The Speakers

Beatriz Acevedo

SUMA Wealth, CEO & Co-founder

Beatriz Acevedo is one of the leading inspirational voices and Latina entrepreneurs in the United States. She has dedicated her career to empowering and opening doors for the next generation of Latino leaders.

Beatriz started her career in media at a young age, first on radio and later on television. Her work earned her three Emmys, one MTV Music Award, and a Media Correspondent Award, among others. She later became a tech media entrepreneur as the Co-Founder and President of mitú, the leading digital media brand for young Latinos in the U.S.

Beatriz is a passionate and sought after speaker who enjoys discussions around diversity as good business, female leadership, and the economic impact of Latinos in America. Additionally, she sits on numerous boards and advisory committees.

Beatriz recently co-founded and co-chairs LA Collab, a Hollywood initiative aimed at doubling Latino representation in Hollywood, both in front and behind the camera by 2030.

Her latest startup SUMA Wealth was founded with the vision of closing the Latinx wealth gap by providing financial education via in-culture content, fintech tools, and digital experiences, all in a highly engaging wealth-building digital platform.

David Hall

Revolution Ventures, Managing Partner

David Hall is the Managing Partner at Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and is responsible for investment sourcing, execution, and oversight of the Fund’s portfolio companies. David began his career with Revolution in 2006, serving as an investment professional across the firm, including as an investor with Revolution Growth and Revolution Ventures. David has worked closely with and served as a Board director and observer for a number of Revolution’s portfolio companies, including Revolution Money (acquired by American Express), Booker (Acquired by MindBody), BenchPrep, FreightWaves, Foxtrot, and Understory.

Prior to Revolution, David was an executive with The Washington Post Company as Director of Planning and Development. In this capacity, he managed corporate M&A and investments and launched new print and digital publications. Earlier in his career, David held positions at Akamai Technologies, Inc. and was a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc.

David received a B.A. in Economics from Morehouse College and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Erika Chestnut

Calendly, Head of QA

Funky. Quirky. Clever. Sassy. Erika’s leadership style starts and stops with relationships. With over 20 years of experience in the tech industry – from application development to spinning up new quality departments – Erika has learned to lead with grace, patience and a little bit of snarky humor. Her mission is to help people lead – in business and life – from a more compassionate space to build-up teams and people that are engaged, empowered and excited.

Morgan DeBaun

Blavity, Founder

Morgan DeBaun is the Founder & CEO of Blavity Inc., the leading media company for Black culture and millennials.

Since launching Blavity Inc. in 2014, Morgan has led the company to successfully acquire Travel Noire, a travel platform for Black millennials and Shadow And Act, a Black entertainment news site. Under her leadership, Blavity has launched several leading consumer summits including Summit 21 for Black women creators and Bay Area’s AfroTech, the largest tech conference for Black innovators and founders. While scaling the company, Morgan has raised 11 million dollars from top Silicon Valley venture firms such as GV and Comcast.

Morgan is a passionate small business advocate and advises early stage entrepreneurs on how to scale their business in her Signature WorkSmart Advising program.

Morgan is a St. Louis native and a graduate of Washington University in St.Louis.

Ayinde Alakoye

nedl, Founder

Ayinde’s the CEO of nēdl (as in, ‘the haystack’), served as an Executive Board Member of the Developers Alliance, and created iheartradio’s original app. Appearances include, CNBC Powerlunch, CBS TV & Radio, Clear Channel Radio, BravoTV, as well as panels for the National Association of Broadcasters, Marshall School of Business, Anderson School of Management, and delivered a keynote speech for the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. In addition to the above, Ayinde served as a Speechwriter, Staffer, and Message Advisor for Presidential Candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign.

Maria Salamanca

Unshackled Ventures, Investor

Maria Salamanca is a venture capitalist at Unshackled Ventures, a fund that fills a unique space in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, funding teams with immigrant founders at the earliest stage of pre-seed and seed. Maria joined the fund in 2015, during her time she has been involved in 50+ investments and has evaluated more than 6,000 deals. In 2018, she was first Latina named Forbes 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital and Business Insider’s Under 30 Rising Stars. Her support for the Latinx community also won her the the 2017 California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Shark of Year.

Previous to joining Unshackled, Maria worked at FWD.us an immigration lobbying group founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Ron Conway, Reid Hoffman and other tech leaders. She attended UC Berkeley where she studied Government and Legal Studies.

Arabian Prince

Arabian Prince – A songwriter, rapper, producer, DJ, technologist Pro Gamer and futurist, Arabian is best known for being a founding member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted rap group N.W.A., west coast electro music pioneer and producer of the Grammy nominated #1 hit song Supersonic. Founder of iNov8 Next Open Labs, Partner at Covitech and president of LAFTC – The Los Angeles First Tech Challenge robotics competition.

His passion for technology led to him create a 3D animation and special effects studio in the 90’s working with companies like Saban Entertainment and Fox, including 100+ video game, film and TV titles for Fox interactive and Vivendi Universal. As a consultant, Arabian has advised many companies on bridging the gap between technology and the youth, while bringing new product innovations to market. He is currently working with his tech partners to bring Open Labs to communities across the country in support of youth, women, diversity, veterans and anyone else who wants to explore the future of technology.

Eric Osiakwan

Chanzo Capital, Managing Partner

MIT, Stanford and Harvard fellow. He is an investor and developer of new businesses with 20 years’ experience spanning across 32 countries in Africa gained through a number of successful tech start-ups. Eric is a leading pioneer of internet in Africa having worked in multiple countries building internet service providers (“ISP”) and ICT businesses. Some of his successful exits include iBurst in South Africa, One2Net in Uganda, BusyInternet in Ghana, etc. Eric also founded and ran the Africa ISP Association for eight years, during which the ISP industry grew by almost 120%. He then moved onto leading efforts to build submarine cables on the continent. Eric was part of a public-private partnership in Kenya that built and launched the TEAMS submarine fiber cable, the first to connect East Africa to the rest of the world. He subsequently contributed to the building of terrestrial fiber networks in Ghana and Nigeria.

Eric has been seeding and investing early stage tech ventures across the continent. In 2013, he co-founded www.angelafrica.net, an Africa wide network of angel investors, and then www.angelfairafrica.com which brings select entrepreneurs to present to potential investors. Over the 7 years of organizing the event, we have realized US$23m of investment and one exit in 2019. He was an ICT Consultant for the WorldBank, Soros Foundations, UNDP, USAID, USDoJ, USDoS as well as African governments and private firms.

He authored “The KINGS of Africa’s Digital Economy”, co-authored the “Open Access Model”, adopted globally by the telecommunications industry, “Negotiating the Net” – the politics of Internet Diffusion in Africa and “The Internet in Ghana” with the Mosaic Group. He was invited to contribute ideas to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa.

Abbey Wemimo

Esusu, Co-Founder

Abbey Wemimo is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Esusu, a financial technology platform that reports rental data to build tenant’s credit scores while helping property owners increase revenue and lower evictions powered by differentiated data and insights. Prior to Esusu, Abbey founded Clean Water for Everyone, a global social venture providing affordable access to clean water for 250,000+ people in six countries. He also founded a data analytics company designed to gather machine-readable data on NGOs operating in Africa which was acquired in 2014. Previously, Abbey was a mergers and acquisitions consultant at PwC, where he worked on more than 20 buy and sell-side deals valued at over $50 billion. He also gained valuable experience working with Accenture, European Commission, and Goldman Sachs.

Abbey and his work have been recognized in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Quartz, Fortune, Teen Vogue, Vice, Black Enterprise, and Cheddar. Abbey was selected by Queen Elizabeth II as a Queen Young Leader. He was inducted into The Royal Commonwealth Society in 2017 and named to the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He speaks at global conferences and has presented at the United Nations, the Vatican, the World Food Prize, and Clinton Global Initiative among others. Abbey graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. He holds a Masters of Public Administration degree from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School School of Public Service and a Leading Change Scholar from The University of Cambridge.

Isaac Hayes III

Fanbase, CEO

Isaac Hayes III has definitely made all the right moves. From songwriter and producer, brand manager to tech founder, to being an integral part of electing Atlanta’s Keisha Lance Bottoms as Mayor, his business, social and political activism is on a steep rise making him a pillar of Atlanta’s African American community.

Isaac began a multi-ventured 21 year career as a songwriter-producer that transitioned into scoring music for TV networks and movies. His songwriting-producing credits include 6x’s platinum T-Pain’s – “Buy You A Drank” to music in films such as “Pitch Perfect 2”, “Think Like A Man Too” and Kevin Hart’s “About Last Night”. Isaac is also credited with scoring for numerous TV networks and shows on MTV, FOX, Bravo, ESPN, TNT, VH1, NBC and countless others.

Isaac’s next career venture in 2013 took him into the family business as President and C.E.O of Isaac Hayes Enterprises. Managing the name, image, likeness, brand, masters and publishing catalog
of his soul icon father, Isaac Hayes.

His passion for his community and his hometown of Atlanta, GA. propelled him into the political arena in 2017, where he championed and served to help elect Atlanta’s 60th Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. His fearless and savvy use of social media and deep knowledge of Atlanta politics ignited the spark that created a social media and political movement of citizens, activists and entertainment community leaders that brought the election and it’s urgent importance directly to voters which changed the trajectory of a closely contested race.

Isaac is now on a new path as a first time founder and CEO of tech start up Fanbase, which raised 2.7 Million Dollars in seed funding on StartEngine in November, 2020. Fanbase is 2nd all time for the most money raised in one day for a Reg CF on the platform at $766,000. Isaac is also the 2nd Black man on StartEngine and 3rd black man ever to raise 1 Million Dollars in a Reg CF campaign.

Kai Bond

Courtside Ventures, Partner

Kai Bond is a Partner at Courtside Ventures, the leading venture capital fund focused on early-stage sports, fitness, and gaming companies. The fund is backed by Dan Gilbert (Founder, Quicken Loans / Cleveland Cavaliers), Tony Ressler (Ares / Atlanta Hawks), John Burbank (Passport Capital / Golden State Warriors) and WPP, the world’s leading advertising services company.

Kai has two decades of experience working across venture funds, Fortune 100 enterprises and early stage startups. Most recently, he was an Investor at Comcast Ventures, leading the gaming/esports investments for their flagship fund and also ran their Catalyst Fund ($20M fund focused on underrepresented founders).

Prior, Kai has held product roles at Microsoft in mobile and gaming, corporate development at IAC and was an early member of the team at Gerson Lehrman Group. Kai is a repeat founder with deep expertise in gaming and interactive media. He was co-founder of SwitchGames, a marketplace for used video games. His second startup was incubated at Hatch Labs, where he held the dual role of General Manger for Hatch and was CEO of CashPlay Games. CashPlay was a gaming platform that matched chance-based games like slots, dice and roulette to a sweepstakes engine where users could win cash prizes. Hatch Labs was responsible for launching 6 mobile startups in gaming and media, including Tinder. His third startup, pixietv, was an interactive streaming platform that delivered custom content overlays to Smart TVs. pixietv was acquired by Samsung in 2014 where he then led the successful productization of pixietv globally.

Kai is a guest lecturer at Wesleyan University (Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship) and at Stanford GSB (Building Diverse and Inclusive Organizations). In addition to these roles, Kai is a mentor at Sports Tech Tokyo, Techstars, Rough Draft Ventures, and Dorm Room Fund.

Kai is a graduate of Wesleyan University. He lives in Brooklyn, NY and in his spare time, Kai can be found in the kitchen or in front of the grill, experimenting with new recipes.

Cheryl Contee

The Impact Seat, Chief Innovation Officer

Cheryl Contee is The Impact Seat’s Chief Innovation Officer and award-winning Founder & Chair of the mission-driven digital agency Do Big Things. Cheryl is the Amazon bestselling author of Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Startup Success. Passionate about creating new tech and new narrative for a new era, Cheryl uses her vast experience in startup entrepreneurship and community engagement to lead our portfolio companies and fund investments to success. Previously, Cheryl was CEO of Fission Strategy, which brought Silicon Valley startup culture to the world’s leading causes and campaigns. She’s the co-founder of Attentive.ly, the first tech startup with a black female founder to be acquired by a NASDAQ company, the National Board Chair for Netroots Nation, a Senior Advisor for Astia and the first portfolio company board member of New Media Ventures.

Mamuna Oladipo

Kickstarter, Senior Vice President Product, Design & Engineering

As a product executive with over 10 years of overseeing global teams, Mamuna has diverse experience leading product management, product marketing, product design and strategy development in the B2B and B2C markets. She has demonstrated success in building and executing strategic plans for product organizations that generate growth and transform user experiences. Mamuna is currently the Senior Vice President of Product, Design and Engineering, at Kickstarter, where she drives product vision and strategy to ensure constant delivery of value to the creative community.

Prior to her role at Kickstarter, Mamuna was VP of Product at SeamlessDocs and then VP of Product Marketing & Design at The Orchard, a division of Sony Music. She built the product marketing and product design teams from the ground up, formalizing go-to-market strategies across functions. She earned her MBA from the University of Maryland while working full time for Bloomberg Government where she not only gained her product foundation but played an integral role in build out the new Bloomberg vertical company.

With a deep focus on the client journey, Mamuna prides herself on aligning organizations to a vision and is passionate about building products that provide compelling and delightful experiences for users.

Jessica Salinas

New Media Ventures, VP of Investments

Jessica Salinas sits at the intersection of tech, impact, and venture capital and has dedicated her career to disrupting traditional systems and centering marginalized communities.

Currently, she is Vice President of Investments at New Media Ventures, an early stage seed fund that invests in activists and entrepreneurs wrestling with democracy’s biggest challenges. As VP of Investments, Jess is responsible for the cultivation of early-stage deal flow and portfolio management, building mission-driven partnerships, and leading the growth and direction of the investment team.

Previously, she was Partner at an impact fund moving the world towards zero poverty, zero disease and zero pollution. Jessica was also the founding Social Impact Lead at Headspace, where she developed their social impact strategy to integrate mindfulness in K-12 institutions and other nonprofits in an accessible, relevant, scalable manner.

As part of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI), Jessica co-authored the first “State of US Latino Entrepreneurship” research report and established its prestigious executive education program, SLEI-Ed, for Latinx entrepreneurs to scale their businesses.

Jessica serves on the Board of Words Uncaged, which provides programming for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals in LA, and Plug in South LA, a mission-focused organization focused on creating a community for innovation in South LA. Jessica also serves as the Impact Expert for UNLEASH+, a global pre-accelerator under the auspices of the UNDP.

Jessica received her BA in Communication from Stanford and her MS in Social Entrepreneurship from USC Marshall School of Business.

Charles Hudson

Precursor Ventures, Managing Partner

Charles Hudson is the Managing Partner and Founder of Precursor Ventures, an early­ stage venture capital firm focused on investing in the first institutional round of investment for the most promising software and hardware companies.

Prior to founding Precursor Ventures, Charles was a Partner at Uncork Capital (formerly known as SoftTech VC). In this role, he focused on identifying investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure, mobile applications, and marketplaces. In addition to his investment activities, he supported SoftTech portfolio companies on business and corporate development matters. He was also the Co­Founder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, an Android­-focused mobile games startup based in San Francisco, CA.

Prior to joining SoftTech VC and co-­founding Bionic Panda Games, Charles Hudson was the VP of Business Development for Serious Business until the company was acquired by Zynga in February 2010. Prior to Serious Business, he was the Sr. Director for Business Development at Gaia Interactive, an online hangout and virtual world for teens. Prior to Gaia, Charles worked in New Business Development at Google and focused on new partnership opportunities for early ­stage products in the advertising, mobile, and e-­commerce markets. Prior to joining Google, he was a Product Manager for IronPort Systems, a leading provider of anti-­spam hardware appliances that was acquired by Cisco Systems for $830 million in 2007. Before IronPort Systems, Charles worked at In-Q-Tel, the venture capital fund backed by the Central Intelligence Agency, where he invested in early-stage hardware and software companies.

Charles graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Economics and Spanish. Charles holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Ryan Nece

Next Play Capital, Managing Director

Ryan Nece is a former NFL player and Super Bowl winner. He is the chairman of the Ryan Nece Foundation which over the last 15 years has facilitated its student service program with a curriculum centered around teaching high school students the Power of Giving.

Ryan is currently the Managing Director of Next Play Capital (NPC). He founded the VC firm in 2014 to give his community the opportunity to invest with the brightest minds in tech. NPC is a minority-owned Silicon Valley-based investment platform focused on investing in top-tier venture funds and companies, currently with more than $250M under management. NPC leverages an investment thesis centered around specific manager selection designed to maximize risk-adjusted returns. The combination of a disciplined and experienced management team, a diverse and strategic investor base, and an overall value-add mentality allows NPC access to top-tier venture managers including Accel, Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz, Forerunner Ventures, First Round, Lightspeed Venture Partners, True Ventures, and Union Square. Those relationships, in turn, drive specialized access into some of these funds’ top-performing portfolio companies including ByteDance, Exabeam, Flexport, Guild Education, Hims, Impossible Foods, Peloton, Rubrik, and ThoughtSpot. Ryan is on the advisory board of DocuSign and TONAL, in addition to being part of the Aspen Institute as a Henry Crown Fellow.

Juliana Garaizar

Portfolia Rising America Fund, Investor

A Kauffman Fellow and Board Member of the Angel Capital Association, Juliana is a Lead Investor of the Portfolia Rising America Fund, Consumer Fund and Rising Tide Fund. Juliana is the Launch Director of Greentown Labs Houston. She is the President of the Business Angel Minority Association and an Advisory Board Member of the Cougar Venture Fund and the Houston Diversity Fund. Juliana was the Director of the Texas Medical Center Venture Fund and the Managing Director of the Houston Angel Network. She was the Manager of the Sophia Business Angels network in the French Riviera and of Antipolis Innovation Campus, as well as Project Manager of several International Projects funded by the European Commission. Previously, Juliana worked for 5 years in Singapore: first as an International Trade Consultant for the Trade Commission of Spain in a broad range of industry sectors and then as a Project Manager for the Asia Technology Office of Citigroup, leading projects at international level.

Martie Burris

Salesforce, Director of Product

Martie Burris is a creative who enjoys building products that improve people’s lives. She has a proven track record developing 0-1 products, organizing chaos, getting scrappy and empowering product teams.

When she’s not working, she uses her experience to educate and create space for others as a lecturer with Product School (Best Product Talk of 2020) and Founder. In 2018, she started a coaching initiative called FoldingChair. Through her initiative, Martie has created $7.5M+ in salaries for “coachees”. FoldingChair primarily helps coachees from underserved backgrounds find their first or second roles in product.

Alex Mitchell

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), SVP Unlocking Innovation

Alex Mitchell is the Unlocking Innovation at Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), where he oversees founder recruiting, all founder-facing programs, LACI’s Impact Fund and Debt Fund investments.

He joined LACI from Groupe PSA (now Stellantis) in Paris where he was VP of Corporate Strategy, co-leading the company’s acquisition of Opel from General Motors and leading the company’s work on autonomous mobility. Previously he headed the automotive automotive industry vertical at the World Economic Forum, with a focus on autonomous mobility. Alex has also served VP of retail sales at an LA-based EV startup Coda Automotive, and worked at Toyota Europe and McKinsey.

Alex is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained an MBA from the Wharton School and an MA from the School of Arts and Sciences as Fellow of the Lauder Institute Global MBA program. He holds a BA from Stanford University. His rescue dog makes frequent guest appearances on his Zoom calls.

Amalia Murray

Director of Marketing, Salesforce

Amalia Murray is a startup ecosystem builder at Salesforce. As Director of Marketing, she manages Influencer & Partner Marketing programs for the small and medium business team, the SMB Women Trailblazers initiative, and strategy for the company-wide Salesforce for Startups program. Prior to Salesforce, Amalia spent over a decade working across the technology and startup ecosystem for companies like Google, IDEO, ScanSafe/Cisco, and LUNAR Design/McKinsey. She was part of the founding team for Turner Broadcasting’s Media Camp, the first accelerator in the media/entertainment industry. A San Francisco native, Amalia is passionate about connecting people, helping entrepreneurs, and promoting diversity and sustainability. Follow Amalia on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brianne Garrett

For(bes) The Culture, Editorial Lead

Brianne Garrett is a reporter at Forbes covering budding entrepreneurs of color, women and leadership—and, when she can, food. She’s also the editorial lead for Forbes’ For(bes) The Culture community aimed at creating equitable business pathways for Black and Brown professionals. She’s originally from Bay Shore, Long Island, N.Y., but spent her undergrad years at Boston University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. She now lives in Brooklyn. Beyond her passion for storytelling, Brianne is a lover of all things food and wine—just not Chardonnay. Prior to joining Forbes, she worked at Wine Spectator where she covered wine, food and pop culture.

Gwendolyn Houston-Jack

G Photography, Founder and Portrait Artist

Gwendolyn Houston-Jack, aka G, is a portrait artist focused on creating and celebrating individuals and families & beauty through editorial and fashion-inspired images. G concentrates on curating and decorating homes with printed moments, so she’s known for providing intentional solutions for her clients. She’s also a small business cheerleader and is always ready to share small business advice with other small business owners.

Ish Fofana

Snap Inc., Creative Strategist

Ismael Fofana (he/they) is a Creative Strategist at Snapchat. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY he has loved art, fashion, and the serendipity of urban life from an early age. They have worked in advertising at Google and managed creator partnerships at YouTube. Ismael is a proud member of the Prep for Prep program and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. Ismael currently resides in Los Angeles.

Kaitlyn Benitez-Strine

Snap Inc., Senior Lens Studio Community Specialist

Kaitlyn is a Senior Lens Studio Community Specialist at Snap Inc. and an Army Reserves Military Intelligence Officer. At Snap, she works directly with the Lens Studio Community to help them build the future of AR experiences. She manages programs to keep Lens Studio’s top creators inspired, engaged and challenged, and partners with cross-functional teams (marketing, communications, sales, and engineering) to tell the stories of Lens Studio’s incredible creator community as well as secure opportunities for our creative community to grow and learn.

Laura Rowson

Salesforce Ventures Impact Fund, Associate

Laura joined the Salesforce Ventures team last year, having completed her MBA at Columbia Business School, and is based in NYC. She originally grew up in the UK, where she studied Theology at the University of Cambridge before starting her career in strategy consulting, advising private equity firms on acquisitions in the technology sector.

Lauren Maillian

CEO, digitalundivided

Lauren Maillian is a change agent committed to diversity, innovation and inclusion. She is the CEO of digitalundivided, the social startup that leverages data and advocacy to catalyze economic growth and success for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. The former board chair of digitalundivided, Lauren is an award-winning marketer and brand strategist, entrepreneur, tech investor and advisor.

Lauren is the Founder and CEO of LMB Group, a strategic marketing and brand advisory company working with Fortune 500 brands and high-growth startups like J.P. Morgan, Cover Girl, and Bumble and Bumble. Lauren was invited by Walmart’s CEO to join the Board of Disruptors of their first-ever Innovation Council. A pioneer in the tech space, she was the first black woman to start an early-stage venture capital fund, as a founding partner and Managing Director at Gen Y Capital Partners. She has advised and invested in over 40 startups. Lauren serves as an advisor to Pipeline Angels, a social enterprise that trains executive women to become angel investors. She is also the founder of Straight Up and Successful, a community and personal and professional development company that empowers and advocates for women. She has distilled what she’s learned about entrepreneurship in her best-selling memoir, The Path Redefined: Getting To the Top On Your Own Terms.

Lauren began her entrepreneurial journey at age 19, when she became the youngest self-made winery owner in the country, co-founding Virginia’s Sugarleaf Vineyards. As the Chief Operating Officer of the boutique winery, it became an internationally recognized, award-winning brand that was eventually acquired in 2011. She has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Insider, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Cosmo, Inc., CNBC, MSNBC, Fortune, Black Enterprise and others. Lauren was recently named to The Root 100 List of most influential African-Americans in 2020.

She serves on the Board of Directors at CoSign, a technology company which allows users to monetize social media and shareable content, and at the spirits brand LIQS. Lauren is on the Board of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Engagement. She is creator of The Collab art series, which uplifts the work of artists of color. She was also the Vice Chair of The Apollo Theater Foundation’s Young Patrons Steering Committee, a member of New York Urban League’s Development Committee and is a founding member of the Young Entrepreneur Council. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Science, Magna Cum Laude, in International Trade and Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Lindsey Heisser

Snap Inc., Global Philanthropy Program Manager

Lindsey Heisser is a Philanthropy Program Manager at Snap Inc. She works closely with her global team members to connect them to local organizations in order to make a meaningful impact with young people in their communities. Lindsey is passionate about creating opportunities for students and founders alike from underserved communities. Lindsey resides in Los Angeles, CA and is actively involved in the workforce development and start up communities.

Lisette Tellez

Ocean Azul Partners, Managing Director

Lisette is a Managing Director at Ocean Azul Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm passionate about helping entrepreneurs bring innovative technologies to market. Ocean Azul invests in B2B software and deep tech companies and works closely with their founders to help them grow their businesses and overcome challenges.

Prior to Ocean Azul, Lisette was a Managing Partner for Dorm Room Fund, a student-run venture capital fund that invests in student-founded startups. Dorm Room Fund has made over 320 investments that have gone on to raise $1B+ of capital and are collectively valued at $3B+.

Louis Wharton

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP, Partner

Louis Wharton is a Partner of the firm, Stubbs, Alderton & Markiles, LLP. Louis’ practice focuses on advising venture capital funds and angel networks, along with middle-market, emerging growth, early-stage and public companies in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, securities compliance and general corporate matters. Louis counsels clients in the technology, e-commerce, and digital media industries, among others.

Marcio Lima

Snap Inc., Senior Design Strategist

Marcio is a Senior Designer at Snap Inc. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, has deep expertise in motion design and animation and is passionate about 3D design, music, and sports.

Marjorie Lopez Marinez

Vice President, Rx3 Growth Partners

Marjorie is a Vice President at Rx3 responsible for assisting in all aspects of the fund’s investment process, including sourcing, diligence and portfolio management. Previously, Marjorie held various roles at Barclays including investment banking associate on the consumer retail group and equity research junior analyst covering the hardlines / broadlines retail sector. Marjorie began her career as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. She graduated from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Mark Mitchell

Moonshots Capital, VC Investor

Early-stage VC investor at Moonshots Capital, Republic Venture Partner, PE advisor, and former investment banker. Strong supporter of diverse founders, veterans, and Tech/SaaS/Impact companies.

Nasir Qadree

Zeal Capital Partners, Founder & Managing Partner

Mr. Nasir C. Qadree is Founder and Managing Partner at Zeal Capital Partners, an inclusive investment vehicle partnering with entrepreneurs to bridge America’s Wealth and Skills gaps. In his role he defines the fund’s focus, leads investment activities, and manages post value creation strategies and support mechanisms for portfolio companies. Prior to Zeal, he served as the Associate Director for AT&T’s $400 million Aspire Social Investment Fund, where he oversaw direct investments in Education/Employment Technology companies and led the tech giant’s investment readiness program, and partnerships with national accelerators across the US. Prior to AT&T, he led Village Capital’s US Economic Opportunity Portfolio and served as Global Head of Education. At Village Capital, he evaluated early stage businesses in Education, Health, and Financial Services and developed investment theses across the three sectors. He began his career in the public markets, at Goldman Sachs and State Street Corporation. He serves on the board of LearnFresh Education, the official education nonprofit for the NBA. Nasir is committed to completed 51 full marathons, in all 50 states and D.C. having already completed 18 to raise $1 million in scholarship funding for first generation college students. In 2018, Washington Business Journal recognized his contributions to his industry and community by naming him a 40 under 40 recipient. He holds a BA from Hampton University, from which he graduated magna cum laude. The Atlanta native, resides in Washington DC.

Obi Onyejekwe

CEO, UNOMI

Entrepreneur and product specialist with extensive experience building digital and entertainment companies. Raised over $900,000 on a revolutionary startup (Nito Inc.), which was acquired by AOL. Outstanding leader with a record of spearheading the development of high-end profitable products. Start-up Founder with experience raising capital and building qualified teams. Marketing specialist for large commercial and multi-media campaigns for Fortune 500 companies. Examples include entities like Spike, Nickelodeon, and BET. Led and contributed to every aspect of product development which resulted in increased revenue and traction of mobile and desktop applications. Adaptable, analytical, and articulate.

Paul Drews

Salesforce Ventures, Managing Director

Paul Drews is a Managing Director at Salesforce Ventures, where he is actively involved with the firm’s investments in companies like Databricks, Starburst Data, Vivun, VNDLY and others. Prior to joining Salesforce Ventures, Paul was a Partner at Tenaya Capital and a Vice President at Battery Ventures, where he was responsible for sourcing and executing investments. Paul holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in economics from Duke University.

Rami Reyes

NextEquity Partners, Managing Director

Rami is a Co-Founder and Managing Director at NextEquity Partners, a mid-stage venture firm founded by executives from Apple and Elevation Partners. At NextEquity, Rami co-leads all investments including investments the firm has made in leading enterprise and consumer technology companies, including Masterclass, The RealReal, Ring, Venafi, Arctic Wolf, CircleCI, and SentinelOne.

Previously, Rami was a Principal at Elevation Partners, where he worked on investments in leading tech companies including Facebook, MarketShare, Sonos, and Airbnb. Rami graduated with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received the Dean’s Award for Excellence, the school’s top graduation award. Rami previously served on the board of directors of MarketShare (acquired by Neustar) and Business Talent Group (acquired by Heidrick & Struggles) as a board observer and currently serves as a board member on the board of directors of Medsphere.

Rami serves as Co-founder and President of LatinxVC and founded the Leadership Council for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity’s San Francisco Scholars Program.

Regina Wallace-Jones

Mindbody, SVP, Product and Engineering

Regina Wallace-Jones is Senior Vice President, Products & Engineering at Mindbody, Inc. accountable for revenue, profit and customer satisfaction for global platform products and supporting product services. In this role, Regina has responsibility for $50M/year in revenue with a 3X growth plan over the next 3 years. Regina has nearly 25 years of business leadership experience in multinational environments having lived in Asia and having held executive responsibilities in roles that span four continents (North America, South America, Europe and Asia). During her career, she has built a professional reputation in product excellence and innovation with keen engineering and operations sense. Regina leads with the highest level of integrity, energy, creativity and engagement. She is known to be an inspirational leader that establishes the highest bar of expectation while simultaneously being a supportive listener and a capable advisor.

Rhonda Allen

/dev/color, CEO

Rhonda Allen serves as CEO of /dev/color, which equips Black software engineers with an unparalleled community of support, accountability, and professional development to shape the future as technology industry leaders. She leads /dev/color with the deep conviction that advancing Black technologists will strengthen communities and will accelerate progress toward a more equitable future.

Previously, Rhonda served as Chief Membership and Partnership Officer at the International Society for Technology in Education, where she led vision, strategy, and fulfillment of membership and strategic partnership programming to serve ISTE’s community of 500,000 education leaders in more than 75 countries. Rhonda spent her early career in the education nonprofit space as an elementary school teacher in public, charter, and international schools before joining Teach For America, where she held various roles, including Vice President of Executive Leadership Team Strategy.

Rhonda earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, Spanish, and Nonprofit Management from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and her Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University.

Ros Gold-Onwude

ESPN/The Boardroom, Broadcaster

Ros Gold-Onwude is a sports broadcaster and basketball analyst for ESPN and also covers sports business for Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s “The Boardroom” platform. Gold-Onwude earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, followed by a Master’s Degree in Sociology of Business, both from Stanford. As a member of the Stanford women’s basketball team Gold-Onwude played in three Final Fours and two national championship games helping the Cardinal win four conference titles as starting guard, and was named the 2010 Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Following her Stanford career, Gold-Onwude played on the Nigerian National Basketball team. Ros’ passions include mentoring young girls, empowering minority women in business and media, raising awareness for mental health issues and developing opportunities for the youth in Africa.

Vaughn Blake

Blue Bear Capital, Partner

Vaughn focuses on the renewable energy industry for Blue Bear. He is specifically focused on themes and opportunities where policy and technology catalysts interconnect.

Prior to Blue Bear, Vaughn managed a portfolio of emerging and esoteric hedge fund and venture capital fund strategies at a Southern California based Family Office.

He is the founder and managing director of Autochrome Ventures, an early-stage venture firm investing in frontier technologies applied at industrial and enterprise scale.

He currently holds board positions at Emerge, Transect, Mira, and First Resonance.

Vaughn received his Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College.

Sydney Sykes

BLCK VC, Co-Founder

Sydney is a scout investor at LSVP and the co-founder of Blck VC, a non profit focused on empowering Black investors and increasing diversity in Venture Capital. Sydney moved to San Francisco in 2016 after graduating from Harvard undergrad to work as an early stage investor at NEA, where she became passionate about early consumer companies and got a taste for angel investing. After a few years in venture, she moved to Dolls Kill to work on the growth and strategy of their native brands. Sydney is currently attending Stanford GSB to pursue her MBA, while continuing to co-lead BLCK VC and invest in early stage companies. For more info, please find her LinkedIn here.

Amiah Sheppard

Pitch and Fundraising Coach

Amiah Sheppard is a Pitch Consultant who helps founders refine their pitch to secure the funding their companies’ need. In leveraging her expertise to help accelerate a company’s growth exponentially, she helps founders tackle bottlenecks that keep them from achieving success when pitching investors. She specializes in bridging the virtual and in-person pitch experience, focusing on market, business model, customer engagement and marketing, strategy, and capital efficiency strategies for their organizational success. Through Sheppard Consulting Group, Amiah provides the tools and resources for founders to position their company for funding immediately and scale strategically.

Before this, she led investments and accelerated 24 underrepresented founders, plus helped invest and support 100 other underrepresented founders internationally at a $7 million dollar venture fund. Afterwards, she took that knowledge and ran a pro-bono accelerator at a legacy nonprofit in South LA for 6 local startups and small businesses. Recognized as an innovative and passionate thought leader in tech, Amiah has been featured on HBCU.vc’s 2019 30 under 30 The Future of Venture Capital, she’s a member of Columbia University Venture Community, Los Angeles Venture Association, and BlackVC, and in 2019, she was voted Visionary Investor of the Year via VentureFuel. Presently, she’s pursuing her Masters in industrial and Organizational Psychology and serves as the Treasurer on the Board of LA nonprofit, Street Soccer USA.

Marlon Nichols

MaC Venture Capital, Managing Partner

Marlon Nichols is the founding managing partner at MaC Venture Capital, a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in visionary founders building the future that the world wants to see.

Marlon is a Kauffman Fellow who also serves on the Board of Directors. Prior to MaC Venture Capital, Marlon was founder of Cross Culture Ventures and served as Investment Director at Intel Capital. Marlon has an extensive background in technology, private equity, media and entertainment. His unique eye for global and cultural trends, along with shifts in consumer behavior, has helped him uplift and accelerate entrepreneurs and companies that are on the verge of their breakthrough moment. Some of his current and previous portfolio companies include Blavity, Gimlet Media, LISNR, Mayvenn, MongoDB, PlayVS, Pipe, Thrive Market and Wonderschool, among others.

Marlon is the recipient of MVMT50’s SXSW 2018 Innovator of the Year award, Digital Diversity’s Innovation & Inclusion Change Agent award and was a TechWeek 100 winner. He was named Pitchbook’s 25 Black Founders and VCs to Watch in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and one of Silicon Republic’s 26 VC professionals spearheading change. He’s been featured on TechCrunch, Fortune, Cheddar, MSNBC, Blavity and NBC, and is adjunct faculty in entrepreneurship and venture capital at the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University.

Natasha Mascarenhas

TechCrunch, Reporter

Natasha Mascarenhas is a tech reporter at TechCrunch covering early stage startups and founders before both become household names.

Ashley Seda Aydin

Vamos Ventures, Investor

Ashley started her career in Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley covering the consumer space and moved into strategic roles at Y-Combinator Shoptiques.com, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Estee Lauder. She’s been an investor at Brand Foundry Ventures, Founders Factory, and Dorm Room Fund. She’s currently a Principal at VamosVentures where she covers all consumer verticals. Ashley received her MBA from MIT Sloan and BA from Brown University.

Austin Clements

Slauson & Co., Partner

Austin Clements is a Partner at Slauson & Co., a Los Angeles based early-stage venture capital firm rooted in economic inclusion. At Slauson, Austin focuses on investing in technologies that empower small business owners. He is also active with Grid110, a nonprofit accelerator aimed at supporting emerging entrepreneurs.

Prior to these roles, Austin was at TenOneTen Ventures, a data focused seed fund based in LA. He has also worked in investment management and founded a mobile app development firm to serve small businesses.

Austin was the founding Chair of PledgeLA, a city-wide initiative to promote civic engagement and diversity in the tech community. He also serves on the board of HBCUvc and the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Austin received his MBA from NYU Stern and his BA from Morehouse College.

Anthony Mays

Google, Software Engineer

Anthony is the owner of Morgan Latimer Consulting and a software engineer at Google. Raised in Compton as a foster kid after suffering physical and sexual abuse, he taught himself how to program computers at age 8 and started his career as an INROADS intern.

Perhaps best known for the short BuzzFeed documentary about his journey from Compton to Google, he is a frequent public speaker at schools and other student organizations. He was awarded the 2016 INROADS Trendsetter Award for his work promoting diversity in tech.

Anthony graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. His GPA was horrible, so don’t ask.

Dr. Wilmot Allen

VentureLift Africa, Founder

Based in Nairobi, Wilmot is an experienced emerging market investor, business advisor, entrepreneur and Africa political economist. Wilmot launched VLA in 2018 inspired by his work in urban economic development in the U.S. and engagement with over 20 African countries during the last two decades.

Wilmot is also a Venture Partner with RH Managers, a private equity fund investing in healthcare, based in Johannesburg. He previously worked as Director of East Africa with an U.S. investment firm, CrossBoundary LLC, leading the transaction advisory practice for East Africa from Nairobi.

Prior, Wilmot worked with the International Finance Corporation in Washington DC, executing investments totaling over $300million and managing a portfolio of $2.5billion with the private equity and financial institutions groups. At the IFC, he was also Senior Advisor to the CEO on entrepreneurship initiatives in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, in conjunction with the Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment at the World Economic Forum. He also helped develop IFC’s strategy on fragile and conflict-affected situations.

Wilmot has a PhD from Georgetown University in Comparative Political Economy, an MBA from the Wharton Business School, an MPA from Harvard University and BA from Yale University.

Kameale C. Terry

ChargerHelp, Co-Founder and CEO

ameale is the Co-Founder and CEO of ChargerHelp, Inc. an app that enables on-demand repair of electric vehicle charging stations. As the former Director of Programs at EV Connect, an electric vehicle charge station network provider, Kameale structured and led teams to execute electric vehicle infrastructure projects and programs in the United States, Australia, and Canada for commercial and government entities. Her most notable projects include the Electrify America – Phase One Program, the Southern California Edison Charge Ready Pilot, and the New York Power Authority portfolio.

Prior to this role Kameale created, hired, and oversaw the Customer Experience Department at EV Connect, by partnering with the Southbay Workforce Investment Board to employ candidates from the local community. As a South Central Los Angeles native, Kameale believes that an equitable green economy can be achieved through impactful workforce development and realignment.

Lidia Medina

Vamos Ventures, Investor

Lidia is an investor and operator, having worked on the Ventures team at CZI where she focused on investing in education/ed-tech companies, and most recently as COO at an ed-tech startup. Before investing and entrepreneurship, Lidia was an investment banker at J.P. Morgan (TMT) and BMO Capital Markets (FIG/Fintech). Lidia graduated from Syracuse University and will be attending Harvard Business School, Class of 2023.

Samara Hernandez

Chingona Ventures, Founding Partner

“Samara is the Founding Partner of Chingona Ventures, an institutionally-backed pre-seed stage fund. Chingona Ventures invests in technology and technology-enabled companies all across the U.S. As the Founding Partner, Samara is responsible for deploying institutional capital to fund early-stage companies as well as supporting the portfolio companies. Additionally, Samara is responsible for sourcing investment opportunities and building relationships with early-stage investors as well as other private investors. Samara holds robust experience as a board member and advisor for various companies– she currently sits on the Board of Advisors for Angeles, Camino Financial, Chicago Blend and serves on the Board of Directors for Suma Wealth, ConnectCareHero, Certiverse and as a Board Observer for Tiny Organics and EarlyBird. She also co-founded the Latinx Founders Collective organization bringing together Latinx founders, investors, and community leaders to support the entrepreneurial / startup ecosystem. Samara is an active member of Latinx VCs, a San-Francisco based group of experienced venture investors coming together to connect, engage, and foster the Latinx VC ecosystem. Samara is actively involved in the Chicago tech community and passionate about helping underrepresented groups get into STEM education, venture capital and entrepreneurship. Samara holds robust experience with over 15 years of working in public and private markets. Areas of expertise include sales & marketing, risk management (portfolio), fundraising, portfolio construction, venture investing, and serving on boards (nonprofit & profit).

Prior to Chingona Ventures, Samara was a Venture Partner at MATH Venture Partners, an early stage fund in Chicago. Samara invested in early-stage companies across multiple sectors, helped fundraise two funds and managed a portfolio of investments. Besides her formal responsibilities as a Venture Partner, she was a Board Member of VentureUp, a network of rising VCs investing in the Midwest, and Communities in Schools of Chicago, a non-profit affiliate of Communities in Schools, Inc. – the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization. Samara applied her experience in sales & marketing, risk management (portfolio), and portfolio construction. While at MATH Venture Partners she developed expertise in venture investing, sourcing & diligencing and serving on boards (nonprofit & profit).

Prior to MATH Venture Partners, Samara held various roles at Goldman Sachs, including in Asset Management Sales, Fixed Income, and Current Commodity and Futures Group. Samara was responsible for providing market insights, advising on portfolio construction, and consulting on business practices. Additionally, her Asset Management Sales team was responsible for $200MM+ P&L. At Goldman she was continually ranked top 5 in selling financial products. In her role, Samara served asset managers and financial institutions. While at Goldman, Samara developed and honed her experience in leadership, sales & marketing, risk management (portfolio), market insights, and portfolio construction.

Throughout her career, Samara has coached, mentored and trained graduate and undergraduate interns. Many of these interns went on to launch an entrepreneurial venture or became investors. Samara is also an active alumni of Kellogg Northwestern School of Business and the University of Michigan – oftentimes she is a panelist or speaker at events for students. One of her most recent events was a presentation at Northwestern University’s Garage, a community and physical space for every Northwestern student interested in entrepreneurship. Samara mentors numerous aspiring VCs and entrepreneurs to break into VC or secure capital. She is notorious for referring exceptional candidates that may be overlooked in a traditional hiring process.

Noramay Cadena

Supply Change Capital, Managing Partner

Noramay Cadena is a Managing Partner at Supply Change Capital, an early stage venture firm investing at the intersection of food, culture, and technology. Previously, Noramay was a Managing Partner at MiLA Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm in Los Angeles investing in tech you can touch.

Previously, Noramay spent over a decade at Boeing leading large teams working on new complex aviation/aerospace programs. As an engineer and business leader, she specializes in manufacturing, scaling, and supply chain, and couples that technical expertise with coaching on strategy, operations and culture.

In the community, Noramay is a lead investor in Portfolia’s Rising America fund investing in Latinx, Black and LGBTQ founders, an advisory board member of the Homeboy Industries Ventures and Jobs Fund, an appointed board member of the Housing Authority Commission of Los Angeles, and a founding board member of LatinxVC, an organization increasing the Latino ecosystem of funders and founders.

In 2020, she was named one of 50 renowned women in robotics and one of the top 100 influential Latinas in the United States. Noramay is a Kauffman Fellow and holds a MBA, a Master’s in Engineering Systems and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering – all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Martin Muoto

SoLa Impact, Founder and Managing Partner

“SoLa Impact is a family of real estate funds with a double bottom line strategy focused on preserving, rehabilitating, and building high-quality affordable housing in Black and brown communities. Martin has a proven track record of delivering superior financial returns By leveraging data-driven social impact strategies. SoLa Impact’s fourth fund, the Black Impact Fund, combines side-by-side funds—one Opportunity Zone and one non-Opportunity Zone—to deploy its strategy across urban cities in California and the West Coast. SoLa Impact was ranked as the 7th fastest-growing minority-led private company on Inc. Magazine’s Inc500 list and was also recognized by Forbes Magazine and the Sorenson Impact Center as the leading urban Opportunity Zone fund in the country. SoLa Impact’s funds have attracted a number of leading investors seeking yield while demonstrating commitment to diversity, inclusion and delivering impact through ESG initiatives.

Martin began investing in real-estate in South Central Los Angeles, Compton, Watts and other undervalued communities a decade before these areas became designated as Opportunity Zones. His early vision, along with his leadership in achieving market returns while delivering true social impact, has led to features in Forbes, Black Enterprise, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and other leading publications.

Martin was previously an operating executive at several technology companies, a venture capital partner at Accretive Partners and at General Atlantic Partners in New York. He graduated with Honors from the Wharton School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Tubbs

Black Impact Community Fund, Chair

Michael Tubbs was elected Mayor of Stockton in 2016 at 26 years old. He was Stockton’s first African-American Mayor, and the youngest Mayor of any major city in American history. Tubbs also serves as a statewide appointee of Governor Gavin Newsom on the Commission for Police Officer and Standards Training (POST) and as a member of the National Police Foundation’s Council on Policing Reforms and Race.

As Mayor, Tubbs was lauded for his leadership and innovation. He raised over $20 million dollars to create the Stockton Scholars, a scholarship and mentorship program for Stockton students. Additionally, Tubbs launched the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, the nation’s first-ever mayor-led guaranteed income pilot. He then parlayed that effort into creating Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a coalition of over 30 mayors which advocates for an income floor for all Americans.

Under his leadership, Stockton was named an All American city in 2017 and 2018, saw a 40% drop in homicides in 2018 and 2019, led the state of California in the decline of officer-involved shootings in 2019, was named the second most fiscally healthy city in California, and was featured in an HBO documentary film entitled “Stockton on My Mind.”

Tubbs has been named a fellow at the MIT Media lab, a member of Fortune’s Top 40 under 40, a Forbes 30 under 30 All Star Alumni, the “Most Valuable Mayor” by the Nation Magazine, the 2021 Civic Leadership Award winner from the King Center, and 2019 New Frontier Award Winner from the JFK Library and the Institute of Politics. Prior to his election as Mayor, Tubbs served as a Councilmember for the City of Stockton District 6, a high school educator, and a fellow for the Stanford Design School and the Emerson Collective.

Cheryl Campos

Head of Venture Growth and Partnerships, Republic

Cheryl is passionate about the intersection of finance, technology, and social impact. She is the Head of Venture Growth and Partnerships at Republic, a one-stop-shop for founders to raise capital from both accredited and non-accredited investors. She is focused on introducing underrepresented founders to both traditional and alternative funding sources in order to help their startups thrive. In other direct investing roles, she is a scout for Lightspeed and an investment partner at The Community Fund. Cheryl is also one of the founders of VCFamilia, a community of Latinx VCs supporting current & emerging investors through collaboration.

Previously she worked as an analyst in a Connecticut-based private debt & equity firm with an emphasis on minority and women entrepreneurs. She started her career in Investment Banking at Barclays, working in the Financial Institutions Group and Structured Finance. She holds a BA in Economics with honors from Harvard University.

About Plug In South LA

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