Marla joined i2E as Operations Coordinator in April 2021.
We Are Tulsa is a special Talent inTulsa series showcasing the people that make Tulsa a vibrant place to live, work, and play. From early-career professionals to experienced leaders and innovators, the collection of talent in Tulsa combines to create a thriving community.
Marla joined i2E, a non-profit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs launch in Oklahoma, as Operations Coordinator in April 2021. A native of Moore, Oklahoma, she became excited about what Tulsa had to offer when she moved here in September 2019 with her husband.
What ultimately made you decide to move to Tulsa?
My husband! I grew up in Moore, Oklahoma, went to OU, and then worked and lived in Oklahoma City until my husband and I got married, and he got a job in Tulsa. I followed him here when we got married in September 2019.
How did you first find out about your new role?
I found out about the job I have now through a connection I had made while working at Girl Scouts. A boss I worked with was hired by Atento Capital, a partner of Talent InTulsa. She invited me to come with her. Unfortunately, the job I interviewed for at Atento was eliminated at the last minute, so I didn’t end up getting hired. But the Talent InTulsa team followed up with me and said they’d still love to help me find a position. They found the position at i2E that I’m no win. I interviewed in March 2021 and got hired in April. I’ve been here now a little over three months.
What stands out to you about working with Talent InTulsa?
The team at Talent InTulsa was great all around. The thing that stuck out to me the most was that they held to their word. They never dropped the ball. I just appreciated that they were intentional and detail-oriented enough to continue to follow up. They were very persistent and kept up with me throughout the whole process. It’s totally worth working with them.
Tell us about your job as Operations Coordinator at i2E.
My job entails everything that comes with operations. I set up calls and schedule meetings and provide support for a team of six. I also am part of the operations team for our partners, Act Tulsa (a venture capital firm specifically for black and brown founders in Tulsa). I help facilitate our entrepreneurial mentorship classes, making sure they run smoothly. I also handle inquiries about how to get connected to i2E.
I feel really honored to be in a job where I get to meet people from out of state and even out of the country and get to hear their stories.
What’s the company culture like at i2E?
One thing that’s important to me is boundaries with work-life balance. And i2E has that. They were very open about it, even before I asked. If they would like me to work outside regular hours, they let me know about it well in advance, and they don’t hold it against you if you can’t do it or if you have a family situation come up. Family time comes first, as long as it doesn’t interfere with major meetings.
That was something that meant a lot to me. And everyone else I work with feels the same way, which is meaningful to me.
What do you love about working with your team?
I love my team. It’s a diverse team of personalities and backgrounds, a perfect mix, which allows for all of us to be empathetic toward one another and collaborative. They’re very patient and understanding. As hectic as the schedule is, our team is very flexible.
What are your favorite things to do in Tulsa?
I love craft coffee, and there are so many places here to try. That’s been a highlight overall. I enjoy Notion in downtown Tulsa and Nordaggio’s in South Tulsa. There’s a place in Broken Arrow in Rattlesnake that’s good, as well as Hodges Bend and Foolish Things (both downtown).
My husband and I love going to the Gathering Place. Whenever anyone comes toTulsa, we go there. Riverside is fun. I like the Peoria/Brookside area, too; that’s an enjoyable place to hang out outside.
We like Dilly Diner a lot, Big Whiskey’s, Que Gusto (an empanada place). We drink a lot of coffee and eat a lot of food, and we enjoy what Tulsa has to offer. The variety is important to us.
What are the best qualities of Tulsa?
Tulsa is willing to grow and expand out. It feels like there are many acknowledgments of where we need to grow and the actions we’re taking to get there. I had no idea about Tulsa doing what it does with programs like Tulsa Remote, ACT Tulsa, and venture capital places bringing people here. It’s been eye-opening to see that Tulsa is willing to grow and making strides to get there. That wasn’t something I was expecting, but am really glad to see it.