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Investors & Team

Our Investor:

We are a firm with a single limited partner, the George Kaiser Family Foundation. This relationship allows us to draw on a deep network of fund managers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and thought leaders who share a similar mission of cultivating a more vibrant and inclusive Tulsa. As such, we are at the center of effort to recruit jobs, talent, and new economic opportunities right here at home.

Our Mission:

Our mission is not only to drive returns and create jobs in Tulsa, but also to be an example to the world of inclusion, equality, and equity across all races, genders, educational backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses. We believe in leading by example and are proud of the diversity of our team and expect the same from our portfolio.

Our Team:
43% Underrepresented
Minorities

Our Team:
43% Women

Intern Cohort:
57% Underrepresented
Minorities

Intern Cohort:
57% Women

University Investment Fellowship:
55% Underrepresented
Minorities

University Investment Fellowship:
55% Women

Our Team:

The team at Atento Capital shares a common goal of doing both good and well. We want to deliver for our shareholders, but we have an equal focus on doing good by our stakeholders. Each team member has a passion for making the world a better place, and we subscribe to the notion that social change can be driven through economic opportunity. We also believe in a universe of entrepreneurs that inclusively reflects the broader universe of humanity. And we work with passion each day to achieve our goals and to see our dreams turn into a reality.

The founding team has a very diverse background, but we are all generalist investors. Our team is a combination of successful entrepreneurs and traditional finance analysts, and each of us are competitive and thrive on the process of improvement.

We are honored to work at Atento and feel incredibly grateful to spend our time working in a role that sits at the crossroads of entrepreneurship, economic development, finance, and social improvement. For us, work is not a chore, it is a passion, and that is the same mindset we look for in all of our partners.

Michael Basch

Managing Partner

Mike on LinkedIn

Originally from California, I was born in San Francisco, and raised in Los Angeles. From 2010 to 2018, I had been living primarily in New York with 2 years in London and a splash of Tel Aviv before moving to Tulsa in the beginning of 2018. Raised by two parents working in the non-profit space, I have always been torn by my inner struggle for doing good vs. doing well. During my summers as a kid, I remember volunteering at my mom's non-profit (The Shoah Foundation) in the mornings, and selling lemonade on my street corner in the afternoons. But my love for business largely prevailed, leading me to pursue a BA in Business at USC in Los Angeles, as well as an MBA there a few years later. My passions outside of work include running (have run 5 marathons), volunteering, traveling, seeing friends, introducing strangers, and spending as much time as possible with my amazing wife, Romi.

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to work, and loved to engulf myself within different kinds of businesses, both as an operator and as an investor. I started working full time while in high school as a barista at a coffee shop in LA, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. 7 Years later, I was operating 22 stores, overseeing nearly 400 people and managing a $19 million revenue operation. I was in the coffee space through undergrad and business school. During that time, two close friends of mine started a t-shirt company out of our fraternity. I joined as the 5th partner, and the 5 of us bootstrapped the business to 150+ people across 6+ countries, and $30 million+ revenue before selling to the publicly traded Superior Uniform Group. Prior to that sale, I had already begun angel investing, and eventually joined one of my portfolio companies, Spotad, as President.  Within two years there, we built the company to 45 people across 4 countries and $15 million+ in revenue. But then the 2016 election happened, and I felt compelled to follow my heart into the Clinton Campaign--initially as a volunteer and eventually helping to organize Madison, Wisconsin. When we lost the race, I was looking for ways to make an impact given the current American political climate, which led me to Tulsa. More on that here.

For the past two years, I have had the privilege of working closely with the George Kaiser Family Foundation in Tulsa, in a role that straddles both investment and economic development.  Some of the questions we were looking to address in the work we were doing were things such as: “Can you be intentional about how you deploy capital that not only drives return but has a local economic impact as well?”  “What are the right economic incentives needed to attract and retain talent in Tulsa?”  “Can you make large scale social change through economic opportunity?”  While many of these hypotheses are yet to be concluded, the initial work was compelling enough that it led to the birth of Atento Capital.  Now, with a committed team behind our work, we are looking to turn our efforts into turbo drive and really catalyze growth in 21st century jobs in Tulsa.  I couldn’t be more excited and grateful to be on a team undertaking this challenge.

Will Gray

Investments and Partnerships

Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I spent the majority of my life playing tennis. By the time I was 18 years old, I had competed from coast to coast against all the best US players my age. Most of the other top junior players were from big coastal cities, but I took pride in being a tennis player from Tulsa, and I have that same passion for my hometown today. I later played for the University of Tulsa, where I played on a team represented by eight different nationalities, it was that immersive experience which gave me an appreciation for other languages, cultures, and people. After playing at TU, I tried my luck on the ATP tour. But as it turns out, its tough to make a living playing professional tennis, so I went back to school to complete my Spanish degree and pursue my MBA.

I first realized that I enjoyed business when I helped organize one of the largest tennis events in state history. The exhibition event featured several of the highest ranked professional players in the world and served as a benefit for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Oklahoma. Having volunteered as a Big Brother for several years, I wanted to help the organization at scale, and the best way I knew how was through tennis. The event raised funds for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters and led to several new volunteers through raised awareness. I've always had a passion for helping others, and through that event, I got my first business experience.

After completing my MBA at The University of Tulsa, I took a job at BOK Financial, where I always felt gratified working, because of the incredible impact our chairman, Mr. George Kaiser, was making in the community. I spent the majority of my career as a fundamental equity analyst for the internal mutual fund company, Cavanal Hill Investment Management, where I covered the Consumer Discretionary, Energy, REITs, and Communication Services sectors. While working on the buy-side, I became a CFA charter holder, and gained an incredible interest in tech related businesses. I still love tennis and get to hit balls with my wife, Michelle every once in a while (who played for the women's team at TU) but today I enjoy riding bikes, doing yoga, and walking our dog. Michelle and I also love hanging out with friends and introducing others to the city of Tulsa!

Cassy Hendrix

Recruiter

I was born in Shawnee, OK and spent most of my childhood living in Edmond. Having both my grandparents in Tulsa, and my parents born and raised in Tulsa, it was only a matter of time before my family moved back. I was excited to move here the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I knew I didn't want to go too far for college, so I chose OSU Tulsa, where I got a bachelor's degree in business. It was there I realized that whatever I did, I wanted to work with and help people. While in college, I worked at a local restaurant where I met my husband, Josh. We married and started our family, now of 4 (and two dogs). We love raising our daughters in Tulsa. It's a wonderful place to raise a family, and has only gotten better over time. We take advantage of the music scene, amazing local parks and restaurants as often as we can!

As I began my career, I knew I wanted to work somewhere I could learn, grow and become an expert. I knew the Helmerich name from seeing it at parks, buildings, etc. With the help of some connections, I interviewed at Helmerich & Payne and landed in HR, working in Recruiting. That was over 10 years ago!  My work introduces me to people who have done amazing things everyday and there is nothing more satisfying than having a part in connecting someone to their dream job. I have a passion for helping people, understanding an organization's culture and trying to find the right fit; All with a deep focus on developing long lasting relationships. I have industry experience in Oil & Gas, Financial Services, and Technology. Having worked in both corporate and staffing environments I know how to craft an amazing candidate experience and long term relationship while also executing with speed and efficiency.

I was hopeful there was a way to blend my professional life with something I can be passionate about. I feel like I really found that blend at Atento Capital. Growing up in Tulsa, I have seen lots of changes over the years. I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of that change and on the front lines being a voice telling the story to job seekers. Being a part of a team that has a direct impact on the community is what gets me up everyday excited about work. As a Recruiter, I am passionate about our mission for job creation in Tulsa, helping people land their dream job, and ultimately helping the city to continue to become more vibrant and inclusive.

Dozie Ibekwe

Principal

I grew up in Lagos where community service and team sports were important in my childhood. I have led community service and international development projects as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Engineers Without Borders and World Economic Forum Global Shapers. I also founded a pro bono consultancy for small businesses. I am a rower and soccer goalkeeper: I was a member of the rowing and soccer teams of Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University and Harvard Business School—I represented HBS in the Head Of The Charles Regatta.

Before Atento Capital, I was an investor at Pamoja Capital, the Geneva-based family office of the McCall MacBain Family and the McCall MacBain Foundation. Previously, I was a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group. At BCG, I worked in the Houston, London and Lagos offices and advised clients around the world. I started my career as an associate in General Electric’s Operations Management Leadership Program. At GE, I worked in multiple roles across different countries, most recently in a supply chain management consultant role. I earned a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in electrical engineering from the honors college of University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and a master’s degree in supply chain management from Pennsylvania State University. I also earned a master of public policy (MPP) from University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Through Atento, I am working to drive innovation and accelerate economic development in Tulsa and create a model that may be replicated in cities around the world.

Chandler Malone

Venture Partner

Chandler on LinkedIn

I was originally born and raised in Dallas before moving to St. Louis to attend Washington University where I played on the basketball team as a freshman and sophomore. Much of my collegiate experience was centered on finding ways to help people improve their life situations. Through the Linus Foundation and Pyramid Foundation, my team and I were able to donate over $100,000 to low income St. Louis middle and elementary schoolers and my time with Building Futures and the Alberti Program allowed me to mentor over a hundred young people in St. Louis. My coursework as an American Culture Studies major helped to shape my interest in the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship, and economic development as my Captsone explored how entrepreneurship and intentional venture capital are the most effective vehicles for job creation in today's world. Now that I am a retired athlete, I still love to play basketball and exercise; spend time with my wife, Sahee and mother, Yolawnde; and travel. I'm always open to suggestions for new books to read and places to eat!

As a sophomore in college, the entrepreneurship bug bit me and I fell in love. That year, a friend and I launched a successful events company that went from selling concert tickets for a commission to booking a Billboard Top 10 artist ourselves in 1 year. A year later, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend some time at St. Louis based venture capital fund iSelect, learning the ins and outs of the early stage investing space. These experiences early on were quite empowering and in 2017, I founded and served as CEO of The Moves, a software company designed to disrupt the event ticketing space with industry leading transaction fees, text message notifications, and secure private events. After selling The Moves to Atlanta-based Wright Enterprises in July of 2019, I returned to St. Louis to join the investment team at SixThirty, a cybersecurity and fintech focused corporate-backed venture capital fund and began angel investing on the side, writing checks into Atlanta-based MedFlik and St. Louis-based Ideate. My experiences as both an entrepreneur and investor have given me a level of insight and empathy necessary to assist early stage companies in accomplishing their growth goals and becoming "investment ready".

Chandler recently launched his own startup, Ideate and will remain with Atento Capital as a Venture Partner.

Sean McCroskey

Investment Associate

I'm a Cincinnati, Ohio native with stops in London, England and Washington D.C along the way. Having grown up in Cincinnati, I witnessed first-hand the transformation a city can go through when its government and residents are aligned on a mission to pursue growth and change for the good. It was this experience that turned me on to entrepreneurship and led me to begin interning at several startups in the city. Having deep roots in the area, I went to Xavier University to obtain my degree in Finance. At the end of my junior year, a friend mentioned a program called Venture for America (VFA). I applied and got accepted as the second person from Xavier to ever receive the fellowship. I spent a summer learning a multitude of skills from IDEO, Mckinsey, Training the Street and even met my now-wife! I eventually went on to serve my fellowship in Charlotte, North Carolina where I worked in operations at a high-growth, cloud-based deal management software company. After realizing I wanted to experience life at an early-stage company, I moved to Birmingham, Alabama where I worked as the first full-time employee in Biz Dev and Product Management within the construction technology space. I continue to be involved in VFA as a volunteer and supporter.

I met my incredible wife at a VFA job fair, where we were both pursuing roles at startups. We got married in June and packed our bags for Tulsa just a few weeks later! We have a dog named Griffey -- named after Ken Griffey Jr., of course. Outside of spending time with them, I love to read science fiction and history books, cook anything from Matty Matheson’s Cookbooks, play basketball and watch the Bengals, Musketeers and Reds play. I have successfully summited Mt. Rainier and Kilimanjaro and hope to climb a few more down the road. When I’m not meeting or researching founders and tech companies for work, I’m writing about them in my weekly tech startup newsletter called Welcome to the Stage. 

In the documentary The Defiant Ones, famed record producer and founder of Interscope Records Jimmy Iovine described what it was like for him and Dr. Dre to meet Eminem for the first time, ignoring the advice of their peers not to meet with him. Despite the many critics who said someone from Detroit couldn't make it in music, Dr. Dre and Jimmy signed Eminem. When asked why, he simply said “greatness can come from anywhere.” I believe the same message applies to entrepreneurs -- today more than ever. The internet has helped level the playing field in the world of tech and founders can emerge from anywhere. I’ve come to Tulsa and Atento because I want to make sure that all founders -- no matter where they are -- have the resources they need in order to innovate and grow incredible businesses. Atento is a firm that believes in being more than just a check to those founders innovating and growing their businesses. They’re truly dedicated to being the trailwise sidekicks every entrepreneur needs in order to be successful. 

Aaron Miller

Talent Strategy

Growing up in Chicago, I was obsessed with Fisher-Price cars. After my parents would tuck me into bed, I would sneak out from under my covers, grab the cars & people, and invent stories of intrigue and drama in the lives of these characters. This playful proclivity towards imagining how citizens thrive and interact blossomed into a passion for building civic environments with people at the core. 

I crafted my own major at University of Michigan (Metropolitan Strategic Development), bore witness to the effects of unreliable transit, educational inequity, healthcare disparity, and housing issues on my students as a middle school Teach For America teacher in Tulsa, and built a vibrant talent ecosystem and neighborhood in Tulsa’s Arts District during my 5+ years at the George Kaiser Family Foundation. As the founding Board Chair of 36 Degrees North, Tulsa’s basecamp for entrepreneurs, I was able to strategically meld the need for entrepreneurship and talent initiatives with the nuts, bolts and bricks of the built environment. 

After 7 years in town, I made the difficult decision to leave Tulsa to pursue a master’s degree in Learning & Organizational Change at Northwestern University. I researched workplace leadership and studied talent, culture, org design and org effectiveness. I worked on Culture Transformation at General Motors in Detroit and then launched the Talent Development function at Tempus, a rapidly growing health tech data company in Chicago using artificial intelligence to cure cancer, depression and other diseases. 

You could take me out of Tulsa but you couldn’t take the Tulsa spirit out of me. I boomeranged back to Tulsa in 2020 with my partner Joe to blend my expertise in Talent Strategy with a citywide, Atento-driven mission to build unbelievably successful organizations within a well-connected network. At my core, I care deeply about creating warm, accessible organizations and civic ecosystems that facilitate growth and development. Tulsa welcomed me with open arms when I moved here in 2010 and I am incredibly honored to welcome countless others to the magic of Tulsa.

Josephine Nelms

Operations Manager

I am a Tulsa native who comes from humble beginnings. The youngest of five siblings. Daughter of an African American mother and a Ghanaian father. I was raised in a single parent home. My mom worked in non-profit as a recreation director for low-income housing. Watching her drive inspired me to work hard at an early age and taught me the importance of having a variety of skill sets. At the age of 10, I was folding “The Chronicle” (a neighborhood newsletter) to earn income. By 12, I was charging girls to style their hair during lunch at school and had convinced my aerobics and weightlifting teacher to let me use the locker room as my salon. By the time I graduated from high school, I was a licensed cosmetologist. I used that license to work my way through college, while also maintaining a work study in media relations. At the close of my post-secondary education from the University of Tulsa, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and a minor in Chemistry. Outside of work, I love spending time with my husband Courtney, our daughters JoAnna and Allena, painting and watching a lot of HGTV. 

Post-graduation, I followed in my mom’s footsteps and entered the non-profit sector for a span of 10 years. I worked as a Mentor Coordinator and a Director of Community Outreach. It was during that tenure that I discovered my strength in being able to identify gaps in compliance, develop processes and find ways to make processes more efficient. I am a proud alumna of Leadership Tulsa’s New Voices Class 11, the 2019 recipient of the Youth at Heart Alumnus Achievement Award and in 2018, I received the Youth Work Professional Supervisor of the Year Award.

Atento’s mission falls in line with my personal mission. The word literally means “helpful” in Spanish. I am passionate about ending the generational cycle of poverty in my community. Our Atento team has been given the great gift of being at the forefront of nurturing and developing entrepreneurial talent, creating business sustainability and in turn creating jobs in Tulsa. I am so honored to be a part of a team that is intelligent beyond measure and hungry for change.

Susan Spears

Senior Investor

I am originally from Dallas, TX but have called Tulsa home since 2014. I grew up as a ballet dancer and attribute my lack of skill in organized sports to the fact that I spent my youth years at the barre and not on the field. I am a Double Domer and received both my undergraduate and Masters degree in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!). I met my husband Reid while at ND, and we have a son, Anthony, who brings so much joy to our lives. I love running, show tunes, and have recently taken up piano.

After college, I began my career with Ernst & Young as a tax professional. I worked in both the Dallas and Tulsa offices for several years. I then had the opportunity to work for The McNellies Group as a Financial Associate and helped with analytics for 15+ restaurants. Most recently, I worked as an Associate for Argonaut Private Equity in Tulsa.

I have always wanted to have a voice and make a difference in the community where I live. In Tulsa, that opportunity is tangible. Since moving here in 2014, I have found that it is possible to be involved in the future of the city as a young person in her career. The united desire for a better Tulsa is real, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of the progress through my work at Atento.

Ciore Taylor

Director of Strategy and Operations

Ciore on LinkedIn

If I could sum up my life in one line, there would be no reason to invite me for coffee! For now, I’ll just tell you that since college I have lived in 8 states and 2 countries, launched 3 businesses, built a community of over 50,000 online followers and written two books about my life’s journey. Community advocacy has always been a passion of mine and I take great pride in being able to speak and advocate for those who may not be able to do so for themselves. I absolutely love free lunch! Red wine and sci-fi thrillers are my jam. Most importantly,  if you are ever looking for a karaoke partner, I am your girl!

As an engineer and entrepreneur, I love being able to identify, innovate, and implement trustworthy solutions to complex problems. Having consulted for 15+ Fortune 500 companies, managed program budgets in excess of $20M, and piloted regional program “Diversity Dialogues”, I have first-hand real-world experience in optimizing operations and supporting organizations as they “pivot into the unknown”. Whether it be strategizing robust solutions, organizing knowledge transfer, or designing new ways of working, I thoroughly enjoy creating systems that can benefit the many.

I never imagined building a career here in Tulsa..but once I heard about the city’s push for economic development, I knew immediately that I wanted to become a part of the solution. With the city in the midst of a boom, I strived to join a company that was at the forefront of it all. That’s when I discovered Atento  - a good company run by great people on a greater mission to impact the community. I look forward to exploring Tulsa from a new lense and fresh perspective. It’s an honor to be on a team that truly desires to positively impact the community just as much as I do.

Megan Thomas

Head of Talent

I grew up in a small town just north of Seattle and I look back on my childhood with fondness. My father was a professor at the University of Washington and for my whole life commuted so we could have a country life. When I was five I told him I wanted a sheep and the next day we went out and bought 3 which was the beginning of our “Hobby” farm. That’s how he rolled. You dream it and we do it. We never made any money but I learned a ton about life and caring for others. This was the beginning of many animals and people that we would bring home to help along their path. Having grown up in a small town my father wanted me to get out and experience the world. I went to Los Angeles and spent the next 20 years there learning about many different cultures and traveling the world.

My professional career started after I graduated with a dual degree in Engineering and Liberal Arts from Harvey Mudd and Scripps College. I set out to prove myself in corporate America. My first job was at the Boeing C-17 plant making a military transport. It was an amazing job. I got to experience a tactical descent over the ocean during a test flight, work on infrared night vision landing technology, and conceptualize future innovations as part of their R&D team. But soon I found my strength was not building the airplane but leading and organizing technologists who could. Lacking any business skills, I went to USC to get my MBA and balance out my knowledge between technology and business. This opened doors to program management and catapulted me into the world of consulting. I leapt from building airplanes to helping improve the delivery of healthcare. For a little more than 10 years I spent embedded in our countries healthcare system driving hospitals and payers execution on complex initiatives for transformations, technology implementations, and operational improvement. With all these transitions at the core was helping people execute on complex, charged transformations that needed strong leadership.  When my husband and I were ready to start a family, I felt torn in the desire to continue to pursue my career and the desire to be a mother. I worked for probably the world’s most caring organization at the time, Point B, which gave me the opportunity to be an internal recruiter. Unknowingly at the time, this would be the next 5 years of my life as I focused on transforming our own operations to scale hiring to meet rapid growth.

When I met Atento it felt as though these past three careers in technology, consulting, and talent acquisition were all preparing me for this opportunity. For the last 10 years, I’ve watched the city of Tulsa change as I visited family here during the holidays. The investment in the people and programs have put Tulsa in a perfect position to truly be an amazing place to live and work. Atento acts as an integrator of all the pieces people and companies need to flourish here. It’s rare to see such a strong collaboration, sense of community, desire to help, and the strength in resources and talent to execute. I keep pinching myself each day as I work with great people all extremely passionate about having an impact that is laser-focused on this great city. It was my dream job and I am dedicated to working hard to support the Tulsan workforce development.

Aaron Whigham

Program Director

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, I spent most of my youth playing sports. I competed with some of the best in the region in shot put and discus and came within inches of qualifying for the National Junior Olympics. It was through sports that I learned how grit, tenacity and hard work pay off. In addition to playing sports, I always had a mind for business, which led me to California University of PA, where I received my BS in Finance. While in college, I transitioned from playing sports to playing music and was hired as the school’s pianist. Before graduating, I became president of the gospel choir and treasurer of the Black Student Union. I did not know at the time that all these successes and experiences were working together to make me a multifaceted individual, something I realized as I transitioned to a professional career.

I have served the last three years as Director of Strategic Initiatives at Penn State University Greater Allegheny (PSUGA) and Founder of the Mon Valley Launchbox (MVL). Through the MVL, a business incubator that strives to cultivate a solvent ecosystem within the Mon Valley, I have provided strategic leadership and business acumen to current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Throughout my career at PSUGA, I’ve worked to create access points to resources and forge mutually beneficial relationships between government and community stakeholders. Over the last eight-years at PSUGA, I have managed an $11M campus budget, led multiple efforts on campus designed to increase retention and degree conferral rates, and served as a pillar of support to the campus and broader community.

I never thought my career would lead me to Tulsa, Oklahoma. However, my wife and I are excited to join the Tulsa community. As Program Director at Atento, I will be diligently working to cultivate talent in Tulsa, while creating high quality programming to advance the mission of both Atento Capital and the George Kaiser Family Foundation. In addition to working at Atento, I am pursuing my master’s degree in Organization Development Change Management from Penn State University and I serve as the Senior Pastor of Christ Is All InnerCity Ministries in Turtle Creek, PA. I embody servant leadership to the highest degree in everything I do, and I have an unwavering commitment to excellence.

We’re always looking for great people and organizations to work with. We’d love to chat.

Let’s Talk

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