Suzann Stewart

Executive Director
Suzann always had a background in sports as a participant as well as a coach, but she got into the marketing and organization side of it as part of her job at Visit Tulsa, as it’s Executive Director. She founded the Tulsa Sports Commission as a stand alone 501 C 3 with its own board and mission in 1990. It followed on the steps of a more informal sports foundation that had failed to fully develop its potential. That’s when she first met with “the group of oldies” over drinks to figure out a national scope of work for sports marketers across the country, emphasizing consistency and professionalism. Suzann and NASC go back to the earliest days of the discussions about “what if we put together a group of sports commissions”…and then it happened! As one of the founding members of NASC/Sports ETA she was on the ground floor in helping develop and nurture the growth of a fledging organization made up of just a few sports commissions to the major influence in sports marketing and best practices it is today. Suzann served on every committee, including strategic planning and governance, and worked as part of the group interfacing with the US Olympic committee representing host city interests to the decision makers of US games’ sites. Women and girls sports, title 9 and access to equity was also one of her areas of emphasis, with special attention to the value of women in leadership roles in sports organizations of all types. She was a regular presenter at NASC and other sports-related conferences, as well as at Destinations International, where she sat on the board as well, advocating for the value of sports marketing to a community’s well-being as well as women leadership in sports. Finally as Chairman of the Board, she led the board and the organization in re-organization and re-prioritization, planning for unlimited growth opportunities for the members of NASC and the organization itself while continuing to emphasize professionalism in the field.

Back in Tulsa, the Tulsa Sports Commission became a national leader in the attraction of world-class and development of locally-sourced sports events that impacted Tulsa and the surrounding communities for years. From PGA and US Open Golf Championships, to BMX Racing, horse and other livestock events, car racing, local bicycling hit “Tulsa Tough” with its unique “Cry-baby Hill” experience, NAIA and NCAA Collegiate Championships, to Olympic Sport championships, under her guidance at the TSC Tulsa became a national leader. At the local level, she headed the massive VisionTulsa campaign with a leadership team that ultimately resulted in the iconic, Cesar Pelli-designed BOK Center that is today an international award winner as a site for concerts, events and sports of all kinds, reinvigorating a downtown Tulsa environment set for success as a top entertainment destination. That led to the Oneok Field, the downtown baseball home of the Tulsa Drillers, and even more. The TSC team at that time included many former and current of the NASC members you may know including Andy Rosenbaum, Rob Marshall, Jon Schmeider, Joey Biggs and Mike Dodson, all of whom have moved on to even bigger roles in their lives and played major roles in the success of both Tulsa and ultimately NASC.

In 2009, she left the field of sports and destination marketing. But she re-emerged in 2010 in a totally different field of endeavor, putting together a new “team” concept, one built around the playbook of gender based violence: intimate partner and domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, elder abuse, and human trafficking. The Family Justice Center concept (created out of a program in San Diego)is literally an organization serving as the hub of the wheel of services a survivor must access in the justice system, all located in one facility. And, with her “team” of 17 agencies sharing a single “locker room”, Suzann is again the coach, helping design the playbook that enables all of these government, judicial, law enforcement and social service agencies to utilize best practices in giving survivors protection, hope and healing as they move out of violence and into healthier lives. She also founded Camp Hope for children experiencing violence…and partnered with many agencies like the YMCA, CampFire and others, offering a way out and hope for a violence-free future. Right now, she is in a capital campaign to develop a massive 65,000 sf facility to house her partners.

She’s taken the lessons learned from her years as a player, coach, and ultimately community leader to impact her community and the organizations she has touched for years to come.