To a crowd of hopeful new graduates, she offered insightful advice: “Do not rob the world of your gifts by keeping them to yourself. Always remember that having talent and an education doesn’t place you above the world, it makes you responsible for it.”
Brown decided to attend law school while she was a city council aide for Mayor G.T Bynum, who at the time, served as a city councilor for Tulsa’s ninth district. “I very deliberately decided to go to law school, and knew I wanted to be at The University of Tulsa,” Brown said. “The primary reason for choosing TU was because I wanted to invest in this community.”
Her law degree has allowed her to connect with many different Tulsans over the past year, from celebrating corporate anniversaries to tapping the first keg at Tulsa’s Oktoberfest. “One of the most meaningful moments was getting to address our newest Tulsa police officers at their academy graduation,” she explained. “It is inspiring to hear them recite their oath of office in unison, swearing to protect the rights, lives and property of others with their lives if need be. That is the pinnacle of public service.”
Before her time with the city council, Brown served as an aide for former Mayor Kathy Taylor. Bynum was elected mayor in 2016, and Brown was named his deputy chief of staff when he took office. She was appointed deputy mayor in January 2019. Brown’s responsibilities as deputy mayor include overseeing the city’s administrative and public safety support divisions, serving on the pension board, and playing a key role in behavioral health and criminal justice issues on behalf of Mayor G.T. Bynum.
She is also coordinating the physical investigation aspects of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre graves search. “This has made a tremendous impact on me personally. My ancestors lived in Tulsa in 1921, and I grew up hearing about the injustices of the massacre through my family’s oral history,” Brown said.
In December, the City of Tulsa unveiled the results of the first phase of geophysical work. “As we announced the locations of two potential grave sites, I deeply felt the moral weight of our work. There is still much to be done, but it’s an honor to engage with our team of experts and the community as we seek the truth,” she stated.
Living on Tulsa Time
Brown’s Hurricane spirit shines as she describes her admiration as an alumna: “Tulsa and TU are special. It comes down to relationships — you really get to know your professors, you get to know your classmates — you’re invested in one another’s shared success.”
Above all, Brown explained her time at TU taught her to continually seek to understand different perspectives and complex issues. “My work as deputy mayor is incredibly varied, ranging from budgeting to community policing, and there are so many things I do not know,” she continued. “I am constantly working with different teams to determine the best path forward for our organization and our city. I know I’m bringing my best to my current role because TU helped me develop the skills to think critically, communicate clearly and participate in community.”
Women supporting women
Brown highlights the current evolution in Tulsa where women are striving and thriving in the workplace, from leading corporations and nonprofits to helping run the city. “I have always admired former Mayor [Kathy] Taylor because she has always given other women a hand up,” Brown said. Taylor was elected the 38th mayor of Tulsa in 2006. She was the city’s second female mayor after Susan Savage. “Kathy has done, and continues to do, incredible things through the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, Impact Tulsa and Mother Road Market,” Brown said. “She’s really changing the opportunities for women to lead in Tulsa.”
TU Law received a financial gift from Bill Lobeck and Kathy Taylor to establish the Lobeck Taylor Community Advocacy Clinic. The clinic supports vulnerable women and their families, with TU law students providing free legal services.