Introducing New Executive Director Lisa Turner

Lisa Turner joined our family as TARC’s new Executive Director and is already working to expand our impact and improve the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities.

TARC was formed in 1952 by parents of children with developmental disabilities. Nearly 67 years ago, these founding families passionately advocated for services and support due to their frustration with the lack of services available to their children. With Turner now at the helm, the passion of a parent who has a child with developmental disabilities will continue to infuse the organization.

“I am honored to join the fabulous team at TARC as we seek to grow our advocacy efforts and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families,” said Turner. “As a single mom of a teenage daughter with multiple special needs, I empathize with the challenges that Oklahoma families face while trying to give their loved one the most independent and fulfilled life. I am dedicated to ensuring that TARC is an active collaborating partner at the forefront advocating for systems change both at the state and national level.”

Turner has two daughters, Madison, 17, and Megan, 14. Madison is a happy, social young lady who loves going to school at Memorial High School, playing peek-a-boo, going out to dinner, and going to church. Madison’s younger sister Megan is an 8th grader at Edison Preparatory School, a member of the track and debate teams, and is the biggest advocate for her sister. The Turner family lives in Tulsa and attends Boston Avenue Methodist Church.

Ray Poudrier, President of TARC’s Board of Directors, stated that John Gajda left quite a legacy for Turner when he retired as Executive Director in February. His vision and hard work with TARC and in the community has improved the lives of many Oklahoman’s impacted by developmental disabilities. John has been a driving force for almost thirty years and Poudrier believes that Turner has the energy and experience to continue expanding TARC’s mission of ensuring a high quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families through education, empowerment, support, and advocacy.

Turner earned a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from Northeastern State University. She is a graduate of Oklahoma Partners in Policymaking and Leadership Tulsa, Class 51.

Turner’s passion is to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and she has dedicated more than 20 years to nonprofit service focused on program development, management, and implementation. Turner spent the past six years as Director of Development for Mental Health Association Oklahoma and oversaw the fundraising department responsible for raising 25% of the Association’s annual $18 million budget through grants, individual donations, and special events including Carnivale.

Turner also brings 10 years of experience at the state level in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Formerly serving as Regional Director for Oklahoma Family Network, one of TARC’s fellow advocacy organizations connecting individuals with special health care needs and disabilities, Turner brings a unique background that represents the perspective of families across Oklahoma looking to improve the lives of their loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Turner later served as Associate Director for Ability Resources, a partner of TARC striving to maximize independence of individuals with disabilities.

We are lucky to have someone so driven and passionate on our team. We look forward to working with Lisa as we continue to expand our impact and improve the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities.