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  • February 24, 2020 3:47 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    The Fine Art of Balance When Branding A Business, City or State

    Thanks to the state of Oklahoma and the city of Oklahoma City, branding is getting a lot of attention these days. Both entities released new branding this month to considerable attention, both good and bad. Branding is, and always has been, subjective as far as the public is concerned. As a branding expert, it’s been interesting to watch the process of introducing an entire city or state to new logos, cutlines and concepts that represent the entire city or state. Two different approaches have resulted in two very different end results. Both have fans and detractors, both for very different reasons. That’s the nature of branding. 

    Last March, Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell spoke to OVF about the his role in the re-brnding process for the state at the request of the new Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. This involved an short, open process involving literally hundreds of volunteer marketing, design and communication professionals. The best branding typically doesn’t come from “design by committee” but the new Governor and Lt. Governor wanted to involve as many opinions as possible in the design process, including representation from metro read, rural and tribal voices. The ending result was a multifaceted, multicolor round logo surrounding a negative-space star in the middle above the state name in a simple but modern font. Also included was the new slogan “Imagine That”. Opinions ranged from love to hate and everything in-between. Imagine that! 

    Just one week later, the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau launched an all-new branding campaign. The city a took a more direct approach by working with a local design agency being directed by the City officials and staff. OKLAHOMA CITY - The Modern Frontier is the new slogan for OKC regarding promoting the city for tourism, attracting residents and economic development. New multimedia campaigns will follow with the new branding attached to graphics, photography, video and multimedia assets to tel the story of OKC as the modern version of a frontier or the frontier version of modern living. Take your pick, it’s all up for interpretation. 

    The first rule of great branding: The new brand cannot be everything to everyone. Designing for “everyone” ends ups pleasing no one. A great brand needs to be identifiable, memorable and easy to connect to the subject it represents. The trick is balancing what and how much can be represented in the total branding package. In the branding process you can try to do too much, which ends up with a hard to read, understand or relate to brand mark. But you can also play it too safe and not move the brand forward in an effective way. Take it from someone who has designed hundreds of brands and identity packages, the magic is somewhere in the middle.

    When branding the state of Oklahoma, there is a lot to consider. People, places, heritage, terrain, weather, and perceptions of the residents and non-residents. To that end, the state “branding by committee” process was not as successful as it could (and should) have been. The new branding is better than the old, tired material but that’s not good enough. OKC was smarter in approach, but didn’t push new boundaries in the final work product. I’m sure there was bureaucracy involved in the final decision. Both were due an upgrade, so no matter your opinion on the new branding it’s a welcome change. 

    So, what are the take-aways from all this? Branding is hard. Everyone's a critic. Trying too hard is just as much of a sin as not trying hard enough. You can’t please everyone, so don’t try to. Better doesn't always equal great. You can have too much of a good thing. Balance is the key. Leadership leads to the best results. Oklahoma is more than OK. We’re all in this together. 

    Bonus: Branding is big picture, intended to be used for a very long time. Ideally 10-100 years. Never less than 5 years without a major (public) change event as the catalyst for a new identity. Take your time to get it right, because you’re living with it for a good while.

  • February 24, 2020 3:45 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    D. Ward Hobson brings a range of business and intellectual property experience to his practice. Ward primarily counsels clients on the acquisition, protection, maintenance and enforcement of intellectual property rights on both a local and national scale. His experience includes managing patent and trademark portfolios, providing clearance opinions, devising filing strategies, procuring and maintaining of patents, trademark and copyright registrations, negotiating intellectual property agreements, reviewing and analyzing intellectual property due diligence in connection with asset purchases, and defending intellectual property rights through Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings and various state and federal court litigation. 

    In addition, Ward regularly counsels clients on corporate transactions, entity formations, real estate transactions, commercial lending transactions, healthcare transactions and a variety of litigation matters. 

  • February 24, 2020 3:44 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Pitch Presentation
    Donna Miller with Purse Power

    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.

  • February 24, 2020 3:42 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Women in Business: advantages, challenges, and opportunities.

    March Power Lunch

    Liz Charles

    Executive Director

    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.”  

    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.”

  • February 03, 2020 1:17 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    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.

    Learn More

  • January 30, 2020 12:20 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    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 TimesBusiness InsiderUSA 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

    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

    Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Returns to the Heartland for Its Ninth Road Trip Celebrating Entrepreneurship across America
  • January 28, 2020 11:15 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    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,

    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


    Watkins-Conti Products

    Allison Watkins-Conti


  • January 22, 2020 12:34 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Chairman's Perspective

    Kyle Golding

    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.  

    Kyle Golding

    CEO & Chief Strategic Idealist

    The Golding Group

    Oklahoma Venture Forum Chairman 2019-2020

  • January 21, 2020 2:54 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    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.

  • January 21, 2020 2:52 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    February Pitch Presenter

    Brent Wheelbarger with Trifecta Communications, talking about Viribus VF Labs

    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.


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