From Humble Beginnings

LEAD North, formerly known as North Tulsa Development Council (NTDC), was formed by four graduates of a four-month leadership pilot program sponsored by the city of Tulsa.  In the Fall of 2008, the desire to address the disparities in the community inspired the creation of the North Tulsa Development Council (NTDC), a grassroots organization focused on capacity building and leadership development. The founders of NTDC envisioned having a self-sustaining program that would raise and empower leaders of all ages to affect change in their community.

In September 2009, NTDC launched its first class with 15 participants. The class proved to be a success, but it became apparent that the continuation of the program would require dedicated funding and significant staff and volunteer support. This realization began partnership talks with Leadership Tulsa (LT), which shared many similarities in mission and structure. In April 2010 NTDC began operating under the auspices of LT.

Under this new agreement NTDC continued to address the need for more educated, resourceful and committed leaders in the community. In the Spring of 2015, NTDC began its rebranding process and emerged with a more focused and targeted name for the organization, LEAD North. As LEAD North continues to grow, it remains true to its mission to develop individuals who have a passion for north Tulsa into committed and effective leaders.


Early Success


LEAD North began as the North Tulsa Development Council (NTDC) in 2009. NTDC was designed to be a leadership training and education program that allowed participants to  immerse themselves in north Tulsa through a variety of field trips, guest speakers, panel presentations, interactive activities and a class project.


“Our first full program year was a tremendous success and a learning opportunity for all of us. We are looking forward to continuing that tradition as a part of LT.” said Thamara Barthelus, chairwoman of the NTDC.


Thamara Barthelus currently serves as LEAD North’s Advisory Committee Chair Representative. Thamara relocated to Tulsa from Berkley Heights, NJ to attend Oral Roberts University. While at ORU, Thamara received a bachelor’s degree in social work, a master’s degree in human relations, and most recently, a Ph.D. in management. Thamara also holds a certification in nonprofit leadership from Oklahoma City University. Thamara is one of the 3 founders of this organization and formed it with the intent to give back to the city that provided her with so many opportunities. Thamara believes that Tulsans embody true community and is profoundly committed to the continual development of LEAD North.


As NTDC strengthened and began gaining more awareness in the Tulsa community, the advisory committee within NTDC wanted to take this program to the next level. Changes have been made to the structure of the program in that there is a greater focus on skill development and the meeting schedule is more conducive for working professionals. With these changes came LEAD North, NTDC’s re-branded program designed to help participants LEAD, EXPLORE AND DEVELOP the north Tulsa community.