Sam Presti is best known as the general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But he’s also an active member of the community.
He serves on the board for the Oklahoma City National Memorial, runs the Forward Thinking Leadership Development Program, an initiative within the Oklahoma City Public Schools, and has been honored by Oklahoma City University.
What does Presti think Oklahoma City will look like in 2033?
Here is his outlook, in his own words, on how the foundation of this city has created the potential for a promising future:
• Because I am not a native Oklahoman, I want to constantly enhance my understanding of the city. I strive to always be listening and asking questions about the community, its evolution, the people that it impacted, its growth and really trying to understand what makes this city and this state what it is. If you want to contribute, I think you have to seek to understand.
• In my experience, this city has always been one of purpose. The leadership has always been willing to think proactively, proactively even if that meant at times making some early sacrifices for better days or more stability ahead.
• I have recently been fortunate enough to be around a lot of high school students over my time in the city, and I believe that there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the future due to the fact that the Oklahoma standard is something that resonates and is alive within them.
• In my experience, one of the things that has helped tie the city together, and will continue to do so, is a sense of purpose, a sense of civic pride and a sense of always seeking a better day; an authentic resilience to the path of least resistance. I think it’s tremendously encouraging to see the roots and the seeds of that thinking in our schools.
• I think for any city, any community, any group of people, to have a segment of young students as a reservoir of energy, equipped with curiosity, is probably the most beneficial fuel that one can have.
• The Oklahoma standard is something that people have to experience and witness; it’s not rhetoric. There’s theory, and there’s practice. Some people like to practice, and some just like the benefits of the performance. Oklahomans are practitioners. That mindset is very much the currency of the city in my opinion. It is at the core of so many things, past and present.
• We can look at a lot of different strengths of this city, whether it’s energy, information technology, health service or the other industries that drive us forward on an economic basis. But in my short experience here, I believe the greatest attribute that exists in Oklahoma is that of the people and the civic pride that exists between them. Being around that sense of purpose and civic pride has been a tremendous experience for myself and the people I work with. It inspires your work and your perspective on your contribution.
• Thinking 20 years down the line is tough when you consider I have only been here for five. Though, if the next 20 are built on the same materials that I have come to know in the first five, I would have to think that the best is yet to come in Oklahoma City.