Mandi Ford Argo joined Venture for America as the Director in March 2021.
Mandi Ford Argo is the Tulsa Director of Venture for America, a non-profit organization creating economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.
Can you tell us a bit more about how Venture for America works in cities like Tulsa?
Venture for America is a two-year fellowship program for recent grads who are interested in entrepreneurship. We place fellows with company partners that are startups or active in innovation and provide them with a ton of resources like mentorship, programming, and community connections.
We encourage fellows to start businesses in the cities that are placed and provide a ton of resources to help them grow and begin employing others. In cities like Tulsa, we work with companies that want to hire VFA fellows. We engage with fellows to get them attracted to our cities and interested in coming here, and then build that community to make them feel like they are part of each of our cities beyond just their network of VFA peers.
What was your experience working with Talent inTulsa? Would you recommend it to others?
I would absolutely recommend working with Talent inTulsa! My journey to Tulsa started while I was working at the University of Texas in Austin. I was interested in moving to Tulsa and began looking around my network for connections to the city. I eventually connected with Cassie, who was absolutely delightful. It was like I've known her forever - very warm, very understanding, very considerate.
I was coming from a higher education background and not wanting to jump into another higher education role. She said, you've got this skill set with higher education - let's leverage that in a different kind of way where you'll feel integrated into the pulse of the community, working for startups, and achieving your professional goals. She was just totally on point the whole time and just incredible.
What do you love about living in Tulsa?
Tulsa is a unique place with amazing people. It is a small-town vibe, without sacrificing base for the amenities, and has a Midwestern vibe with southern history. The people here are incredibly warm and welcoming. They're very interested in and rooting for you and your individual success here in Tulsa, which is amazing. I just moved to Tulsa over the summer, and I felt more connected here after a few months than I did after 15 years in Austin, and it’s totally attributed to the spirit of Tulsans. They have a ton of pride in their city and want to see it grow.