The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the September 2022 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

 

After the approval of the July 2022 meeting’s minutes, Treasurer Andrew Ranson gave an update regarding the finances of the organization. During the financial report, Andrew informed the OKGIT membership of finances for July and August 2022.

 

During the Marketing Committee report, Marketing Chair Jason Baffrey shared with the membership about the development of the invitations for the upcoming Oklahoma Consular Summit in October. Jason concluded his report by recognizing Steffi Slivera, OKGIT student ambassador for her work in promoting local cultural events on behalf of OKGIT on social media.

 

Following the Marketing Committee report, Douglas Price presented on behalf of Cathleen Skinner for the Culture and Education Committee. During his report, Douglas reported that the committee was working to participate in International Education Week activities with Oklahoma universities in November.

 

After the Cultural and Education Committee report, Vice Chair Enrique Villar announced during the Program Committee report that Steffi Silvera would be presenting on Paraguay. Presentations for the remainder of the year will include opportunities in Guatemala, Peru and Panama.

 

During the Sponsor Relations Committee report, Treasurer Andrew Ranson informed the team that they received support from the Oklahoma Business Roundtable and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce for the upcoming Oklahoma Consular Summit.

 

At the completion of the committee reports, Marcus Verner from the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) kicked off the reports from the various government departments. During his report, Marcus discussed invited the group to participate in the following upcoming events:

a. A four-part series on how to do business with the World Development Bank. Information regarding this series was sent out earlier this morning.

b. The World Trade Conference on October 20 will take place immediately following the Consular Summit in Tulsa. Register here.

Following the report from Oklahoma Department of Commerce, OKGIT Executive Director Jared Scism shared on behalf of Jamie Cummings from Oklahoma Department of Agriculture that Oklahoma is currently working on a project to export feeder cattle to Israel.

 

After the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture report, Debbie Blanke from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education announced her retirement which is set to take place on November 1st. Debbie has been a member of the team since 2005. Congratulations and thank you for your service, Debbie!

 

During the Select Consular Corps report, Honorary Concul of Switzerland, Rico Buchli reported that there have been multiple Consular Corps events since August 31, beginning with the introduction of the Mexican Consul in Oklahoma. Rico went on to announce there would be a Global Achievement Award luncheon for Oklahoma Sister Cities. Honorary Consul of France,

Grant Moak closed the report by sharing the Oklahoma City Memorial has been developing relationships with France. As part of this relationship, Latifa Ibn Ziaten, award-winning French peace activist and founder of the IMAD association in response to the death of her son in the terror attacks in Toulouse, France in 2012, will be speaking at the Oklahoma City Memorial on Wednesday October 19. Registration is free but required.

 

At the conclusion of all the reports, John Curzon shared updated the group about the progress of the OKGIT Task Force to discuss the mission and makeup of the OKGIT. The process could last anywhere between four to six months. Following his report, John acknowledged the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the welcoming of King Charles III.

 

After John Curzon’s acknowledgment of Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III, Treasurer Andrew Ranson and chair Cathy Webster invited OKGIT members to the Tuesday evening reception and the Wednesday breakfast as part of the Consular Summit. Canadian wine will be provided by the Canadian Consul during the reception. The reception and breakfast will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City, and the luncheon will be held at the Governor’s Mansion. Click here to register for the reception and here to register for the breakfast. Invitations for the lunch will be emailed separately from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

 

Chair Cathy Webster concluded the meeting by soliciting nominations for a new OKGIT Vice Chair. Anyone who is interested in nominating others or themself can contact Executive Director, Jared Scism.

 

During the program portion of the meeting, Student Ambassador Steffi Silvera presented over Paraguay – South America’s best kept secret.

 

Chairperson Cathy Webster adjourned the meeting by inviting the membership to the next meeting on November 15 at 9:00 a.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. We hope to see you there.

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the July 2022 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

 

After the approval of the May 2022 meeting’s minutes, Treasurer Andrew Ranson gave an update regarding the finances of the organization. During the financial report, Andrew informed the OKGIT membership of finances for May and June 2022.

 

During the Marketing Committee report, Marketing Chair Jason Baffrey shared with the membership about the development of the logos for the upcoming World Trade Conference and Oklahoma Consular Summit this fall. Jason concluded his report by congratulating OKGIT Chair Cathy Webster for being selected as one of Journal Record’s 50 women making a difference list.

 

Following the Marketing Committee report, the Culture and Education Committee presented the new GIT Student Ambassadors Grace and Arpana to the group. These ambassadors are currently working on a career fair for F1 (degree seeking) international student to help them find jobs after hearing several international students at International Recognition Day express the challenge of finding careers following their graduation this past spring.

 

After the Cultural and Education Committee report, Vice Chair Enrique Villar announced during the Program Committee report that a Green Hydrogen MOU is currently under development between the Oklahoma Department of Energy and Uruguay.

 

During the Sponsor Relations Committee report, Treasurer Andrew Ranson informed the team the Sponsor Relations Committee needs to meet to set up sponsorship levels with target dates and amounts and to determine what organizations to request from. A meeting to meet with the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce is currently in the process of being scheduled.

 

Jim Collard closed the committee reports by discussing the continuous challenges and supply chain issues with the group during the Trade and Foreign Direct Investment committee report. Jim concluded his report by sharing updates with the group about the upcoming Oklahoma Consular Summit on October 19 and requested sponsors for the dinners. Anyone interested in sponsoring a Consul General may contact Executive Director Jared Scism.

 

At the completion of the committee reports, Kevin Chambers from the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) kicked off the reports from the various government departments. During his report, Kevin discussed the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom and talked about Oklahoma and the Federal Department of Commerce’s large presence there. Kevin also invited the group to participate in the following upcoming events:

  1. The Discover Global Markets in Rhode Island will take place from September 20 – 22. This year’s focus is on ocean technology
  2. The World Trade Conference on October 20 will take place immediately following the Consular Summit in Tulsa

For more information regarding these events, contact Kevin Chambers.

During the Oklahoma Department of Commerce (ODOC) report, staff from the ODOC talked about the large delegation that attended the Farnborough. Governor Stitt and Penny Mordant, UK Minister of Trade are currently developing an MOU for a five-year plan to interact more on a state level

 

Following the report from Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Jamie Cummings from Oklahoma Department of Agriculture shared information regarding the following upcoming events:

  1. Private Label Show in Chicago from November 13 – 15
  2. Cattleman’s Congress in Oklahoma City from January 1 – 14

For more information regarding these events, contact Jamie Cummings.

 

After the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture report, Cathleen Skinner from the Oklahoma Department of Education informed the membership at Tulsa might be closing their Chinese program at Booker T. Washington due to alleged affiliation with the Confucius Institute. Shortly following the OKGIT meeting, Cathleen corrected her report and shared with Chair Catherine Webster and Executive Director Jared Scism that Booker T. Washington would not be closing their Chinese program, but that Carver Middle School lost their Chinese teacher and is currently in the search process for a new one.

 

During the Select Oklahoma committee report, Dr. Jim Collard invited the team to the International Economic Development Council conference that will take place September 17 – 21 in Oklahoma City at the Oklahoma City Convention Center. For more information about the conference, click here.

 

Following the Consular Corps report, Honorary Consul Grant Moak from France updated the membership about the reception the Consular Corp held for the new Consul General of Japan in June. The membership was also informed by Katherine Ho from the U.S. Department of State that any delegations coming from the People’s Republic of China must be approved by the U.S. State Department going forward.

 

At the conclusion of all the reports, Andrew Ranson updated the membership about OKGIT’s progress with the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP) and the possibility of restructuring the organization. The Executive Committee recently contacted a former chair of the OKGIT to chair the task force and plans to share the name of the chair in the future. Other future plans include meeting with an OKGIT focus group in November and a second focus group of former members and stakeholders in order to form a survey for input about the organization. Anyone interested in joining this effort can contact Executive Director Jared Scism.

 

During the program portion of the meeting, the Vice Chair Enrique Villar presented a travel guide to Argentina.

 

Chairperson Cathy Webster adjourned the meeting by inviting the membership to the next meeting on September 20 at 9:00 a.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. We hope to see you there.

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the March 2022 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

After the approval of the January 2022 meeting’s minutes, Treasurer Andrew Ranson gave an update regarding the finances of the organization. During the financial report, Andrew informed the OKGIT membership of finances for January and February 2022.

Following the treasurer report, Scott Thompson introduced Dewey Bartlett, the new Honorary Consul of Japan in Tulsa to the team. Scott also welcomed former members Alfonso Nieves and Lynda Speller back to the group.

During the Marketing Committee report, Marketing Chair Jason Baffrey informed the membership the marketing meeting that was scheduled to take place in January would be rescheduled soon. More details will be provided to the group when a date has been scheduled.

After the Marketing Committee report, Past Chair Douglas Price invited the membership to International Recognition Day at the State Capitol on April 6 from 8:30 – 2:00 p.m. Members interested in attending may contact Executive Director Jared Scism to RSVP.

Following the Cultural and Education Committee report, Vice Chair Enrique Villar presented a layout of the programs for the 2022 OKGIT bimonthly meetings. The programs will explore countries in South and Central America. Enrique also announced Oklahoma is working on a green energy facility in Ardmore which will be operational in by 2025. Green energy is an area in which many Central and South American countries are interested in partnering.

Jim Collard closed the committee reports by informing the group that trade and foreign direct investment are moving closer to the 2019 trade numbers. Furthermore, trade is starting to return.

At the completion of the committee reports, Ashley Wilson from the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) kicked off the reports from the various government departments. During her report, Ashley announced the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston from May 2 – May 5. Ashley also informed the membership about the U.S Minority Trade Mission to Spain and Portugal in May. The deadline to apply is March 15. Ashley closed the report by inviting the membership to the World Trade Conference on October 20 at the Tulsa Tech Lemley Campus. For more information on all these events, visit the OKGIT website events page.

During the Oklahoma Department of Commerce report, Christy Busch and Sarah Short discussed two delegations from Israel and Japan that recently visited Oklahoma. The team was also informed about Jesse Garcia accepting another position within ODOC. A new trade representative search has begun. The report concluded with details regarding Oklahoma’s participation in the Farnborough International Air Show.

After the report from Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Jamie Cummings from Oklahoma Department of Agriculture told the team that Secretary Arthur was in the UK on a trade mission visiting farms and ranches and meeting with high level groups. Jamie also updated the group about several buyers’ missions taking place including one in Chicago at the National Restaurant Federation from May 20-25.

Following the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture report, Cathleen Skinner from the Oklahoma Department of Education updated the membership about the Oklahoma Seal of Biliteracy working hard to prepare students with skills for working and learning internationally. Last year 69 students qualified in five languages: French German, Spanish, Chinese and Russian. The Department of Education is also continuing to create internships for students that would also help attract more international students to study in Oklahoma

At the conclusion of all the reports, Honorary Consul of Switzerland Rico Buchli informed the membership of the Consular Corps participation in a Sister City event celebrating Rio de Janeiro. The report was followed by a discussion regarding Consular Summit that is scheduled to take place on October 19 and 20. 12 Consulates will be invited.

During the program portion of the meeting, the Vice Chair Enrique Villar presented opportunities in Peru and Uruguay.

Chairperson Cathy Webster adjourned the meeting by inviting the membership to the next meeting on May 17 at 9:00 a.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. We hope to see you there.

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the January 2022 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date. 

After the modification and approval of the November 2021 meeting’s minutes, Treasurer Andrew Ranson gave an update regarding the finances of the organization. During the financial report, Andrew informed the OKGIT membership of finances for November and December 2021.  

Following the treasurer report, Scott Thompson presented changes to the bylaws that included a new membership category, Associate Member. The Associate Member is an individual recognized by the Board who serves in a voluntary adjunct or auxiliary capacity and represents the OKGIT for a mutual benefit to both the individual and the OKGIT (e.g. OKGIT Student Ambassador program participants). Associate Members shall not be entitled to vote and shall not be required to pay dues. This category was approved by the team 

During the Marketing Committee report, Executive Director Jared Scism reported that new Marketing Chair Jason Baffrey scheduled an in-person meeting to create a marketing vision plan. Jason decided to postpone the meeting until a later date when COVID cases are lower.  

After the Marketing Committee report, Executive Jared Scism informed the membership that the Culture and Education Committee would meet in February to discuss International Education Week. Past Chair Douglas Price concluded the report by announcing that International Recognition Day at the State Capitol would be held sometime at the end of March. More details will be shared soon.  

Following the Culture and Education Committee report, Vice Chair Enrique Villar announced the Peruvian education committee may send a delegation in February or March which may provide opportunities for universities to participate. Enrique also informed the membership about green energy opportunities with Uruguay and that he would be presenting to the Lima Chamber of Commerce next month.   

Jim Collard closed the committee reports by leading a discussion regarding the current state of Trade and Foreign Direct Investment. The discussion included input from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce who reported they had not had much traffic other than the Minister for Trade Policy from the United Kingdom who came to Oklahoma to meet with several cabinet secretaries. Chuck Mills reported international trade continues to be booming as his company has been selling all over the world due to the broken supply chain, regardless of price. Ben Gottch added to the conversation by mentioning there is a continued demand from U.S. importers and many people are trying to use air freight, but air freight has decreased with Omicron. Furthermore, there is anticipation of further congestion due to the upcoming Chinese New Year. Kevin Chambers also mentioned a lot of companies are trying to shift to Vietnam, India, Mexico, and this side of the Pacific. Treasurer Andrew Ranson concluded the report by inviting the group to a NABISTE Exporter Roundtable webinar and that the Oklahoma State University Center for International Trade Development would be releasing a supply chain report soon.  

At the completion of the committee reports, Marcus Verner from the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) kicked off the reports from the various government departments. During his report, Marcus reported that he and Chuck spoke at the Regional District Export council meeting (Southern Network) over best practices of leveraging resources. Marcus ended his report by sharing a few events coming up that the membership may be interested in. This list of events can be found on the OKGIT website events page 

Executive Director Jared Scism reported on behalf of Cathleen Skinner from the Oklahoma Department of Education (ODOE) following the USDOC report. During the report Jared shared that ODOE is currently reviewing Oklahoma Academic standards for world languages which will go before state board of education next month. These standards are renewed every six years. Jared continued the report by sharing there have been a lot of absences among teachers recently. Jared ended the report by telling the group that the ODOE is holding their third summit to find ways to support students with high levels of trauma.  

Despite there being no report for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Randy Kluver from Oklahoma State University informed the membership that refugees from Afghanistan who are moving to Oklahoma and wish to study in universities here are being classified as “out of state”. Oklahoma State University is currently working with Oklahoma University to try and work with the Regents to see if they can revise the language to include refugees and requested support from UCO. 

Following the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education report, Executive Director Jared Scism also shared updates from Jamie Cummings at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture (ODOA). In her report, Jamie mentioned the PLMA show that was scheduled at the end of January was to be the first live buyers’ mission, but was cancelled due to COVID-19. The event has been rescheduled to take place in November at the regularly scheduled meeting. Jared concluded Jamie’s report by informing the group The Cattlemen’s Congress show was held January 1-15. During the event, the ODOA held their first international hospitality room. Several canceled due to new travel restrictions, but had a good turnout from Canada, Mexico, South America and Dubai. ODOA plans to build on this project next year with possible farm tours and education.  

At the conclusion of all the reports, Honorary Consul of Switzerland Rico Buchli updated the membership regarding happenings in the Oklahoma Consular Corps. During his report Rico highlighted the Consular Crops reception organized by Oklahoma City Sister Cities Organization where New Honorary Consul of Japan in Oklahoma Dewey Bartlett was introduced. Honorary Consul of France Grant Moak concluded the report by announcing the new Consul General of France in Houston, Valerie Baraban, and the new Vice Consul and executive assistant.  

During the program portion of the meeting, the group shared personal success stories from 2021.   

Chairperson Cathy Webster concluded the meeting by inviting the membership to our in-person meeting on March 8 at 9:00 a.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Following the meeting, the annual gavel ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the Blue Room at the Oklahoma State Capitol. We hope to see you there.  

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the September 2021 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

The September meeting was called to order by Treasurer Andrew Ranson who announced the resignation of recently new Chairperson Jose Sagarnaga. Following his announcement, Andrew introduced Cathy Webster as the new chairperson until the close of 2022 to create stability within the organization and requested nominations for a new vice chair.

After Andrew’s announcement and the approval of the July 2021 meeting’s minutes, Andrew also gave an update regarding the finances of the organization. During the financial report, Andrew informed the OKGIT membership of finances for July and August 2021.

Amidst discussion of the treasurer report, John Osborne, Director of International Services from Oklahoma Christian University was presented and approved by the team for OKGIT membership by Past Chair Scott Thompson. Welcome to the team, John!

During the Marketing Committee report, Chairperson Cathy Webster reported that the Marketing Committee is still seeking a new chair. Jason Baffrey from the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology immediately agreed fill the position and will be supported by a student from Oklahoma State University. Anyone interested in helping with the Marketing Committee can contact Jason Baffrey.

Following the Marketing Committee discussion, the Cultural and Education Committee chair, Cathleen Skinner reported that the committee is working on an international week November 8-12.  They are also hoping to include the consular corps in these plans.  The idea would be to have a different area of the world be presented during each day of the week. Anyone interested in finding out more information may contact Cathleen Skinner.

During the Program Committee report, Jose Sagarnaga announced that the November meeting would include a panel of university leaders to share their thoughts on international education. The hope is that the panel will include educational institutions from private and public institutions in addition to two-year and four-year institutions. We hope you will join us.

After the Program Committee report, Treasurer and Chair of the Sponsor Relations Committee Andrew Ranson mentioned that The Oklahoma Business Roundtable has encouraged collaborations between OKGIT and other partners.  Andrew also gave a report regarding the reception that was sponsored by the OKGIT in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce in Houston for the local Consul Generals. During the dinner, Andrew was able to highlight some of OKGIT’s upcoming activities.

At the completion of the committee reports, Marcus Verner from the U.S. Department of Commerce kicked off the reports from the various government departments. During his report, Marcus reported that the USDOC held a Minority Enterprise Development week in September to help minority-owned businesses to learn about international opportunities. Marcus also announced that Dr. Collard recently spoke about the ways enterprises can do business with Native American tribes. Marcus closed his report by announcing that there are still about three billion dollars in funds from the economic development administration still available. To find out more information, contact Marcus.

Jesse Garcia from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce (ODOC) reported that Luis Domenech visited Oklahoma and met with business interested in taking part at a trade show in Mexico during November. Jesse also revealed that the Department of Commerce was organizing an opening reception ceremony for an art exhibit at the State Capitol in cooperation with the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock. Christy Busch concluded the ODOC report by informing the membership that Bolivian and Canadian Consuls will be coming to Oklahoma soon.

Jamie Cummings from Oklahoma Department of Agriculture updated the group about the Department of Agriculture staffing an exhibit at the Oklahoma State Fair.

Dr. Cathleen Skinner from the Oklahoma Department of Education informed the membership about the new Oklahoma Seal of Biliteracy website being available. To visit the website, click here.

Honorary Consul of Switzerland, Rico Buchli closed out the department reports by informing the membership that the Consular Corp has been relatively inactive due to the Delta variant. However, they have participated in some smaller events including the bicentennial of the independence of Guatemala at the Sam Noble Museum.  Rico also announced that the Ambassador of Guatemala was recently relocated to Los Angeles, and there’s now a new Vice-Consul from Guatemala in Oklahoma. Rico concluded his report by revealing the retirement of former Honorary Consul of Japan Lloyd Hardin and informing the membership about the new Honorary Consul of Japan: Dewey Bartlett, former mayor of Tulsa.

At the conclusion of all the reports, Treasurer Andrew Ranson promoted the upcoming virtual World Trade Conference and Consular Trade Summit that will take place on October 27 and 28 from 9 am -12 pm each day. The event will include trade representatives from over 13 different countries with breakout industry sessions that include automotive, bioscience, aerospace, agriculture, and energy. You won’t want to miss it. To purchase tickets for the event, click here. For more information about the event, click here.

During the program, Michael Davis from Select Oklahoma and Marcus Verner from the District Export Council spoke to the membership about why FDI Investors choose Oklahoma and how OKGIT can add value to recruit more companies to invest in Oklahoma.

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the July 2021 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

After the approval of the May 2021 meeting’s minutes, Treasurer Andrew Ranson gave an update regarding the finances of the organization. During the financial report, Andrew informed the OKGIT membership of finances for May and June 2021. Andrew Ranson also presented an amended budget report after recognizing an error from the May treasurer’s report.

Amidst discussion of the treasurer report, Jose Sagarnaga, chair of the Marketing Committee reported that the Marketing Committee is still seeking a new chair. There is an OSU student ambassador willing to assist the Marketing Committee chair with all of the work, but needs the guidance of an OKGIT member. Anyone interested in chairing the committee can contact Jose Sagarnaga if you are interested.

During the Cultural and Education Committee chair, Cathleen Skinner, requested for the membership to share information about how they are meeting the mission of OKGIT in Oklahoma through a virtual forum. After Cathleen’s report, Honorary Consul of Peru Enrique Villar mentioned that several South American students are interested in studying in Oklahoma, but are unable to do so due to many of the U.S. embassies and consulates around the world being closed. The discussion concluded with the Culture and Education Committee agreeing work together to draft a letter to members of Congress. Anyone interested in helping in any of these efforts may contact Cathleen Skinner.

Following the Cultural and Education Committee Report, Vice Chair Jose Sagarnaga introduced Consul General Alexis Andres of France as the guest for the program speaker portion of the meeting. After introductions were made, Jose shared that the program for the October meeting would highlight why FDI investors choose Oklahoma and how OKGIT can add value and recruit more companies to invest in Oklahoma and the November meeting would include a panel of university presidents from various universities in Oklahoma.

After the Program Committee report, Treasurer and Chair of the Sponsor Relations Committee Andrew Ranson discussed the upcoming Trade Summit and requested assistance from the membership in providing names of organizations that might be willing to help sponsor the upcoming event. These sponsorships are a great opportunity for the OKGIT to earn revenue beyond the income our dues provide. Anyone in the membership that might know of a company in their network that could be a sponsor for the event should contact Treasurer Andrew Ranson or Executive Director Jared Scism as soon as possible.

At the completion of the committee reports, Marcus Verner from the U.S. Department of Commerce kicked off the reports from the various government departments. During his report, Marcus reported that the USDOC continues to counsel U.S. companies, particularly those affected by COVID and with supply chain issues and educational institutions trying to get students to study in Oklahoma. Marcus closed his report by announcing a new global diversity export initiative that is being launched by the USDOC to help underserved communities become aware of export services.

Jesse Garcia from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce reported that Luis Domenech would be in Oklahoma for several days in August to meet with Oklahoma companies interested in doing business in Mexico. Anyone interested in meeting with Luis may contact Jesse Garcia. Jesse also announced that the Oklahoma Consular reception in Houston has been scheduled on August 16 from 5:00 – 7:00 at Trulucks in the Galleria District. Any interested in attending the reception may RSVP by contacting Sarah Short.

Jamie Cummings from Oklahoma Department of Agriculture updated the group about Oklahoma companies that would be participating in the Fancy Foods Expo and that Made in Oklahoma would also hold its expo on September 1.

Dr. Cathleen Skinner from the Oklahoma Department of Education informed the membership about the New Skills for Youth holding a webinar series that gives youth an opportunity to see what careers are available in different sectors. Anyone who has a company that is interested in sharing may contact Dr. Skinner. Dr. Skinner concluded her report by announcing to the membership that the Oklahoma Seal of Biliteracy website will be launched soon with information for Oklahoma businesses on hiring people who are bilingual.

Executive Director Jared Scism closed out the department reports by announcing that the Guatemalan Consul General recently left Oklahoma and was transferred to the Los Angeles Consulate. The Vice Consul General will fulfill the duties of the position temporarily.

At the conclusion of all of the reports, Ashley Wilson from the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the OKGIT would hold their Oklahoma Trade Summit in collaboration with the District Export Council’s World Trade Conference on October 27th and 28th. The Trade Summit will include trade representatives from over twenty countries. These trade representatives will discuss opportunities in the areas of aerospace, agriculture, automotive, bioscience, and energy. The OKGIT is still seeking monitors for the breakout rooms for these industries. The task of the monitor would be to simply monitor the chat and technology while the subject matter experts make their presentations Anyone interested in serving as a monitor can contact Executive Director Jared Scism.

The OKGITJuly 2021 meeting concluded with Chairperson Shalon Simmons announcing her resignation after being given the opportunity to take another position in another state. Thank you Shalon for your service to the OKGIT. Effective immediately, Jose Sagarnaga will step into the role as Chairperson and Cathy Webster will become Vice Chair.

During the program, Alexis Andres, Consul General of France spoke to the membership. For a copy of the presentation, contact Jared Scism.

Upcoming meetings are as follows:

·       September 21, from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at TBD

·       November 16th from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at TBD

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the May 2021 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

Upon the approval of the March 2021 meeting’s minutes, OKGIT Treasurer, Andrew Ranson gave an update regarding the 2021 March and April finances of the organization.

Following the approval of the minutes, Past Chair Scott Thompson announced the resignation of Wade Bray and encouraged the team to nominate new members. Anyone interested in nominating a new member can contact Executive Director Jared Scism for further instructions.

After the Membership Committee report, Marketing Committee chair, Jose Sagarnaga reported that several videos have been produced and more are in the works by his graduate assistant. Following the report, Jose played a video recap from the OKGIT International Recognition Day at the Capitol. Chairperson Shalon Simmons concluded the Marketing Committee report by requesting for Marketing Committee Chair nominations. Anyone interested in this position or nominating someone can contact Executive Director Jared Scism.

During the Cultural and Education Committee report, Representative McBride reported on the International Recognition Day at the State Capitol being a successful and fun event. Following his report, Cultural and Education and Committee Chair Cathleen Skinner updated the membership about the committee’s Inaugural Speaker’s Forum which included a presentation by Nyala Khan regarding Educational Strategies for Youth Empowerment in Conflict Zones, Transforming, not Transmitting Trauma. A recording of this video can be seen on the OKGIT Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Douglas Price closed out the report by informing the membership about an idea the committee has been discussing that would include a statewide welcome event for international students in September that would possibly take place at the Oklahoma Historical Society of the First Americans Museum. More details about the event will be shared at a future meeting.

After the Cultural and Education Committee report, Vice Chair Jose Sagarnaga encouraged the membership to send potential future topics for future meetings. To make a proposal, contact Vice Chair, Jose Sagarnaga.

At the conclusion of the committee reports, Ashley Wilson from the U.S. Department of Commerce opened our monthly updates from our state and government agencies. In her report, Ashley reminded the group that the U.S. Department of Commerce continues to consult with individuals and companies virtually. Ashley also announced that the Select USA Forum will be held virtually in June and the Basics of Exporting and Shipping and Documentation workshops will be held virtually in July. Be on the lookout for more information regarding these events on the OKGIT website soon.

Following Ashley Wilson’s report, Christy Busch and Jesse Garcia from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce revealed that the Consul General of Mexico recently visited Oklahoma and that Oklahoma Department of Commerce Secretary Mueller recently met with the Consul General of Hungary. Jesse closed his report by informing the group about the Oklahoma Department of Commerce working to organize an online event with our Sister State of Gansu, China and encouraged the membership to review the 2020 ODOC Global Report.

During the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education report, Douglas Price reported on the recent Study Oklahoma event that was spearheaded by the University of Central Oklahoma. The virtual event included a college fair-like atmosphere where Oklahoma universities met with prospective international students from all over the world in breakout rooms to recruit and promote their respective institutions.

Executive Director Jared Scism closed out the monthly updates by giving the Oklahoma Consular Corp report on behalf of Rico Buchli, During the report, Jared informed the OKGIT membership about the passing of Dr. Luis Alberto Reinoso, Emeritus Honorary Consul for Peru and Paul Silverstein, Husband of Amalia Miranda, Honorary Consul for Spain and expressed his deepest sympathies. Executive Director Jared Scism concluded his report by congratulating Honorary Consul-General of Japan Lloyd Hardin on his retirement and being named the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.

Upon the completion of all the reports, the membership held a group discussion revolving around the Oklahoma World Trade Summit and the Oklahoma Trade Summit. After much discussion, it was determined the event will be held virtually sometime between October 26-28. More details will be shared during the July meeting.

During the program speaker’s portion of the meeting, Jennifer Springer, Director of Business Development at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce came to provide an update regarding initiatives taking place at the state level.  During her report, Jennifer reported that 47 new businesses came to Oklahoma last year, and there are also currently 20 new wins and 72 open projects since January.  Jennifer also announced the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s three new initiatives:

  1. ODOC is moving to a sector-based approach to projects such as aerospace, automotive projects, energy and biotech.
  2. ODOC recelntly launched an Econcomic Development Project Portal to provide Oklahoma communities with increased acess to requests for proposals for economic development and project opportunities.
  3. The Oklahoma Supply Chain Initaiteve was launched on April 1. Oklahoma companies can now create a profile and submit requests for partnerships.

Jennifer concluded her update by reporting that Germany, France and Spain are the leading countries for growth of trade with Oklahoma and that ODOC was currently working on a trade mission to the United Kingdom to promote food and beverage products and working to utilize the STEP grant to create trade missions.

Unfortunately our second guest speaker, Professor Andrew Urich from Oklahoma State University was unable to attend and speak over The Power of Influence. A link to his presentation can be found here. Professor Urich’s programs include vivid examples and stories designed to make you think and see things in a new way. Professor Urich has twenty-five years of experience presenting on influence down to earth, genuine, fact-oriented, logical, and rational information. The ability to influence others is the primary skill of leadership. This program will help you develop the skills necessary to establish and maintain a productive working relationship and to influence both outside clients and individuals within your organization.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 20th at 9:00 a.m. We look forward to seeing you then.

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the March 2021 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

The March 2021 meeting marked the next chapter of the OKGIT with new chairperson, Shalon Simmons.  After the approval of the January 2021 meeting’s minutes, new treasurer, Andrew Ranson gave an update regarding the finances of the organization. During the financial report, Andrew informed the OKGIT membership of finances for January and February 2021 and reminded the membership to pay their dues in a timely manner through mail or the OKGIT website.

Following the treasury report, Past Chair Scott Thompson informed the membership about the resignation of board members Lynda Spellar and Vicki Gourley. Scott also encouraged the membership to submit nominations for OKGIT membership. Anyone who would like to nominate a new member can contact OKGIT Executive Director, Jared Scism to start the process.

During the Marketing Committee report, Vice Chair Jose Sagarnaga called for a member of the OKGIT to take on the role of Marketing Chair. The responsibilities of the Marketing Committee Chair include helping manage the OKGIT social media accounts and developing press releases and social media strategies.  Anyone interested in being the Marketing Committee Chair can contact Vice Chair and former Marketing Committee Chair, Jose Sagarnaga.

After requesting for a new Marketing Chair, Vice Chair Jose Sagarnaga also apprised the membership of the new format that would be taking place during the program speaker portion of the OKGIT bimonthly meetings. This format will include a panel of speakers rather from various backgrounds rather than one keynote speaker. Jose closed out his report by asking the membership to be on the lookout for a survey that will be sent out by email soon to provide input about future panelists.

Chairperson Shalon Simmons closed out the committee reports by informing the membership of two new committees: the Sponsor Relations Committee that will be led by treasurer Andrew Ranson and the Trade and Foreign Direct Investment Committee led by Dr. Jim Collard. Anyone with questions or interest in these committees may contact Dr. Collard or Andrew Ranson directly.

Jamie Cummings from the Oklahoma Department Agriculture began the bimonthly Oklahoma state agencies updates portion of the meeting. In her report, Jamie indicated the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture has been working on virtual events. Jamie also mentioned the Department of Agriculture was working on three different shows they are hoping to hold in person in September and that she would be checking to see whether any STEP grants could be used for these programs. Jamie closed her report by informing the team about a virtual trade mission to Mexico scheduled this summer.

Following the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture report, Jesse Garcia from Oklahoma Department of Commerce announced to the membership that Jennifer Springer was promoted to Director of Business Development, Sarah Short began working on Foreign Direct Investment, and Christy Busch had been appointed Interim Director of Protocol. In addition to these new roles, Jesse also disclosed that ODOC recently planned to visit Dallas to meet with several consuls, but met virtually due to the snowstorm. Meanwhile, meetings have been held between Executive Director Brent Kisling and the Consul of Australia, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office and the Lieutenant Governor, and with the Consul General of Mexico. The Secretary of State is also scheduled to have meeting scheduled with the Vice Consul of Hungary in the near future.

Executive Director Jared Scism reported on updates for Cathleen Skinner from the Oklahoma Department of Education. In his report, Jared informed the membership about the College and Career webinar series introducing students to careers and connecting them to various businesses featuring bioscience, healthcare, aerospace and defense, construction, information technology, energy and the military. Anyone interested in connecting to the next generation of employees can contact Chelsea Hunt, Executive Director of Work-Based Learning and Industry Engagement at Chelsea.hunt@sde.ok.gov or call 405-521-3459. You can also find more information on their website or connect with them on Facebook.

After reporting for the Oklahoma Department of Education, Executive Director Jared Scism also reported for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. In his report, Jared stated the OSRHE were currently concentrated on the 2021 Legislative Session and their budget request. Dean Randy Kluver also informed the membership that Oklahoma State University is currently working with the Oklahoma Governor’s office to form a partnership with Azerbaijan. All members from the OKGIT who work in higher education closed the report by proclaiming there was reason for optimism for an increase in international student enrollment due to the COVID vaccine and decrease in the number of COVID cases, and immigration policy changes happening in the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Trade reported Gina Raimondo was recently sworn in as the 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce and that Kevin Chambers is currently working in Romania on a temporary duty assignment. Anyone needing help in southeastern Europe may contact Kevin Chambers.

Following the committee and state agency reports, Chairperson Shalon Simmons closed the meeting by inviting the membership to the OKGIT Gavel Ceremony on Tuesday, March 23. Registration details for the event will be sent out in an email to the membership. Following the announcement, the group also agreed to collaborate with the District Export Council in the fall for the Oklahoma Trade Summit in September or October. Anyone interested in helping plan the Summit may contact Executive Director Jared Scism 

Upcoming meetings are as follows: 

  • May 18thfrom 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at TBD
  • July 20st from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at TBD
  • September 21st 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at TBD
  • November 16th  9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at TBD

During the program, Leroy Allala, President and CEO of Sister Cities International, Aldwyn Sappleton, Vice President of Sister Cities Oklahoma City, and Bob Lieser, Vice President of Programs for Tulsa Global Alliance talked about Sister Cities in Oklahoma.

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the January 2021 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

Upon the approval of the November 2020 meeting’s minutes, Executive Director Jared Scism gave an update regarding the 2020 November and December finances of the organization. After approval of the budget, Chairman Scott Thompson announced Andrew Ranson as the new treasurer of the OKGIT.

During the Membership Committee report, Past Chair Douglas Price encouraged the team to nominate new members. Anyone interested in nominating a new member can contact Executive Director Jared Scism for further instructions.

After the Membership Committee report, Marketing Committee chair, Jose Sagarnaga presented an OKGIT branding draft guide to the membership for review. This guide included an overview for color schemes, logo styles, color pallets, typography, and a strategy for our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

During the Cultural and Education Committee report, Cathleen Skinner updated the membership about the committee’s different ideas to support OKGIT’s mission. These ideas included promoting international day in November by working with Representative McBride to create legislature in the Governor’s office, working with Oklahoma Council of the Arts and Oklahoma Department of Libraries to involve Oklahoma authors in providing educational webinars, finding ways to support the Seal of Biliteracy for all ages, and forming a young professionals group among Oklahoma’s international population.

After the Cultural and Education Committee report, Vice-Chair, Shalon Simmons presented the discussion questions to the membership that would take place during the program speaker portion of the meeting.

From the Oklahoma Consular Corp, Rico Buchli, Honorary Consul of Switzerland, informed the OKGIT membership that the Consular Corp has been busy despite several meetings being put on hold.  Rico and Honorary Consul of France Grant Moak also expressed concerns over fraudulent sovereign citizen documents that purport to allow their members to go through government checkpoints. Jim Collard reinforced these concerns by revealing that this group also has a presence in Oklahoma and should be taken seriously.

Jesse Garcia from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce revealed the Oklahoma Department of Commerce is currently working to schedule a number of events and services through September 2022. Jesse also announced ODOC was approved for the SBA STEP Grant program which provides a very easy streamlined application process. Funding has also been approved for organizations that would like to update their websites to make them more international-friendly, including translation, optimization and localization. For further information, click here or contact Jesse directly. An information webinar of these website services will be held on Wednesday, January 27th at 10:00 a.m. Jesse concluded his report with updates regarding state protocol after the retirement of Chris Morriss. Arrangements are currently being made and all protocol questions should be directed to ODOC going forward.

After the Oklahoma Department of Commerce report, Cathleen Skinner informed the membership of updates from the Department of Education. The OSDE is constantly reviewing its policies to keep families, students, and educators safe during the pandemic while trying to continue learning during the pandemic. Cathleen also publicized the OSDE renewed their MOU with Taiwan and Spain to continue educational and language immersion exchanges. Meanwhile, programs with France are continuing as usual.

During the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education report, Executive Director Jared Scism informed the group that the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education had no updates and that current activities were continuing as usual with colleges primarily trying to deal with COVID-19 issues.

Upon the completion of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education report, Marcus Verner provided a list of highlights from the U.S. Commercial Service. These highlights included:

–       The U.S. Commercial Service moving to 100% teleworking

–       The U.S. Commercial Service planning a number of virtual activities for the upcoming year

–       Nomination requests for the annual President’s Export Awards. The deadline is May 3, 2021.

–       Working with the State of Oklahoma to develop a state and federal plan focusing on the targeted industries of energy, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, and automotive with Canada, Mexico, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands

–       Making arrangements with the District Export Council for the World Trade Conference that will likely take place in person during the fall (October) in Oklahoma City. While discussing the conference, Chuck Mills and Jim Collard called on the OKGIT to form an OKGIT committee that would partner with the District Export Council to make arrangements for the conference. Anyone interested in joining this committee should contact Jim Collard.

–       Kevin Chambers working as an FDI champion for Southern Region to recruit companies to invest in the United States and the acting director for the U.S. Department of Commerce office in Romania where he may be stationed soon for some time. Anyone who has work to do in Romania for the next couple of months should contact Kevin.

Following the report from the U.S. Commercial Service, Chairman Scott Thompson informed the membership that arrangements were being made for the annual Gavel Ceremony to take place in March. Logistics regarding the ceremony will be shared with the group once it is received.

Upon the completion of all the reports, the membership held a group discussion revolving around the ways COVID-19 impacted the OKGIT membership, the way Oklahoma’s international relations have changed and how OKGIT can advance in 2021. In this discussion, Jose Sagarnaga proposed the OKGIT form a FDI and Trade Committee. The proposal will be discussed further at the March meeting.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9th at 9:00 a.m. We look forward to seeing you.

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the November 2020 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

Upon the approval of the September 2020 meeting’s minutes, Treasurer Chris Morriss gave an update regarding the 2020 September and October finances of the organization.

Marketing Committee chair, Jose Sagarnaga announced that he would begin highlighting the Oklahoma Consular Corps, international businesses in Oklahoma, and OKGIT members one to two times per year on the OKGIT Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Jose encouraged the OKGIT membership to follow and engage with the OKGIT on these social media posts and announcements.

During the Cultural and Education Committee report, committee member Vivi Milakovic updated the membership about the committee’s recent meeting where the committee reviewed the current OKGIT cultural and education committee programs – the Student Ambassador program and International Student Recognition Day at the State Capitol.  During their meeting, the committee also discussed the Oklahoma seal of biliteracy, possibilities for funding, and other new initiatives such as educational Facebook panels.  Upon the completion of Vivi’s report, Past Chairman Douglas Price led a discussion with the OKGIT membership and concluded with team that the 2021 International Student Recognition Day at the State Capitol would be best held virtually. Douglas will work with Executive Director Jared Scism to provide a stakeholder analyses and report over the impact of international students in Oklahoma to provide to Oklahoma legislators.

After the Cultural and Education Committee report, a Program Committee report was presented by Vice Chair, Shalon Simmons. During her report, Shalon introduced the meeting program speaker Scott Klosky from Future Point of View.  Shalon also requested for OKGIT members to submit and email any suggested program speakers to her for the upcoming January meeting.

Rico Buchli from the Oklahoma Consular Corp informed the OKGIT membership of a meeting with other members from the Oklahoma Consular Corp and Mary Blankenship Pointer to discuss Sister City relations. Rico was also encouraged by the recent news of the COVID-19 vaccine and that Switzerland was currently working on the production of the Moderna vaccine. Rico believes there is a possibility of being able to begin returning to in person events by spring 2021.

Jamie Cummings from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture updated the group about a virtual mission to Korea with several participating midwestern companies. Samples were shipped in advance of the mission for clients to have during their meetings. Jamie also revealed Secretary Arthur would be hosting a virtual free trade agreement roundtable on December 3 with Congressman Lucas on Zoom. For more information, contact Jamie Cummings.

Jesse Garcia from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce publicized that ODOC was awarded STEP Grant #9 for over $300,000 that will be launched at the beginning of January.  Jesse also told the group that ODOC will be participating in a virtual trade show on December 9 – 11 in Bogota, Columba focused on agro industry, manufacturing, technology in services. Jesse closed his report by informing the group of the ways ODOC is working with the Indian Consul General’s office in Houston to develop a virtual roundtable to discuss higher education, commerce and agriculture. Any industries interested in India should contact Jesse directly.

After the Oklahoma Department of Commerce report, Executive Director Jared Scism informed the group that the Oklahoma Department of Education had no updates and that current activities were continuing as usual. Debbie Blanke also told the group that little international activity was taking place at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the state was primarily continuing to deal with COVID-19 issues.

Following the education reports, Chris Morriss reported to the membership she was working with the Indian Consul, Dean Kluver at Oklahoma State University, and the Department of Agriculture. Chris also shared with the membership the Taiwan Director General from Houston will be visiting in early December for a dedication of a Sister Cities signpost and that there would be no further formal celebrations with Kyoto or Gansu for their anniversaries. However, the University of Oklahoma and Kyoto are currently preparing a virtual exchange together.

Upon the completion of Chris Morriss’s report, Executive Director Jared Scism provided a list of highlights from the U.S. Commercial Service. These highlights included:

  • The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security has established an online archive of export control policies, regulations and procedures. Exporters can view free videos, training modules, and archived webinars at: https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/online-training-room
  • On December 2, 2020 @ 11:00 AM PT the U.S. Commercial Service will present a free Doing e-Commerce in China webinar. Join the webinar to learn how to reach the 1.44 billion consumers in China.

Registration: CLICK HERE

  • The International Trade Administration (ITA) will hold a virtual roundtable on U.S.-Bangladesh energy cooperationon December 8, 2020.  Announced on September 30, 2020, the U.S.-Bangladesh Energy Industry Working Group (EIWG) will be held under the auspices of Asia EDGE Energy Industry Working Group Network, which is a “one stop shop” for the U.S. private sector to participate in U.S. Government programs and connect to regional market opportunities.  Submission Deadline: December 3, 2020. For more information, such as registration information, selection criteria, and more, find the announcement here. Questions? Please contact Suzanne

Rothman (Suzanne.Rothman@trade.gov) and Jonathan Goldberg (Jonathan.Goldberg@trade.gov)

  • Exposibram – Mining Expo and Conference(All virtual)
    Dates: Nov 23, 2020 – Nov 25, 2020 | Click Here to Register.
    For more information: correa@trade.gov
  • Rio Oil and Gas (All virtual)
    Dates: Dec 1, 2020 – Dec 3, 2020 | Click Hereto Register.
    For more information: cunha@trade.gov I rodrigo.correa@trade.gov
  • The Oklahoma City and Tulsa offices of the U.S. Commercial Service remain open as usual while teleworking to serve Oklahoma exporters and economic development organizations.
  • Kevin Chambers stated will be operating his office at the US Embassy in Romania Jan – March if anyone has a particular interest in the Romanian market.

Following the report from the U.S. Commercial Service, Dr. Jim Collard and the Oklahoma Consular Summit Committee discussed the outcome and requested feedback from virtual World Trade Conference and Oklahoma Consular Summit that took place on Thursday, October 22. Anyone with additional feedback should contact OKGIT Executive Director Jared Scism. If you were unable to attend the event, but would like to access the content, click here. A Google account is required.

After receiving feedback about the World Trade Conference and Oklahoma Consular Summit, Vice Chairwoman, Shalon Simmons presented the OKGIT officers for the upcoming year. The officers are as follows:

      1. Past Chair – Scott Thompson
      2. Chair – Shalon Simmons
      3. Vice Chair – Jose Sagarnaga
      4. Treasurer – Vacant
      5. Secretary – Bob Lieser

Anyone interested in serving as the treasurer may contact OKGIT Executive Director Jared Scism.

Upon the completion of all the reports, program speaker Scott Klosoky from Future Point of View gave a presentation over the Digital Amplification of 2020. A copy of his presentation can be viewed here.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be an OKGIT holiday party in January. As a result, the next meeting will take place virtually on Tuesday January 19, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. We look forward to seeing you there.