As director of Athletics Development for the University of Oklahoma, Paden is responsible for annual giving to the athletics department and all the activities of the Sooner Club.
At 38, Paden has made a career out of community service. After graduating from OU in 1988, Paden spent four years working for the Norman Chamber of Commerce. He then spent six years as president of the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce. Before heading back to OU, Paden served nearly nine years as executive director of the United Way of Norman.
Paden said he considers selection to top leadership organizations as "awards."
He was one of the youngest participants of Leadership Oklahoma and also has been selected to Leadership Norman and the Central Oklahoma Regional Leadership Institute.
He's a former president of LINK Norman, a visioning organization, and is a past president and active member of Norman Sooner Rotary.
The best part?
"I'm most proud of the fact that I've been able to have a lot of fun while accomplishing great things," Paden said.
Paden said he realized his knack for taking the lead as a teenager.
"In ninth grade, I was selected to give the graduation address," Paden said. "It was in front of a couple thousand people, and it didn't make me nervous at all. It gave me a taste of what leadership would feel like."
With two years until his 40th birthday, Paden said he feels he has arrived in a comfortable yet challenging point in his career.
"This has an awful lot of promise, and I hoped to be able to be in a career I could retire from by the time I was 40," Paden said. "I think this is it. I hope I'm able to continue."