Creative Oklahoma, Inc. Names Thomas J. Searls President & CEO

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Creative Oklahoma, Inc., a non-profit organization composed of business, education, community and cultural leaders from across the state of Oklahoma, announced today the selection of Thomas J. Searls as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Searls will assume leadership of the organization and persist in the progress made on the group's primary goal to establish Oklahoma as a world renowned center of creativity and innovation in the areas of commerce, culture and education.

Thomas J. Searls. President and CEO of Creative Oklahoma, Inc.

I am incredibly honored and humbled by this appointment and the opportunity to work with such a dynamic board to empower Oklahomans to develop their capacities for creativity and innovation and in doing so distinguish Oklahoma on the global landscape

Creative Oklahoma, Inc., a non-profit organization composed of business, education, community and cultural leaders from across the state of Oklahoma, announced today the selection of Thomas J. Searls as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Searls will assume leadership of the organization and persist in the progress made on the group's primary goal to establish Oklahoma as a world renowned center of creativity and innovation in the areas of commerce, culture and education.

In 2004, Creative Oklahoma, Inc. became the business organization behind "The Oklahoma Creativity Project," (http://www.stateofcreativity.com). In 2008, the organization led the effort to designate Oklahoma as the first state in North America to be distinguished as a Creative District by The World Creativity Forum. This recognition has led to Oklahoma's selection as the host of the World Creativity Forum in 2010.

"We are extremely pleased to add such a talented leader to head our organization at a pivotal time when planning for next year's prominent World Creativity Forum is quickly picking up speed," said V. Burns Hargis, President of Oklahoma State University and board chairman for Creative Oklahoma, Inc. "Tom is deeply committed to our mission of creating a climate in Oklahoma where creativity and innovation can thrive, thereby fueling greater economic and cultural success in this century. He brings impressive experience and credentials in strategic planning, organizational management, marketing, advertising and public relations which will serve him quite well in his new position. We are excited about Tom's appointment and the future of the Oklahoma Creativity Project, an endeavor which can only improve Oklahoma's ability to compete in the ever expanding global environment."

Searls joins Creative Oklahoma Inc. from Schnake Turnbo Frank where he established the Tulsa-based public relations firm's Oklahoma City offices and served as vice president.

"I am incredibly honored and humbled by this appointment and the opportunity to work with such a dynamic board to empower Oklahomans to develop their capacities for creativity and innovation and in doing so distinguish Oklahoma on the global landscape," said Searls. "We have an unprecedented opportunity with the upcoming World Creativity Forum next year to elevate Oklahoma with global leaders who will attend this event. I look forward to ensuring this event's success and to building partnerships which will advance creativity in the areas of commerce, culture and education. Through

these collaborations, we can build Oklahoma into a state of world-class creativity and innovation."

A seasoned advertising, PR, and marketing executive, Searls has held numerous industry board and leadership positions, as well as recently serving as the division chair for the 2008-09 United Way of Oklahoma City campaign. He holds a BA in Journalism/Public Relations from the University of Central Oklahoma.

About Creative Oklahoma, Inc. and the Oklahoma Creativity Project
Creative Oklahoma, Inc. is a nonprofit organization established in order to launch the Oklahoma Creativity Project, a statewide initiative supporting, promoting and enhancing creativity and innovation primarily in the areas of commerce, education and culture. The Oklahoma Creativity Project strives to advance the creative potential of Oklahoma by empowering Oklahomans to develop their capacity for creativity and innovation through a variety of strategic programs and initiatives. In this manner, the organization facilitates the growth of an entrepreneurial economy by encouraging and embracing new ideas which stimulate new careers, companies and industries. Through its website at http://www.stateofcreativity.com, the Oklahoma Creativity Project is developing a creative community to connect creative individuals and spur creative pursuits.

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