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Ethical Dilemmas in Board Service

  • August 24, 2022
  • 11:30 AM (CST)
  • August 25, 2022
  • 1:00 PM (CST)
  • OKC: Capitol View 11:30 am-1:00pm, Virtual 11:45am-1:00pm, August 25, 2022 | Tulsa: Tulsa Country Club 11:30-1:00pm


  • This reserves a registration for a member to the in-person event. This discounted price is available to members at all levels, including virtual members.
  • This reserves a registration for the in-person event at the non-member price.
  • This reserves a pre-paid registration for a premium member to the in-person event.
  • This reserves a registration for a member to the in-person event. This discounted price is available to members at all levels, including virtual members.
  • This reserves a registration for the in-person event at the non-member price.
  • This reserves a pre-paid registration for a premium member to the in-person event.
  • This reserves a registration for the virtual event at the non-member price.
  • This reserves a registration for the virtual event at the non-member price.
  • This reserves a complimentary registration for a pre-paid member to the virtual event. This includes Premium and Virtual members at the Trailblazer level and higher.

OK Ethics Presents:

Ethical Dilemmas in Board Service: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

Marnie Taylor (OKC/Virtual moderator)

President, National Council for Nonprofits

Wendy Thomas (Tulsa moderator)

Executive Director, Leadership Tulsa

OKC (In person)

Capitol View Events Center

5201 N Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City

Wednesday, August 24th

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Premium Members: Free for the number of pre-paid registrants included in membership

Members: $40

Non-Members: $50

TULSA (In person)

Tulsa Country Club

701 N Union

Thursday, August 25th

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Premium Members: Free for the number of pre-paid registrants included in membership

Members: $40

Non-Members: $50


Zoom - Link Provided Upon Registration

Wednesday, August 24th

11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Virtual Members: Free for the number of pre-paid registrants included in membership

Members: $15

Non-Members: $25

In accordance with CDC guidelines, masks are highly encouraged regardless of vaccination status, especially during networking time. 

Recommended for 1 CPE in Personal Development at the basic level.

The program is suitable at the basic level for individuals who have routine interactions with others that could potentially lead to contentious conversations. OK Ethics makes no guarantees as it is up to the individual practitioner to determine relevance to their specific area of practice.

About the Program:

One of OK Ethics' guiding principles is service. The vast majority of the OK Ethics members encourage their employees to become involved in their communities by serving on boards. Serving on boards can present potential ethical issues and dilemmas. A panel of board service experts will discuss the current trends and ethical issues surrounding ethical dilemmas in board service and how this impacts today’s boards. Trending issues of governance, power, influence and conflict of interests will be discussed. For those who serve (or plan to serve) on profit or non-profit boards, this panel discussion will provide important information.

Key Takeaways:

1. Gain knowledge about the duties of board governance and ethical behavior related to board service.

2. Explore common ethical dilemmas of board service and real-life examples of how to handle them.

3. Explore how to use power and influence appropriately and avoid conflict of interest.

About the Moderators:

Marnie Taylor (OKC) began her tenure as President and CEO in January 2011 after a number of years serving on the board of directors. One of Oklahoma’s leading governance experts, she has more than 40 years of leadership in volunteerism, board service, fundraising and community engagement. She has served on more than 30 boards of directors. Currently, she serves on the boards of Potts Family Foundation, ReMerge, Sunbeam Family Services and the Friends of the Governor’s Mansion. She currently serves as vice chair for the National Council of Nonprofits.

Taylor is a graduate of Notre Dame. A native of South Bend, Ind., she began her professional career in advertising with the Chicago Tribune. After marrying her husband, Clayton, the couple moved to Oklahoma. While she and Clayton had two brief stints away from the state, they have made Oklahoma their home for the past 39 years. Taylor is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class XXIV, Leadership Oklahoma City Class XV, SALLT Class X, Founding Director of Youth Leadership Exchange (YLX) and founding member of United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Women’s Leadership Society. She also served for 10 years as a historic preservation commissioner for Oklahoma City.

Taylor is past board president of Oklahoma County Citizens for Juvenile Justice, Oklahoma Outreach Foundation, CASA of Oklahoma County, Notre Dame Club of Oklahoma City and Volunteer Center of Central Oklahoma. She has held leadership board positions for Oklahoma Arts Institute, World Neighbors, American Red Cross, Junior League of Oklahoma City, and ReMerge.

For her service to the community, Taylor has been honored as the Journal Record’s “Woman of the Year” in 2013, Junior League of Oklahoma City’s “Sustainer of the Year” in 2011 and recipient of the 2018 “President’s Spirit of Commitment Award,” “Distinguished Leader” by the National Association of Community Leadership, “Woman in the News” by Oklahoma Hospitality Club, “Person of the Year” by Notre Dame Club of Oklahoma City, “Board Member of the Year” for both Red Cross and CASA. She has received the “Dare to Believe Award” from Oklahoma Outreach Foundation, “Dulaney-Brown Library Society Award” from Oklahoma City University and the “Forever Orange Award” from Oklahoma State University—Oklahoma City. Most recently, Taylor has been named the Journal Record’s “Most Admired CEO” in the nonprofit category.

Taylor’s additional affiliations include: Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, Allied Arts Circle Club, Downtown Oklahoma City Rotary, Economics Club of Oklahoma City, Friends of OU Breast Institute, John L. Peters Society, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum’s Annie Oakley Society and Prix de West Society, Notre Dame Club of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Business Round Table, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits’ Chairman’s Circle, Oklahoma Women’s Coalition, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and Women for Oklahoma State University.

Taylor enjoys spending time with Clayton, her husband of 38 years, her son Clay, his wife Becky and their children Josie and Tripp of Oklahoma City, and her son Clark of Crested Butte, Colo. Taylor enjoys fitness, travelling, hiking and skiing in Colorado, reading and staying connected with local and national politics. One of her proudest accomplishments is climbing to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Wendy Thomas (Tulsa) joined Leadership Tulsa as its Executive Director in January 2002 and was formerly the Executive Director of the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa. She is a graduate of the University of Tulsa and has a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Wendy has served as president of the boards of the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, the national Association of Leadership Programs, Living Arts and Kendall Whittier Main Street. Wendy has previously served on the boards of Clarehouse, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Mayfest, The Tulsa Foundation for Architecture and TulsaNow and has also been an adjunct professor at the University of Tulsa. She is a frequent consultant to area non-profits for board development and strategic planning and lectures frequently about Generations in the Workplace.

In June 2017 she was awarded by the Association of Leadership Programs as “Preceptor,” the highest honor in her field. Previously she received the 2014 Women in Communications Newsmaker Award and was honored in 2011 with the Tulsa Business Journal’s Woman of Distinction and the Typros Boomtown awards.

About the OKC Panelists:

AJ Griffin, Paycom’s Director of Government and Community Affairs manages interactions between one of the nation’s fastest growing technology companies and government officials and community groups across the county. In her three years at Paycom, Griffin has continued to grow the company’s community affairs and corporate giving efforts.

Griffin served six years in the Oklahoma State Senate where she was a member of senate leadership and gained recognition for improving policy around juvenile justice, child welfare, healthcare and the state’s response to the opioid epidemic. Prior to her election she was a non-profit executive with a background as an educator and in the hospitality industry.

Griffin uses her civic activities to continue influencing policy as a member of the board of directors and policy committee chair for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy and the Oklahoma Center for Non-profits. Additionally, she serves on the board of Human Rights for Kids, a national group dedicated to improving juvenile justice systems, The Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, The Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and the advisory board for the Prenatal- to-Three Policy Impact Center at Vanderbilt University. AJ is a member of SALTT Leadership Class 8, OKC Rotary Club #29, Leadership Oklahoma Calss #34, Phi Mu Fraternity and serves on the alumni advisory board for Spears School of Business at OSU.

She is a proud graduate of Oklahoma State University and earned her master’s degree in education from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is currently a doctoral student at Baylor University.

Thomas Hill serves as Chief Executive Officer of Kimray, a leading manufacturer of valves and controls for oil and gas production. Kimray began in 1948 and employs several hundred people at its production facility in Oklahoma City and service centers throughout the United States. As the grandson of Kimray’s founder, Thomas grew up in a high-performing family, which shaped his belief that people are worth what they can accomplish. This sent Thomas on a long and unfulfilling journey of pursuing success by constantly doing bigger and better things at Kimray and in the community. Life eventually spun out of control, and Thomas hit rock bottom. However, the story does not end there. Through significant pain and loss, Thomas began the long and difficult road of recovery that transformed his life and leadership. Today, Thomas enjoys mentoring emerging leaders and sharing his story with others who can benefit from the lessons he has learned. In 2018, he published a book titled “Recovering Leadership: Musings of an Addict Leader.” In 2020, Thomas launched The Kimmell Foundation for Recovering Leadership to inspire transformational change in leaders and in the organizations they serve. Thomas currently serves on the board of Salt and Light Leadership Training, and he is vice chair for Hope Is Alive ministry. Thomas and his wife, Rebecca, both received their degrees from Oklahoma State University. They have been married 35 years and have six children.

Long active in corporate and civic leadership activities, Dave Lopez recently retired from full-time employment but he continues to serve on boards of directors for several businesses and for non-profit organizations in Oklahoma.

Lopez is on the board of directors of BancFirst Corporation and of Hall Capital as well as the advisory board for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma. His current community board service includes the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, StitchCrew, Inc., and the United Way of Central Oklahoma. Earlier in his professional career, Lopez held leadership positions for corporate, government and non-profit organizations.

His 22-year tenure with SBC Communications (the predecessor company of today’s AT&T) was highlighted by being president of Oklahoma and later president of Texas for SBC. Lopez subsequently served as President of Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc., President of the American Fidelity Foundation and interim superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools. His public service also includes tenures as Secretary of Commerce for Oklahoma and more recently as Secretary of State.

Dave Lopez has been recognized often for his contributions to the community and to non-profit organizations. Honors earned include the Dean A. McGee Award by Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc., induction into the Hall of Honor at Oklahoma City University, the Salute Award of the Oklahoma Academy and the Humanitarian Award from the Oklahoma City Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Lopez, who holds an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Oklahoma Christian University, is a former member of the board of regents for the Texas Tech University System and for Oklahoma City Community College.

Lopez received his bachelor’s and Masters’ degrees from New Mexico State University and he is a member of his alma mater’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Lana, reside in Oklahoma City and are the parents of five children and eight grandchildren.

Sarah Roberts currently serves as Vice President of Programs at Inasmuch Foundation. The Foundation was founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord in 1982 and makes grants in Oklahoma and Colorado Springs in these broad categories: education, human services, community, and journalism. Sarah has been employed with Inasmuch Foundation for over 18 years. Inasmuch Foundation has placed emphasis on forging public/private partnerships to fund evidence-based interventions for vulnerable children and families as well as attracting much needed federal investments to Oklahoma City. Examples of a few successful public/private partnerships are: Pivot, Oklahoma City Educare, ReMerge, Metafund, Community CARES Partners and Smart Start Central Oklahoma.

Sarah is Vice Chair of Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Board of Directors and was appointed by Governors Kevin Stitt and Mary Fallin. Additionally, Sarah serves on the Board of Directors for: United Way of Central Oklahoma, Sunbeam Family Services (Chair 2020-21), The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, Oklahoma City County Health Department Foundation, Oklahoma City Police Athletic League (PAL) and Crossings Christian School. Sarah previously served on the following Board of Directors: Integris Center for Mind, Body & Spirit, Oklahoma City Metro Literacy Coalition, ReMerge and Wes Welker Foundation. Sarah was Chair of the Board of ReMerge and co-chaired the ReMerge capital campaign which resulted in a $10 million state-of-the-art facility. Sarah is a 2016 graduate of SALLT, Class 8 (Salt and Light Leadership Training) and a 2019 graduate of Leadership Oklahoma, Class 32. In 2008, Sarah was recognized by OKCBusiness as a recipient of the Forty under 40 Award. In 2020, Sarah was recognized by Pivot as their Advocate of the Year for building collaborative efforts to address youth homelessness in Oklahoma City. In 2021, Mayor David Holt appointed Sarah to join the MAPS 4 Neighborhoods Subcommittee.

Sarah was previously an instructor with the Clarksville Montgomery County School System in Tennessee where she taught 5th grade. Sarah is a graduate of Bishop McGuinness High School (1992) in Oklahoma City and Sweet Briar College (1996) in Virginia where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Government with a teaching certificate. Sarah has been married to Hayden Roberts for more than 22 years. Hayden works for Oklahoma State University. They live in Oklahoma City and have two sons, Jackson who is 19 years old and Owen who is 13 years old.

About the Tulsa Panelists:

Robin F. Ballenger is currently the chairman of Flint Resources Company, LLC, and president of the Flint Family Foundation.

She was the third generation of the Flint family to lead Flintco, a diverse, national construction company with offices in seven cities, until its sale in January, 2013. Her special interest was Flintco’s Native American work, and under her leadership the company built for over 25 Indian Nations across the western United States. She is especially proud of those partnerships.

An enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Robin served as president of the Cherokee Nation Foundation, a tribally chartered nonprofit, and has served on the Cherokee Nation Citizens’ Compensation Committee. She is a past Board member of the Cherokee Heritage Center.

Recent board memberships have included the Tulsa Community College Board of Regents, River Parks Authority, Clarehouse, the Tulsa City-County Library Trust, and Holland Hall. Robin currently serves on the Mayor’s Tulsa Animal Welfare Commission.

Robin loves contemporary Native art, leaving the gym, her grandchildren, and buttercream cake frosting. She remains hopeful and optimistic about the future of Tulsa and enjoys attending community events.

Samuel Combs is a business strategist, corporate director, and investor who has served in C-suite leadership and governance roles for Fortune 500 and private sector companies, primarily in consumer services, capital-intensive and regulated industries. He is the founding partner and CEO of COMSTAR Advisors, an executive advisory and private investment firm in natural gas and sustainable energy, infrastructure, financial services, and technology solutions.

Sam is the former president of ONEOK Distribution Companies, the natural gas distribution segment of Fortune 500 energy infrastructure and midstream company ONEOK, Inc. He led one of the nation’s most extensive multi-state utility operations through a transformative period

of consolidation and growth while reporting multiple years of record profits and returns on invested capital. That transformation led to the eventual spin-off of the segment as publicly- traded ONE Gas, Inc.

Combs developed his engineering, management, and leadership skills early at Boeing, John Deere, and AT&T. Also, he served as president of the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company division during a progression of operating and executive roles with profit and loss accountability before retiring from ONEOK after 25 years. Sam is an Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers member, a former Southern Gas Association board member, and an American Gas Association representative.

Combs is a corporate director at First Fidelity Bank, an expanding financial services supplier in Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma. Also, a director and trustee at INTEGRIS Health, a significant healthcare provider in Oklahoma. As a WNBA Dallas Wings ownership and executive committee member, Sam has served on the WNBA Board of Governors and is committed to providing opportunities for women through sport. Combs is a gubernatorial appointed trustee for Tulsa Community College and past Board Chairman. He is a member of The Executive Leadership Council and a contributor to Bank Director and the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Sam is a longstanding conservation land steward and agriculturist who volunteers to support sustainability in the arts, education, community, and economic development. He is a past president of Leadership Oklahoma and a current board member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Philbrook Museum of Art, Greenwood Rising History Center, and John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation.

His honors include being one of the fifty and seventy-five most influential African Americans in corporate America, as recognized by Black Enterprise magazine. He received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management from Oklahoma State University and is a member of the Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering Honor Society. Combs is a graduate of the Executive Program at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and the corporate Director’s Consortium at Stanford University. Also, he has completed governance and executive studies at Northwestern Kellogg, Columbia, and Harvard Universities.

Phil Lakin, Jr., is a native Tulsan. After graduating from Jenks High School, he earned his BBA in Economics and Finance from Baylor University, where he served as student body president. Phil returned to Tulsa after college and joined the firm now known as Accenture, working as a management information systems consultant.

Wanting to pursue a career more focused on serving others, Mr. Lakin joined Baylor University’s Office of Development in 1991, where he eventually managed the Dallas/Ft. Worth development office, which was responsible for development efforts in northeastern Texas and in six states.

In 1999, after earning his MBA from Baylor, Tulsa Community Foundation’s Board selected Lakin to be TCF’s first chief executive officer. Since then, due to the generosity of Tulsans, TCF’s asset size increased from $117,000 to $5.7 billion. In its 23 years, TCF has grown to become the second largest community foundation in the US, out of an estimated 800 in total. More importantly, TCF has granted more than $2.7 billion to charitable organizations and causes to better the lives and livelihoods of Oklahomans and others across our United States.

Phil stays active in the Tulsa community by serving on the boards of George Kaiser Family Foundation (chairman), Tulsa Community College Foundation, and many other charitable foundations. Lakin is a past president of Rotary Club of Tulsa, then the 12th largest Rotary club in the world. Phil has served the City of Tulsa as one of nine elected City Councilors since 2011. He also served the mountain climbing community as treasurer of the 20,000+ member American Alpine Club and is treasurer of The Juniper Fund. Phil is a deacon in his church.

Phil and his wife, Adriane, have been married for twenty-six years. They have three handsome and active sons, Brooks, Alex, and Cooper (24, 21 and 17, respectively). Phil is one of ~50 individuals who has climbed all 70+ peaks in the continental US that exceed 14,000 feet; he has also climbed to the summits of the Matterhorn, Cotopaxi, and Grand Teton. He has attended the last 40 Indy 500 races, a tradition that his father and he started, which has now included his grandfather and all of his sons.

Caron Lawhorn became senior vice president, chief financial officer, of ONE Gas, Inc. (NYSE: OGS) in 2019. She began her career in public accounting with the accounting firm now known as KPMG and joined ONEOK, Inc. in 1998. In 2014, ONEOK separated its natural gas distribution segment in a tax-free exchange that created ONE Gas.

Caron is vice chair of the board of directors and chair of the audit committee of AAON, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAON), a manufacturer of heating and air conditioning equipment headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She also serves on the finance committee of the American Gas Association. She is an ex officio member of the board of directors of the Southern Gas Association and a past board chair. Caron chairs the board of regents for Tulsa Community College. Her community service also includes chairing the campaign for the Tulsa Area United Way in 2020 and its board of directors in 2021.

Lawhorn earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Tulsa, where she was named a Distinguished Alumna of the university and an Outstanding Alumna in the College of Business. She is a certified public accountant and a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium

P.O. Box 3174

Oklahoma City, OK 73101


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