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It's never too late to live your dream. Our dream is to make a difference for women. A few years ago the three Babcock sisters (Donna Miller, Dr. Karen Nern and Dr. Phyllis (Freddi) Pennington) were on vacation in Miami. We were discussing our frustration with the lack of women in senior leadership positions and the 1 out of 4 women impacted by domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Our mother was a brilliant, beautiful nursing professor, author and activist who was also a survivor. All three of us have MBAs and two are medical doctors. Our mother raised us to be strong, independent women. Her battle cry was “To whom much is given, much is expected.” We have all taken this to heart and want to make a difference in this world.
Even though women make between 73 and 85% of all purchasing decisions, have trillions of dollars in spending power, control 51% of the private wealth and make or influence 67% of investment decisions, we hold less than 5% of the CEO jobs and around 21% of the board seats. The gap between our spending power and our representation in senior leadership is indefensible particularly since research has proven that companies perform better when there are more women in leadership roles.
When we began to discuss what could be done to drive positive change, we realized that the power was already in women’s hands. If we could get women to use their enormous economic power to buy from companies that actively create opportunities for women, we could shatter glass ceilings in a matter of quarters rather than decades. If we could also use a portion of the proceeds to create a funding stream that supported battered women’s shelters and programs that keep women safer, we could make this world a better place for all of us. Purse Power was born.
Purse Power is now working to become the primary source to find and buy from women-owned and women-led companies in the United States. We dream of playing a part in creating a day when our daughters, granddaughters, sons and grandsons can achieve their dreams irrespective of gender.
Women in Business: advantages, challenges, and opportunities.
March Power Lunch
Oklahoma Women's Coalition
by Lori William
As young Liz Charles traveled the world, she noticed a pattern: “People would tease my mom and they wouldn’t let her speak. So I saw her own personal fight with trying to have her space and equal opportunity.”
“Both my parents were pastors and missionaries, but my mom got shot down because she was a woman.”
Now Liz is in Oklahoma, and she is continuing the fight for women’s rights in her position as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition,
The coalition’s mission is “to champion the collective power of Oklahomans to advance gender equity and justice.” Underscoring this mission are two key initiatives: Pay transparency legislation and a pipeline to politics.
“There’s a lot of mania around the topic of pay transparency,” says Liz Charles, who is eager to clarify the language of two bills being considered by Oklahoma House Committees. One of the bills seeks to raise fines charged for violations against the Equal Pay Act. “These fines haven’t been raised since the Act became law in 1963,” says Charles. “Though we aren’t asking for numbers in line with inflation, we are asking for a bit of an increase for employers who discriminate against women.”
The Coalition is championing another piece of legislation that falls along the same lines. “We want folks to be allowed to inquire, through proper, established channels, about the salary ranges at their workplace.”
“Right now, asking someone with your same experience and education about their salary can get you fired. So we are working on a bill that would allow for more transparent conversations.”
And it takes many conversations to get to that level of transparency. “We’ve introduced these bills during the last four legislative sessions,” says Liz Charles, “and there have been amendments along the way.”
In contrast to a legislative process that may take years and conclude with an unexpected outcome, the annual Pipeline to Politics Conference delivers every time. “It’s a win-win,” declares Charles, “because every woman who attends leaves with an understanding of local level politics.”
“The conference is for any woman of any age who is interested in public service. The speakers are from all levels of government, from school board members to legislators.”
Not surprisingly, the conversations at this one-day conference are very transparent. Topics include how to campaign for yourself, what to do when you win, what to do you when you lose, and how to campaign for another candidate.
The full circle conversations are the best. Says the Executive Director, “It’s awesome when former attendees decide to run for office, get elected, and then come back as conference speakers.”
“I think this belief in equality has always been ingrained in me,” she says. “Women deserve a face and we deserve to have influence and positions of leadership because our experiences matter and our voice matters. There are people who need to hear from us. People need to put women in those positions so that little girls can see women doing things we think only men can do.”
“Because you can’t be what you can’t see.”
Rise of the Rest is a $100,000 pitch competitions in Tulsa and OKC . If you know an entrepreneur who should be participating please share this information.
The last day to apply is February 24th.
This fund has the ability to write larger follow-on checks to companies once they are in the Revolution portfolio (from $250k to $5M). And they offer a robust suite of portfolio services from Talent Solutions, to an Experts Network, to discounted Technology & Tools.
The tours have been a great way to create visibility for companies at a local and national level so make sure to submit your application and/or share the information.
The Rise of the Rest Platform annual bus tour will be in Tulsa on Tuesday, April 21st and Oklahoma City on Wed, April 22nd with a day of local engagement and a pitch competition that will award (at least one) Tulsa and Oklahoma City company a $100,000 investment opportunity.
Since 2014 Revolution Chairman & CEO Steve Case (AOL co-founder) has led this effort to engage local entrepreneurs and spotlight regional innovation in cities all across the country. Today, the Rise of the Rest Funds are backed by several dozen prominent CEOs and investors including Eric Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg, Meg Whitman, Sara Blakely, Tory Burch, Brad Smith and more. The tours have been covered by The New York Times, Business Insider, USA Today and others.
Applications to pitch for a $100,000 investment during the upcoming Rise of the Rest Road Trip are now open! For more information about startup eligibility and the pitch competition https://www.events.revolution.com/
Companies must submit a completed application no later than 11:59 PM ET Monday, February 24, 2020, to be considered.
Share this information with anyone who might be interested in pitching. to
Watkins-Conti Products, Inc. Secures $1.4M Seed round to complete Phase 2 clinical trial
Edmond, OK - Watkins-Conti Products, Inc., the creator of Yōni.Fit, has raised a $1.4 million minority growth investment, led by members of the Victorum Capital Club. Yōni.Fit is a self-administered medical device that provides women with a nonsurgical solution to reduce and/or eliminate involuntary bladder leakage. This investment brings Watkins-Conti Products’ total funding since launching to $3.5 million. The Company will use the proceeds from the investment to complete its Phase 2 clinical trial and to secure FDA approval for over-the-counter sales.
Founded in 2016, Watkins-Conti Products is led by founder and CEO, Allison Watkins-Conti. Following the birth of her youngest child, Allison discovered firsthand the underserved stress incontinence market and its severely inadequate product lineup. Determined to help the hundreds of millions of women worldwide currently suffering from stress incontinence, like herself, she created Yōni.Fit. The simple device is a 100% medical grade silicone that is inserted vaginally like a tampon. A feasibility study was completed in 2017 at OU Health Sciences Center proving that Yōni.Fit can significantly reduce and oftentimes completely eliminate involuntary urine leakage while also addressing the anatomical causes of this prevalent problem. Yōni.Fit provides an effective, affordable, non-invasive and environmentally friendly solution for stress incontinence in women and serves as an alternative to expensive and invasive surgeries.
“We are thrilled to have local support from Victorum Capital Club as well as prominent physicians that specialize in women’s health,” said Watkins-Conti. “As a single mother and female founder, I am truly honored to have so much support from our investors, especially fellow Oklahomans!”
About Watkins-Conti Products. Watkins-Conti Products, Inc. is devoted to the innovation + development of affordable, effective solutions for common life altering difficulties encountered in today’s environment. For more information please visit, www.watkinscontiproducts.com.
About Victorum Capital. Victorum Capital is a network of investors and corporate partners focused on identifying, funding, and empowering the most promising entrepreneurs. For more information, please visit www.victorumcapital.com.
Most everyone is familiar with the old adage “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have” right? It’s a classic piece of advice for those looking for career success. But, this idea doesn’t just apply to individuals. Businesses, organizations, communities, cities and even a whole state can embrace the idea of becoming what we want to be - starting with your outward appearance.
I'm not talking about a short cut, trick or scam. This is not “fake it until you make it” or “the clothes make the man (or woman)” advice. Nope, no way, no how, never, not that at all. I don’t believe in that approach. But I do believe that a few (of many) keys to success include attitude, attention to details and being in control of your own story.
We "dress for success” by telling our story. Don’t let others decide who we are, what we can do and how we can (or cannot) do it. Don’t let them tell everyone else who we are. Control the narrative by suiting up. Oklahoma is open for business. Not just some business, but all business. We're dressed for the job we want, but we're not waiting for permission or approval. We have our own style, and it's time to show it off like an NBA all-star walking into the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
There are plenty of days the Oklahoma business attire is work clothes, best for labor in a factory or oilfield. Boots, jeans, a jacket and gloves. But there are also plenty of days our wardrobe contains tailored suits, lab coats or a Mark Zuckerberg / Gary Vaynerchuk hoodie (for all you entrepreneurs out there). Whatever is the most appropriate to your task is what you should wear. When you want to change that idea, wear something more appropriate to where you're going, not where you've been.
Personally, my weekly attire ranges from the traditional suit and tie to office casual depending on my schedule and duties. Some days allow for jeans and a t-shirt. I prefer something in the middle. But when I travel outside our state, I try to look my best to represent Oklahoma as professionally as possible. Collectively, we can all present our city and our state in the best light by dressing ourselves, our brands and our economic ecosystem for the future, not the past.
No matter what color your tie you rock - Sooner crimson, Cowboy orange or Thunder blue - show the world who we are. Formal or casual, put your best foot forward and success will follow.
CEO & Chief Strategic Idealist
The Golding Group
Oklahoma Venture Forum Chairman 2019-2020
OVF Member Highlight
Dr. Trang Nguyen was born in NhaTrang, Vietnam and grew up in London, Ontario, Canada. She went to John Paul II Catholic Secondary School and attended the University of Western Ontario. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree (Scholar’s Electives Program) in Applied Mathematics, Computer Science and a Biochemistry minor in 2002.
In 2004, Dr. Nguyen attended the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy and graduated as a Doctor of Pharmacy with Special Distinction. She worked as a clinical staff pharmacist at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center from 2008 to 2010. Since then, she has been working full-time as a community pharmacist.
Dr. Trang Nguyen is a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist. In 2017, she found Mimosa Health LLC with a mission to provide expert advice on the use of medications by older adults and medication education seminars for seniors in the community.
Dr. Nguyen completed The Delivering Medication Therapy Management Services, Patient-Centered Diabetes Care, and Pharmacogenomics Certifications from the American Pharmacists Association. In addition, she completed the Pharmacogenomics Continued Education Certification from the Mayo Clinic as well as The Evidence-Based Health Coaching Training for Healthcare Providers from the National Society of Health Coaches.
She is a radio host of “The Medicine Cabinet” show which is broadcast every other Saturday at 5:30 pm Central Time from the Vietnamese Public Radio Station in Oklahoma City.
Dr. Nguyen is also an author, a speaker, a member of The American Pharmacists Association, The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and The National Society of Health Coaches.
Dr. Trang Nguyen and her husband Raphael have two children, Catherine and Gabriel. They live in Edmond, Oklahoma.
February Pitch Presenter
Brent Wheelbarger is founder and CEO of Trifecta Communications, a media/technology company specializing in advertising, production and emerging technology. Trifecta started in the room next to Brent’s garage and has since grown to serve governmental, non-profit and business clients in Oklahoma and internationally. Brent is also co-founder of Viribus VR Labs, a tech-startup developing virtual reality therapy tools for children with cerebral palsy. In addition, Brent is involved in a collaboration between Trifecta Communications and Loveworks Leadership (an experiential learning organization focused on entrepreneurialism and leadership skills with middle school students). The collaboration is helping ten students launch their own tech company by developing a line of augmented reality wristbands.
Previously Brent served as a publicist for entertainment renowned public relations firm Levine Communications in Los Angeles and public relations director for Pre-Paid Legal Services in Ada, OK. Brent graduated from Oklahoma State University and initially worked as a television news reporter for KXII-TV in Sherman, TX.
Brent lives in Moore with his wife and two daughters. He is a graduate of the Thunder Launchpad's inaugural class and a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class 32. He recently served as President of the Moore Rotary Club, Chairman of the Moore Chamber of Commerce, and is currently a board member for the Pioneer Library System, Great Expectations Foundation and incoming Chair of Possibilities organization in OKC. He is highly involved with the Boy Scouts of America (Eagle Scout) where he serves as Assistant Scoutmaster and chair of the District Communications Board for the Last Frontier Council. He is also a direct collaborator with Loveworks Leadership, an entrepreneurialism program for middle school students. He and his family are active members of Timber Creek Fellowship church in Norman, OK.
February Power Lunch Speaker
Written by Lori WIlliams
A new sports team with a new coach will soon play at a new arena in Oklahoma City. The competition is electric, the playing field is digital, and the rewards are real. The game is eSports and Professor Jeff Price is its driving force.
Also known as electronic sports, eSports are organized competitions between video game players. The sport is an international phenomenon, with revenues projected to top a billion dollars in 2020.
Professor Jeff Price is the eSports Director and Chair of Oklahoma City University’s Game Design and Animation Program. “We will soon break ground for OCU’s eSports arena, he says, adding that, “I am fortunate I have a career in game design and animation. We live in a world that hungers for new experiences and technology. I think this industry is really at its infancy and we’ll see more and more developments.”
To top off all this newness, in the fall of 2020 OCU will begin offering a degree program in eSports Management. Students will study broadcasting, event management, budgeting, content development, and exercise sports science.
In other words, this program isn’t all about playing games. In fact, Professor Price is enthusiastic about the impact such games can have in the fields of business, medicine, and the social sciences.
According to the Professor, augmented reality applications have the most potential for business applications. “Overlapping 3d data onto the real world is the future,” he says. “Imagine fixing a Mercedes Benz engine with no experience. Scary, right? With internet data and 3d imaging, the virtual application could walk you through step-by-step, even showing you proper technique.”
“I am really intrigued by medical uses of virtual reality (VR) as well. A researcher developed a treatment using a snow scene in VR while burn patients were being treated. I believe they saw a reduction of medication around 50%. That’s what technology should do for us.”
“I also think VR will be a way to record historical places and events. Cameras and techniques are being developed to document physical environments. These are used in the engineering fields, but I think we will eventually see it used for social purposes.”
Speaking of historical places worth documenting, there’s a restaurant in Mustang, Oklahoma that’s on Jeff Price’s list. “My first video game was on my brother’s Pong ® console . . . but I would say I really became captivated with an early game called Battlezone®. I would play it for hours at the Mustang Dairy Queen.”
Today Price teaches game design, animation, graphic design, and modeling. In so doing, he’s learned that, at first, most people don’t think they can learn the necessary skills. But then those people meet Professor Jeff.
“People can learn the software and make art themselves,” he says, while adding that the industry utilizes many skill sets, including artistic concept artists and programmers making game tools. “The creative pipeline for game art and animation has many roles.”
There is a problem with our medical residency programs in the United States. Governing bodies determine duty hours standards and resident physicians are tasked to follow them. But are they? The majority of Program Directors interviewed state that there are errors in the reporting process. Delayed time entries and honor-based systems do not provide accurate information to the institution or the governing bodies, and inaccurate data is the byproduct.
WorkOur has developed a product that eliminates this broken system and allows medical residents and physicians to seamlessly record and track duty hours details in real-time through location-based technology and their phones. The data generated provides valuable information to the programs and institutions, helping them make critical decisions about staffing and quality of care. WorkOur’s ultimate goal is to use this data to effect change by promoting flexibility in the current duty-hour standards in the US and around the globe.
Dr. Vasan is a Board-Certified Otolaryngologist - Head and Neck Surgeon at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Vasan was born and raised in New Zealand and is a member of The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. He has authored numerous papers and book chapters in the field of Head and Neck Surgery and performs Head and Neck Robotic Surgery.
Dr. Vasan has developed medical devices for robotic surgery with the University.
He founded Adroit Surgical LLC, a private company in 2010 to develop and commercialize patented emergency airway management devices.
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