AEP Executive Vice President Utilities Peggy Simmons cohosted the Tulsa Area United Way’s Live United Awards luncheon Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at the Cox Business Center.
The event is the capstone event of every TAUW campaign and the launch of the next year’s effort.
TAUW’s 2022 campaign – chaired by Simmons -- raised $25.5 million. When other impacts, especially the value of volunteer labor during the United Way Day of Caring are included in the calculation, the grand total of community impact in 2022 is $28,424,909.
While Tulsa is the 71st largest United Way community in the United States, the TAUW campaign is the 13th largest United Way fundraiser annually.
The efforts of the PSO United Way committee certainly represented that commitment and the enthusiasm as well. The team used a series of innovative new events and popular favorites to raise more than $450,000, a new company record. "Serving our community through the United Way has been such a fantastic experience. It gives us a great opportunity to work together through volunteering and organizing employee events which certainly impacts our community in a powerful way,” said S. Ritz.
While the 2022 campaign was still going, Simmons received word that she was being promoted from her position as president and chief operating officer of PSO to her current position in Columbus, Ohio. Despite having her life transplanted, Simmons persevered on behalf of the United Way, said TAUW President Alison Anthony, cohost of the awards ceremony.
“Leading with courage means taking on a challenge when we can’t control the outcome,” Anthony told the crowd of more than 500. “And even after she got a great promotion that required a move to Ohio during the fall campaign, she never stopped working on behalf of our community, and our United Way family.”
Simmons responded by saying that a part of her heart will always remain in Tulsa.
“It has been said that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service others,” Simmons said. “And I can truly say that I lost myself in the best ways possible during this campaign.”
“Please believe me when I say, the Tulsa Area United Way family and this community will be with me forever,” Simmons said.
During the luncheon, Simmons and Anthony honored large and small companies, nonprofits and government agencies that did their part in 2022. New campaigns, growing campaigns and enormous campaigns received awards.
United Way leaders for 2023 and 2024 also were introduced.
2023 campaign cochairs are Kathy Taylor and Karl Neumaier. Taylor is a former mayor of Tulsa and dean of the University of Tulsa’s Collins College of Business. Neumaier is a longtime leader at Hilti North America. Both have held a series of United Way leadership posts in the past.
With the 100th anniversary of TAUW in 2024, Anthony also introduced the group’s centennial chair, Becky Frank. Frank is chair of Schnake, Turnbo Frank consulting firm. She announced her honorary cochair, QuikTrip Chairman and CEO Chet Cadieux. Centennial annual campaign tri-chairs will be Piece Norton, president and CEO of ONEOK; Stephanie Grober, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and local motivational speaker Emeka Nnaka.