It’s All About The Mission

By Lisa Lambert — Updated 03/20/2024

I grew up as the kid George Kaiser often talks about – a person of color, from the heartland of America, raised by a single parent. Those were the circumstances into which I was born.

What makes my story different is that I had a community that channeled my ambition. That led to an athletic scholarship and undergraduate degree from Penn State, and an employer- sponsored MBA from Harvard; nearly three decades as a successful technology investor; and creating one of the largest worldwide networks for executive women.

Yet I know my success makes me an outlier – a lot of kids like me may not make it half this far. That’s why I accepted the invitation to become the new Chief Investment Officer of Private Markets for The George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF). I want every family we serve to feel the support that I did.

So, while my job involves money, it’s really about mission.

I approach that work like GKFF’s grant makers. My team and I will use evidence-based, data-practices to find the right investments. We look at the nuances of a particular market, the strategies of the companies within them, as well as the capabilities of the leaders of those firms. If we’re not confident in all three, we’ll move on.

We want to invest in companies that are small today but will grow quickly, become market leaders, and generate wealth that we can reinvest in GKFF’s mission.

And there are incredible opportunities.

We see significant growth in the energy, healthcare, artificial intelligence, and mobility markets–or how we move things around the world. And GKFF has the resources to make smart, impactful investments.  We remain committed to investing in the emerging startup ecosystem in Tulsa, especially around underrepresented groups such as women and minorities.  It’s a personal passion of mine as the founder of UPWARD and the founder of Intel Capital’s Diversity Fund, both of which focus on supporting such underrepresented groups.  I believe these efforts will generate jobs and opportunities for families.

I view my work for GKFF in a similar light – a lifetime of private investment experience in technology-related fields that can help those touched by our programs.  I spent 17 years at Intel Capital investing in just the kinds of high-growth companies GKFF wants in its portfolio, and generating the kinds of returns GKFF should expect.

I served most recently as the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of National Grid, a multinational electricity and gas utility company, and as the Founder and President of National Grid Partners, the company’s innovation and investment arm. My team and I created an investment approach that brought the best of Silicon Valley to an energy sector that is demanding more from new technologies than ever before.

I am also a board member at UL Solutions, which supports the safe production of products around the world; and Vital Energy, a Tulsa-based independent exploration and production company focused on delivering energy in a sustainable way and traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

I intend to apply everything I’ve learned – from startups to publicly traded companies – to benefit GKFF programs. If we on the investment team do our jobs, GKFF’s good work will reach more families and they will feel the support that I did as a child, a college student, and a working professional.

Thank you for everything you do to make that happen – I’m thrilled to support our mission.

Lisa Lambert is the Chief Investment Officer of Private Markets for GKFF, managing direct and fund investments in private companies. She was previously the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of National Grid, a multinational electricity and gas utility company, and the Founder and President of National Grid Partners, the company’s innovation and investment arm; a Managing Partner at the Westly Group, responsible for investments in energy and digital transformation; and a Vice President at Intel Capital, where she oversaw technology investments and established the Intel Capital Diversity Fund. She is also the Founder and Chair of UPWARD, a global network of executive women committed to advancing women in leadership roles.

UPWARD has been featured in the news and spotlighted in the community for our mission to advance women in the workplace. Read the articles below to learn more.

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