Winners of Tulsa’s 2023 Pinnacle Awards announced

TULSA, Okla. — The City of Tulsa’s Mayor Commission on the Status of Women and the YWCA have partnered to announce the winners of the 2023 Pinnacle Awards.

The announcement was made on Thursday morning as Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum officiated.

The nine honorees will be celebrated at the annual Pinnacle Awards on Friday, March 24, 2023, at Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa.

“As Mayor of Tulsa, I am honored to recognize this year’s Pinnacle Award winners – women who have distinguished themselves as leaders in our community,” Bynum said. “I am grateful for their service as professionals and volunteers, working to make Tulsa a better place.”

The event honors women who are making a difference, investing into Tulsa, and who support the work of YWCA Tulsa to empower women and eliminate racism.

“It’s always an honor to be able to tell the stories of women who are fearless change agents in our community,” YWCA CEO Julie Davis said. “These women are creating a Tulsa that is more inclusive, more representative, more creative, and more powerful because of their work.”

Anna C. Roth Legacy Award: Rose Washington-Jones

As chief executive officer of Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (TEDC), Rose Washington-Jones is responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing strategies that support the organization’s role as a catalyst leader in local economic growth. With broad experience creating strategic alliances in diverse communities, she is known to be resourceful, creative and solutions oriented. Rose currently serves on numerous boards, including Bank of Oklahoma Financial, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Oklahoma, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Tulsa Community Foundation, and Tulsa Regional Chamber, where she recently completed a year as chairwoman. She has also received multiple honors which include the U.S. Small Business Administration Oklahoma Minority Small Business Champion of the Year, the Tulsa Chapter of Business and Professional Women – Woman of Achievement, and The Journal Record – Most Admired CEO.

Arts and Humanities Award: Dr. Tamecca Rogers

Dr. Tamecca Rogers is a Tulsan filmmaker, author, publisher, columnist and nonprofit organization CEO. She recently wrote and published a children’s book titled, “Who Said You Can Touch My Hair?” to encourage open conversation about boundaries between different cultures. In an effort to stop race-based hair discrimination in schools and workplaces, she has completed a documentary titled “CROWN” to encourage lawmakers to pass the CROWN Act in Oklahoma. She enjoys co-authoring children’s books with her youngest son, Keith, and she has self-published several successful parenting and educational articles. Dr. Rogers serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Tulsa Tech and volunteers her time to further DEI education across our state. Her work empowers women and helps teachers and parents approach complex topics and issues with children such as race, inclusion, identity and self-love.

Community Service Award: Irma Chajecki

Irma Chajecki serves as a bilingual immigrant specialist for the American Dream Center and has spent more than 40 years helping immigrants in Tulsa. Irma served on the board of directors for Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, Tulsa Global District, Coalition for the Safety of Families, Legal Aid of Oklahoma, Child Abuse Network, Birthright of Tulsa, 12 & 12 Drugs and Alcohol Programs and Pan American Round Table of Tulsa. She was a committee member for TPS Hispanic Advisory Committee and City of Tulsa Hispanic Commission. Earlier this year, Irma was honored with the Compassion Award from the City of Tulsa Human Rights Commission. In 2005 she received recognition from the Oklahoma Governor’s office for outstanding support to issues affecting the Hispanic community and has been honored by Catholic Charities of Tulsa for more than 25 years of service to the Hispanic community.

Corporate Business Award: Elian Hurtado Jarve

Elian Hurtado Jarve is the founder of Galera Business Consulting and a business consultant with more than 20 years of experience in helping financial companies increase revenue and grow their presence in Hispanic/Latinx communities. In 2020, Elian was appointed by the Mayor of Tulsa as a trustee of the Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity (TAEO), now Partner Tulsa, and currently serves as the organization’s vice chair. She has served on a number of boards across Tulsa, including Tulsa Global District, College Bound Academy, Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, Growing Together, YMCA of Greater Tulsa, and La Cosecha, and was the Commissioner of Economic Empowerment for the City of Tulsa. During the pandemic, Elian partnered with the Avanzado Juntos loan program to aid more than 75 undocumented Tulsa business owners by helping them access support funds they needed to stay afloat.

Education Award: Dr. Sarah Wyatt

Dr. Sarah Wyatt is the Director of Strategy and Operations for the Tulsa Higher Education Consortium. She has dedicated her career to supporting students in Tulsa-area higher education institutions by supporting and implementing strategies to bolster student success and retention in postsecondary education. Dr. Wyatt currently serves as a trustee on the Union Public Schools Foundation Board and previously served the Jenks Public Schools Foundation. She is also a committee member for Oklahoma Women’s Alliance Advocacy Committee, Career Pathways Committee for the State of Oklahoma, and The National Association for Collaborative Leadership Professional Development Committee. Additionally, she has previously served on the Tulsa Community College Strategic Plan Steering Committee, United Way Steering Committee, University of Tulsa Accessibility Committee, and the Tulsa Transfer Project. She has also volunteered her time with Reading Partners, Junior Achievement, and United Way Day of Caring. As a native Oklahoman, Dr. Wyatt is a fierce advocate for education throughout our state and boldly pursues equity, access, and opportunity for students in both K-12 and higher education settings.

Entrepreneur Award: Anita Williams

Citizens in Anita Williams’ north Tulsa community have an average life expectancy of 11 years less than citizens in south Tulsa, and she aims to change that. After a lengthy career as a registered nurse, Anita branched out and founded A&M Health Care Clinic, a primary care clinic in North Tulsa created to promote health equity and access for adults 14 years of age and older. Anita is also a member of the Eastern Oklahoma Black Nurses Association and has volunteered with Families with Sickle Cell Disease, St. John Medical Center Safety Net Coalition, and AHA Vestido Rojos. She has also spent more than five years serving as a mentor for nurse practitioner students.

Health & Wellness Award: Deneisha Johnson

Deneisha Johnson is a strong advocate for behavioral health in the Tulsa community, serving as the current board chair and the public relations chair for Counseling & Recovery Services of Oklahoma. Eleven years ago, Deneisha lived in Chicago where she was unemployed and unhoused. She moved to Tulsa and worked tirelessly to reestablish her career. Today, she serves as a finance manager for the American Red Cross and shares her personal story to encourage others to make change. Deneisha is a member of Leadership Tulsa Class 62, and she hopes to leave a legacy of helping our community through mental health and substance abuse struggles.

Rising Star Award: Ashley Townsend

Ashley Townsend is a Vice President and Community Manager at Chase bank and is the first person in Tulsa to occupy this important community role. Ashley partners with local businesses and community groups to provide free financial education workshops and resources to help close the racial wealth gap in our city. In 2020, Ashley organized the Black Organization for Leadership Development Group (BOLD), the first JPMorgan Chase Business Resource Group in Oklahoma to give a voice to minority leaders in corporate America. Ashley led the executive team that organized the $250,000 contribution from JPMorgan Chase to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission. In addition to her work with Chase, Ashley has served on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity, Iron Gate, Volunteers of America, and is an advisory board member for the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Corporate Champion Award: The Persimmon Group

The management consulting industry is traditionally dominated by men, but the Persimmon Group is breaking barriers with women representing 50 percent of its senior leadership and 71 percent of its senior consultant positions. Persimmon has also prioritized the recruitment and advancement of women of color, who currently hold 28 percent of senior consultant positions. The agency was named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma in 2022 and has won other prestigious awards for its efforts to take care of its employees.