Join us for our 2019 International Women’s Day Program on March 2, 2019


Women’s Day is celebrated globally on March 8th every year in honor of their incredible contributions to global society. This day also pays tribute to the influencing role of women around the world to secure women’s rights and build more equitable societies. This day also commemorates the voices of many women that go unheard and who continue to fight for securing their rights and realizing their full potential.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2019, which will take place on 8 March, is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”. UNA-OKC will be hosting a panel event on Saturday, March 2, 2019 from 2:00-4:00 pm in partnership with Raindrop Turkish House Oklahoma City.

This year’s theme will focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

We are so excited this event. Here is who we have speaking on our panel this year.

Moderator: Maurianna Adams, M.P.A., Outreach Director, Take Control Initiative

Maurianna Adams Photo

Maurianna Adams, MPA //Education and Outreach Director, Take Control Initiative\\
With many constructs in the world, let’s be constructors of community by developing self-advocacy, promoting multicultural connectedness and reforming institutional service.

Maurianna Adams bridges relationships between organization, community and systems, as Take Control Initiative’s (TCI) Education and Outreach Director. Prior to joining TCI, Maurianna studied business management, sociology and political science at the University of Oklahoma and received a masters in public administration. With over 9 years of public service, she has worked with grandparents raising grandchildren; justice-involved parents; former foster care youth; individuals experiencing mental health challenges and homelessness; and public health officials.

Raised in Oklahoma, she has witnessed the spirit of entrepreneurship revitalize the State, however economic and social disparities continue to exist. This led her to co-create and currently serve as President of Community Alliance of Oklahoma. Adams has been featured News 9 and has articles published in The Journal Record, The Oklahoman and with various news outlets.

Panelist 1: Representative Emily Virgin, Democratic House Minority Leader, will be speaking on social protection systems and women’s political representation.

Representative Emily Virign Photo

Emily was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma and attended the University of Oklahoma. While in college, Emily worked as an equipment manager for the OU football team. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Oklahoma in 2009 with a degree in political science and a minor in criminology. Emily was also selected as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She began law school at OU in the Fall of 2009 and was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in November of 2010. She graduated with distinction from OU Law in 2013 and was also a member of the Oklahoma Law Review. In the Oklahoma Legislature, she is the House Minority Leader. She serves on the Judiciary, Higher Education, Public Safety, and Appropriations & Budget committees in the House of Representatives. She is also a board member of several non-profit organizations in Norman, including the Thunderbird Clubhouse, Norman Arts Council, and Bridges.

Panelist 2: Vanessa Morrison, BlackSpace Oklahoma, will be speaking on community development and sustainable infrastructure.

VLM Headshot 2019

Vanessa Morrison is a social planner and crisis response professional who is dedicated to empowering and supporting communities. After receiving her master’s degree in Regional City Planning from the University of Oklahoma’s College of Architecture, Vanessa’s professional and academic opportunities have allowed her to design and lead approaches to address injustices in communities, coordinate engagement opportunities for marginalized groups, speak on several media platforms including National Public Radio’s StoryCorps initiative, domestically and internationally consult planning related projects, collaborate on planning initiatives, and activate both spatial and social environments. She is also experienced in developing and implementing engagement strategies that reach into multi-faceted communities, including: trauma exposed youth, survivors of violence, business spaces, advocacy groups, state and local governments, and religious communities. Her robust education and experience in community engagement, planning, and crisis management give her unique and valuable insight to initiate and sustain change. She was also last year’s Adult PowHer Microgrant Winner for 2018.

Panelist 3: Kelli McNeal, Fetal and Infant Mortality Review, Maternal and Child Health Outreach Project Supervisor, will be speaking about access to public services.

km photo


Kelli McNeal is the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) and Maternal and Child Health Outreach Project Supervisor at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

Kelli’s maternal and child health career began when she took a position at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) after receiving a BA in Psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma. Throughout her 11 years at OICA she directed a multi-year national foundation grant program, Covering Kids & Families, providing Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to pregnant women and children. Later, she became the Communication and Marketing Director for the agency. During this time Kelli also served on multiple boards including the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s Medical Advisory Council, the Oklahoma Lead Poisoning Prevention Advisory Board, and Chair of the Oklahoma Turning Point Council. After leaving her position at OICA, Kelli went into the for-profit world and finally returned to her passion of working on maternal and child health issues through the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Project at the Oklahoma City County Health Department.

We are very excited about this dynamic and engaging panel with these incredible women. Will you join us this year? Purchase tickets here. Tickets are $10.00.

Silent auction items, snacks, and refreshments will be available.

If a scholarship is needed please email us at If you’re able to donate, please do, as we will use it to cover individuals who want to attend but require financial assistance. UNA OKC is dedicated to accessibility for all and no one will be turned away.

People can also pay cash/card at the door the day of the event.

We hope to see you there!

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