Bentley Flooring's chairman, Sally Bentley, (shown above with her two sons, Steven and Nick) was recently honored by the Societies of Oklahoma City University during their annual Awards of Excellence for the most dedicated servant leaders of Oklahoma City. Bentley received the Dulaney-Browne Library Society Award for her passion for educating and improving the lives of children.
Sally Bentley's passion for giving children the opportunity and tools to improve their lives was evident early in her life when she chose to major in Education at the University of Oklahoma. After graduation, she taught school in Lincoln Elementary School in Norman, further cementing this desire.
However, her gifts found their full expression in community service, where she learned to make the biggest difference in the lives of others by "Working with a group for a common purpose," Bentley said. Her first foray into her community service career was in l974 when she joined the Junior League. She volunteerd at the Remarkable Shop and served on the Forster Care and Adoption taskforce. She later became involved in Blinn House, a rehabilitation home for adolescents, and served on the Infant Center Project with the Department of Family Medicine at OU. There she helped teach parenting skills and expanded services for infants. Her outstanding contributions in the Junior League landed her the Presidency from l987-88.
When recognized for her efforts, Sally simply says she is fortunate to be able to volunteer her time. "A lot of people aren't able to do so," she added. Her credits include Board President of the Harding Fine Arts Academy Charter School, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Oklahoma Public Schools Foundation, Payne Education Center, the SPARK Program of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Youth Services of Oklahoma County, Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at OU and Visionary Women of Oklahoma.
She received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Association of Community Leadership, Paragon Award for Distinguished Service, Youth Services Stars Award and the Junior League Sustainer of the Year Award. Her Delta Gamma sorority nominated her for Panhellenic Women of the Year.
When Sally's husband, Steve, passed away unexpectedly in Nov. 2011, suddenly Sally become the owner of Bentley Flooring. Joined by her two sons, Steven and Nick, who are CEO and COO, respectively, Sally serves as Chairman of the Board. When asked how it felt to suddenly be thrown into the business world as owner of a company, said, "In many ways, it's a blessing." She gets to use the skills she learn volunteering: Negotiating, team building, brainstorming, conflict resolution, and (of course) leadership. She is most grateful for the opportunity to work with Steven and Nick and watch them grow into their new roles. She has also been able to contribute her institutional memory and second-hand insights into the company that she gained from her husband. She also enjoys getting to work with her sister-in-law, Barbara Phillben.
Although it was rough the first year after Steve's death, today Sally sums up her experience by saying, "It's forced me to continue to grow and to meet and overcome the challenges of a family business. All in all, it's been very worthwhile...even really great!"