New Taylor Hanson project to spark community discussions to better Tulsa

By | September 15, 2014

Tulsa World

Taylor Hanson is a man on a mission to make his hometown of Tulsa even better.

His next big event is called “The Conversation With …” which will feature former U.S. Ambassador Edward Perkins as guest of honor from noon to 1:30 p.m. Friday in Tulsa.

Perkins will speak, and Hanson will be the moderator.

And it is Perkins upon whom Hanson wants to shine the light — all while raising awareness of hunger and donations for downtown Tulsa’s Iron Gate soup kitchen.

“What’s cool is that my passion for this really came from wanting to honor Ambassador Perkins,” Hanson said.

Perkins was the first black U.S. ambassador to South Africa and was given a unique assignment from former President Ronald Reagan to dismantle apartheid without violence.

Perkins most recently served as executive director of the University of Oklahoma’s International Program Center.

“What Ambassador Perkins adds to ‘The Conversation With …’ is from the point of view of being a statesman and building relationships and taking on challenges. There’s really no one with greater experience in doing that,” Hanson said. “Statesmanship all starts in the community. You have to really understand the person on the other side of the table.”

As the principal organizer of the summit along with several partners, Hanson’s goal for the pilot event and those to follow is to start a community conversation and raise money for a local charity.

This year’s event examines the issue of hunger in Tulsa and Oklahoma and features a new collaborative partnership backed by Hanson, Food on the Move.

The plan is for “The Conversation With …” to feature a different core issue and charity each year. And the goal is that a partnership focusing on that core issue comes out of the event each year, he said.

“It’s kind of a unique gathering. The first goal of ‘The Conversation With …’ is to create an ongoing, forward-looking summit that really invites a cross-section of Tulsa’s community, with the only criteria being that everybody there is really invested in the long-term growth and success of Tulsa and of Oklahoma,” Hanson said.

Seats for the luncheon and lecture are $150 each.

Individuals or groups may also purchase seats to donate for others to attend. A table of 10 for the luncheon and lecture is $3,000.

The proceeds go to Iron Gate, which served meals to more than 300,000 people last year.

Organizers asked that the location of the event not be released publicly.

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