Companies send festival volunteers on the clock

Law firm, Devon, Sonic help support arts event

published in The Oklahoman | April 25, 2007

Attorneys Betsy Wood and Kym Carrier were interviewed by Oklahoman business reporter Steve Lackmeyer on the opening day of the Festival of the Arts regarding the firm’s volunteer efforts. Wood oversees the festival’s Windscapes exhibit, while Carrier serves as co-chair of the event’s production committee.

Six members of McAfee & Taft — information systems director Liz Groom, senior associate attorney Pat Rogers, and shareholders Erin Van LaanenDudley Hyde, Carrier and Wood — serve in leadership roles with the festival this year. In addition, the firm also allows its staff members to volunteer at the festival while on company time.

“It’s a lot of hard work,” said Carrier, a general business litigation attorney who has been a festival volunteer the past four years. “I’m a certified fork lift operator now.  I’ve learned a lot of skills I didn’t have as a lawyer.”

“This is how the Arts Council finances all the other programs they do throughout theyear — Opening Night, after-school programs, the summer music programs, Sunday evening music — and that’s why it’s worth it,” said Wood. “We’re a pretty civic-minded group of folks to begin with.” Wood is an employment attorney who began volunteering at the festival 17 years ago.

Celena Baker, the festival’s communications director, called the suport given by McAfee & Taft and other Oklahoma City businesses critical to the annual event’s success.