In 2004 I was a College Radio DJ hosting my own radio show, Southern Hospitality Radio, at my alma mater, Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. Despite it being an unlikely start for a career in venture capital, that experience gave me my very first entry into the building blocks of entrepreneurship: Building a great product, filling a void in a particular market (independent hip hop in North Carolina), and obsessing over finding new customers/listeners.
After graduation I returned back home to Atlanta. I took a seasonal associate job at Macy's and worked my way up into sales, operations, and store management roles. For the next decade I worked with Tiffany & Co, Smile Direct Club, Saks Off 5th, and other premium retailers. These roles gave me valuable learning experiences into how to build team culture, manage people, and successfully run a business.
By 2018 I had the "itch" to get back to my entrepreneurial roots after I came across a new music tech startup in Atlanta by the name of MyMyMusic. I saw an opportunity to help build the MyMuMusic brand. Over the next two-plus years I received a crash course in working for a startup in a variety of capacities, including Partnerships, Community Management, Brand Development, Go To Market strategy and Investor Relations. For me,, pitching the business to investors and understanding deal structures was the most interesting.
In 2019, as I continued to integrate myself into the Atlanta startup and tech ecosystem, I was selected as one of the Founding 100 Stakeholders for The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (the largest accelerator for black businesses in the nation). I also became a Foundation Member at The Gathering Spot in Atlanta, a next generation nationwide network of private membership clubs, which serves as a hub for diversity, a co-working space, a full restaurant and bar and one of a kind experiences.
Just before the pandemic, I received an opportunity to build on my growing interest in investing and was selected as a Venture Partner with Republic. Tragically, a few months later George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. That moment was a watershed moment for our country, and it forced me to critically think about how I was using my platform to better serve entrepreneurs that looked like me. I spent the summer of 2020 researching investing and venture capital while building relationships with people in VC. By the Fall of 2020, I accepted a role as Managing Partner with the Atlanta area firm Vertical404, a seed stage fund focused on investing in Black, Latinx and Female founders of cloud-based SaaS companies.
Throughout all of my experiences, it has always come back to culture, community and capital, and I'm excited to continue that work in Atlanta with Drive.