Our very own David Wagner received an award from Rotary International. The award recognizes Rotarians who strive to “Be the Inspiration” in their local communities. David was nominated by an anonymous fellow Rotarian who stated this in the award application:

“David Wagner is the real-deal. When you first get to know David, you experience a polite and inquisitive professional with boundless energy. These more noticeable traits, while fantastic, overshadow some of his best. David has a gift for empathy, and a genuine desire to make the world a better place through acts of service extended to his fellow man in quiet ways, that most often do not receive accolades. David whistles. To himself. If you look it up in fancy scientific studies, whistling is a trait most often displayed by an individual possessing a positive nature at their core. David’s boss once said of him “David is one of those people that make me a better person.” David is the first one in his office most days. Often before the sun is up. We are pretty sure he is whistling.”

We couldn’t agree more! Read more about David’s dedication to the community.

David Wagner, partner and chief financial officer of Schnake Turnbo Frank, recently sat down with the Tulsa World to answer 5 Questions. Read more about our faith-based initiatives, challenges he sees in public relations and crisis management firms. And most importantly, what he misses about Wisconsin.

Read David’s responses in this issue of the Tulsa World.

Schnake Turnbo Frank, a strategic communications and management consulting firm with offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, announced it has promoted David Wagner to partner and chief financial officer.

Wagner has been with STF since 2010 and most recently served as Tulsa region president and chief administration officer for the firm. In his new role, Wagner will be responsible for the overall financial operations of the firm in addition to his work with client services and business development. He has served more than 30 years in leadership roles in public relations, community relations, development and education.

“David is a community leader, a strategic counselor and  tremendous asset to our firm,” said Becky J. Frank, chairman, CEO and managing partner of STF. “His years of experience in education, nonprofit and corporate communication have given him great insight into the needs and goals of our clients.”

Wagner previously worked at Oral Roberts University where he held several positions, including vice president of university relations and development. Earlier in his career, he lived in Wisconsin and worked many years in the education field.

Wagner graduated with a bachelor’s degree from ORU and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has served on boards with Junior Achievement of Oklahoma, Leadership Oklahoma and the International Christian Accrediting Association, along with his involvement with the Tulsa Area United Way.

Posted by David Wagner, Region President and Chief Administration Officer

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you try to get involved in your community? Do you feel like there are so many worthy causes to support that you couldn’t possibly choose just one? Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” It is easy to get caught up in day-to-day obligations and forget we have a vast number of opportunities all around us to lend a hand to someone or something in need. Often times, it is hard to decide where to dig in and begin helping your community due to the wide expanse of need and for most people, a limited amount of time and resources. Community involvement can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. There are three important guidelines to follow when you are deciding on an organization in which to be involved.

1. Choose your passion. There are endless well-intentioned causes and it can be hard to decide how to direct your time. The easiest way to narrow down your options is to think about where your personal interests lie. Are you interested in politics, veterans, children, animals, education, energy, environment, or the homeless? Ask yourself, what hits home for me? Once you have identified your passion, narrow down the non-profits that fit your passion and have the mission you believe best supports your personal values.

2. Use your expertise. Once you have decided what non-profit you are interested in helping out, explore how you can apply your expertise and skill set. Channeling your skill set into an organization will allow you to give the most you can in your own way.  Using your expertise will double as an enjoyable experience for you and a benefit to the organization. For example, a chef could volunteer once a week or month at a local soup kitchen to help cook and feed the hungry. If you are applying your talents to something you are genuinely interested in, it will feel more extracurricular than an additional obligation.

3. Budget your time. If you are unable to make a commitment for a significant amount of time (e.g. board involvement), get involved in community-wide programs or events such as your business’ participation the United Way’s Day of Caring or Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure. Being realistic about the amount of time you can offer to a non-profit is essential because overcommitting can be detrimental to any non-profit. If time is an issue, consider the option of making a financial donation. Non-profit organizations can always use monetary donations or donations of supplies. Why not pass along those gently used clothes your kids grew out of?

David Wagner is the region president and chief administration officer of STF  and is responsible for managing the performance of the company, developing the firm regionally and leading client outreach. If you’d like to learn a more about David please visit his bio or contact us at our Tulsa office or connect with him on LinkedIn

Having the proper tools or tactics to measure the success of your company is just as important as achieving success itself. No matter your chosen field, business is a constantly evolving organism. Due to this constant change, the tactics and objectives used on your last project may or may not work on the next. One way to ensure you are being as efficient and profitable as possible is to implement a tangible system which measures your team’s overall success.

1. Take Away Evaluation – It is important to look at the big picture. By revisiting your initial goals and objectives from the beginning of the project, it will be obvious whether or not you achieved the desired outcome. Ask yourself and your team various questions:

  • Did you meet or exceed your goal?
  • Did you gain the outputs you wanted?
  • Were all of the goals realistic?
  • Did we set the bar high enough?
  • How did our goals evolve throughout the process?

Honestly answering these questions will allow you to gain insight and continually set and achieve lofty, yet attainable goals from client projects to internal development.

2. Team Evaluation – A team can never reach their full potential unless they are taken care of first. This may seem contradictory to the long-standing notion of putting the customer first; however, exceeding the customer’s expectations is directly correlated to providing your team with the necessities to excel. Ways you can continually evaluate your team culture is to ask if your team grew closer and stronger during the process.

  • Was your team built up in the process?
  • Do you feel a sense of accomplishment for your individual contribution?
  • By reaching this point of success, does your team have freshly fostered enthusiasm to attain new goals?

3. Efficiency Evaluation – Every organization would like to claim that they are efficient in every moment and with every dollar but like anything, there is always room for improvement. Look at all the small or large steps you took to reach the endpoint. Did all efforts contribute to the final outputs? Eliminating useless steps will free up time to complete fruitful tasks. For example, one of the most impractical endeavors is compiling data for the sake of compiling data. If you never use it, it hampers your efficiency and ultimately, your success. Be sure your efforts are always guiding you to the main goal.

These steps can be completed in any specific order but the completion of all of them is essential to obtaining an accurate measure of success. Even if you aren’t satisfied with your responses to some of the questions, you’re already ahead of the game by addressing the issues or areas to improve.

David Wagner is a Partner of STF and is responsible for managing the performance of the company, developing the firm regionally and leading client outreach.  

Reputation is essential for any business to thrive and it is especially important for a faith-based organization. A solid reputation is what gives people the confidence to do business with you. Whether your faith-based organization is a church, university, private school or a ministry, having a good reputation in the eyes of the customers, employees, donors and members is vital.

Here are three key rules to follow for building image and reputation in your faith-based organization: 

1. Integrity

Whether it be through advertising, newsletters or face-to-face communication, truthfulness about your organization is key. This may not always be easy. Having integrity may sometimes mean being painfully truthful in a difficult situation. During these times, people typically tend to want to sweep it under the rug or try and minimize its importance to the public. It is especially important that an organization be honest in difficult situations because it is in how you respond to these situations that people will measure the integrity of the rest of your organization. In admitting mistakes you show a human side and demonstrate your diligence in fixing the problem.

2. Transparency

Being open to sharing information with stakeholders, members of the media, donors and city leaders shows you have nothing to hide. It is obvious and understandable that sharing every piece of information is impractical, however, sharing what you can takes down barriers between the organization and those around it.  When it appears someone is trying to hide or cover something, more than likely they are. If that is the case, the truth will come out at some point. It is always best for the organization to tell the story first in the manner in which you want it to be told. Take control of the message and be transparent. It is easier to be open at the beginning and move forward than it is to go back and correct mistakes—this creates a loss in credibility.

3. Engagement

Having conversation and being involved with stakeholders, employees and members of your organization is vital. Engage in dialogue and listen to what people have to say. Listen to people’s concerns and address them. This will help your credibility and trustworthiness. Also, don’t forget your staff—they can be the biggest advocates in both the good times and the bad times. Establish trust through engagement and constant communication. Staff will tend to support an organization through its hard times if they feel that they can trust you and feel knowledgeable on the situation. Staff can also detract from a situation, however, if they find out information elsewhere. Staff proves to be an invaluable asset in building a reputation for your organization.

Learn what it takes to build and maintain a positive reputation now and be prepared for any situation that may arise.

David Wagner is a Partner and an expert in helping clients with organizational development and overall performance. David also leads the firm’s faith-based initiative, helping organizations of all faiths. 

The national headlines are still focusing on unemployment, but things are actually looking pretty good in Tulsa and businesses should take notice. My colleague, Aaron Fulkerson, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, recently wrote an article for the Tulsa World where he highlighted the financial forecast and stated that Tulsa is currently in an employee’s job market. If you live in Tulsa or not, here are three ways to help you retain your best talent while in an employee’s market, which is when the unemployment rate is under 6 percent.

  1. Take the time to reward your top performers for their hard work.
    Whether you’re rewarding them by raising their salary, giving them a bonus or increasing benefits, rewarding your employees in the number one way to retain your top talent.
  2. Develop an employee recognition program to identify the leaders of tomorrow in your organization. Good pay and benefits are important, but employees also want to be valued and appreciated for their work.  They want to be treated impartially, have advancement opportunities and be involved in the company.  It is the day-to-day interactions that make employees feel their contributions are appreciated and that they are recognized for their own unique qualities.
  3. Offer leadership training for your best employees.
    Offering leadership training for your best employees tells them you trust them and see them moving up in the future.  If an employee sees a future with your company, they are more like to stick around.  And, frankly put, your company is in business to make money—this means your leadership team must be effective in order for your business to deliver results.

David Wagner is a Partner and an expert in helping clients with organizational development and overall performance.