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“Once Gil (Eacret of Security Bank) said in a TEDC Board meeting, ‘So this individual has no assets, no credit history, no money, and we’re still going to give them the loan?’ and we were like ‘Yeah! Because we believe in what she’s doing!’” Deputy Mayor Cassia Carr said, reflecting on the great memories she shared on the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation’s (TEDC) Board of Directors.
“That kind of stuff is fun, especially when I see companies that we gave a loan while I was president. I really feel like I made a positive impact on our community.”
Carr served as the 2021 and 2022 TEDC Board President before passing the gavel to Matt King of King Architectural Solutions in 2023.
“It’s definitely my favorite volunteer work, because it’s so impactful,” Carr said. “And I use some of my business background.”
Carr was appointed to the board when she was a practicing attorney almost six years ago by the Mayor. They were acquainted through Susan Bynum who Carr met in law school at the University of Tulsa. The Mayor connected Carr to TEDC due to her background in business and her passion for volunteering.
Carr is a Tulsa native who has lived all around the city. She was born in north Tulsa, but moved with her family to Gilcrease, west Tulsa and Cherry Street. She went to school at Berry Hill and graduated high school at Victory.
After graduating, Carr went to Tulsa Community College before attending Oral Roberts University and studying international business and Spanish. After graduating ORU, she worked for PepsiCo for four years as a district sales leader.
“I was on the Frito Lay side so we sold chips,” Carr said. “After a year of training, I had 25 different salespersons and we sold $11 million worth of chips every year. It’s fun to start your career in a large international organization. You learn so many things.”
Carr then decided to get a professional degree and went to law school at the University of Tulsa. She took on the role of an attorney at a few places before taking on her role as Deputy Mayor.
“I worked at Hall Estill, which is a private law firm here in town,” Carr said. “ I did a lot of bankruptcy work, business litigation, creditors rights, things like that. For about a year I worked at a firm called Winters and King, which represents churches and nonprofits all over the world. Then I went and worked in-house at Williams.”
As mentioned earlier, Carr got to know the Mayor’s wife, Susan Bynum in law school. As a result, Mayor Bynum put her on a couple of his volunteer commissions.
“When Deputy Mayor Amy Brown stepped down, he reached out to me to see if I would join his team,” Carr said. “It’ll be about two years in August.”
“The skills that you get from being an attorney that has practiced law, you take those everywhere,” Carr said.
“It’s just the way that you look at problems. You look at things from a very panoramic view. Although you don’t look through rose colored glasses, your goal is not to be a roadblock. Being Deputy Mayor is a problem solving role, it’s project planning, and skills gained as a practicing attorney are invaluable. When I’m done in the Mayor’s Office, I’ll return to being an attorney.”
Carr and TEDC
Carr said that she tells people while driving around Tulsa to look around and they will see TEDC projects everywhere. The outreach and impact the organization has in helping Tulsa’s economic growth is outstanding to Carr.
“Such great work, such needed work,” Carr said. “Everyone on the board is so smart and also they care about the people, they care about these small businesses. They really want to see the owners succeed.” The TEDC staff is also very committed to the work of providing progressive lending to promising businesses.
Her advice for anyone applying to TEDC is to come in with an open mind ready to learn.
“It’s so important at every level in your career to take critical feedback, and if you’re someone who can accept constructive criticism and feedback well and act on it, you will always succeed because everyone wants to work with other people that are teachable,” Carr said. “It’s probably the most important thing I’ve taken through every career move: listen, act, change, and adapt.”
While working with TEDC, people can be assured they are getting the best resources and information to help their business excel.
“Know that you’re talking to experts that really know how to make it work,” Carr said.
“In all different kinds of industries, we bring in people that have been there; they know. Listen to them, take in that training, be someone who’s teachable. You’re dealing with an organization that really wants to see you succeed, and we’re willing to take risks that others are not willing to take so you can get there.”
About TEDC Creative Capital
TEDC Creative Capital (aka TEDC) is a community development financial institution (CDFI) providing lending opportunities and learning programs to start-up or growing businesses. TEDC helps small companies operate more successfully, create jobs, and loans range from $500 to $10 million.
Visit the TEDC website or call 918-585-8332 for more information on loan and educational programs.