About The Youngbloods

Devery Youngblood

Devery Youngblood

Devery Youngblood’s life has known both failure and success.  His candid observations of his failure in marriage, financial challenges, tests of parenthood, and more tell the story of how he came to view failure as a necessary part of the road to success in life.  His success has been noted through his leadership in launching one of America’s most successful downtown revitalization efforts and rebuilding the commercial district most damaged by the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  Devery has been interviewed by and quoted in publications ranging from the Boston Globe to the Christian Science Monitor, and is widely sought for his entertaining and inspiring speeches.

Devery’s career has been spent leading efforts that often required taking on difficult challenges.  He served for four years as Senior Advisor and District Director for U.S. Representative Ernest J. Istook (OK-5th), where he led efforts to create efficient use of tax dollars in transportation and infrastructure, economic development, medical research funding, and other strategic initiatives.  He was a strong and early advocate for returning the federal workforce to downtown Oklahoma City in a new structure after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building in 1995 caused them to be dispersed throughout the community.

Devery spent eight years leading private sector development efforts surrounding Oklahoma City’s visionary MAPS Program, with over $1 billion of private sector development created during his tenure.  He led redevelopment after the Murrah Bombing as founding president of Automobile Alley, the commercial district most damaged by the bombing.  Devery led massive development in the Bricktown Warehouse Entertainment District that included America’s only urban Bass Pro store, a major movie theater complex and more, while developing creative promotions throughout downtown that included a holiday season ice rink.  With an original goal of generating one dollar of private development for every dollar of public investment, the MAPS program has to date generated $10 of private development for each $1 taxpayers funded, while serving as a catalyst to positively restructure the entire city, metro area, and state.

Devery has led the Community Affairs efforts for the Chickasaw Nation since 2007, working with Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby and leaders of this proud Native American Tribe to actively coordinate investment and leadership in the communities within the historic Chickasaw boundaries and other strategic communities central to Chickasaw investments. 

Devery is extremely active on community boards throughout Oklahoma.  He was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin as a Regent to Oklahoma City Community College, one of the five largest colleges or universities in Oklahoma.  His other service includes Board positions for the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health, the Oklahoma City and Yukon Public Schools Foundations (where his wife, Karen, serves as President of the Board of Education), the Oklahoma City and Norman Chambers of Commerce, as well as positions with the American Cancer Society, and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. He formerly served on the Board of Directors of the International Downtown Association.

Devery and Karen live in Yukon where their greatest pride is in their four children and four grandchildren, and a network of great friendships from all walks of life.

Karen Youngblood

Karen Youngblood

Karen Youngblood has also known her share of both failure and success.  She played a pivotal role in the writing of “Successful Failure” – listening, challenging, encouraging, and helping Devery find the right words to express his thoughts.  But when he asked her to join him as author she declined, saying, “I have enough sense not to write my failures in ink!”  And yet she is able to weave her own struggles into the training sessions she and Devery do based from the book.  From the lessons she learned from failed marriage, to family struggles, to communication issues, Karen’s approach is practical and reality-based. A much sought-after public speaker and personal development trainer in her own right, Karen’s biggest goal is to do more speaking with Devery that helps people find their own unique contribution to the world around them. 

Karen’s career has all the diversity of Devery’s with her own opportunities to overcome failure.  She began her career in the printing and promotional products industry, eventually turning around an office set to close into record profitability.  From there she spent five years working for Devon Energy Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, acquiring and building out facility space for a growing and fast-moving company.  After her son was born, she left the demands of travel and time away from home and pursued an innovative role in both marketing and fundraising for non-profit businesses, including downtown Oklahoma City and a medical foundation.  Since 2005 she has been a part of various management functions at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), finding her greatest passion fulfilled in adult education and training. 

Karen believes strongly in active community volunteerism.  She was elected to the Yukon Public Schools Board of Education in 2007, and currently serves as President of the School Board.  She has been an active leader in the development of a new high school campus and the restructuring of every school in the district.  She is active in various public education organizations, including the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. Karen has also led and participated in numerous leadership organizations and events, including Leadership Oklahoma City, Leadership UCO, the Oklahoma Educators’ Leadership Academy and more.  She is an active member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, and serves as President of the Journey’s Sunday School class.

Karen and Devery live in Yukon where their greatest pride is in their four children and four grandchildren, and a network of great friendships from all walks of life.



Successful Failure