Jim Priest

Senior Consulting Partner


Jim Priest is a husband, dad, attorney, author, CEO and ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. For over thirty four years he was a trial lawyer focusing on employment and civil rights law before joining the nonprofit Sunbeam Family Services as its CEO in November 2014.  Under Dr, Priest’s leadership Sunbeam first adopted an “Employee First” culture resulting in being named one of Oklahoma’s “Best Places to Work” every year of his tenure.  Under his leadership Sunbeam also grew from a $7 million budget agency serving vulnerable Oklahomans to a $14 million agency.

Dr. Priest’s gift of communication, both verbal and written,  is well known and deeply appreciated whether it’s speaking to large audiences, facilitating small groups, or in one on one conversations.  As a speaker, coach, trusted advisor and counselor, his humor, warmth and multilateral insights have made him an innovator in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors.

As a trial lawyer for over three decades, Dr. Priest represented major corporations, governmental entities, police officers, managers, directors, corporate officers, and victims of discrimination. He tried nearly 100 lawsuits in Oklahoma and surrounding states and was a sought after legal advisor and speaker at Bar conferences.

Dr. Priest is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene and has written three books, “Family Talk”, What is Your Fate?” and “Changed Lives, a history of Sunbeam Family Services” (co-authored with Bob Burke). He is a weekly contributor to the Oklahoman and Newsok.com writing a column called “Family Talk” that addresses issues relating to marriage, parenting and families.

Dr. Priest earned his Juris Doctorate from Syracuse University, magna cum laude and was a member of the National Championship Mock Trial Team.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from Houghton College in Houghton, New York, where he was involved in student government and music outreach where he started and led a ten voice singing group that traveled throughout the northeast.

Most importantly, Dr. Priest is the husband of one, father of two, owned by a dog named Jeter, and is an elite, world class grandfather to his namesake grandson, James.

Speaking Topics:

Culture Begins with the C (Suite): How to Create a Powerful, Positive Work Culture

Nearly everyone agrees that workplace culture and organizational health are critically important, but few companies recognize the important role played by executives in the C Suite. Most often workplace culture (seen as a “soft side” issue) is left to Human Resources while the C Suite focuses on what they consider to be “hard side” aspects of the business (marketing, finance, sales, operations). In this dynamic presentation attorney and former CEO, Jim Priest explains why culture eats strategy for breakfast and how C Suite execs must and can engage in creating a positive workplace culture.

Great Employee Relations in the C*A*R*D*S: Consistency, Action, Respect, Documentation

For employers who feel like they are gambling–and losing–at employee relations, Jim Priest provides four practical recommendations and implementation ideas. A former employment attorney and CEO, Jim engages the audience with card games and card tricks that illustrate how your workplace can stop gambling and start winning with employee relations. Priest punctuates his presentation with real-life examples of employment law cases he’s handled over the three decades of his law practice, as well as what he encountered as a CEO focused on “employees first”. You’ll laugh, you’ll shake your head, and you’ll leave with real-world answers to your real-world employee challenges.

Lean in or Lean out?  How to Deal with #metoo in the Workplace

In today’s workplace, we live in an era of confusion, awkward interactions, and workplace dissonance caused by women who are “leaning in” while more men are “leaning out”, trying to figure out the new rules of employee engagement. In this entertaining and insightful presentation, Jim Priest, former employment law attorney and CEO, provides practical pointers and frames the right attitude workers need to have in this changing environment. With plenty of real-life illustrations from his law practice and his time as CEO, Jim will provide you with real-life guidance you can use immediately.

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Connect with Jim Priest on LinkedIn.

Many organizations don’t have the tools and resources to grow their people. This is stressful and frustrating when you know investing in your teams is beneficial. Regardless of the size of your company, you deserve to be able to offer the highest quality leadership development available. 

At Strata Leadership, we care about your success as much as you do and want to partner with you to build up the leaders within your organization.


First, let’s talk. We want to learn more about you, your company, and your vision for the future.

Next, we’ll create a plan specifically designed for the needs of your team.

Finally, you can enjoy a thriving workplace that comes from effective leadership.