Ben Stewart works on PreK-12 education initiatives at GKFF. Prior to joining GKFF in 2010, Mr. Stewart worked in venture capital for the Oklahoma Life Sciences Fund, lived abroad in Argentina, and worked with social entrepreneurship groups Ashoka and Endeavor. A Tulsa native, he is a 2007 graduate from the Honors College at the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in international business, entrepreneurship and Spanish.
Palmer Johnson is a business owner and attorney in Tulsa. He is a two time graduate of the University of Tulsa, completing both his undergraduate and law degrees with highest honors. He began his career practicing law where he worked at a large firm with a practice focused on adoption and family law. Despite enjoying the legal field, he decided to join the family business Johnson Floor & Home Carpet One in 2013. Palmer currently serves as the companies Vice President. Since joining the business, it has experienced significant growth and currently operates in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. Palmer is well respected in the flooring covering industry and is frequently interviewed and quoted in industry trade journals. Having a strong connection to the Tulsa community is important to Palmer as evidenced by his service on several other nonprofit boards in the community.
A Tulsa native and Oklahoma State University grad, Nancy Carter has lived her entire life in Tulsa. After two years in the public accounting sector, she has worked in the energy and non-profit industries. Nancy has been a CPA since 1989.
Jahaziel Hiriart serves as Social and Emotional Manager at The Opportunity Project, an intermediary organization focused on expanded learning. She is responsible for expanding the awareness and impact of social and emotional wellbeing as a citywide initiative. She believes in empowering adults with the knowledge and tools they need to improve their quality of life and interactions with others. Jahaziel is an international student from Mexico. She is passionate about global citizenship, human capital development and servant leadership. She serves as a board member for Tulsa Global Alliance, Tulsa Honor Academy, and TYPros Foundation and is actively involved in community events throughout the year, especially those that involve salsa dancing. She holds degrees in international relations, global business, and (soon) educational leadership. Jahaziel joined the THA board because she believes in the power of education to move our community forward.
Yolanda Charney was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and is a founding board member of Tulsa Honor Academy. She married her husband in 1956 and have three children together. Over her life, Yolanda served as Director of Community Relations for the Jewish Federation of Tulsa for 20 years and Executive Director for the Hispanic American Foundation for 4 years. She has extensive volunteer experience ranging from the Greater Tulsa Area Hispanic Affairs Commission to the Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and has won multiple awards for her dedication and hard work. Most recently, she was honored at the YWCA's Centennial event "100 Women with Moxie". Yolanda graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso and has a deep passion for education in Tulsa.
Conor Cleary is an attorney with the Office of the Solicitor at the U.S. Department of the Interior specializing in Federal Indian and environmental law. Mr. Cleary has extensive non-profit board experience, most recently serving as President of the Board of Tulsa CARES, as well as serving on the boards of Youth Services of Tulsa, Oklahomans for Equality, and the Tulsa Debate League. Mr. Cleary graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2010 and obtained his LL.M. in American Indian Law from the University of Tulsa. He graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Oklahoma in 2007 and as an undergraduate, he won the college debate national championship.
Moises Echeverria serves as President and CEO of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (OCCJ), an organization dedicated to achieving respect and understanding among all people. He has been involved with OCCJ for sixteen years, first as a program participant, then as volunteer and subsequently as staff. He is passionate about social justice, education, and giving back to the community. He serves in the Tulsa City-County Library Commission, Oklahoma Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Tulsa Public Schools Community Advisory Committee, Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Society, on the boards of Community Health Connection and Tulsa Honor Academy, and is the 2018 Chair of TYPros, one of the largest organized young professional associations in the United States. Moises has received multiple awards for his work in the community. He completed a Bachelors in Business Administration at Oklahoma State University and a Masters in Human Relations from The University of Oklahoma.
John Gawey is an attorney atFrederic Dorwart, Lawyers PLLC. John represents commercial banks, investmentbanks, private equity funds and other borrowers in connection with a variety oflending and M&A transactions. John was an associate with White & CaseLLP in New York from 2013 to 2018. He also served as a law clerk to theHonorable Charles R. Wilson of the United States Court of Appeals for theEleventh Circuit. In addition to his work with Tulsa Honor Academy, John serveson the NextGen committee for Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma.
John received a B.A. inLetters summa cum laude fromthe University of Oklahoma. He graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame LawSchool. In law school, Mr. Gawey was a member of the Notre Dame Law Review.
Cynthia Jasso is the Director of Development and Communications at Teach For America Greater Tulsa, where she oversees and executes the region’s fundraising and communications strategy. Prior to her work with Teach For America, Cynthia was a 6th grade Math teacher and the English Language Learner Coordinator at Sapulpa Public Schools. She is a founding graduate of Leadership Tulsa’s Hispanic Leadership Institute, proud member of Leadership Tulsa Class 60, and serves on the board of the Community Service Council of Greater Tulsa and Tulsa Honor Academy.
Cynthia is a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles, where she graduated with departmental honors. She is the proud daughter of Mexican-American immigrants and an advocate for social justice and educational equity.
Kian Kamas serves as Chief of Economic Development for the City of Tulsa. In this role she is responsible for directly managing a team of eight staff who focus on managing and developing tools and programs crucial to successful economic development, and supporting existing industry and new business prospects seeking to invest in Tulsa. In addition to this, she is responsible for oversight of the Development Services Department, Tulsa Parking Authority, and Downtown Coordinating Council. Prior to joining the Mayor’s team in August 2017, Ms. Kamas served as Vice President of Economic Development for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma, a Master’s Degree in Comparative Public Policy from the University of Edinburgh, and completed the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. Ms. Kamas is a founding member of the Tulsa Honor Academy Board of Directors and has served as Chair for two terms. She is passionate about ensuring all Tulsans achieve their full academic potential.
Marvin Lizama is a successful local attorney and Latino leader. He began his law career in 2006 as an associate at Brewster and De’Angelis P.L.L.C. In 2013 he founded his own firm, Lizama Law, where he focuses on criminal defense, family law, and civil rights cases. Since 2008, he has served as President of the Coalition for the American Dream, a nonprofit immigrants’ rights organization. Mr. Lizama has received many accolades throughout his career including the 2009 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the Tulsa County Bar Association, the 2010 Outstanding Junior Alumnus from the University of Tulsa’s College of Law, and the 2010 and 2013 Rising Star Recognition by the Oklahoma Super Lawyers publication. In 2012, he was honored by the Greater Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for his exemplary leadership and commitment to community service and currently serves on their board.
Mr. Lizama earned a BA from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and his JD from the University of Tulsa.
Michael F. Smith is a shareholder at McAfee & Taft, Oklahoma’s largest law firm. Mr. Smith is a trial and appellate lawyer whose practice is concentrated on defending clients in complex litigation, including consumer protection class actions and claims involving breach of contract, professional malpractice, insurance bad faith, and manufacturers’ products liability, including automotive, medical device, and pharmaceutical products liability. Mr. Smith is admitted to practice in Oklahoma, Illinois, and New York and has represented clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts throughout the United States. He is particularly regarded for his expertise with appellate practice and procedure in the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and has had primary briefing responsibilities on a broad range of cases. His achievements as a trial and appellate lawyer have earned him inclusion in Benchmark Litigation, The Best Lawyers in America (commercial litigation) and Oklahoma Super Lawyers, as well as the honor of membership in the International Association of Defense Counsel, where he served as editor of the Defense Counsel Journal for two years. Mr. Smith previously chaired the Oklahoma Bar Association’s appellate practice committee and is an active member in the Council Oak/Johnson-Sontag American Inn of Court. Mr. Smith earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in 1987 and his Juris Doctor, with distinction, from The University of Tulsa College of Law in 1991.