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Member of The Month: Laura Latta, Tulsa Higher Education Consortium

Meet Laura, our May member of the month and a woman who wears more hats than a haberdashery on a good day! A Tulsa gal and former Teacher of the Year at Union Public Schools, Laura ditched the classroom (though not entirely – she’s an adjunct professor at OU-Tulsa) to become the Executive Director of the Tulsa Higher Education Consortium. When she’s not busy championing student success or serving on multiple non-profit boards, you might find her pounding the pavement as an avid runner. Laura’s positive energy and game-changing attitude follow her around Market Station on a daily basis, and you will soon understand why.

Laura Latta is a passionate leader dedicated to educational equity and opportunity. As the Executive Director of the Tulsa Higher Education Consortium (THE Consortium), she collaborates with colleges and universities in Northeast Oklahoma to create a thriving higher education community. Laura’s focus is on student success, particularly for those transferring from community colleges to complete bachelor’s degrees. She works alongside businesses and community organizations to ensure graduates have strong job prospects after graduation. 

What do you do? Tell us a little bit about your work.

I am the Executive Director of the Tulsa Higher Education Consortium (THE Consortium). My team of 6 and I have the privilege of working with an incredible group of nine colleges and universities in Northeast Oklahoma. Our members include College of the Muscogee Nation, Langston University, Northeastern State University, OSU-Tulsa, OU-Tulsa, Rogers State University, Tulsa Community College, University of Tulsa, and Southern Nazarene University-Tulsa. 

At THE Consortium, our main goal is to help Tulsa-area college and university students succeed and complete their degrees. We believe that when colleges and universities collaborate (as opposed to compete), we can create a better educational experience for students – especially students who transfer from TCC to earn a bachelor’s degree. 

We also team up with local businesses, community organizations, and philanthropic groups to make sure our graduates have the best possible chance of finding great jobs after they finish their degrees. It’s all about building connections and creating opportunities for our students to gain real-world experience through internships, mentorship programs, and other hands-on learning experiences.

At the end of the day, THE Consortium is all about creating a thriving higher education community here in Northeast Oklahoma. We want to make sure that our students have access to the best possible education and that our region has a strong pipeline of talented graduates ready to take on the world. It’s a big job, but I feel so fortunate to work with such an amazing group of people who are all dedicated to making it happen.

What’s your favorite quote?

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

– Howard Thurman

Early in my career, I put so much pressure on myself to find the “right” job (salary, role, title, etc.). This quote liberated my thinking and helped me realize that when I am doing work that makes me come alive, everything else falls in line. 

What would your walk-up song be?

Unstoppable by Sia

I am a big fan of Sia, her resilience, and the empowering messages in many of her songs. Also, it’s a great song to hype myself up for a big presentation or career “moment”.

What is the most valuable career advice you’ve been given?

I received great career advice from my friend Shagah Zakerion. She shared with me the power of “moving with the energy.” When starting something new, step back and see where the energy is flowing and where the champions are. Find a way to move with that energy rather than starting from a place of zero movement. Empower the champions to carry that passion and momentum forward. 

What was your first car? Did you name it?

When I was in high school, I saved up to pay for my first car – a used Oldsmobile Alero that had an enormous number of miles on it. Sadly, it didn’t last long enough for me to give it a name. 

When you started out, what did you think your job would be at this point in time?

I started my career as a 4th grade teacher. I’ve taught every grade in elementary school. Teaching is my passion. I am fortunate to get to continue teaching as an adjunct professor at OU-Tulsa, but my career path has taken a few twists and turns that I never would have predicted when I started out. 

What made you decide to cowork instead of work from home?

Since THE Consortium serves nine colleges and universities, it often feels like our team offices all over the city. We realized that as we started growing, we really needed a “home base” and The Root affords us such a beautiful place to meet, strategize, and collaborate on projects. It is the perfect place for us and the entire team loves to work here. 

What do you think is the best part about being a member of The Root Coworking?

The best part about being a member of The Root Coworking is the culture and environment created by the awesome staff. The Tulsa Higher Education Consortium is a small team of seven and on any given day, we are at one of our nine colleges or universities working hard to help students earn their degrees. It is so nice to come back to our home base and have a warm and welcoming environment with opportunities to connect and get to know others. Not to mention, the workspace is gorgeous and fosters such creativity for my teammates and me.