Invest Atlanta announced the hiring of Monica Hooks as the Executive Director of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI), a business incubator for early-stage, female-led startup companies. Hooks brings more than 20 years of marketing and business development experience to the position with deep expertise in new media, entertainment, and technology.
As WEI Executive Director, she will lead the WEI program, including the strategic direction, administration, and day-to-day activities of the organization with oversight from Invest Atlanta's CEO and the WEI board of directors. Hooks will develop, manage, and execute programs and initiatives that support the development and promotion of female entrepreneurship with a keen focus on launching the program’s third cohort.
She will also be responsible for key areas such as innovation policy, entrepreneur workforce programs, women entrepreneurship, financial capacity building, and entrepreneur retention and entrepreneur development throughout the City of Atlanta.
“Atlanta is a national leader in female entrepreneurship, and our region is home to more than 200,000 women-owned businesses,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “As that number continues to grow, we want to provide them with the resources they need to thrive. Since the City of Atlanta became the first city to fund and launch an incubator like WEI, we have supported dozens of successful women entrepreneurs. We will continue to do so under the guidance of Monica Hooks.”
“On behalf of the board, I am very pleased to welcome Monica to WEI,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “As an accomplished entrepreneur herself, she has the expertise and experience required to support Atlanta’s next generation of women entrepreneurs. The WEI Board is proud of the work we have done so far to level the playing field, and looking ahead, we are so happy to have a leader like Monica Hooks push the WEI mission forward.”
“In Atlanta, roughly 40 percent of businesses are women-owned, yet female entrepreneurs must still overcome social and economic barriers many of their male peers do not face,” said Grace Fricks, President and CEO of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs. “Atlanta is a city committed to supporting all its entrepreneurs, and I look forward to working closely with Monica to help more women launch successful businesses and grow our economy.”
Before joining Invest Atlanta, Hooks was CEO of m-oracle LLC d/b/a The Marketing Oracle, a marketing innovation agency offering strategy and market research. The firm has leveraged marketing data to garner partnerships with companies like Reservoir Media, Epic Records, I Am Other, Grand Hustle and William Morris Endeavor, and placements with brands like NBA.TV, Samsung, Playstation, and Disney Interactive. m-oracle LLC is a graduate of the WEI inaugural class and winner of the 2017 Microsoft Innovation Bots and Cognitive Services award.
“I am thrilled to join the Invest Atlanta team to support women founders and small business owners throughout the City of Atlanta,” said Hooks. “I look forward to building off the past success WEI has had as an incubator empowering our entrepreneurs and providing the support they need to take their businesses to the next level.”
Hooks also brings with her years of marketing experience she gained at Sony Music Entertainment, where she held product management, international marketing and business affairs roles. At Sony, Hooks was responsible for brands focused on youth culture and early social media influencers. Hooks received her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in government where she earned the Dean’s Award. She received her M.B.A. from The Wharton School with concentrations in international marketing, finance, and entrepreneurial management.
WEI will begin accepting applications in November 2019 for its next cohort of women entrepreneurs. Information and application forms will be available at www.weiatlanta.com.