“Twice during my childhood, my mother rescued me from the second story of a burning house. I was just a baby the first time, but I was seven the second time, and the memory is still as vivid as it was when it happened.”
Fortunately for Periann Pulliam, the rest of her childhood memories are happy ones.
Moving from her birthplace of Jackson, Tenn., to Oklahoma when she was eight years old, Periann has lived in the state ever since and is currently the chief executive officer of Upward Transitions, a social services agency based in Oklahoma City that also oversees the Travelers Aid program at Will Rogers World Airport. She has been with the organization in various capacities since 2009, prior to which she worked in a variety of industries, including portrait photography, computer training and residential real estate.
Photography remains one of her favorite hobbies, as does golf, scuba diving and travel. One of her many memorable trips was in her 20s when she went to Germany with her father to visit her sister and family. Although she found the country “incredibly beautiful,” the “best part of the trip” was being able to spend a special week with her family members.
True to her belief that “volunteering is in my heart,” Periann over the years has donated her time to Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, the American Cancer Society and the American Leukemia Society.
Periann is the fifth of six children born to parents who married when her father was 18 and her mother 15. They owned several businesses, mostly in the hospitality industry, and instilled a strong work ethic in their offspring. “It wasn’t unusual for us to spend a Sunday working to polish the copper tables or steam-clean the carpet at their nightclub. We thought that’s what all families did on the weekends!”
And that perhaps is why Periann remains so close to all her family members, even though they are spread out between Oklahoma, Kansas and Alabama. “Nothing fills my heart more than getting to hang out with my daddy, my four big brothers and my little sister.”