On this episode of the RAISE podcast, Brent breaks it down with Blaire Atkinson, President of the Oklahoma State University Foundation. They reflect on Blaire’s journey from delivering cows at 2am on the family farm to being an entry-level HR professional to heading up the OSU Alumni Association and now running the OSU Foundation.
Catch the full episode (and highlights) below.
On this episode, Blaire and Brent cover…
- How a young Blaire used diplomacy to mediate a fistfight between two truck drivers.
- Blaire’s willingness to step into “any position through which she can be most helpful to OSU” – from mopping the floors to Head of Human Resources to President of the Foundation.
- Why there’s nothing quite like the sea of orange at the Gallagher-Iba Arena.
- What makes land grant institutions unique.
- The difference between alumni association membership and annual giving.
- “America’s Greatest Homecoming” at OSU – a student-led celebration that welcomes 80,000 alums back to campus every year.
- How the OSU alumni association creates “irrational brand loyalty.”
- Why the OSU “humble factor” is one of their greatest strengths AND greatest opportunities.
- Why advancement leaders should ALL join YPO – The global leadership community of extraordinary chief executives. You could be whitewater rafting with the governor, too!
More about Blaire…
No matter what Blaire Atkinson’s job has been, her professional mission to advance Oklahoma State University and strengthen its ties with the Cowboy family has remained the same.
In the spring of 2020, this native of Vici, Oklahoma, transitioned her leadership role from the OSU Alumni Association to the OSU Foundation after being named its seventh president in December. The move was a homecoming of sorts for Atkinson, whose service to OSU began with a job at the fundraising organization in 2011.
At the Foundation, she provided strategic direction and oversight in human resources, marketing and communications, donor relations and special events as the senior associate vice president of development services before becoming president of the OSU Alumni Association in 2018.
Reflecting on the transition, Atkinson says, “I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to serve in an organization that has such a far-reaching impact at my beloved alma mater. The decision to transfer back to the Foundation from the Alumni Association was not made lightly, as I have tremendous enthusiasm and respect for the work done by the Association and believe I can continue to support their mission in partnership from the Foundation.”
Atkinson graduated from OSU with a degree in business administration and holds Senior Professional in Human Resources and SHRM Senior Certified Professional certifications. Prior to joining the OSU Foundation in 2011, she spent several years overseeing human resources at various organizations in Oklahoma.
Atkinson is dedicated to improving the state through quality education and is passionately devoted to OSU. She is a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class 30 and has been involved in various community volunteer organizations over the years. Atkinson and her husband, Matt, met at OSU and have three children, Wyatt, Westin and Morgan.