel 6, and KTUL, channel 8, she later became a state legislator. Boyd died in 2011. Jo Bright: Served as director of the Salvation Army North Mabee Boys & Girls Club for more than 27 years. Yolanda Charney: Retired director of community relations for the Jewish Federation of Tulsa and executive director of the Hispanic American Foundation of Tulsa. Jane Heard Clinton: Contributed to the founding of the Hyechka Club Tulsa, the city’s longest-lived arts organization; established the Tuesday Book Club and the Ruskin Art Club; and passed the bond election that led to the building of what is now the Brady Theater.
Felicia Collins Correia: This community leader was former CEO of YWCA Tulsa for eight years and director of Domestic Violence Intervention Services for 16 years. Opal Dargan: A pillar of the north Tulsa community, Dargan taught school for 35 years and served on boards of many civic groups and government agencies. She was Teacher of the Year in 1975. Sharon King Davis: Known as the “person who gets it done,” King Davis, a fifth-generation Tulsan, is an active civic leader and has been involved in dozens of community organizations and projects. Nancy Day: She guided the transition of the bankrupt National Conference of Christians and Jews to a thriving Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, serving both organizations for a total of 32 years. Julie DelCour: A Missouri native, DelCour joined the Tulsa World in 1977 and began work in Opinions in 1998. As a state and federal court reporter for nearly 20 years, she covered the criminal trials of former Tulsa banker Wes McKinney and Colombian drug kingpin Jose Abello-Silva and a lawsuit to deinstitutionalize Hissom Memorial Center. Her most daunting assignment, however, was the three years she spent as the lead reporter covering the investigation and Denver trials of Oklahoma City bombing conspirators Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. DelCour is a graduate of the University of Missouri. She has been honored by the Associated Press, including a first place award for a series by the editorial department on the Tar Creek Superfund site. She was a Tulsa Women in Communications Newsmaker, a recipient of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award and has been honored by the Oklahoma Coalition on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. In 2007, she received the Oklahoma ACLU’s Media Award.
Lo Detrich: While fighting a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, Detrich, who died at 28, became a strong advocate in the fight against the disease. In 1997, she was given the Henry Zarrow Award, the highest honor an individual can get for work with the Sooner Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Dorothy DeWitty: A trail-blazing educator in Tulsa Public Schools for 30 years, she was a civic leader and a voice of reason on Tulsa’s first City Council. Sharon Doty: As part of a team of volunteers statewide, she helped create a network of 36 community-based shelters for abused and neglected children that became known as Youth Services. Norma Eagleton: She was the first woman elected to a voting position on the Tulsa City Commission, was a member of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and served on the board of regents of Rogers State College. Rachel Caroline Eaton: Eaton, a Cherokee, is believed to be the first Oklahoma Indian woman to receive a doctoral degree and the first woman county superintendent of schools in Oklahoma. Susan Ellerbach: Ellerbach has been the managing editor of the Tulsa World since 1995 and will become the first woman to hold the position of executive editor at the newspaper when she assumes that role in November. Ellerbach joined the World in 1985 as a business writer before being promoted to business editor, state editor and Sunday editor in 1994. She was a reporter and editor at the Tahlequah Daily Press and managing editor of the Tahlequah American in 1983. Born in Atlanta, she graduated from high school in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, and earned a journalism degree from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. Her career began with a group of Kansas community newspapers in Baldwin City, Kansas, including the Wellsville Globe. She’s a member of APME and AP/ONE, of which she has served as president. She remains active in Leadership Oklahoma and has served on the boards of Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s Caring Program for Children and the Child Abuse Network. Columbia Journalism Review featured her in “Moms Who’ve Made It.” Nancy Feldman: Lawyer, educator and world traveler, Feldman devoted much of her life to fighting discrimination in all forms and championing the arts in Tulsa. Mollie Parker Franklin: Wife of noted lawyer Buck Franklin and mother of historian John Hope Franklin, she was a teacher and founded the first day-care center for African-American children in Tulsa. Linda Frazier: She has been one of Tulsa’s most dedicated supporters of the arts, working with the Tulsa Symphony, Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, Chamber Music Tulsa, the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Oklahoma Arts Institute. Sharon Gallagher: The former executive director of Leadership Tulsa is now director of collaborative initiatives at the Tulsa Area United Way. Eddie Faye Gates: Educator, historian and author of such books as “Riot on Greenwood: The Total Destruction of Black Wall Street,” a much-acclaimed oral history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. Helen Gates: Founder of Gatesway Foundation, which has provided people with developmental disabilities the skills to live independent lives. Inez Kinney Gaylord: Wife of Daily Oklahoman publisher E.K. Gaylord and co-founder of the YWCA Tulsa.
Regina Goodwin: She is a community activist dedicated to preserving the past, present and future of north Tulsa. Shan Goshorn: The Eastern Band Cherokee artist and activist has earned international recognition for her basketry, in which she weaves replicas of historical documents into intricate, traditional basket forms. Risha Grant: An author and diversity expert, Grant owns Risha Grant LLC. Pearl Stewart Graves: In the early 1900s, Graves helped organize a Young Women’s Christian Club in north Tulsa. After the 1921 Race Riot, she helped form the North Branch of the YWCA and became the director of the Archer Street Branch of the YWCA. Pocahontas Greadington: The first African-American administrator at Tulsa Public Schools, she also was a board member for the YWCA, Family & Children’s Services, March of Dimes and the Tulsa Urban League among many others. Ruth Hardman: She crafted a place for herself in Tulsa’s history with volunteer work and philanthropy in wide-ranging interests, including the arts and health and social services. Joy Harjo: This Tulsa native and Mvskoke Nation citizen is a renowned poet, author and musician.
Susan Harris: Senior vice president of the Tulsa Metro Chamber, she is also a board member for the Tulsa County Partnership for Early Childhood Success, OSU-Tulsa Center for Poets and Writers, and Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. Peggy Helmerich: This well-known actress (“Harvey,” “Woman in Hiding,” “Bright Victory”) turned her back on Hollywood when she married and because a Tulsa philanthropist who helped established the Tulsa Library Trust and the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. Clydella Hentschel: This committed volunteer and board member worked with many organizations including Children’s Medical Center, Saint Francis Health System, American Diabetes Research Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Eleanor Hill: The founder and director of Resonance, a nonprofit organization that helps women, was a retired archdeacon of the Diocese of Oklahoma and deacon at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church. Mary Ann Hille: The co-founder and trustee of the Hille Foundation has been an educator and an active community volunteer. Fern Holland: This lawyer and Peace Corps volunteer would go on to investigate human rights violations in Iraq and promote women’s rights there. Holland wrote the portion of the new Iraqi constitution that gave Iraqi women 25 percent of the seats in their national assembly. She would become the first civilian casualty of the Iraq war when her car was surrounded and she and two people she was traveling with were shot.
Maxine Cissel Horner: One of the first black women to serve in the Oklahoma state Senate, she was also a member of the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame and credited with legislation that founded the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Kasey Hughart: She has dedicated her life to helping illegal immigrant youths, including assisting in the formation of Dream Act Oklahoma. Lynn Jones: After her retirement from the Tulsa Police Department in 2002, Jones held the rank of major and was the highest-ranking woman on the force. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame, was named Tulsa Volunteer of the Year and received a leadership award from the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse. Judy Kishner: She serves as a director of the Oklahoma Conference for Community and Justice, and as a director of Saint Francis Health System as well as on advisory boards of the Center for Individuals With Physical Challenges and of the Mental Health Association. Missy Kruse: Kruse, president of Write-Co., has 40 years of experience in the communications business including work as a public relations consultant, magazine editor and writer, newspaper reporter, and grant writer.
Gail Lapidus: The CEO of Family & Children’s Services has been honored with a ONE Award for F&CS from the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, and the Pinnacle Award from the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Tulsa Women’s Foundation. Moscelyne Larkin: Larkin, a ballet dancer and instructor, formed the Tulsa Civic Ballet and School, now called the Tulsa Ballet. She received the Governor’s Arts Award and was named “Outstanding Indian” by the Council of American Indians — an honor she treasured. Roberta Campbell Lawson: Lawson’s work advanced the rights of women and public policy in the areas of marriage and reproductive justice. She was a key leader in the women’s clubs movement, which promoted civic engagement and volunteer service. Lilia Lee: The Hmong woman living in Collinsville died at 24. She worked as a lab technician at Hillcrest Medical Center, was an active member of her church and an advocate in her community. Hazel Leitch: While at Catholic Charities, she championed a number of ground-breaking initiatives for the Diocese, including the St. Elizabeth Lodge for battered women and the Madonna House for young expectant mothers seeking adoptive parents for their children.
Lilah Denton Lindsey: Born in Indian Territory in 1860, she contributed much to the birth of Tulsa, organizing the Tulsa chapter of the Woman’s Relief Corps, sponsoring a school and establishing the Frances Willard Home for Girls. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1937. She died in 1943. Mabel Little: Little was 21 at the time of the Race Riot in Tulsa’s black community. Her beauty shop was burned to the ground, but she rebuilt it, adopted 12 children and became a matriarch of north Tulsa. She died at 104 years of age. Georgia Hayden Lloyd Jones: She was an advocate for women’s suffrage, humane treatment of animals, control of children’s diseases and Planned Parenthood. She also contributed to the founding of the All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa. Frances Lockwood: Lockwood helped form the Junior League of Tulsa and became the group’s first president in 1923. The group was credited with forming the Convalescent Home for Crippled Children, later known as Children’s Medical Center. Jane Malone: Past president of the Committee on Administration for the YWCA and a member of the Tulsa Association of Legal Assistants, she has served as a board member of the Neighborhood Housing Services, the NAACP, Greenwood Chamber of Commerce and the Jazz Hall of Fame.
Paula Marshall: CEO of her family’s business, The Bama Companies, Marshall has served as chairwoman of the Tulsa Regional Chamber and was one of the first women asked to join the Young Presidents’ Organization Oklahoma Chapter. Rep. Jeannie McDaniel: She serves on the Oklahoma House of Representatives and is currently an Assistant Minority Floor Leader of the House Chamber. McDaniel retired from the city of Tulsa in 2004 after more than 25 years of service. Nancy McDonald: Founded the Tulsa chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. She also played a key role in magnet school development in integrating Tulsa Public Schools. Dr. Dannette McIntosh: In 2011, McIntosh was a 9-11 first responder at the World Trade Center. She also has a passion for working to educate people about HIV/AIDS and to care for those infected. Judy Eason McIntyre: McIntyre served as an Oklahoma State Representative and a senator and was chairwoman of the Tulsa County Democratic Party.She was also a longtime Tulsa Public Schools board member. Dale McNamara: She became the first female sports letterman as a golfer at the University of Tulsa and later launched a championship collegiate golf program.
Madeline Manning Mims: An Olympic gold and silver medalist, she is in the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. She has made a mark in music (she’s in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame) and is founder and president of the United States Council for Sports Chaplaincy. Ruth Nelson: A social activist and philanthropist, Nelson’s belief that affordable housing is essential for the health of any community led her to involvement with the Tulsa Housing Authority, which she assumed leadership of in 1991. Lillian Norberg: Regarded as the first lady of Oklahoma libraries, Norberg spearheaded the successful campaign to build Tulsa’s Central Library and expand its branch service. She founded Friends of the Tulsa Public Library. Dr. Cecilia Palmer: Palmer was the first black faculty member at the University of Tulsa and Oklahoma State University. Dr. Jocelyn Payne: After more than 40 years in higher education, Payne became the first full-time executive director of the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation. Whitney Pearson: A protector of public health, Pearson’s grassroots approach to action on climate change began in college and, since 2010, she has been the Sierra Club’s Oklahoma Beyond Coal organizer.
Janet Pearson: A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Pearson attended Tulsa Public Schools, graduating from Memorial High School in 1972. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 1975. While still in college, Pearson began working at the Tulsa World in 1974. She covered numerous beats over nearly four decades, including health, city government, social services, energy, the environment and transportation. She became an editorial writer in 1994 and an associate editor in 2007. Pearson received the Humane Society of the United States’ Genesis Award for her work that helped lead to the banning of cockfighting in the state and the Excellence in Media Award from the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Her honors include the Oklahoma Education Association’s Marshall Gregory Award (shared with David Averill), the Women in Communications Newsmaker Award, the Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma Founders’ Award, and the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Distinguished Public Service Award. Dr. Wennette Pegues: She became one of the first, if not the first African-American to teach nursing at Hillcrest Medical School and went on to a distinguished career in higher education. Mona Pittenger: Pittenger co-founded the Tulsa Girls Art School in 2007, an organization that provides art instruction and entrepreneurial skills to underprivileged girls living in the inner city. An active philanthropist, she formed a public foundation in 2004.
Edna Pyle: The YWCA Tulsa’s first executive director, she worked with Pearl Graves to found the Y’s Archer Street Branch in north Tulsa. Dixie Reppe: Reppe’s body of work includes service to the local opera, the United Way and the YWCA. She also is a former Tulsa Public Schools volunteer of the year. Mable Rice: A founding member of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and recipient of the Maxine Cissel Horner Spirit of Community Excellence Award for 2006, Rice has a body of work in the arts (she developed Tulsa’s first Black Arts Festival) and served as executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of The National Association for Sickle Cell Disease. Gail Richards: Richards was inducted in the Tulsa Historical Society’s Hall of Fame for philanthropic work in 2010. Anna Roth: A transplant from New Jersey, Roth is credited with bringing the YWCA to Tulsa, and she helped raise $166,000 for a new building in 1919. Sharon Saied: Described as a “tireless volunteer,” Saied was once a Tulsa Public Schools volunteer of the year and was a leading PTA member in Tulsa for 30 years. Amy Santee: Santee is a senior program officer at the George Kaiser Foundation, a supporting organization of the Tulsa Community Foundation, which is dedicated to providing equal opportunity for young children through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services and civic enhancement.
Dr. Barbara Santee: A pro-choice feminist and community activist since the late 1960s, she has won numerous awards for community activism. M. Susan Savage: Elected the first female mayor of Tulsa (she served from 1992-2002), Savage was appointed secretary of state of Oklahoma in 2003 and held the position until 2011. Lynn Schusterman: She is founder and chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which seeks to ignite passion and unleash power in youths to create positive change for themselves, in the Jewish community and across the broader world. Claudette Selph: Selph was the founding director of the Parent Child Center of Tulsa and has a long history of outreach that includes work with the Tulsa Boys’ Home. Deborah Shallcross: Shallcross served almost 30 years as a district court judge. She was chosen Oklahoma judge of the year in 2011 by the state chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and was selected the outstanding trial judge of the year in 2009 by the Oklahoma Association for Justice. Heera Sheikh: Sheikh is president of the Surayya Anne Foundation, which assists women and children in disadvantaged circumstances due to domestic violence, catastrophic illness and homelessness.
Sheryl Siddiqui: A former director of community relations for the Islamic Society of Tulsa, she is interactive in interfaith works and is a longtime advocate for Muslim civil rights in Tulsa. Carmelita Skeeter: The chief executive officer of the Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa has dedicated her life to the betterment of lives in the Native American population. Jill Zink Tarbel: She founded the Oklahoma Coalition of Citizens With Disabilities and served as executive board member of the American Coalition of Citizens With Disabilities. Kathy Taylor: Elected as Tulsa’s second female mayor in 2006, Taylor served in that capacity through 2009. Margarita Vega Trevino: The owner of Vega+Trevino marketing firm and a supporter of arts and education, Trevino and her husband published a Spanish-language newspaper that was judged to be the best in the nation by the National Association of Hispanic Publications in 2011. Mother Grace Tucker: In addition to raising her 16 children, Tucker dedicated a half century to serving the poor and homeless. Eva Unterman: A Holocaust survivor, Unterman’s foundation promotes and provides funding for projects that foster understanding, education and commemoration of the Holocaust that benefit the state and people of Oklahoma.
Maybelle Wallace: The guiding force behind Theatre North for more than two decades, Wallace was honored at the 2014 Tulsa Awards for Theater Excellence. Suzanne Warren: A philanthropist, Warren’s impact stretches from the arts to social service organizations. Kathleen Patton Westby: Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa was founded by Westby and a namesake foundation benefits the arts and arts education. Carlisha Williams: A former Miss Black Oklahoma, Williams is the founder and executive director of Women Empowering Nations and is a motivational speaker, author and educator. Mollie Williford: Chair of the Williford Companies, Williford was the 2000 recipient of the March of Dimes Great Spirits Award and in 1999 was presented with the Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Award. Patti Johnson Wilson: A civic leader and philanthropist, Wilson started a foundation in 1972 to provide scholarships for needy college students. Emily Wood: An educator, Wood was the 1990 recipient of the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Elementary Teaching. Anne Zarrow: The Tulsa Library Trust named its annual award for children’s literature in honor of Zarrow, a philanthropist whose impact was wide-ranging.
Maxine Zarrow: In 2002, Zarrow received the Community Service Council’s David Bernstein Distinguished Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement. Janet Zink: A philanthropist and volunteer, Zink’s influence was felt from the arts to the Girls Scouts.