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  • April 24, 2019 3:19 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Don't miss this interview with Piyush Patel. Piyush is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Chairman's Award for Economic Impact presented by Insperity, that will be held on May 8th at the Oklahoma History Center. Thank you Kyle Golding of The Golding Group.



  • April 23, 2019 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    Chairman's Award for Economic Impact Title Sponsor

    Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 33 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Traditional Payroll and Human Capital Management, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees.  With 2018 revenues of $3.8 billion, Insperity operates in 73 offices throughout the United States.

  • April 23, 2019 3:06 PM | Anonymous


    Here’s a line of advice from Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby: “Learn to make do with what you have,” says the leader who is receiving the honor on behalf of the Chickasaw Nation, “and then create some new things.” That wisdom is evidenced in the tribe’s government, management, and investments.

    “Chickasaw Nation Industries (CNI) is a federally chartered corporation owned by the Chickasaw Nation,” explains the Governor. “We had to acquire the support of our people to form the organization back in 1996. So we sent out around 15,000 ballots, and the charter was approved.”

    “We started out small. But we’ve grown and today we’re approaching around 40,000 registered voters. We have more than a dozen subsidiaries with over 2000 employees in 40 states.”

    Some of those employees reside in places like Marietta, a rural community in southern Oklahoma. In 2004, when the Chickasaw nation learned that the town’s local manufacturing facility was about to shut down, the tribe stepped in and acquired the business. “We took the leap,” recalls the Governor of the time when 50 employees almost lost their jobs. “We kept the business going and were actually able to expand it.”

    Today CNI operates Filtra-Systems out of the plant in Marietta. “One of the products, and it’s very exciting, is the Scout Mobile Water Filtration System,” says Governor Anoatubby. “It can recycle up to 10,000 barrels of produced water, which is water utilized in drilling and fracking operations. The water can then be reused instead of being sent to the disposal well.”

    Another subsidiary of CNI is Corvid Technologies. “The engineers at Corvid work with supercomputers. They do predictive modeling for different entities from NASCAR to the US government.”

    “For example, the computer programs developed at Corvid show what effect an IED has on a vehicle. This saves the government money because an actual vehicle doesn’t have to be used.”

    “This is not only a good business to be in; it’s also a growing business. We expect to add 350 employees in the years to come.”

    Long term investments that deliver positive economic impacts are clearly important to the Chickasaw Nation and its leader; after all, Governor Anoatubby has invested more than 30 years in tribal leadership. While making do in order to create new is one of his guiding principles, due diligence is another. “We probably invest in about 1% of the opportunities we evaluate,” he says. “We always ask if the business will support the economic goals of our Nation and improve the quality of life for our people.”

    There is one investment opportunity, though, to which the Governor and his tribe regularly say ‘yes.’ “We fund over 5000 scholarships today,” he says. “And now we are seeing young people coming back to work with us. They have all kinds of expertise, from business to finance to investments. So we’re very thankful for that.”

    Governor Anoatubby is also thankful for the Oklahoma Venture Forum. “Some of the work that’s been done by our people is being recognized. It’s very nice that the OVF would give our Nation this economic impact award.”

  • April 23, 2019 3:03 PM | Anonymous
    We are excited to announce that our Keynote speaker will be Piyush Patel, Speaker, Angel Investor and Best-Selling Author of Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work. Mr. Patel has 20 years’ experience as an entrepreneur and is the former CEO of Digital-Tutors.
    Piyush Patel is on a roll. Five years ago he achieved a $45 million exit for Digital-Tutors, the company he launched with a $54 investment. Today he is a bestselling author of a book about building an exceptional workplace culture. He is also a speaker and angel investor. How did this entrepreneur achieve such success? His book, Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work, outlines his process, but it really could be summed up in one phrase: Roll changing.
    “Big problems happen when you ignore little problems because they start to compound,” says Patel. “Changing the toilet paper roll is the smallest litmus test in an organization that shows how people treat each other.”

    “People ask me all the time: ‘Piyush, why do you obsess about that?’ And I say it’s because I see my core value broken. The core value of respect. In the boardroom and in the kitchen, everyone’s going to be respectful. But how do people act when nobody’s watching?”

    It was three years into the launch of Digital-Tutors before Patel and his wife Lisa realized the need to hammer out a list of core values for their business. (They titled those five values The Rules of Our Game.) But that might never have happened if the entrepreneur hadn’t encountered what he calls ‘the valley of death.’ “There are hundreds of those times,” he says. “It’s when you’re not growing, cash is tight, you struggle with culture and with customers.”

    “Then you figure it out and you grow and then you hit another valley of death again. Entrepreneurs need to realize it’s a process. The character of your people shows up in the valley of death because those parts are hard. This is where great businesses are built.”

    If it sounds like a roller coaster, then you get the idea.

    The values derived from that valley of death are on page seven of the book, but here is a takeaway from page eight: “Those five values,” says the author, “transformed my company from a place I hated to go into a place I loved to call home. They also turned Digital-Tutors into an online training powerhouse.”
    Another thing that kept Patel rolling in the right direction was to focus on a goal. “I call it the North Star,” he explains. “For Digital-Tutors, that meant becoming the ESPN of our industry, that is being the brand equity for people in the movie and video game industry.”

    “So when we hit those valleys of death, we asked ourselves, ‘Will this help us become the ESPN, or does this divert or cloud that process? That became one of our litmus tests.”

    The North Star answers the ‘what we do’ question, but what about the ‘why’ do we do it? It’s about role changing.

    “If your role is to make sure to take care of your core tribe, they will take care of your larger tribe every time,” he says. “We did what we did in order to improve the lives of our people and the people who use our products.”

    “The order here of our people over the people who buy our products is extremely important. We didn’t put our customers first.”

    Dial back to the first paragraph to see how that ‘why’ worked for this CEO. Then add in this fact: Digital-Tutors served big-name clients like LucasArts, Pixar, and Disney.

    While taking care of those customers, Piyush Patel kept taking care of his team. “At each of our monthly staff meetings, we went around the room and let each person tell about how another employee exemplified one of our five values. Each story was tied to a specific value, about a specific person, and related to a specific event.”

    “Our monthly meetings gave me the chance to check all the dials and gauges. Deeper than that, though, it gave us all a chance to affirm not only our values but our significance to each other.”

    “We do this all the time with our families. We tell them we love them even though they already know it. We need to do the same thing in a business setting.”
    “Think of it as an investment in the long-term health of your tribe.”

  • April 23, 2019 8:08 AM | Anonymous

    May 8th at the Oklahoma History Center is our Chairman’s Award for Economic Impact event, and I want to see you there. It is a great ending to our year of luncheons and events.
    We are very pleased to be able to present the Chairman’s award to the Chickasaw Nation and its Governor Bill Anoatubby. Most of us are very familiar with the various business operations owned by the Chickasaw Nation. I find it fascinating how the tribal leadership and business development team work towards meeting their mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people. They are not only interested in a good business they also need it to be sustainable and provide for the overall quality of life.
    Tribal leadership understands that gaming and casinos are a valuable contribution, but one which depends critically on a regulatory environment which could change at any time. Being able to develop long-term returns from the resources gained through this happy circumstance is a difficult mission. Observe how many of the oil-rich Gulf States still depend essentially on a natural resource – oil – for the vast preponderance of their wealth and influence.
    And in Oklahoma, we too are recipients of natural resources which allow the state to flourish. Oil, natural gas, agriculture, mining, all are extractive industries which have brought wealth to us since our state was founded.
    The question is: where do we go from here? The Venture Forum was created in response to the banking crisis, and the concomitant business crisis, of the 1980s. If we could develop more entrepreneurial businesses in our state, that could help us weather whatever occurs in our extractive economy.
    Now 3o years later, we still are dependent on oil and natural gas for the prosperity of our state. Because tax collections are higher this year, there will be more money for our legislature to budget, but if oil and gas prices decline, we go back down the same hill as before.
    In this, my ninth chairman’s report to you all, I am more convinced of the need and role for a Venture Forum to help grow our entrepreneurs and their business. And it is an ongoing process. That is why I am concerned by a small but noticeable dip in our luncheon and after hour’s event attendance. If we are to continue our mission, we need to develop the next generation of those interested in strengthening the entrepreneur ecosystem of Oklahoma.
    I look forward to seeing you – and a guest! – at an upcoming OVF event. Remember that if you have someone you feel should attend one of our events, and you cannot afford to bring them as a guest, tell me and I will make it happen.

  • March 24, 2019 5:16 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    presented by

    It is with great distinction and great humility that the Oklahoma Venture Forum honors Chickasaw Nation with this year’s OVF Chairman’s Award for Economic Impact presented by Insperity.

    The Award for Economic Impact recognizes an individual or an organization for exceptional contributions to the Oklahoma economy. This award honors those who do more than run a business. It celebrates the achievement of industrial progress balanced with compassionate leadership and it honors those who emphasize investments in the human spirit as well as the bottom line.

    The Oklahoma Venture Forum’s Award for Economic Impact has been bestowed to many impactful organizations including The Oklahoma Thunder and Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores.
    This year our esteemed Award Sponsor, the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma, will present the bi-annual award to Governor Bill Anoatubby, who will receive the award on behalf of the Chickasaw Nation. 
    Bill Anoatubby is the current governor of the Chickasaw Nation and has served in this position since 1987. Prior to his governorship, Anoatubby served as lieutenant governor in Overton James’ administration for two terms.
    We are excited to announce that our Keynote speaker will be Piyush Patel, Speaker, Angel Investor and Best-Selling Author of Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work. Mr. Patel has 20 years’ experience as an entrepreneur and is the former CEO of Digital-Tutors.

    This year our esteemed Award Sponsor, the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma, will present the bi-annual award to Governor Bill Anoatubby, who will receive the award on behalf of the Chickasaw Nation. 

    Bill Anoatubby is the current governor of the Chickasaw Nation and has served in this position since 1987. Prior to his governorship, Anoatubby served as lieutenant governor in Overton James’ administration for two terms.

    We are excited to announce that our Keynote speaker will be Piyush Patel, Speaker, Angel Investor and Best-Selling Author of Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work. Mr. Patel has 20 years’ experience as an entrepreneur and is the former CEO of Digital-Tutors.


    Must register to attend. 


  • March 24, 2019 5:14 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    OVF Member Highlight

    Ryan Cargill

    Ryan Cargill is vice president of business development for i2E, a venture capital fund that provides growth capital to earl-stage companies in Oklahoma. Over the past year i2E has raised more than $10 million for early-stage companies in Oklahoma through a combination of deal specific co-investment and a new privately managed venture fund. Ryan’s role is to manage all investor related efforts including fundraising and the creation of new strategic partnerships. Ryan also serves as director of Seed Step Angels, Oklahoma’s largest angel investor group that is comprised of accredited investors (by SEC standards) including individuals, family offices, non-profit endowment managers, and corporate entities. Seed Step Angel members invest their own dollars into deals presented to them as part of an annual membership. In 2018, Seed Step Angel members invested more than $2 million into early-stage Oklahoma companies and advised several others.

    Prior to joining i2E, Ryan was a portfolio manager with InvesTrust Wealth Management. While working at InvesTrust, Ryan helped individual and family clients manage their personal assets from traditional stocks and bonds to alternative investments. Before joining InvesTrust, he founded a financial consulting firm, the Greystone Group LLC that specializes in outsourced CFO and advisory services. In 2016 he held a brief role with Boeing’s defense business to help transition financial planning functionality from Seattle to Oklahoma City. He began his career in corporate finance at Chesapeake Energy where he helped support projects including refinancing $3 billion of senior-secured bonds that saved the company ~$110 million in annual interest expense, re-syndicating the company’s $4 billion credit facility, identifying and evaluating reserve properties to pledge as mortgaged collateral, and supporting the company’s commodity hedging related efforts.

    Ryan received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma with a concentration in entrepreneurship and finance. Ryan has passed level II of the Chartered Financial Analyst (“CFA”) practicum through the CFA Institute and plans to sit for level III in June 2019. As an active member of the community, Ryan serves on boards for the Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation. He is a member of Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class XII and the Emerging Leaders for the United Way of Central Oklahoma. In 2015, Ryan received ionOklahoma Magazine’s 30 under 30 NexGen Award.

    In January he ran his first marathon in Houston with a finishing time of 3:12:36 and looks forward to participating in Oklahoma City’s annual Memorial marathon in April.

  • March 24, 2019 5:12 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    OSU’s Craig Watters Delivers Entrepreneurship in a Backpack

    By Lori Williams

    Craig Watters circles the globe. His journey may take him to Pakistan or India before he stops to form rings in Africa. Along the way, the Director of Oklahoma State University’s new Riata Institute for Global Social Entrepreneurship connects individuals to technologies uniquely suited to their communities and cultures. “I like what I do because it gets to the heart of what I think entrepreneurship should be,” he says. The rings in Africa are an ideal example of that connection.

    “Technology is limited in South Africa,” says Dr. Watters. “I spent nine summers teaching there, and it was challenging. How do you help develop a marketing strategy for a business owner in an outdoor market where there is no internet connection? We had to go to an internet café, and even then it was dial up.”

    So Craig Watters took the problem to Syracuse University, his alma mater, where they worked on a solution. “We created an internet backpack,” he explains. “When individuals wear them and spread out, it forms a ring. A hot spot. So the internet becomes part of their appropriate technology and they are able to build their businesses out.”

    But the backpacks include this caveat: “Individuals have to explain how their business is going to help their community, their tribe, their country,” states Watters. “When we have those conversations, many have changed from just saying they are going to make money to saying they will train people and/or hire women.”

    “That’s significant because my students and I help people in countries where women are not allowed to read or learn.”

    That’s one reason why those places are not always accessible to the students in the Riata Institute for Global Social Entrepreneurship program. But until that changes, there’s a solution for that problem as well.

    “My students at OSU are part of a social entrepreneurship club and class called Enactus,” explains Craig. “The goal is to incubate businesses in other places. So the students are actually working as consultants for entrepreneurs in countries like Pakistan, Peru, Costa Rica and India.”

    Still, there are more solutions to be found. “My class did all this work around waste in India. And we quickly learned the importance of understanding the culture.”

    “Even though the caste system is supposed to be abolished in India, it’s still very much alive. That means if you’re not from the lowest caste, the untouchables, you’re not allowed to touch waste.”

    “So that made us go back to the drawing board and think some more.”

    As Craig Watters continues to circle the globe and connect the dots between social impact and global entrepreneurship, he and his students will have to be creative. To be successful, their technologies need to be culturally specific and appropriate to the situation. “Our solutions must be locally owned so that the community has ownership,” says the Director of the Riata Institute. “We also have to create technologies that are environmentally safe and gender safe.”

    “Most of all, we remember that it’s not just about making money. It’s about social impact and social mission.”

  • March 24, 2019 5:08 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)


    April 2019 Chairman's Perspective
    By Brad Rickelman

    What a pleasure to have our Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell speak to the Oklahoma Venture Forum in March. While we are focused day in and out improving the ecosystem for entrepreneurs in Oklahoma, it is heartening to have our government’s highest positions filled with entrepreneurs. I also appreciate your taking the time to complete our survey for the forum.

    Hopefully I was not conspicuous in my absence. I was awarded a fellowship to travel to Thailand by the US Department of State. We were working on improving entrepreneurship education in their vocational college business incubators (much like I work with in the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech). Perhaps surprisingly, they have much the same issues with their students and programming as we in Oklahoma. The country of Thailand was a beautiful place, with weather basically like Houston in July all year around. So if you enjoy very hot, very humid, weather, Thailand is your place. Luckily I was not caught in a hotel conference room the entire visit, and was able to take advantage of their hospitality.

    One area the Thai are focusing on is increasing tourist and tourism based entrepreneurship businesses. Many younger Thai feel this is a great way to start a service business, and there is great demand from tourists to view more of their beautiful country.

    Tourism is a major industry in Oklahoma as well and one we often underestimate. Even in Thailand, people asked me about the buffalo or the Native American tribes. So our state brand is very strong. But we all know that Oklahoma is not just wind and buffalo. It has a strong business climate. We all need to see ourselves as ambassadors of Oklahoma and Oklahoma business.

    In April, our speaker will be Dr. Craig Watters from the Oklahoma State University Global Social Entrepreneurship Institute. He will speak about some of their programming throughout the world. This will be a good opportunity to hear about some of the very practical and useful programming through our state research universities.

    I look forward to seeing you – and a guest! – at an upcoming OVF event. Remember that if you have someone you feel should attend one of our events, and you cannot afford to bring them as a guest, tell me and I will make it happen.

  • March 24, 2019 5:04 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Date: April 4th
    Location: Project 3810
    Sponsor:Cameron Ventures
    Speaker: Vicki Langford
    3810 North
    Tulsa Avenue

    Vicki Langford is VP and co-founder of Resonance, Inc a consumer electronics company founded in 1986. Resonance's flagship brand is DD Audio and its main market is mobile electronics. In 2017, she co-founded Project 3810 and is the CEO and Director. Vicki is a certified life coach and an active volunteer with SCORE Oklahoma City Chapter.

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