Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

50 Making a Difference Profile: Robin Flint Ballenger, Flintco Companies Inc

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

50 Making a Difference Profile: Robin Flint Ballenger, Flintco Companies Inc

Article excerpt

Wilma Mankiller may have the more famous name, but Tulsa's own Robin Ballenger has carved an equally distinguished niche for herself in the Cherokee Nation, Tulsa and Oklahoma communities. As the third-generation owner of the nearly century-old Flintco Companies Inc., Ballenger's daily life is spent in the cherishing and furthering of both her ethnic, family and business heritage.

Ballenger earned her bachelor's degree in philosophy from Middlebury College, a master's degree in urban studies from Occidental College, and a second master's degree in gerontology from the University of Southern California. She was on her way to a promising career in gerontology (the study of aging) when duty called, and she returned to help out her family, eventually taking the helm at Flintco.

"The business truths I learned from family members are priceless," she said. "My grandfather taught me to hire people of character and to treat each employee as an equal, instead of as a rung in the corporate ladder. My father truly believed in the people he hired. He supported them and allowed them to do what they were best at. Perhaps my greatest accomplishment is absorbing these lessons while at the same time incorporating my own style of leadership."

That she learned those lessons well is evidenced by her receipt of the American Indian Business Owner of the Year Award for 2006, presented by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. The award is given based on longevity and financial success, as well as volunteerism and other efforts designed to have a positive economic and social impact within the American Indian community.

"As the first female Flintco owner, I have definitely learned to be a woman in a man's world," she said. "But I believe before this century reaches the halfway mark, we will see women take a major place in the construction industry."

Like many successful executives, Ballenger divides her time between professional and civic projects. …

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