Men With Influence

Spotlight on Some of Our Outstanding Men Leaders

Gabriel Bird, DDS

Your proudest professional achievement?

Revitalizing a derelict lot in Downtown Norman (formerly the old, abandoned lumber yard) and moving my dental practice to core Norman in 2019. Located at 227 W. Main St., it was the first new construction on downtown Main Street in 47 years. 

Other current and/or previous community involvement? (please limit to 3):

I am currently serving on the Mary Abbott Children’s House board. From 2014-2020, I completed two terms on the Norman Arts Council board, and from 2019-2020, I co-chaired the committee to re-design the City of Norman flag. A crowd-sourced and publicly voted design, in 2022 it placed fourth out of  312 redesigned American city flags in a comprehensive survey conducted by the North American Vexillological Association. 

Your philosophy on giving back to the community?

Being born and raised in Norman, I grew up in a healthy community with vibrant culture, strong schools, a robust library system, enriching extracurricular activities and safe streets for me to run around as a child and teenager. I believe that growing up in that environment contributed to the success I appreciate now. I find it only appropriate that I make contributions to continue that legacy and ensure that type of environment for future generations of Normanites. 

Favorite Quote/s?

“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” - Eckhart Tolle

Bryon Dickens

Director, Students Connecting with Mentors for Success, Oklahoma City Community College

Your Proudest Professional Achievement?

Heading the mentorship program at OCCC is truly a gracious gift from God, and each time I see a student graduate, I am proud of them. I believe that all students have a success story waiting for them. It may or may not involve lots of money or fame, but it is the fulfillment of who they were created to be and what they were born to do. In many cases, they have no idea how to get there and may lack the confidence to make that journey alone. They just need someone who genuinely cares about them to usher them to that destination of personal greatness. I am honored to provide support and advocacy to students as they navigate their college experience. Being able to watch hundreds of students evolve into their greatness has been a tremendous blessing.

 Other Current and/or Previous Community Involvement?

I previously had the privilege to serve on the board of Suited for Success, a local nonprofit devoted to helping women enter/reenter the workforce. I am a certified image consultant, and I love helping people look their best. I particularly enjoy helping women who may not have much money or many resources. It is a blessing to see their faces brighten as they look in the mirror and reimagine their futures.

I also previously served on the advisory board for the DECA program at Moore Norman Technology Center. The high school students were budding entrepreneurs, and I cannot begin to tell you how intelligent, enthusiastic and teachable they were! Not only were they smart, they were kindhearted and understood the importance of giving back to the community. They had a clothes closet that provided free clothing to those in need. Volunteering to help those students remains one of my greatest joys.

Philosophy on Giving Back to the Community?

Everyone has something to offer others. It may simply be a smile or a kind word. I have found that sometimes a student just needs someone to encourage them, to believe in them, or to just give them hope when their hope account balance is zero. This principle is true not just with students, but with people of all ages and circumstances.

Favorite Quote?

Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. - Martin Luther King, Jr. (when he was a 19-year-old college student).

Cody Giles

Photographer and Artist

Your proudest professional achievement?

Choosing one moment or achievement as my proudest would be unfair to all of the moments that have led to the career I’ve been blessed to enjoy. My metric for success is if I know whether or not it makes the people in my life proud. Photography and art have opened doors for me that I could not have, as a poor kid from a small town in Texas, ever been able to imagine even knocking on. I truly look forward to all of the opportunities and wonderful people that I’ll have the privilege of working with in the future.

Other current and/or previous community involvement?

- Current Chair, Norman Public Arts Committee

- Member, Norman Arts Council and Norman Music Festival boards

- Reigning King of Bridges Prom 2.0

Your philosophy on giving back to the community?

Access is only as good as how it’s shared. So, any chance I get to use my seats at tables to make space for others who may not have the opportunity, the better.

Favorite Quote/s?

“Don’t touch the money kid. You see, if you don’t take the money, they can’t tell you what to do.” - Bill Cunningham

“In this family, we don’t break promises and we don’t lie. You keep to those rules and people can respect you.” - Stanley Giles

Jeff Moody

Area Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Norman

Your proudest professional achievement?

The team that I have built. Our staff, committees and board are all so strong and supportive! Since I started in March of 2020, we have not missed a fundraising goal – and that is 100% a team effort. The brainstorming and creativity that we do together are legendary. We all believe in the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and we all work together to do everything we can to break cycles of risky behaviors for children here in our town. We also have a lot of fun doing it.

Other current and/or previous community involvement?

James’ Big Brother since March of 2022

Fundraising Chair, Mary Abbott Children’s House. Mary Abbott House is such an incredible organization that we partner with. The staff there does incredible work for the children in our community.

External Communications Chair, Norman Next

Your philosophy on giving back to the community?

Just do something, anything. Every nonprofit needs help in some way. My journey in nonprofit work started with mowing the lawn at the Abbott House and led to a career in fundraising. Just get out there and try and things will fall into place.

Favorite Quote/s?

“It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.” - Taylor Swift

“In case nobody told you today, you’re special.” - Lizzo

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