On Thursday, many of us will be at the River Spirit Casino for “Taste of the City,” which is being presented by the Tulsa World.

It’s a chance for us, from departments throughout the company, to be part of a fun event and get to know people in our community who might be subscribers, readers and advertising clients.

I’m looking forward to it because it features six local chefs, from some of my favorite eating places, showing how they put together great dishes. Also, quite a few local restaurants will be there giving away samples of some of their best dishes.

For “foodies,” it’s a dream event.

There’s a cost. And if you’re interested, you can get tickets at tulsataste.com.

This is only one of many events that the Tulsa World puts on for the community. Others include numerous Career Fairs for job seekers and those looking for qualified employees, the All-World High School Sports Awards, the Senior Expo and a series of community discussions known as “Let’s Talk.”

Although Tulsa World employees from all departments volunteer to work at these events, it’s our marketing department that bears the responsibility of making sure they go smoothly.

Marketing Director Sarah Lorenzen has put together a great team for these events that provide a service, start a conversation, or just do something fun in the community.

Erin Hofener is the event coordinator. It’s a job that comes naturally for her after starting out in the World’s advertising department.

She graduated from Bixby High school before attending Oklahoma State University, where she was a resident assistant at the freshman dorm, North Commons.

“We had to get a lot of information out to students, and I liked the idea of planning something fun to go along with that,” she said. “When this job came open I jumped at it.”

She likes the details — keeping up with the small things that have to get done to make an event successful and entertaining. Since she grew up taking dance lessons and competing, that’s not surprising. Everything has to fit together.

Even though her job keeps her busy, she still finds time to teach dance classes at Theatre Arts and South Tulsa Dance Co.

Sponsoring community events and volunteering at them, to me, is a good way that the media business has changed. It means that companies like mine are connecting more with their readers and customers. And, for the most part, the interaction is pretty positive.

Managing Editor Mike Strain and I daily correspond with readers who may or may not like the way we’re reporting the news, configuring the print edition, or presenting news at tulsaworld.com. We get calls about all aspects of our business. We help when we can and pass information on to other departments when warranted.

It always makes for an interesting day. One reader once told me, “Bless you from the top of your head to the tips of your toes …” I wrote that one down so I could remember it on the days the conversations go differently.

The World-sponsored events provide another way for us to connect with readers.

We’ve had several “Let’s Talk” discussions on public issues. Our first one, last year, addressed the city’s perceived rise in violent crime. In August, right before school started, we shifted the discussion to education and how to be an education advocate for your child.

In January, in advance of Oklahoma’s legislative session, our “Let’s Talk” focused on what to expect from the 2019 State Legislature. It featured state Sen. Kim David, state Rep. Regina Goodwin, lobbyist Margaret Erling and Tulsa World political writer Randy Krehbiel. The discussion was lively, with the two legislators squaring off on issues such as education and tax credits.

The journalist in me loves the “Let’s Talk” series. Experts are unfiltered and speak from their experience — and their heart — about topics they are passionate about. And, yes, we report on these discussions; but if you attend, you have the opportunity — free of charge — to hear for yourself.

I’m also a big fan of the All-World High School Sports Awards, which brings together the best high school athletes — and many of their coaches — once a year to honor them and hear their stories. This year’s dinner will be June 22 at the Southern Hills Marriott.

I hope it will be as memorable as last year’s.

I’m not likely to forget Austin Condict’s acceptance speech as the Comeback Player of the Year: The Wagoner High School athlete, and cancer survivor, paid tribute to his dad, Coach Dale Condict. I wasn’t the only one grabbing for a Kleenex.

And, of course, we all enjoy the Senior Expo — a ballroom full of vendors offer important information and services for the older generation in our community. And, there’s even Bingo!

I like the Senior Expo because everyone likes to talk and visit. I head to the office on Monday morning, after this event, with a head full of reader “suggestions.”

This year’s Senior Expo will be Aug. 3 at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Broken Arrow.

Sarah and her team have more events in the works. You can keep track of them at tulsaworld.com/events.

Hope to see you there!

Susan Ellerbach



Twitter: @TWSusanell

Executive Editor

Susan is the Tulsa World executive editor. She also has held the titles of managing editor, Sunday editor, state editor, business editor and reporter during her more than 30-year career at the Tulsa World.

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