Woodward, Okla. —
Woodward community leader Dr. Deena Fisher has been selected as a finalist for the Journal Record's Woman of the Year award for the third year in a row.
Every year the Journal Record accepts numerous nominations and selects 50 finalists as the best community and state leaders in Oklahoma. The finalists are then invited to attend a ceremony at which they will all be recognized and then the official Woman of the Year will be announced.
This year's Woman of the Year ceremony will take place Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
With this being the third time she is recognized in the Woman of the Year, Fisher will now be inducted into the Circle of Excellence. The Journal Record has chosen 7 women to be recognized in the Circle of Excellence which is only attainable after 3 years of being nominated and selected as a finalist.
As a part of the Circle of Excellence, Fisher will always be invited to the event and be recognized in the program and at the annual banquet.
"I'm truly honored, I feel very humbled to receive this recognition," she said.
Fisher is the dean of the Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Woodward campus.
Reminiscing on the first time she was nominated, she said she didn't think there was any way she would be selected. Fisher said that's because she hadn't really thought about her accomplishments collectively and just felt too humbled and didn't know if she was worthy of that honor.
However, Bruce Benbrook, president of Stock Exchange Bank, said he thinks Fisher is well-deserving for this prestigious award, which is why he continues to nominate her year after year. Benbrook was the one to nominate Fisher for the award these past 3 years.
"The Woman of the Year award is for women throughout the state who designate leadership and community service capabilities for the area and state," Benbrook said. "Dr. Fisher has been an outstanding leader not just for the Woodward, but also for Northwest Oklahoma and the state."
Each time Fisher has been selected as a Woman of the Year finalist, she has been required to write about different experiences. For the first year she wrote about 3 of her most meaningful leadership positions, she had.
Fisher wrote about being recognized as Woodward Citizen of the Year, being able to finish the Northwestern campus after 10 years of work, and how proud she was to be an educator.
"I enjoy watching students walk across the stage and start a new life," she said. "There's no feeling like it in the world."
Her second year of being selected she wrote about the women that had influenced her life the most. This included her mother and her grandmother and women she worked for during her career, including Janet Cunningham, president of NWOSU and Joe Anna Hibler, a previous president of SWOSU.
"They are awesome women," Fisher said of Cunningham and Hibler. "I've been lucky enough to learn at their feet."
This year Fisher said she will be writing about her particular leadership style which she identifies as servant leadership.
"I'm here to help the students that walk through the door reach their career goals and I'm here to help my awesome staff to be the best they can be," she said.
She has always had very high standards which have helped her in her career and helped her build the NWOSU-Woodward campus.
With every committee she's served on, Fisher said she was ernest and had the passion and desire to change, help improve, or help enhance "my corner of the world." Her advice to young women is to "get involved" and be part of the solution instead of griping about the problem.
"When I was younger, I didn't feel empowered," she said. "Once I was on a committee I like my voice being heard and being part of finding a solution."