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Katy Evans Boren has been named president and CEO of Oklahoma City’s innovation district, the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation said Friday.
The new position is designed to promote economic growth and civic involvement in the district that includes the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and nearby biotechnology organizations.
“We are thrilled to have someone of Katy Boren’s caliber to lead this effort” said David Harlow, chairman of the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation. “This is essentially a startup enterprise and she brings a blend of business experience, legal and entrepreneurial know-how, and management and governance expertise that are vital to creating a new entity and putting in place successful strategies for the future.”
The Oklahoma Health Center is serving as the governance entity for the district’s efforts, which also are supported by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Presbyterian Health Foundation, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority.
The groups developed a project plan as the result of a study by the Brookings Institution and the Project for Public Spaces, which looked at the potential growth of jobs and innovation in the area loosely defined as the Oklahoma Health Center and Automobile Alley.
“We have such a unique situation here because of our ability to merge these three high-tech industries of health, energy and aerospace,” said Stephen Prescott, CEO of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. “We already see connections forming, and this work will accelerate that process.”
Boren received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver in 1992 and a law degree from the University of Oklahoma three years later. She has practiced law in private firms, state agencies and served as regional vice president of Cox Communications. She most recently was chief of the utilities regulation unit in the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office.
“We were fortunate to find someone with enormous personal capacity to accomplish our very aggressive goals,” Prescott said. “The task of standing up the formal organization, branding the district and creating the programs and activities that will ensure our success is monumental. Her track record of both public and private sector success make her an ideal candidate.”
Boren is scheduled to begin her new role July 9.
“Oklahoma City has set the stage,” Harlow said. “We have an environment for success, a legacy of collaboration, a plan of action and now the right leader to move us forward.”