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.