Say Hello to Our New Resource Manager

 
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We are excited to announce the newest addition to the 36 Degrees North team, Jessica Brent. Jessica will serve as our Resource Manager, working directly with 36°N members to connect them with the people, resources and tools they need to move their businesses forward.

Jessica brings experience working with entrepreneurs as the Executive Director of Tulsa Route 66 Main Street. She's also an entrepreneur herself! She is the co-owner of Homma Camp Co., a fully outfitted camping/event-planning  service and camp lifestyle brand.

With Jessica on our team, we look forward to better utilizing our partners' existing resources and working together to develop new strategies that educate and mentor entrepreneurs at all stages.

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Q&A with Jessica Brent

Where are you from and how did you end up in Tulsa?

I primarily grew up in Edmond, OK. After living in Los Angeles for a few years post-college, I followed someone back to Tulsa. I hadn't spent much time in Tulsa and wasn't planning on staying in Oklahoma for long, but I quickly fell in love with the city. It felt like just the right size after living in a big city like LA, and I was really energized by the pride and optimism Tulsan's have for their city. 

What’re your favorite things to do in your free time?

I love being active with my kids - going on hikes or walking downtown from our house. We enjoy going on mini-adventures - taking our VW bus on backroads and exploring the region. Of course we love camping. When I have some time to myself, I like to read, write and catch up with close friends over dinner or a drink. 

 
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Favorite local restaurants?

I love little diners and burger joints! Some of my local favorites are Meltdown Diner, Arnold's Old Fashioned Hamburgers, Bill's Jumbo Burgers, and Phil's Diner. When I want to splurge on something more upscale, it's hard to beat the Bull in the Alley.  

If you were to start your own business, what would it be and why?

I do have my own business - Homma Camp Co.! We started our business because we love adventuring outside, and with four kids, we have to be organized and efficient about it. We launched a year and a half ago with the intention of making it easy for people get get outside and enjoy the experience of camping, without all the gear and hassle. 

Favorite memory of 2017 so far?

Oh, there's too many! Rendezvousing with my bestie in New Orleans, adopting two foster kids, setting up tents at Willie Nelson's ranch in Luck, Texas, road tripping to Nebraska to see the total eclipse...

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What song would you sing at Karaoke Night?

I would not sing a song at Karaoke Night. Nope.

If you could splurge a whole paycheck on any store, which store would it be?

I'm currently feeling the urge to Instagram-ify my home a little more. I'd probably splurge on a great local home and lifestyle store like Jenkins and Co. or Retro Den. 

What are three things you would take with you on a deserted island and why?

Assuming the deserted island does not have wifi or cell service... A book (one I could read over and over, like the Poisonwood Bible). Pen and paper for writing and drawing. And a heavy blanket. I hate being cold!

What characteristics do you most admire in others?

Honesty, graceful confidence, and the ability to find humor in oneself and in stressful situations. 

 
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Email Marketing 101

Click rates. Lead magnets. Nurture sequences. You may have a rough idea of what these email marketing terms mean, but many don't know how they can directly affect the growth of their business.

Our friends at Prodigy Collective recently hosted a luncheon to explain just that. Their presentation is posted below. If you have any other questions after watching the video, we encourage you to reach out to their team.

36 Degrees North also plans to host a series of follow-up workshops to go more in-depth on these topics. Keep an eye on our calendar for updates.

Welcome Our Newest Team Member: Genyce Goodchild 🎉

 
 

36 Degrees North is excited to welcome Genyce Goodchild to our team! You’ll see her bright, happy face at our front desk as our newest Community Support Associate.

Genyce first joined the 36°N community as one of our coworking members. She and member Daniel McIntosh have used our space to develop the Brady Heights Church Network. Genyce has been a positive presence at 36°N since she joined, and she is a natural fit to fill this customer service role.

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Q&A with Genyce Goodchild

Where are you from and how did you end up in Tulsa?

Tulsa has been home since grade school. After the last of our four kids headed off to college, we moved into the Brady Heights area. We love the people, culture and neighborhood life of downtown Tulsa.

What’re your favorite things to do in your free time?

Explore, travel, hang out at local eateries, window shop at local specialty shops and galleries, reading, poetry and late-night conversations with deep-spirited friends 

Favorite local restaurants?

Wild Fork, Tucci's, The Palace Cafe, Stone Horse, Laffa, Antionettes, Kilkenny's and The Tavern

Favorite memory of 2017 so far?

My recent trip to Colorado and the addition of our 5th grandchild.

What song would you sing at Karaoke Night?

I would not sing a song at Karaoke Night.

If you could splurge a whole paycheck on any store, which store would it be?

Madewell or Williams Sonoma at Utica Square.

What are three things you would take with you on a deserted island and why?

Fire Starter - for warmth and cooking; Hatchet - for shelter building, cutting firewood and protection; Bible - for companionship

What characteristics do you most admire in others?

The ability to be hospitable, to listen and to be "with" people.

Seeing Tulsa as a Permanent Home

36°N Editor's Note: The following post is by 36 Degrees North intern Julie Combs. Julie is about to start her senior year as a marketing major at the University of Tulsa. Julie has served our team tremendously, and we know this sweet Alabama native will continue to do great things as she digs her roots in Tulsa.

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Looking back over the past two months of being the summer marketing intern at 36 Degrees North, it’s hard for me to believe that I’ve only been working here for just a short amount of time. Over the past several weeks, I have become fully immersed in the culture and groove of Tulsa’s “basecamp for entrepreneurs.” Every day is a unique and enriching experience, accompanied by new and familiar faces excited to be utilizing and enjoying our space. I cannot imagine another workplace in the city of Tulsa as vibrant and welcoming as 36°N.

 
Meeting Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum after a city council meeting at 36 Degrees North. So cool!!

Meeting Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum after a city council meeting at 36 Degrees North. So cool!!

 

This summer is all the more special as it is the summer before my senior year at the University of Tulsa. It is also the first summer I have not spent in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. For the past three years, Tulsa has been the perfect college town for me; I have gotten to know the city well and have enjoyed my time here. Yet, until beginning my internship with the George Kaiser Family Foundation, I didn’t really understand how special this town is. A growing art scene, incredible food culture, and vibrant urban development projects are just a few ways in which Tulsa is becoming one of the best places in America to live and work. Over the past month and a half as a GKFF intern at 36°N, I have seen first hand how this city is adapting for the better. My college town is swiftly becoming a place I could see as a permanent home.

While I’ve taken on a wide variety of tasks this summer (researching other coworking spaces, running errands downtown, working events and creating graphics), the project I have loved the most is taking headshots for all of our members.

I have always enjoyed photography as a way to give something unique of value to people I care about. There’s this great Annie Lebovitz quote that says, “When I say I want to photograph someone, what I really mean is that I’d like to know them.” In taking portraits for our members, I was able to get to know them on a more personal level and offer them something in return.

One of the members I shot, who I have loved getting to know this summer, is Amy Seigfried. Amy owns a triweekly email publication called Last Night’s Game, which she created specifically with a female audience in mind. Amy noticed a need for a sports publication that would recap all of the highlights (not just the stats, but the unique moments from the game as well) and deliver them in a neatly packaged, fun-to-read email that can be understood by even the most inexperienced sports fan. Needless to say, she is girlboss goals.

 
Amy is a serious #girlboss. Love learning from strong female entrepreneurs like her.

Amy is a serious #girlboss. Love learning from strong female entrepreneurs like her.

 

I have also loved getting to know the incredible staff at 36°N. I was able to take portraits for several of our team members as well. Whether it’s talking about one of my favorite Alabama authors (Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin’ is an essential read) with Bethany, or soaking in Maye’s wisdom on higher education, or hearing about Tom’s trip to see Frank Ocean in L.A., interacting with the front desk staff is always one of the highlights of my day. Our staff is truly one of a kind, I have loved getting to know them on a more personal level and see how much they truly care about our members.

 
Maye! One of our sweet front desk team members.

Maye! One of our sweet front desk team members.

 

The best thing I have noticed about the unique environment at 36°N is the way in which our space facilitates community. Some of the moments that stick out the most to me are conversations around the kitchen island or back patio with members, talking about anything from how they met their spouse to why they decided to leave corporate America and try something a little different. I think that, often times, there is a misguided association of isolation with entrepreneurship. Here at 36°N, it’s community that is driving the individuals who work here. It’s not really the ergonomically-sound furniture or locally-sourced coffee; it’s the tight-knit community of people working incredibly hard to realize their goals here which makes our space a place where creative culture exists. It has been really special to see members who have joined since my time here slowly but surely warm up to our space and the welcoming individuals within.

 
Sweet Bethany is so full of life. Thankful to get to know her.

Sweet Bethany is so full of life. Thankful to get to know her.

 

This summer at 36°N has been incredibly memorable and enriching to me. The people in our community have made this an experience I will never forget in a city that I am proud to call home.

Amazon Web Services: Products Overview

Amazon Web Services is a great tool for entrepreneurs looking to store large amounts of data, host websites and make their businesses more productive.

36°N member Paul Dudley and his team at Sequoyah Technologies recently led a class on the different AWS tools and products. (Sequoyah is actually Amazon's only consulting partner in the state of Oklahoma, so you know they're legit.)

The following is a full recording of the class, including the question and answer session at the end. If you have more questions after watching the video, we encourage you to reach out to the Sequoyah team to learn more.

PS: Did you know that 36 Degrees North members get $1,000 in free Amazon Web Services credits? Learn more about membership perks here.

A Shift In Perspective

36°N Editor's Note: The following post is by 36 Degrees North intern Jordan Rambach. Jordan is about to enter his senior year as a finance major at the University of Oklahoma. We've so enjoyed having him on our team and look forward to what he will achieve in the future.

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When I became an intern for 36° North back in May, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I was still in school at the time, and finals week was three weeks away and suddenly I got  an email from the George Kaiser Family Foundation that they wanted to reassign me to 36 Degrees North, rather than keep me in their main office. To be honest, I was pretty upset at the time because I had no inside understanding of what 36 Degrees North was or who or what was there, rather that it was just next door to my favorite place to get beer (Prairie Brewpub).

Jordan with Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum after a city council meeting at 36 Degrees North.

Jordan with Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum after a city council meeting at 36 Degrees North.

In the one month and 11 days that I have been an intern for 36 Degrees North, I can now say I feel exactly the opposite. Getting to meet new people everyday and hear about their lives and careers has been really important and valuable to me, and I’ve been able to take so much away from it. Whether I am standing in the kitchen making coffee or am working at the front desk, someone always seems to blow my mind with a new idea or something they are working on. For example, Malachi Blankenship and his team are about to launch UTown, a social navigation app, and Grant Burke with GradeDeck is looking for capital funding. There are so many people who I’ve learned a lot from just by hearing about the things they are working on. It makes me sad because I’ve had so much fun that time has passed so quickly, and I know that I’ll soon have to face the reality of being in a classroom and doing schoolwork again.

Something else that has been really important to me is the diversity of industries that people work in and the perspective they’ve shared about the paths they’ve taken to get where they are. I’ve learned about a broad range of topics that include but are not limited to: small business finance and taxes, event programming, marketing, customer service, investment, different coding languages, the different flavors of La Croix, and many others.

Jordan selflessly going out in the rain to run an errand.

Jordan selflessly going out in the rain to run an errand.

Two important takeaways that I will carry with me are the importance of having a diversified skill set and also what it means to be proactive in the real world, not just school. The highlight of my workday is meeting new people and talking to the ones I already know. As a wide eyed college student who doesn’t know what is ahead of me, I just want to say to everyone here that what you say to me means so much, and I take so much from it. I appreciate you all so much, and if I can ever be of help to you in the future, please let me know.

All the Best,

Jordan

Shanese's Farewell

As you may have heard, I’m transitioning from the role of operations manager at 36 Degrees North to work for one of our partner organizations, the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation. Through this process, now that 36°N is up and running, I can’t help but wonder if this is what it feels like to send your child off to college.

Before 36°N, I helped another company open in Tulsa by creating strategic relationships for them, but there I felt more like the cool Aunt than a mom. The community at 36°N, however, feels more like my immediate family.

I am so grateful to have helped build this space from a shell to a vibrant, community-filled workspace. It all started with a recommendation by Oklahoma State’s Riata Center for Entrepreneurship in December 2015.  They graciously told Dustin, our Executive Director, about me.  After lunch at Chimera, a tour (hard hats included) of what would become 36°N, one writing assignment and a meeting with a few board members, I started as the Communications and Events Coordinator, which is a humorous now that I look back and have seen where my true strengths lie.

 
 

After a lot of preparation, 36°N opened its doors on January 11, 2016 to begin testing out the space. Our Founding Members were so patient. We had conference rooms with no doors, spotty wifi, no front desk staff and an array of construction projects still occurring daily. But on January 25th, at our grand opening, we had 250+ people in the space, free coworking, camera crews in and out, and me running around doing everything I could to make sure we gave this newborn every opportunity it needed to succeed.

By early February, we realized the two of us couldn’t do it alone, and we expanded our team by hiring a front desk staff. The months after that flew by, as we figured out how to onboard members efficiently, how often to give tours and how to help current members connect to printers and wifi while also hosting workshops in the space.

 
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March came, and interns were the topic of conversation. We had two Tulsa Tech students join us in the space that spring, with Madelein and Sarah starting in the summer. We hosted our very first co-week, as Paul Singh and his airstream trailer joined us. By this time, word was getting out, and we were giving tours to city leaders throughout the state who were interested in opening similar spaces.

With May came a change in position. Although hired for communications, we had to build the space first, and my operational instinct kicked in. The execution and management skills came in handy, and  it was obvious those skills overshadowed my education in communications. So I took over operations, while searching for someone to backfill for communications. Thanks to Ally at Resolute PR, we were introduced to Lauren, who today handles all of our communication.

As June kicked off, we celebrated our half-birthday a month too early (but there was cake, so who cares anyways??).

 
 

The year was flying by, with membership on the rise and our team working to keep up. We hosted events like Global Entrepreneurship Week and 200OK. By October, we had a waiting list for dedicated space, and operations were running smoothly by the end of 2016.  

Like a good mom, one of my favorite responsibilities here at 36°N was the development of those around me. So, when I was able to promote Sarah, first from intern to front desk employee, and then from front desk to full-time, I was extremely proud (not to mention relieved, as there was a lot more going on by now).  

Then things really started to settle in. The winds of the storm of opening had passed, and each of us had our routine. That gave me time to reflect and reset my sails. Looking back, I learned so much in that first year and a half. And as crazy as the beginning had been, I really enjoyed myself and all the great successes we accomplished building something new from scratch.

I have great memories of sharing laughs with everyone in the kitchen during lunch and our weekly happy hours. Each of you hold a special place in my heart for your honesty, your wisdom and your wit.

 
 

I’ve also enjoyed our small, but mighty team. They have been, and always will be, more like a family than coworkers.

 
 

It’s difficult to leave 36°N, as it feels like a baby I have raised, but it has grown now, and I know it can fly on its own.

So now I’m off to see what else I can build in this great town that I love. 
 
Wishing you all the best,
Shanese

17 Resources to Help Small Business Owners Get their Sh*t Together

When you own a small business, there are a million and one things to think about at all times. Your brain never shuts off, and it seems like to-do lists just multiply overnight. However, when a business owner finds the right tools, all of the chaos becomes more a little more organized and enjoyable.

In an effort to help entrepreneurs find the right tools to fit their needs, our friends at Prodigy & Co compiled a resource guide. "We all know that we need systems to help us be more efficient and consistent in our business. But search for any one type of system, and there are dozens of options. How do you know which systems are the best," says Prodigy & Co. "This is not an exhaustive list, and it is based on my experience, my client’s experience, and other startup founders and business owners who have been nice enough to share their experience with me."

We broke up the Prodigy & Co list to make it even more digestible, and added our own tidbits along the way. Hope it makes your life a little easier!

1. Payment Processing

 

Let's start with the fun stuff: getting money in your pockets. Prodigy & Co recommends using Stripe or PayPal for payment processing. (We also want to throw an honorable mention out to Square, which is great for retail businesses.)

2. E-Signature/ Transaction Management

 

When it's time to sign the dotted line, DocuSign or HelloSign can help you do that electronically- without any printing, scanning or emailing.

3. Accounting

 

And you should probably know what's happening with all that money you'll be raking in. Xero, Quickbooks Online, Freshbooks and Wave Accounting usually come out on top when it comes to accounting. You can use these programs to track expenses, revenue, capital contributions, invoices and more. "Many systems have integrations to other systems that have accounting impacts such as payroll, employee time and expense tracking, inventory and more," Prodigy & Co adds.

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

 

Now, to make money, you have to have customers (duh), and it wouldn't hurt to keep tabs on those customers. "CRM lets you store and manage prospect and customer information like contact info, accounts, leads, and sales opportunities, in one central location," says Prodigy & Co. HubSpot, Insightly, ZoHo and Salesforce are their favorite CRM platforms.

5. Customer Support

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Once you have those customers, you want to keep them happy. Manage their needs and keep your customer support process flowing smoothly with systems like Salesforce Desk, UserVoice, SupportBee, JitBit, Bontact and Freshdesk.

6. Email Marketing

 

Email is a great way to keep in touch with your past, present and potential customers. Prodigy & Co says, " This is about more than sending a regular newsletter. Marketing via e-mail is still one of the most profitable forms of marketing. Mosts systems allow significant levels of automation, segmenting, tracking and more." Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Get Response, Convert Kit and AWeber are great tools to help you do that. (We also really love Emma! Their customer support is unbeatable.)

7. Social Media Scheduling

 

Of course, social media is one of the biggest ways to connect with your customers and develop your brand. Schedule all your posts- in every channel- ahead of time so you don't have to constantly think about it with tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, MeetEdgar and Sprout Social. (We've heard great things about CoSchedule too.) These platforms will also give you analytics to see which posts preform the best.

8. Graphic Design

 

And wow them with your ~~f@nCy~~ graphic design skills by using Canva or Fontspring. (Trust us. You don't have to be an artist to look like a pro when you have these tools in your belt.)

Need help getting started with all the graphic design shenanigans? Consider taking a course

9. Scheduling

 

When it comes to meeting with clients, skip the constant back and forth emails trying to find a time you can both meet. Instead, use Appointlet or Calendly, systems that will integrate with your existing calendar to let others know when you're free.

10. Video Conferencing

 

Or if you're trying to conduct meetings from afar, Skype, Zoom, Join Me, Go To Meeting, and Slydial are professional ways to do that. "These can be especially beneficial for international calls," Prodigy & Co adds.

11. Project/Task Management

 

Once all your business starts rolling in, you'll need a way to keep all your ducks in a row. Keep track of your to-do lists with Trello, Asana, Producteev or Wunderlist. (We use Asana, and we love it! It's great for teams collaborating on projects together.)

12. Document Management

 

You can also manage and share documents with resources like Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. Again, this makes collaboration a lot easier.

13. Automation

 

And when possible, save yourself some time with automation. Zapier, our favorite automation tool, works with a TON of platforms to do everything from building spreadsheets to sending client emails to putting reminders on your calendar.

14. Website Analytics

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And after all your effort, it's good to check in and see how you're doing- specifically how your website is doing. Using Google Analytics or Clicky can show you exactly where people are going on your site and how they got there.

15. Employee Verification Services

 

Now let's talk about your team. First, you gotta make sure to hire the right people. For background checks, Prodigy & Co recommends TRAK-1. (PS- That's what we use too.)

16. Communication

 

Then you want to make sure you are communicating with your team well. Prodigy & Co suggests Slack or Facebook Groups "to keep in touch with your team in real time." (Slack works really well for us because you can create different chat groups for different teams and topics.)

17. Human Resources

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"HR systems manage different aspects of having employees, such as employee information, onboarding, benefits, insurance, performance reviews, time tracking and more," Prodigy & Co explains. Make tracking those things easier with programs like Zenefits, Gusto, Namely, BambooHR and sum HR. (Here at 36°N, we use  Gusto to pay our employees and Zenefits to track time sheets and vacation time.)

On that note, make sure to take vacation time for yourself too. Unplugging for a bit can refresh your mind and spirit, making it easier to make strides forward when you return. 

Also, if you need help navigating these tools, or any other part of your business, we'd love to meet you and help you out. We're a nonprofit with a mission of helping entrepreneurs succeed, and we'd love to get you connected to our community. 

Now get out there, and knock 'em dead!

 

Coworking Through the Eyes of Dutch Teenagers

36°N Editor's Note: We recently had the pleasure of hosting Kristel Buurmans and Miranda Pauw, two teenagers from the Netherlands, in our space for a school project. We so enjoyed watching them learn all about Tulsa's entrepreneurial ecosystem. To conclude their visit, they wrote the following essay about their experience.

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For our school in the Netherlands, we had to find a short internship in an English environment where we could gain business experience. Luckily, we had an acquaintance that owns a business in Oklahoma and offices at 36 Degrees North. Thus, we travelled to Tulsa to experience a new work environment: co-working space. This is unlike any office we had been to in the Netherlands.

We were at 36 Degrees North for six days in total, and during those days we got to meet so many nice people. All these people had different jobs for different companies or universities, yet they worked in the same building. We found this to be very cool. In our opinion, 36 Degrees North is very convenient. Small businesses pay less for a membership there than they would if they rented their own offices. As we got to meet so many people, we noticed that everyone seemed to be happy at this co-working space. 36 Degrees North has done such a phenomenal job at creating a space where everyone can work in peace despite the variety of people and backgrounds.

Not only are there small businesses and different people working at 36 Degrees North, the office also hosts a lot of events each month. In the six days that we were there, we attended a brown bag lunch and a seminar. This was just a small portion of the activities that were planned for that week.

Miranda Pauw (center) and Kristel Buurmans (right) chat with Curtis Klein at his bicycle shop Wabi Cycles in the Brady Arts District.

Miranda Pauw (center) and Kristel Buurmans (right) chat with Curtis Klein at his bicycle shop Wabi Cycles in the Brady Arts District.

We thought that these events were very neat and informative. As an individual or company, you can learn a lot from these types of events, as they give insightful information that can be applied to any business. The seminars hosted by 36 Degrees North provide a chance to broaden one’s horizon.

Besides that, the atmosphere within the building was very positive. Everyone was able to work in a quiet manor. Some people worked in a private space, while others were in a more public lounge that still maintained a calm atmosphere conducive to productivity.

This doesn’t mean that people were completely isolated from each other. They were still communicating, not only with their own co-workers, but also with the people around them. Every now and then, people walked throughout various parts of the building, just chitchatting.

In conclusion, we both thoroughly enjoyed our time at 36 Degrees North. It’s a nice place for businesses, and people seem to be so glad to work there. Another great factor is the efficiency of this co-working space—everyone gets their work done in a swift manner. Also, the events provided for members are very fun and encourage individual growth. Lastly, the atmosphere in the building is great. Everyone seems to be content with the work they can achieve while making their own network bigger, as there are so many different companies within the building.

Meet the First-Ever Tulsa Teacher Innovation Fellowship Class

It's no secret that Oklahoma is in a tough spot right now when it comes to education. As a matter of fact, our state consistently ranks near the bottom of almost every list you can find. Our teachers are underpaid, our schools are craving resources and education funding continues to be cut.

However, we are firm believers that crisis leads to innovation. That's why we started the Teacher Innovation Fellowship.

Made possible by a United Way Innovation Grant, the Teacher Innovation Fellowship identifies educators from across the Tulsa metro to participate in a two-week summer fellowship. Participants work in teams to identify specific problems facing schools, ideate potential solution and develop plans to initiate change. Concluding the workshop, teams present their solutions to a panel of judges for the opportunity to receive grant funding for their ideas.

Almost 100 teachers applied to participate in the first class, and needless to say, picking only 16 was difficult. Meet the folks who came out on top.

Ademola Adeyemi, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences "I hope to learn hands-on strategies and plans that I am able to implement immediately in my classroom and share with the rest of my colleagues... especially in the area of Mathematics the subject area that I teach."

Ademola Adeyemi, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences

"I hope to learn hands-on strategies and plans that I am able to implement immediately in my classroom and share with the rest of my colleagues... especially in the area of Mathematics the subject area that I teach."

Katerina Alder, Union 9th Grade Center "Summer is an amazing opportunity for professional development in general and fellowship with other devoted educators in particular. Our minds are fresh and our bodies are rested and ready to tackle the problems we face during the school year and find solutions."

Katerina Alder, Union 9th Grade Center

"Summer is an amazing opportunity for professional development in general and fellowship with other devoted educators in particular. Our minds are fresh and our bodies are rested and ready to tackle the problems we face during the school year and find solutions."

Hanna Al-Jibouri, Gilcrease Elementary "With this teamwork, I believe that I will have a toolbox of strategies and methods that will help to foster a positive and joyful school community that keeps children in school and away from school suspensions."

Hanna Al-Jibouri, Gilcrease Elementary

"With this teamwork, I believe that I will have a toolbox of strategies and methods that will help to foster a positive and joyful school community that keeps children in school and away from school suspensions."

Tiffany Bell, Hamilton Elementary "We have a vision of students being able to explore real world activities and problem solving techniques on their own in a safe exploratory."

Tiffany Bell, Hamilton Elementary

"We have a vision of students being able to explore real world activities and problem solving techniques on their own in a safe exploratory."

Deanna Braggs, Creative Geniuses & Oklahoma Outdoor Academy "Innovation requires creative thinking and problem solving."

Deanna Braggs, Creative Geniuses & Oklahoma Outdoor Academy

"Innovation requires creative thinking and problem solving."

Ashley Burke, Briarglen Elementary "I am excited to be able to work with collages and see how we can positively improve the overall classroom environment for teachers, students and staff."

Ashley Burke, Briarglen Elementary

"I am excited to be able to work with collages and see how we can positively improve the overall classroom environment for teachers, students and staff."

Erin Camp, Marshall Elementary "TPS is facing many financial cuts and I need to do my part as an educator to make sure these cuts aren't harming my students."

Erin Camp, Marshall Elementary

"TPS is facing many financial cuts and I need to do my part as an educator to make sure these cuts aren't harming my students."

Angela Clift, Briarglen Elementary "We feel like we can make a positive impact on the teaching staff and students by finding ways to improve mental heath in the classroom and school."

Angela Clift, Briarglen Elementary

"We feel like we can make a positive impact on the teaching staff and students by finding ways to improve mental heath in the classroom and school."

Jenny Dungan, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences "I would love for all of my students to understand the importance of starting a healthy lifestyle while they are young."

Jenny Dungan, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences

"I would love for all of my students to understand the importance of starting a healthy lifestyle while they are young."

Katie Fox, Briarglen Elementary "My team is made up of wonderful, servant minded women who are ready to find a solution to the mental health crises in the states, especially in Oklahoma."

Katie Fox, Briarglen Elementary

"My team is made up of wonderful, servant minded women who are ready to find a solution to the mental health crises in the states, especially in Oklahoma."

Ashley Henderson, Briarglen Elementary "It excites me to work with my teammates to research more about mental health and it's effects on the teaching staff."

Ashley Henderson, Briarglen Elementary

"It excites me to work with my teammates to research more about mental health and it's effects on the teaching staff."

Olivia Jean, Briarglen Elementary "[I] think that we can help with teacher retention in the public school system by improving mental health and lessening the effects of burn out."

Olivia Jean, Briarglen Elementary

"[I] think that we can help with teacher retention in the public school system by improving mental health and lessening the effects of burn out."

Miriam Kerler, Marshall Elementary "We need a system that will not rely on suspension; we need restorative justice and a process that will remind students of their support system and the purpose for their learning and involvement in school."

Miriam Kerler, Marshall Elementary

"We need a system that will not rely on suspension; we need restorative justice and a process that will remind students of their support system and the purpose for their learning and involvement in school."

Daniel Sharples, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences "I think there is a need for outside help, for community engagement that happens in very purposeful and specific ways."

Daniel Sharples, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences

"I think there is a need for outside help, for community engagement that happens in very purposeful and specific ways."

Danielle Terrio, Hamilton Elementary "I am... working to rethink expeditionary learning opportunities at Hamilton. Change is in the works, but the more thinkers, partners, the better."

Danielle Terrio, Hamilton Elementary

"I am... working to rethink expeditionary learning opportunities at Hamilton. Change is in the works, but the more thinkers, partners, the better."

Abigail Woodhead, Tulsa Public Schools "I believe that is the power of making a student feel human and loved. It goes beyond just our words, but also into our actions."

Abigail Woodhead, Tulsa Public Schools

"I believe that is the power of making a student feel human and loved. It goes beyond just our words, but also into our actions."

The fellowship is June 13 – June 23. We're excited to see and support the positive change that this great group of educators will create!

 
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OKC Thunder Makes Hist0ry With Tulsa’s Entrepreneurs

The NBA playoffs start next week, and you can go ahead and throw your brackets in the trash right now. We already know who the champion is.

The Oklahoma City Thunder is hands-down number one in our book.

Why, you may ask, are we so sure of this fact?

Before you go there, no, it has nothing to do with Russell Westbrook (although yes, we did lose our voices while cheering for his recent, record-breaking triple-doubles).

Here in Tulsa, we are unique in the fact that we have long rooted for a team that was not allowed to engage with us directly.

“Up until last year the NBA limited teams from doing any direct marketing outside a 75-mile radius of their home arenas,” explained Dawn Turner, director of marketing and brand management for the Thunder.

But a recent adjustment of league rules changed that.

“Now that the rules have relaxed, we have the ability to facilitate brand marketing, advertising and community programming in Tulsa, outside of the preseason game we play at the BOK Center every October.” (Side note: This year's preseason game at the BOK on Tuesday, October 3 marks the ninth time the team has played in Tulsa!)

But the team has done so much more than just marketing in the Tulsa metro. They’ve started truly investing in our community.

The Thunder has built basketball courts in underprivileged neighborhoods. They’ve visited schools. But most thrilling for us, they’ve partnered with 36 Degrees North, our nonprofit coworking space for entrepreneurs.

36 Degrees North houses over 200 startup founders and small business owners who are dedicated to building amazing companies and adding jobs to our local economy. Before this season began, the Thunder expressed a desire to support these innovators by giving them a chance to take a break from business and treat their families.

The team graciously gave our community tickets to home games, and as you can see in the attached photos, it was a huge hit.

“This was my parent’s first Thunder game. Watching their faces was amazing,” said 36°N member Gaby Ortega, who went to the April 12 game against the Nuggets. “We had a blast.”

Through the new partnership, the Thunder business team also wants to invest in our community by working at our space and interacting with our people.

"Our hope is that our members will take advantage of their presence by building relationships and learning more about high-level business development," said Dustin Curzon, executive director of 36°N.

“We anticipate continuing to build upon these efforts in the years to come,” Turner added.

But why would an NBA team want to serve entrepreneurs in a coworking space over a hundred miles from where they play?

“The Thunder play in Oklahoma City; however, we view the team as belonging to the entire state and region,” said Turner. “36 Degrees North embodies an innovative and progressive cultivation of new business and serves as the center of entrepreneurial activity, all of which align well with Thunder brand values.”

So as much as we love winning ball games and celebrating Westbrook’s endless supply of triple-doubles, we believe the Thunder is so much more than that.

A lot of teams have loyal fans, but not every fan has a loyal team.

We do.

And that’s why the Thunder is our champion.

 

Can Anyone Be a Coder?

Like any 20-something with student loans, potential opportunities to pad my bank account usually catch my eye.

The latest of these such opportunities arose last summer when I started working at 36 Degrees North. It's the hub of a lot of innovation, and most of that innovation is fueled by computer programing. So, needless to say, the place is packed with coders and efforts to increase coding education.

Through a few conversations with friends and my new coworkers, I discovered two things: 1) Coding is not reserved for rocket scientists and those little geniuses who build computers from scratch when they’re 7-years-old. And 2) Those who code make bank. We’re talking very comfy starting salaries that would easily make ramen and easy mac a thing of the past. Holla atcha boy.

So this got me thinking... Is this a career path I should explore? I didn’t suck at math in high school, and I know a fair amount about technology... Don't get me wrong, I love my current job. But maybe my interaction with these computer programmers was the universe telling me to branch out a little bit. Could I be a coder? Can anyone be a coder?

While enjoying a few cold ones on a Friday afternoon, I told our member Wassim about my recent ponderings. Wassim is a computer programmer who created his own app, so I knew he would have some legitimate insight. And sure enough, he did.

He told me about a national non-profit he was bringing to Tulsa called RailsBridge. The mission of RailsBridge, according to their website, is to "teach people to code because we believe that the people making technology should accurately reflect the diversity of those using it." In other words, they want to make coding education accessible to a more diverse crowd, specifically women and minorities.

RailsBridge Tulsa students and volunteers. Jan 2017.

RailsBridge Tulsa students and volunteers. Jan 2017.

The class Wassim was teaching was free, only for women and a 5-minute drive from my house. The only thing I had to give up was a Friday night and a Saturday. No prob. So I decided to jump in and try it out.

Here were my thoughts going into the weekend.

 
 

As you can see, I started this process with a fair amount of optimism. 

The first night was  just to install all the (software? programs? still not really sure what all that stuff was called) onto our computers. Here's how that went.

 
 

But it's amazing what a good night of sleep can do. Cue rejuvinated optimism.

 
 

As I mentioned earlier, Wassim Metallaoui was our fearless leader who brought the RailsBridge program to Tulsa and taught a room full of gabbing women the first steps of coding. Here's what he says were his goals were for the weekend.

 
 

A few things I love about what he says: 1) He doesn't expect everyone to be coders by the end of this. Such a relief because (spoiler alert) I will probably never be a coder. Just walking away with a better understanding of coding is success in his eyes. Yay! And 2) Wassim has a real desire to help people get plugged into the computer programming world. He wants to open the door for women and usher them in with the utmost encouragement. This guy is great, and you all should meet him and become his friend.

Moving on...

We spent the morning learning more about programming. We covered the history, elaborated on the key terms and started taking some action steps on Ruby (a computer language) and Rails (a computer framework). And as you can see, I hung in there.

 
 

I think my favorite part of the whole day was wondering around the room during breaks talking to women about why they were there. We had about 20 women in our class, and they all had a unique perspective on why coding is important in their lives. Here are a few words from the kind souls who agreed to go on camera.

 
 

As you can see, the response is overall very positive!

The rest of the day was spent using Ruby and Rails to create a computer application. I won't get into the nitty gritty of it all (quite frankly, because I'd probably mess it up), but at the end of the day, my program worked. So I would consider that a victory. I may or may not have treated myself to some "wow, I survived that and I should celebrate" ice cream after recording this last video.

 
 

So as a short answer to my original questions, yes. I believe anyone can become a computer programmer. It's not rocket science. It's just something that will require a lot of time, effort and mental energy. So if you're up for the challenge, I would say go for it!

Our team would love to help you get plugged into Tulsa's vibrant programming community. The next RailsBridge class is June 16-17, 2017. It's free and open to the public, but space is limited. Click here to reserve your spot.

Till then, we encourage you to check out these different monthly meetups to meet coders of all skill levels and get a little exposure to the growing industry:

Happy coding!