I was born and raised in Montgomery, AL, a home drenched in the history of trailblazers and change. So naturally, I've always been moved to fight for what I believed could level the playing field for all. While my city was a catalyst for one of the most monumental movements in the history of our country, there is still so much work to be done. In a state where it was incredibly tough to get ahead, I'm lucky to have parents who reached for the stars. Unlike the vast majority of African Americans in 1950's Alabama, they both beat the odds, went to college and were committed to creating a better life for their children. Still, for me, growing up in the 90s had it's own challenges because: 1. We still were Black and 2. It was still Alabama. And when it comes to being Black in Alabama, all you want to do is Get Out (pun intended).
My life changed when my 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Lendman, told my parents I was bored in my zoned school and needed to pursue something more challenging. My parents hustled to get me interviewed for a magnet school and the trajectory of my life has been different ever since.
My father is a serial entrepreneur. He's incredibly smart, incredibly determined and the basis for my go-getter attitude. But before I came to Silicon Valley, I had never even heard of venture capital. Why would I? It's not a "thing" down South and my exposure to it was, well, 0. The great thing about life, though, is that getting to where you're supposed to be and what you're supposed to do is a journey. I've had the amazing opportunity to conduct research on complex social issues, serve as an educator while teaching at SJSU and do my part in making the world a better place by managing a nonprofit startup incubator program.
While working in nonprofit, I learned the hard way that creating a sustainable business model from an organization that is not set up for generating revenue is incredibly daunting. So I needed to think about how I could have the impact I'd always dreamed of--how can I position myself to make good scale? My first answer: Stanford Graduate School of Business. My second answer: Venture Capital. Helping firms who are committed to making the lives of the average person better in an impact positive or impact neutral way is what I dream of. But the reason why my path is venture and not nonprofit is because I learned a long time ago that being literal is the easiest way to stay inside a box. Expanding my idea of what could be really lit a fire : environmentally friendly clothing, social service platforms, increased connectedness, new forms of financial inclusion, game-changing healthcare...the list goes on and on.
All of my experiences have worked together and given me a perspective on business and social concept unlike anyone else. They've helped me understand how I can grow, who I can be, and what I can accomplish. Further, they've helped me understand how others can grow, who they can be and what they can accomplish. And I want to act on those absolutes through venture.
So while at Stanford, I've been working. I've been reading, learning, modeling, interviewing, operating, entrepreneur-ing, hustling, researching, evaluating, sourcing, diligencing, interning.
A Black Girl in Venture is my story of getting there.