Opening doors for women in business
We often celebrate visionaries and groundbreakers who stand their ground in the face of opposition and adversity. This story is one of three that introduces us to women who attended Oklahoma State University at times when respect and inclusiveness were not equally offered to all people.
For Mary Logan, the world beyond Lawton, Oklahoma, seemed like such a big place though she hadn’t seen much of it when she arrived on the Oklahoma State University campus in 1969. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life, but she knew a world of opportunity awaited and that OSU could open the door for her.
Logan grew up in Lawton, a conservative community and gateway to Fort Sill, where career expectations for young women were modest.
“My adoptive mother always told me that I needed to learn shorthand and how to type so that I could find a job until I got married,” said Logan. “It was understood that girls got married and had children.”
Logan was adopted at birth in 1949 by state Sen. Bill Logan and his wife, Jymmie Nell Logan. The senator, a Lawton attorney, was elected at age 25 to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1938 and to the Senate two years later. Though he died in 1956 when Mary was just 7, being part of a dynamic political family affected her. She followed her adopted father’s lead and attended Cameron College in Lawton for two years before transferring to OSU.
She decided to major in finance, a new degree at OSU, becoming only the second woman in the program. The first had graduated a year before her, but the two never met.
“I was interested in international finance because I wanted to be part of a global community,” Logan said. “It was so outside of my geographically limited upbringing. I think I’d been to Dallas and Wichita Falls, Texas, and Joplin, Missouri, and that was pretty much it.”
Entering as a junior, she mastered most of her classes, though calculus and COBOL computer language programming were a challenge, and she retook both courses. Economics was one of Logan’s favorite subjects and in her senior year, she learned that with economics course credits from Cameron College along with what she earned at OSU she could declare a double major. Logan was told she was the first woman at OSU to major in both finance and economics.
After graduating in 1971, Logan moved to Tulsa to begin her first job as a finance officer for the Tulsa County assessor, but she soon ran headfirst into some obsolete ideas about a woman’s place in the office. Still new on the job, the assessor came to Logan and asked why she hadn’t cleaned the office kitchen the night before. Replying that she didn’t know she was supposed to, her boss showed her a cleaning schedule listing every woman in the office.
“There are no men on this list, I said, and he replied, ‘Men don’t clean kitchens,’” Logan said.
She resigned the next day with $435 in her checking account. She found a position as a budget analyst for the city of Tulsa and later worked as an accountant and budget coordinator for St. John Medical Center in Tulsa. In the meantime, she married and started a family.
Logan said her banking and finance career didn’t truly start until 1979 when she was hired by Bank Oklahoma in Tulsa as an internal auditor, followed quickly by a promotion to audit manager. She joined the bank’s trust and estate department, working to protect the hard-earned wealth of her clients. She also attended and graduated with honors from the Bank Administration Institute’s School at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Following a divorce, Logan moved to North Carolina in 1986 with her two young children, joining the trust and estate planning and administration division of First Union National Bank, which later became Wachovia Bank. Her role was expanded when she joined the Philanthropic Services Group as a nonprofit consultant. She later moved to the bank’s New Jersey office as trust and nonprofit manager before rejoining Wachovia’s home office in Charlotte, North Carolina, retiring in 2007 after directing its private foundation development program.
A career highpoint was receiving the Wachovia Point of Light Award in 2004, presented to only 10 employees each year out of 5,000 wealth managers.
Now retired in Scottsdale, Arizona, Logan enjoys spending time with her son, Jeff Pouland, and grandchildren in North Carolina and her daughter, Kim Pouland, an architect in Hawaii. She continues to pursue her passion and support for higher education, including OSU. In 2018, Logan made a donation to place a campus beautification bench honoring the Spears School of Business near the OSU Library within sight of the Business Building.
Recently, Logan learned about a bittersweet connection to OSU when she discovered her biological father was an OSU graduate. Joy Don Johnson graduated on July 28, 1951, almost exactly 20 years before Logan graduated on July 31, 1971. Logan also learned that her father was killed in a private plane crash two days after his OSU commencement. Johnson had gone for a flight to celebrate learning his application to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy had been accepted. This year, Logan is placing a second bench on the OSU campus in memory of her father.
Logan’s continued love of OSU has grown in retirement as she reconnects with the university and Spears Business, where she is a member of the Dean’s Council and an OSU Alumni Association lifelong member. She is a testamentary donor to the university and annually donates to her own fund for the Spears School of Business Finance Department with an unrestricted gift.
“Professionally, Oklahoma State gave me my career, and personally it has meant camaraderie with friends, fellow alums and those at Spears,” she said.
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