More than 20 people were recognized for their community leadership Nov. 17 at the Young Professionals of Stillwater 2021 Leaders Under 40 award ceremony.

Out of 42 nominees, 20 were named as finalists and 10 received the Leaders under 40 award.

Oklahoma State University Foundation President Blaire Atkinson opened  the ceremony and said she was in the presence of an “impressive group” of people.

“You’re doing great things, and I’m proud to be a part of this group, and I’m proud to be standing here with you all,” she said. “Keep fighting to the highest possible good for each other, keep fighting for the highest possible good in your communities, and in your careers. Don’t let anything hold you back.”

Joshua Taylor, Director of the Hargis Institute, presented the awards and read profiles for the 10 award winners.

The first to be recognized was Haley Annuschat. Taylor said she “transformed” the community through her diligence and dedication to young professionals of Stillwater. The OSU graduate was also recognized as a NextGen 30 Under 30 honoree.

Irissa Baxter-Luper, Coordinator of Women's and LGBTQ Affairs at the OSU Office of Multicultural Affairs, was recognized for her passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Taylor said her work for marginalized communities has resulted in more inclusive policies

“This passion is overcoming barriers within the Stillwater community and on campus,” he said.

Capt. William Colt Chandler of the Oklahoma State University Police Department has also received honors as an officer and young professional in the community and state.

“Our next leader under 40 has reshaped the community through advocacy, education, and service through their work at the police department,” Taylor said while introducing Chandler.

“They believe that a young professional under 40 communicates effectively, empowers others, and produces a solution for present problems,” Taylor said.

Auctioneer and entrepreneur Cali Crissup, another NextGen 30 Under 30 recipient, was honored as well. 

Taylor cited honoree Kane Mach's service to youth in the community. 

“They’ve fostered children, been part of the leadership team for resilient Payne County … they’ve even been acknowledged by several organizations as an outstanding teacher and staff," he said. 

Christian Oldham has impacted the community in innovative ways through his work with non-profits and passion for financial literacy education, Taylor said. Oldham has been involved in a number of organizations, including Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of Stillwater, Taylor said.

Sarah Priest, is a member of Junior Service League and serves on the Stillwater Arts and Humanities Council. She also graduated from Leadership Stillwater. She believes a young professional leads both in their professional life and community, Taylor said. 

Candace Robinson, who serves on the City of Stillwater's Downtown (RE)Investment Plan review committee, believes there is “ample opportunity” for growth within the community, Taylor said. 

Crystal and Clyde Wilson were the last to be recognized.

“In just a few years in this community, they have led considerable and meaningful change in Stillwater,” Taylor said.Clyde has a passion for enacting change and mobilizing leaders, Taylor said. 

He described Crystal as a remarkable leader and educator for her work at OSU in the College of Education and Human Sciences. She also volunteers with the United Way of Payne County.

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