Member of the Month: Colleen McCarty, Esq., Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
Today, we’re having a cold brew coffee in honor of our newest member of the month, Colleen McCarty, Esq. Colleen is the founding executive director of Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. Before becoming a lawyer and fighting injustice in the system, Colleen was a published fiction writer! In her role, Colleen wears a lot of hats… and shoes… and jackets, because founding a new non-profit requires an entire wardrobe of skills. Colleen’s work and passion to defend injustice for her clients has also led to her starting and producing her own true-crime-advocacy podcast titled, “Panic Button: The April Wilkens Case,” based on the story of an Oklahoma woman who was charged with murdering her abuser in 1998, and is currently serving a life sentence for what is to be believed as self-defense. Colleen is a kind, thoughtful, empathetic person—and we are so lucky to have her as a member at The Root.
Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice fights for the rights of every Oklahoman—focusing on misdemeanor justice, supporting criminalized survivors, and interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. Their mission is to bring the players to the table—whether that table is in the Capitol, in the streets, or in the courtroom—and hash it out. Big policy problems require big solutions. And Appleseed is ready to do the work.
Oklahoma Appleseed is a fiscally sponsored non-profit. If you’d like to contribute to their work, you can do so here.
What do you do? Tell us a little bit about your company.
I am an attorney and the Executive Director of Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. We work on community organizing, structural litigation, legislation, and legal research. Our mission is to fight for the rights and opportunities of all Oklahomans.
What is your typical weekday routine?
Pure chaos! Just kidding. I have two kids and two Australian Shepherds that I have to get up and ready with my husband. Then after drop offs the work begins. It could be meeting with funders, writing a research report, hearing from an Oklahoman with a legal issue, getting records from the courthouse, or recording a podcast episode about a client’s case. No day looks the same!
I also take a lot of meetings about coalitions working in the state on criminal Justice reform, housing, and other areas of advocacy.
What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
We’re working with national advocates to help get clemency for people serving time on cannabis-related crimes. I have three legal fellows writing federal clemency applications that will be reviewed by the President of the United States.
Remember that meme that said, “When the weed store starts to look like an Apple Store we need to let a lot of people out of prison?” Yeah, we’re doing that.
ALSO – our true-crime-advocacy podcast “Panic Button: The April Wilkens Case,” has gotten over 5,000 listens within the first few weeks after launch. You can listen here, or anywhere you get your podcasts. It’s about an Oklahoma woman serving a LIFE sentence because she defended herself against her chronic-abuser.
What strategies do you use to make big decisions?
Change happens from the bottom up. Anything you want to happen, you will get nowhere if you’re forcing solutions on people who have much bigger problems. Take a survey of all your stakeholders and tackle the two most frequently cited issues. If you can make a dent in the things that are causing the most pain for the most amount of people, you will gain trust and be seen as a leader who is committed to solutions.
What is your favorite restaurant in Tulsa and what do you get there?
Lanna Thai – Chicken Fried Rice with three stars.
What is the plot of your favorite movie or book?
Don’t judge. It’s nerdy, but I like the “Court of Thorns and Roses” series, which is basically adult Twilight with faeries instead of vampires. It’s so good, like brain candy!
If you could only eat one item for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It’s fried chicken!
What is one of your favorite things about being a member of The Root Coworking?
I love the community, the flexibility, and the coffee!
more to explore.
To know her is to love her. Meet our newest MOTM, Gayna Carter. You can’t not smile when you’re around her, which is definitely a benefit when it comes to her client-facing role of outsourced accounting at Emerge. Not only does Gayna care deeply for those around her, but she is an animal-lover through and through; you can tell by the way she treats her pup, Jack, like royalty. She’s integral to the culture at her company and also to the community here at The Root Coworking.
Meet Laura Keim, our newest Member of the Month. Laura is a business consultant for Nextep, and is “bringing the human back to human resources”. Laura is obsessed with the TV show Friday Night Lights and The Stairclimber, used to work in the alcohol industry, and is always offering to help our staff.
Oggy oggy oggy! Oi oi oi! Let’s give a proper football welcome to our newest member of the month, Wayne Farmer! Wayne is the Manager of Customer Success for Interact Software. Before joining Interact Software, Wayne was both the General Manager and Director for Tulsa’s professional soccer club, FC Tulsa.