OKGIT March 2020 meeting summary

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the March 2020 OKGIT meeting. Please note that some events and dates mentioned below may have changed due to circumstances regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). This summary does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

The March 2020 meeting marked the next chapter of the OKGIT with new chair, Scott Thompson leading the way.  After the approval of the January 2020 meeting’s minutes, Scott Thompson gave an update regarding the finances of the organization due to the recent resignation of the recently appointed treasurer, Mary Blankenship Pointer. During the financial report, Scott informed the OKGIT membership of finances for January and February 2020 and informed the team that the OKGIT bank account was successfully moved from Chase Bank to Midfirst Bank.

Following the financial report from Scott Thompson, Executive Director, Jared Scism reminded the membership to pay their annual dues and told new members who requested new nametags know that there was a delay on the order due to an error by Dearingers, the company we order nametags from. These nametags will be available at the meeting in May.

Amidst discussion of the treasurer report, the marketing committee encouraged the group to check their bios and headshots on the website and send any updates to John VanPool or Jared Scism. The Marketing Committee also reported they are posting on Facebook three to four times a week and encouraged the membership to engage with these social media platforms more frequently. Executive Director, Jared Scism also encouraged everyone to add the OKGIT email address (theokgit@gmail.com) to their address book to avoid OKGIT emails going directly to spam. Lastly, the marketing committee requested everyone who has upcoming events to send details to John VanPool and Jared Scism for distribution and website posting.

In membership news, Andrew Ranson was affirmed by vote as a new member. Mary Blankenship Pointer, Chad Jordan and Susan McCalmont resigned their positions with the group.

The Cultural and Education Committee reported on the International Student Recognition Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol event that took place on March 4. Representative McBride and his legislative assistant, Julie Jackson were phenomenal in organizing the event. The day consisted of a tour of the capitol, watching bills being passed by legislators, and lunch with Representatives that also included a short question and answer time with Governor Stitt. 10 universities were represented with approximately 36 countries and about 120 international students. The event deemed to very successful with lots of positive feedback from participants. Past chair, Douglas Price was also able to promote the new OKGIT world language program to students attending the event.  This language program would take place every fall during International Education Week and would bring together secondary K-12 and higher education students to practice foreign languages and provide immersion experiences. These students would also be provided opportunities to practice their language skills with visiting delegations to show foreign dignitaries that Oklahomans appreciate global languages and that we are invested in them as a state.

During the Program Committee report, Scott Thompson announced Shalon Simmons would fill his former role as the program chair for the GIT. Scott also requested anyone who has ideas for speakers for the upcoming year should inform Shalon at sgsimmons@runbox.com. Scott also informed the membership that Scott Stone from Euler Hermes USA, a French credit insurance and receivables company will be our program speaker at the May meeting.

Rico Buchli updated the membership that the Oklahoma Consular Corps has only had one event take place, which was with Sister Cities. Rico also a provided a virologist perspective about the coronavirus and encouraged everyone to stay calm and healthy. Enrique Villar Gambetta, Honorary Consul of Peru also informed the membership that a group from OSU will be in Peru next month working with a group called Plataforma. Enrique is currently working with Dr. Craig Waters to research Andean communities in Peru.

Sarah Short from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce informed the membership that anyone in need of an invitee list for upcoming events may contact her. Sarah can be contacted at Sarah.Short@okcommerce.gov.

Dr. Cathleen Skinner had several updates from the Oklahoma Department of Education. In her report, Dr. Skinner stated a Trauma Summit was held at the Cox Convention Center. Dr. Bruce Perry was the speaker and addressed how to help students in traumatic situations. She also informed the membership that Superintendent Hoffmeister has a weekly forum that takes place on Thursdays.

Dr. Skinner went on to discuss how the State Department of Education and Tulsa Public Schools hosted seven French teachers for two weeks from Picardie and OETA covering them in a story. Dr. Skinner further praised the Dual Language Academy in Tulsa for having the highest reading and math test scores in the state and discussed the importance of bilingualism.

Dr. Skinner closed her remarks by telling the OKGIT membership the Seal of Biliteracy is open for comment on the State Department of Education’s website. There will be a hearing on March 20th at the Hodge building for comments and will be presented to the state school board on March 25th.

Chief Protocol Officer Chris Morriss reported that she had been working on the Oklahoma Consular Summit.

The U.S. Department of Trade reported that they are currently working with partners to do ExporTech program and executives for three months to develop an export strategy. The third session will take place on April 23rd, where they will present their strategy. This is the 40th anniversary of helping businesses do international business. The Department of Trade is continuing to plan for the Offshore Technology Conference, Select USA, and the Farnsborough Air Show.

Following the committee reports, the group had a discussion regarding the upcoming Oklahoma Consular Summit and agreed to postpone the summit to sometime in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the decision to postpone the Oklahoma Consular Summit, John Curzon invited the membership to attend the Offshore Technology Conference and received confirmation from the GIT to sponsor a reception at the event. However, the Offshore Technology Conference has since been postponed.

In closing, the Executive Committee requested and received the approval to appoint Shalon Simmons the new Vice Chair of the OKGIT. Past Chair, Douglas Price also declared to the membership that the GIT is still in desperate need of a treasurer. Anyone interested in becoming the treasurer may contact Executive Director, Jared Scism at theokgit@gmail.com. In the meantime, Chris Morriss has agreed to assist Executive Director, Jared Scism with the treasurer role until a new treasurer is found.

Upcoming meetings are as follows:

  • May 19thfrom 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Dept of Commerce
  • July 21st from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Dept of Commerce
  • September 15thfrom 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Dept of Commerce

For our program, Andrew Ranson and the Oklahoma State University Graduate Trade Fellows presented an analysis of Oklahoma International Trade and the supply chain and network structure.