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Welcome back to Founder Hustle, hosted by Melissa Bradley. In today’s episode, we’re privileged to hear from the exceptional Mindelyn Anderson, Founder (and soon to be CEO) the Mirror Group. Join us as we delve into Mindelyn’s journey as a third-generation entrepreneur, where she’s harnessing the power of data to drive positive change. The Mirror Group specializes in culturally responsive consulting, where data isn’t just numbers – it’s a narrative for informed decision-making. Discover how Mindelyn’s passion for data and equity led her to establish a groundbreaking venture, and gain insights into how she is navigating the path to becoming a CEO. Tune in to explore the world of data-driven transformation and discover the strategies that have propelled Mindelyn’s success.

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0:00:32.0 Melissa Bradley: From new Majority ventures and Kinetic Energy Entertainment, this is Founder Hustle.

0:00:37.4 Mindelyn Anderson: What we do around data and information and knowledge and honoring that. And really we’re not creating anything new. We’re simply reflecting back the wisdom that’s already in a space. And we’re doing that with all types of data. I know you say data, people think big data numbers, quant, and there’s that too, of course. But qualitative, images, words, audio visual. Data’s all around us.

0:01:02.1 MB: Welcome to Founder Hustle, a podcast series by, for and about the new majority entrepreneur. I’m your host, Melissa Bradley, founder of 1863 Ventures and co-founder of New Majority Ventures. The road from founder to CEO can be both hard and rewarding. So in each episode of Founder Hustle, I interview a new majority entrepreneur to find out what their journey really looks like. As a CEO, founder, professor and general partner of a venture fund, I know how valuable good information and resources are for the new majority. Through shared tools, strategies and life lessons, we’re here to enlighten, uplift, and educate anyone interested in this entrepreneurial ecosystem so that you too can go from founder to CEO.

0:01:52.6 MB: Mindelyn Anderson is founder and CEO of the Mirror Group. She’s using data to drive results and positive outcomes. She helps folks understand not just the financial, but the narrative as well. Mindelyn knows the data is the currency of the 21st century, and she’s on a mission to make sure data is meaningful, accessible and actionable.

0:02:16.2 MB: I am thrilled to be here with Mindelyn Anderson from the Mirror Group. Thank you for joining us.

0:02:23.4 MA: Thank you.

0:02:24.5 MB: So what is the Mirror Group?

0:02:26.5 MA: That is a good question. So we are an evaluation…

0:02:30.9 MB: You’re not selling mirrors?

0:02:32.0 MA: I’m not… Yes. We’re not selling mirrors. We are a group of people however, so we are an evaluation, learning and strategy consulting firm. And I see you looking at me like, “What does that mean, lady?” So here we go. Let me break it down. So yes, we deal in data. When you have evaluation, there’s a program, an initiative, and you really wanna know, have we done what we intended to do? Right. That’s the evaluation work. The learning is one of our favorites. It’s not just, have we done what we intended to do, but how do we take the feedback and learning the insights into making decisions for what we will do better next time. And that can take the form of training or technical assistance for staff, learning engagements to really dive into the data. So we’re not just handing you a report and say, “Have at it.”

0:03:16.8 MA: But we have a data party. We’re able to get in there and say, “Well, what do you think this data’s gonna say? Here’s what it actually says.” Or, “Are you surprised by this?” How do you interpret this? And that’s where we bring in mixed data and information. The numbers may tell you one thing, what’s the narrative that goes along with it? That’s that learning. And that’s what we mean by learning organizations who use data to drive their decision making strategy. I know you know all about this and so that’s that big picture. We walk it back and we walk it forward. Given what we’re learning and what you see and what your organization is experiencing, what is your strategy for this grant making initiative? Or for your programmatic development. How you’re going to direct these resources.

0:04:02.9 MB: Love it.

0:04:03.5 MA: Everything that we do, we’re seeking to make data and information meaningful, accessible, and actionable.

0:04:09.2 MB: And why do you think data is so important?

0:04:11.8 MA: Ugh. Because it’s the currency of the 21st century. That’s one of our taglines.

0:04:16.2 MB: I like that.

0:04:16.5 MA: That’s a reality.

0:04:16.6 MB: I like that.

0:04:18.4 MA: It’s a reality. We know it. Anyone can pick up the papers today or whatever your digital newsfeed is and be able to see what’s happening with data and information. That’s the most valuable today. Right. And so we know that those that are literate in data, who know how to use it, who know how to leverage it, to make an argument with it, to direct resources with it, it’s a powerful position to be in. And if you don’t realize that in 2023…

0:04:46.4 MB: We’re in trouble.

0:04:47.3 MA: Wake up everybody.

0:04:48.3 MB: Right. So I love that. And so just to give some context to those who are listening, talk about your clients and some of the projects.

0:04:56.8 MA: Yeah. Oh, that’s a good question. So most of our work is in philanthropy. Yes. A word that I didn’t quite know a few years ago, not gonna lie. And I know very well now and it’s all around us. Philanthropy are foundations, nonprofits, those organizations that kind of fill what some call the third sector. So we know government, that’s public. We know private corporations, that’s private. Then you have this third sector. Now the dirty little secret about philanthropy is that it’s corporate dollars. Turn nonprofit. So I say that because our customer are the executive directors or CEOs of these organizations. They are the vice presidents or directors of these organizations as well as the programmatic staff and community leaders. And so the reason why we engage at all of those levels is because if we are really making sure this data is meaningful, it’s actionable, it’s accessible, you have to be able to have the ear and the translation skills to speak to the CEO that has this much time.

0:06:01.0 MB: That’s right. That’s right.

0:06:02.9 MA: And has to account to the board. Right. To be able to engage and partner with the vice president or the director who has been given this mighty task. But maybe isn’t sure.

0:06:14.6 MB: Gotcha.

0:06:15.9 MA: What step in which way to go first to be able to relate to. Frontline programmatic staff, folks in community, and what does this all have to do with us and how do we know this isn’t more of the same thing?

0:06:25.6 MB: Gotcha.

0:06:26.4 MA: And so that translational space is so important for us and that’s why we have those different seats or customers.

0:06:32.4 MB: Gotcha. So it’s interesting… So a lot of people talk about like impact, right? Where it’s really focused on outputs and impact. And to me it seems you are, hopefully I’m right, you are almost validating the impact, but also providing a road map to that impact in terms of saying, “Let me evaluate, did it work?” And then, “Let me talk about the lessons learned so that we potentially can have even more impact.” And then, “What’s the strategy so we can think about how do we scale this positive work,” Is that right?

0:07:01.2 MA: I’m going to refine my elevator pitch or take you with me.

0:07:04.7 MB: Okay. All right. There You go. There you go. There you go. All right.

0:07:07.2 MA: But yes. That is it. That is it. And so I know that we’ve been blessed to work with a number of different clients and organizations and I know it’s like, “Do you name-drop? Do you not name-drop?” We like to keep a low-key profile, but if you go to, you’ll see a select few clients.

0:07:26.8 MB: There you go.

0:07:27.1 MA: That are listed there. But we’ve been blessed over the last five and a half years. We’ve worked with over, I feel we have the number on our website, but over 50.

0:07:35.0 MB: Wow.

0:07:35.5 MA: Different organizations. I wanna say more than 20 states, but you all go to the website.

0:07:42.6 MB: Okay.

0:07:43.0 MA: And let me know if I’m inflating the numbers here.

0:07:45.5 MB: Check your data. Check your data.

0:07:46.5 MB: Or we need to catch up. But it’s exciting. It’s everything from large national foundations like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who’s a great partner with us to more place-based groups like the California Healthcare Foundation, it’s nonprofit organizations like the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund, collectively, which is doing amazing things around collective give. We give Black, really focusing in on black community. And many others in between, League of Women Voters. I really don’t wanna name-drop here but…

0:08:17.5 MB: But that gives a sense though.

0:08:18.1 MA: I’ll just say some of the household names that maybe you’ve heard, “Oh, I’ve heard those people on NPR and they sponsored something and they’re on a building too.” Groups that you may not be aware of, but are so meaningful and so cornerstone in community. And that’s the thing I always tell our team. I say the day that we only have these very large national funders and nonprofits and we don’t have that grassroots mom-and-pop community-based organization, we’ve lost a little bit of our soul. And so we have to continue to create space in Mirror Group as we grow over the next three years, five years, where we can have both of those types of clients because it’s our heartbeat. And we also feel very privileged to be able to have the ear of those that have some amazingly wide and deep spheres of influence and might listen to us every now. And again, their little Jiminy cricket on the shoulder.

0:09:08.6 MB: Oh, I Like that. This season we’re really trying to talk to people who are doing different things that folks suspect Black founders do. And very rarely do we talk about black people controlling their narrative and managing stories through data. So how did you get into this?

0:09:28.8 MA: That is a great story. I know we only have so much time here, so I’ll give you…

0:09:32.5 MB: No. No, come on. I wanna hear, I wanna hear it. I wanna hear.

0:09:33.1 MA: Give you the short version. So, I’m a sociologist by training. That’s what my PhD is in.

0:09:38.4 MB: And what does that mean?

0:09:39.8 MA: We study society, people, how they interact, major institutions. That’s what we do. But I always say long before I became a sociologist, I was a curious kid and it just got channeled that way. I was the one that always had those questions about the world. Why, why and then why again. Really getting to that root cause. But really I’m a California Bay area native, that’s where I grew up. And anyone that knows California like many other spaces, but some of the greatest wealth and some of the deepest poverty and not very far from one another. And so I really grew up seeing a wide spectrum and understanding that there are haves and there are have-nots. And I was always curious as to why. It seemed odd. And so…

0:10:27.3 MB: We have that in common.

0:10:29.3 MA: And so that eventually followed me, that curiosity to undergrad. And I came into UCLA, I am a proud Bruin.

0:10:37.3 MB: All right. All right.

0:10:38.2 MA: I have to shout out UCLA as a Business Economics major because I wanted to be a businesswoman when I grow up.

0:10:43.0 MB: Love it. Love it.

0:10:43.7 MA: So you major in business, right?

0:10:45.1 MB: There you go.

0:10:47.2 MA: Until you’re taking your classes, 500 kids in a lecture hall and a lot of theory. And my lived reality and what I had seen and experienced was different than the theories. I say, “Okay,” in perfect conditions, but this isn’t perfect. And I would have these questions and that arm would shoot up, and so I was doing well in my classes, but I just wasn’t satisfied.

0:11:09.7 MB: Gotcha.

0:11:09.9 MA: If that makes sense.

0:11:10.7 MB: Yeah.

0:11:11.0 MA: So I had a really great advisor that said, “Knowing you and your interests, you should check out sociology.” You know what I said? “What’s that?” I had no idea what it was. I’d heard of Anthropology, Psychology. I had no idea as a 17-year-old teenager what the heck of sociology. And so she…

0:11:27.1 MB: You’re not alone. That’s why I asked. ‘Cause people be like, “What the heck is that?”

0:11:29.9 MA: Yeah. “What is that?” And so I took my first class, Social 101, fell In Love, started doing research right away. So had funding from the National Science Foundation. I was an 18-year-old.

0:11:41.2 MB: Wow. That’s Amazing.

0:11:41.6 MA: Doing Urban Ethnography with homeless men in public parks in Los Angeles. And so kept doing research throughout undergrad and was working on great teams with full tenured professors, postdocs, others. And for me it was just fun. And I got paid better than other folks got paid.

0:12:02.3 MB: There you go. There you go. It was interesting and you got paid, jackpot. Okay.

0:12:04.8 MA: Which was awesome. And so I was fighting this narrative and you know it, you’ve spoken about it before. I was smart, so I was supposed to go on and be a lawyer.

0:12:12.8 MB: That’s right.

0:12:13.3 MA: And I didn’t wanna be a lawyer. I just didn’t have the desire to do that. And I said, maybe I’ll get a Master’s in something else and I’m kind of fighting this family narrative of, “You go be a lawyer like your mom.” Like, “No. I’m gonna blaze my own path.” And my professors, they said, “Oh, well what you gonna do after you graduate?” And this was my junior year. I was like, I graduate next year…

0:12:35.9 MB: Give me a chance. I got some time. Right.

0:12:37.8 MA: But grad school, maybe a Master’s program, social work or policy. And there was disappointment. And they said, “Oh, we thought you’d go on and get your PhD.” I said, “What made you think that. I don’t wanna teach anybody.” And we laughed about it. And my mentor, my closest mentor, Dr. Walter Allen said, “Is that all that I do?” And I was like, “No. You do amazing research, you testify in front of the Supreme Court.” Like he’s just a powerhouse. He was testifying during all those attacks on affirmative action, and so bringing evidence to bear to really show that work. And he said, “And you too.” And I said, “Oh, that felt heavy.”

0:13:18.2 MB: You were like, “I’m a junior. Can I just get up out of here first?”

0:13:21.4 MA: But let me check it out. And you know what happens with so many of us? You have those champions. You have those sponsors. And he said, “Okay, how’s your GRE?” And I said, “I never test well.” And he said, “But you’re extremely sharp.” He’s like, “I’m paying for you to take a GRE type course. You will get into grad school. You will do well.” And so I did just that full ride Hopkins. That’s what brought me over here.

0:13:43.9 MB: Nice. Congrats.

0:13:44.7 MA: And where I earned my PhD, and I’m giving you this longer story because it was while I was a grad student, poor grad student. If I tell people the stipend, they will recoil and horror even with inflation with a couple of decades. It’s like, “You got paid how much?” $12,500 a year, 12 months.

0:14:04.1 MB: That’s one of the reasons why I did not pursue my PhD ’cause I had already been in the workforce. And I remember getting accepted to the PhD project where they were trying to recruit people of color that’s to get their PhDs. We all descended on Chicago. And I was like, “This is cute.” I’ll never forget, we were all hyped up in this brother way in the back. He was like a chief marketing officer, a major consumer product good. And he was like, “So this is great, but how much money do I get paid?” And it was like silence. Like this auditory of 100 people. They were like, “Well, let me explain how it works.” And the guy mumbles by me to say, “I can already tell this I, s not gonna go well.” It not gonna go well. So kudos for you for taking that little step back.

0:14:47.9 MA: Yeah. And so it was during the graduate program. I’m living in Baltimore City and just loving the city. All its different neighborhoods, rich culture and I come from a family where volunteering and service is a tradition. It’s an honor really. And so I was volunteering with these grassroot just scrap and make sure it happens organizations. And I would see them so passionate and so burnt out. And I would see people cycling and I said, “I’m in this PhD program. I’m learning research and data skills. If there’s anything else I can do around here to help, I’m happy to do it.” And the director of the Refugee Youth Project at that time said, “As a matter of fact, the person that usually writes our annual reports just quit.”

0:15:31.5 MB: Oh wow.

0:15:31.9 MA: “Can you do that?” And I said, “Yeah, I can do that.”

0:15:34.3 MB: Of course.

0:15:34.5 MA: And then I went to campus and googled, how to write annual reports, real talk and figured it out, but it turned into my first evaluation. And I didn’t know what evaluation was. I just knew that I had a real love and joy and curiosity for data and information, not just for an academic sense like we do in the Ivory tower, but to really help make real change. And it felt like if I’m able to use those skills to help this organization that I love, that supports these communities that I love, what an honor. And then the cherry on top was that they were gonna pay me. I would’ve done it for free.

0:16:09.9 MB: Wow. That’s even better.

0:16:11.0 MA: And so that was my first shot.

0:16:11.8 MB: Because you had to supplement that $12,500.

0:16:13.8 MA: You know it. So I appreciated it. I mean, that was my first evaluation and so throughout grad school and even when I was a tenure track faculty member in my time off. My weekends and evenings Summers, I would do small evaluations, small consulting engagements. And then I was all set to go up for tenure and I realized I don’t wanna do this all the time. What I’m doing in my off time, I wanna be doing all the time. And so made the very scary and very bold and very crazy depending on who you talk to, decision to not go for tenure.

0:16:50.6 MB: So are you are in ABD?

0:16:52.3 MA: No, no, no. So I have my PhD.

0:16:53.7 MB: Oh okay. I’ll say tenure in the university.

0:16:56.3 MA: And then I was tenure track.

0:16:56.9 MB: Okay. Got it.

0:16:57.0 MA: So I was a tenure track assistant professor in Boston at Northeastern University.

0:17:00.4 MB: Oh God bless you. Okay.

0:17:02.0 MA: You know Boston? We’ll, just say that.

0:17:07.0 MB: Yep. Wow.

0:17:07.9 MA: Decided to not go up for tenure. And I ended up starting Mirror Group.

0:17:12.7 MB: I love that.

0:17:13.4 MA: Didn’t know…

0:17:14.0 MB: What did the university say?

0:17:15.3 MA: Oh, folks always have to make sense of your journey and your narrative. And so I was also newly married. My husband and I had twin daughters.

0:17:24.5 MB: Whoa.

0:17:25.0 MA: And then…

0:17:25.3 MB: Just like Twin day, everybody got twins. Okay.

0:17:28.4 MA: And then I was pregnant with another one. And so the narrative was, “Oh, she’s gonna focus on her family.” And family is very important. It’s always at the center of it and even with how we crafted Mirror Group and turned into what it would be. It was really centered on a black woman, a PhD, a mother, a daughter. Someone who had something to give but wanted to do it in a different way than what was kind of laid out as the right path to go. So it was really based on that experience. And just giving it a try. And so shock and surprise from my colleagues, shock and surprise for most of my family.

0:18:05.5 MB: I was about to say…

0:18:06.2 MA: What are you doing?

0:18:08.1 MB: Because you already didn’t become a lawyer.

0:18:08.9 MA: All that education…

0:18:09.2 MB: So now you getting this thing, you keep saying you’re a doctor, but you can’t help me health-wise. What the hell? Yep.

0:18:16.2 MA: All this education, all this time, and you’re gonna go and do something you don’t know. It’s not like I resigned and I had my Mirror Group plan.

0:18:23.0 MB: Sure.

0:18:23.4 MA: I was gonna go… I didn’t know what would be next, but I knew that the path I was on wasn’t quite it for me. And so supportive husband, supportive sister. I’m number five of six kids. And so one of my sisters was there and said, “I can see it.” And so what became Mirror Group was really supported by those loved ones. And this wild imagination of a little girl dream to be a business woman. And to create something out of nothing.

0:18:53.1 MB: There’s so much there. Ooh, I’m taking notes, but I wanna go back before we get too far. What’s in the name?

0:19:01.0 MA: It’s a double entendre, actually, so, two meanings. The first one, during this time, as I mentioned, twins, then another baby girl. So at this time, I was a mother of three children, ages three and younger, because we’re kind of foolish like that.

0:19:21.1 MB: Oof, okay. Okay, okay.

0:19:21.9 MA: And we went from zero to two with the twins and it was, pass the baby to a caring arm, and it was nursing and pumping and bottles. And they were pretty flexible. They were a handful.

0:19:33.7 MB: Of course.

0:19:34.9 MA: And going from zero to two is a lot, but still, I was not prepared for Miriam. Miriam is our number three.

0:19:42.1 MB: Alright.

0:19:43.8 MA: Not our final baby. We have four.

0:19:45.9 MB: Okay.

0:19:46.0 MA: And so I was not prepared for her, when she came into this world, she’s quite the force, and when I was pregnant, I told my husband, I said, this one…

0:19:53.8 MB: She’s different.

0:19:54.4 MA: She’s… I am telling you. She’s a force. And he’s like, Oh, okay, yeah, yeah. She was born with her eyes locked on me, and for the first year, nine months of her life, she always had to be with me.

0:20:07.1 MB: Wow.

0:20:07.2 MA: And when I say always, it’s not that euphemism, always, it’s the real talk always. So if we were here having this conversation.

0:20:15.7 MB: She will be right here with us.

0:20:17.0 MA: She would be strapped on to me right here.

0:20:19.3 MB: I love it.

0:20:19.4 MA: Yeah. And so that changed everything, and I remember just feeling so overwhelmed, and I don’t understand, and my mother quit. It’s just that you’re her mirror. She sees you and she knows all is well that, that’s all it is. So there was that.

0:20:31.8 MB: Okay.

0:20:32.1 MA: And then really it was our posture in the work. What we do around data and information and knowledge and honoring that, and really, we’re not creating anything new or simply reflecting back the wisdom that’s already in a space. And we’re doing that with all types of data, I know you say data, people think big data, numbers, quant, and there’s that too, of course, but qualitative, images, words, audio-visual, data is all around us.

0:21:01.6 MB: This conversation is data.

0:21:03.1 MA: This conversation is data, and so the goal was really to be able to use those gifts and talents outside of the academy to be able to reflect back to communities, and learning organizations what they already know, maybe we put little framework around it.

0:21:19.8 MB: Sure.

0:21:19.9 MA: We present it in a way that you can access and really understand not talking over or above folks, but right here in conversation. And so that’s what Mirror Group is about. We reflect back that wisdom.

0:21:33.1 MB: Okay, okay, a lot there. You mentioned something earlier that made me think about culture. You talked about the use of data and having evidence to tell what is really going on.

0:21:47.3 MA: That’s right.

0:21:48.1 MB: And I think in the black community, often times, we are not the author or the narrator. So, talk about how and why, and what is the… Because when I hear you, and some of the work you’ve done, it clearly is about how do we help our community? So talk about how you’re using data to really change that narrative.

0:22:12.4 MA: Yeah. I appreciate that question so much, it’s literally what we endeavor to do every single day, and that’s every step of the process, right? What I now know as a sales pipeline or business development.

0:22:26.3 MB: There you go. Yes.

0:22:26.4 MA: See I’m a good 3Rs graduate. Yes I’m.

0:22:27.2 MB: There you go. Yes.

0:22:27.7 MA: I know what it’s called there.

0:22:31.6 MB: There you go.

0:22:32.4 MA: But I didn’t know, that’s what it was. It was really meet and greet, getting to know folks, building relationship. But understanding what is it that you want to do. I know in the business world, we call it the pain point, what’s your pain point, I would say, What’s your opportunity, right? What’s that thing you’re striving to do that you can’t quite do because you don’t have the data and information, or you don’t know how to use the data and information that you have, and who is it going to? Who’s your audience? What are you capturing and not capturing? And so culture matters, because in our approach, we engage a diverse array of voices and perspectives. So anyone that partners with us, we always say, we’re not here to do your check the box first.

0:23:09.0 MB: Amen.

0:23:10.9 MA: We know folks do that.

0:23:12.5 MB: That’s right.

0:23:12.6 MA: And we appreciate it.

0:23:13.4 MB: That’s right.

0:23:14.7 MA: But we’re here to really surface those multiple narratives, and we know they can be competing narratives.

0:23:22.0 MB: That’s right.

0:23:22.1 MA: But part of what we really specialize in is finding that alignment point, and lifting up what might otherwise go unsaid, and helping to provide some context, some understanding for that. Because data outside of context, oh my goodness.

0:23:36.4 MB: It’s dangerous.

0:23:37.7 MA: You can weaponize it.

0:23:37.8 MB: That’s right. It has been.

0:23:39.0 MA: And it has been. We can go there, one hand can point at other things. But I’ll just say, those perspectives are so important to us, and so that’s what we bring to the work, and so now, data are not objective. We are not objective. We all have our biases. And so there’s different ways you can engage with that. You can say, I’m not biased. I’m not racist, I’m not fill in the blank thing. All right, sure. But there was this musical, everyone’s a little bit racist. But our position is that, when you can acknowledge it, your position now. I’m a black woman, wife, mother, volunteer, believing the Lord.

0:24:26.7 MB: Academic.

0:24:26.8 MA: Trying to provide some jobs, academic and learning and doing this for the first time, so far from perfect, but I never try to be perfect. I do strive for excellence. And so when you can give that position, what does that mean? So when we’re partnering with those that are funding and implementing programs in the health equity space, it’s not just a health equity perspective, it’s, I understand this birth justice initiative as a black mama to four black babies.

0:24:58.4 MB: Gotcha.

0:24:58.9 MA: And so for me to come to this space as if that’s not shaping part of what we’re doing would be a…

0:25:04.6 MB: But also, it’s actually validating.

0:25:06.6 MA: Exactly.

0:25:07.9 MB: It’s validating because you are, in some cases, the customer, and you can echo, pivot, amplify, adjust that. You said something around, sometimes the results can be contradicting. And so, and you started this company when?

0:25:26.6 MA: Ooh, June 5th, 2017.

0:25:29.5 MB: Okay. So more than 50% of the businesses in this country fail within five years. You made it. We just did a study, it is called Beyond Five, that black businesses last at least 8.5 years. However, that longevity does not correlate to access to capital. Talk about how you’ve survived and are thriving, I would say, for five years when so many other businesses fall by the wayside.

0:26:02.7 MA: I have to be honest with you. I was so excited when Beyond Five came out. I was at the town hall virtually. I was not down at MLK with y’all. But I was in the chat.

0:26:11.7 MB: Yes.

0:26:12.1 MA: Excited, because that data and information, it always mattered to me and it matters to us. We talked a little bit earlier about part of what makes many of us stumble is when we just don’t know. We have to share the journey, and it is not all beautiful. It is not all roses and sunshine, but it’s a journey. And so part of what really helped me was that walking into it, I knew what to expect. I read the Federal Reserve Board of Boston’s report on black businesses. And I know you know it. You guys probably cited in there. I read that. I knew it. I said, What? The majority of black businesses have one employee, the owner?

0:26:50.1 MB: That’s right.

0:26:50.8 MA: And the majority are not profitable within the first three years?

0:26:53.9 MB: That’s right.

0:26:54.5 MA: How is that a business? And then most are closed after five. And so, yeah, that recovering type A personality. I was like, I gotta make sure we exceed these things. Because we know what happens to the majority. And we can have a different trajectory if we’re aware. And so it was a great striving in getting to that five year, and also very hard. And then reaching that goal, the other one, I was in New York with Daymond John, his Black Entrepreneur’s Day. I had a great time. Shout out to [0:27:27.7] __, she really connected me, and I was able to be on a panel.

0:27:32.1 MB: That’s awesome.

0:27:33.4 MA: With Butch from Black Enterprise.

0:27:36.1 MB: Oh, yes.

0:27:36.1 MA: And another colleague from Chase Bank. And we’re just talking about this journey. And I didn’t know that there was this Double Comma Club, but I learned about it. And we’ve met that for two years. It was really hard and it was not without mistakes.

0:27:54.1 MB: Now what is a Double Comma Club for those who don’t know?

0:27:56.3 MA: Oh, I’m sorry. When you gross more than a million dollars in revenue.

0:28:01.2 MB: That’s right. Yes. Yes.

0:28:01.2 MA: So that is exciting. I love it.

0:28:02.9 MB: Yes.

0:28:03.2 MA: I do. And I’ll be honest with y’all, painful. Painful. Some mistakes and missteps along the way. I’m not charging enough, I’m overworking everybody, including myself. Just extended timelines, just all those things. But I think about the capital story, and like you said, that access to capital and how that makes a difference. And so I listened and so N3Rs and other cohorts, and they say, make sure you’re capital ready. I was like, oh, here we go.

0:28:35.9 MA: Trying to push us some loans. What’s the interest rate? What is the term? I just paid off my student loan, now you want me to get back in some things?

0:28:42.8 MB: Congratulations. There you go.

0:28:44.2 MA: Like, what is going on here? But it’s so necessary. We bootstrapped everything, the first five years of the business. We did at what we earned in profit, we reinvested back.

0:28:57.1 MB: Of course. Yeah.

0:28:57.6 MA: Into the organization. That’s how we got our first hires. That’s how we introduced our salaried positions. That’s how we financed our benefits. We didn’t have any loans. And that was exciting, but it’s also not sustainable as you scale and as you grow. And you know this.

0:29:14.8 MB: Yeah.

0:29:15.1 MA: I learned it. Right. But you know this. And so we did, we shopped around a few different banks for a line of credit, because we got that good advice of you get the line of credit when you don’t need it.

0:29:27.5 MB: That’s right.

0:29:28.2 MA: So you can pull it when you need it.

0:29:29.7 MB: That’s right.

0:29:30.1 MA: Because trust me, if you wait until you need it.

0:29:33.0 MB: You might get a no, or it will be more expensive.

0:29:35.4 MA: Nobody is gonna give it to you.

0:29:35.7 MB: Or be really expensive. Yeah.

0:29:36.3 MA: Exactly. And so we set that up last spring.

0:29:39.8 MB: Congratulations.

0:29:40.9 MA: And we pulled it for the first time in October.

0:29:43.3 MB: All right.

0:29:44.0 MA: And, I have to take that deep breath, and just say, okay.

0:29:48.8 MB: It’s all gonna work out.

0:29:49.9 MA: Here we go. [laughter]

0:29:52.1 MB: And what were the words that went along with that deep breath?

0:29:57.6 MA: Oh, that we’ve always been enough, that we have an amazing vision that’s a gift, that we don’t know the exact steps that are in front of us, but we plan. And when the plan doesn’t work out, we adjust and we keep going. And so this is not anything that is too great for you to navigate. I had to say that, repeat it a few times actually, because…

0:30:24.8 MB: Okay. That could be a mantra.

0:30:25.8 MA: To shine, sign those documents. It was little heart palpitating, but we did it and then to pull it.

0:30:34.3 MB: And what did you pull it for?

0:30:36.3 MA: Payroll.

0:30:37.0 MB: Okay.

0:30:37.6 MA: Oh my goodness.

0:30:39.1 MA: Look. No, I think about it. One of my deep areas of growth, and I am founder and principal of Mirror Group, LLC, I love it. Friends, family, strangers are like… You are a CEO. You claim that title, you’re a CEO. But I have this, conception in my mind of what a CEO does. What a CEO really drives with executive leadership, how a CEO spends her day. And I’m like, trust me y’all, I know this is DC, this is the land of fake it till you make it. But I don’t feel like a CEO and I am not yet a CEO. And if you look in my calendar, you’ll see, because I’m the lunch lady, I’m the assistant, the associate to this and that.

0:31:24.5 MB: Yep. It’s a journey.

0:31:24.6 MA: I’m wearing way too many hats to really do justice to who the CEO of Mirror Group will be. And so I’m growing up into her.

0:31:32.8 MB: I love that.

0:31:33.3 MA: And I’m excited about it, but I’m not the one to claim it before I’ve actually earned it.

0:31:38.1 MB: I love that.

0:31:38.7 MA: But I’m getting there.

0:31:39.8 MB: Like people CEO you and you’re like, of what? It’s a firm, and it starts getting vaguer and vaguer and I’m like, do you have any employees? No, no, it’s on the horizon. And there’s no shame there but we do tend to use titles as a signal of ambition as opposed to reference to accomplishment. So I really appreciate that, ’cause as you know we talk a lot from, coming from founder to CEO and that, it’s a very different mindset. Like founder, you are the lunch lady, you are the copy person, you are the executive decision maker, you are HR, you are the CFO. When you become CEO, you have created a set of functions and processes that can work with or without you.

0:32:23.2 MA: There you go.

0:32:23.5 MB: And you’re actually able to turn over to other people. So I see that. I see that in your future.

0:32:27.6 MA: I hear you Professor. You see me writing notes, right?

0:32:27.9 MB: I see this in your future. But I wanna talk about something that I think I hear entrepreneurs get worried about. Talk to me about your first hire. ‘Cause I feel like there was like a whole interview of yourself in your head before you even interviewed the person.

0:32:46.8 MA: Wow. I love this question. I really do. And so when I think about the first hire, when I completely left academia, and hired myself full-time. So technically I was the first hire.

0:33:00.2 MB: I’m the first hire. Amen.

0:33:01.3 MA: I attended all the SBA score, SBDC, DSLBD, you know, the…

0:33:05.5 MB: You were all in.

0:33:07.3 MA: Whole all alphabet suit, and I took my notes, and a notebook like this and folks made it very clear. They said, “Put yourself on payroll. Don’t just take out here and there, but set your salary and set the pace and that is the same way that you will grow and scale your company. Take it seriously. This is not a hobby, it’s not a game.

0:33:27.3 MB: Right. Paying yourself cannot be an accident.

0:33:29.9 MA: Yes. So I was the first hire.

0:33:32.1 MB: Love it.

0:33:33.5 MA: And…

0:33:33.5 MB: Congratulations for getting hired. [laughter]

0:33:35.2 MA: Thank you, thank you. September 1st, 2019.

0:33:37.2 MB: Okay.

0:33:37.7 MA: I still remember it. I set my salary at $75,000.

0:33:40.9 MB: All right.

0:33:41.5 MA: And I was like, okay. And what was it? Semi-monthly.

0:33:48.2 MB: Okay.

0:33:48.4 MA: And so after me however, my first two hires were interns. And I say this intentionally because this is DC. And I know legislation and things are changing but in that time, land of the unpaid interns.

0:34:01.9 MB: That was it.

0:34:02.1 MA: So people said, “Why are you paying your interns? They will do this for free.” But the reason is that I remember being a grad student, very eager to help an organization that I love, that I was excited about, inspired about, and who instead of saying, okay, great, we’ll take that skillset and we’re gonna pay you. So who am I to be in the same position and say, nope, I’m keeping these pennies but I’m gonna work you. And so I told those two young ladies at the time, one of whom I spoke to yesterday…

0:34:32.2 MB: Oh, wow.

0:34:32.5 MA: And she’s great, gave me an update. You’re gonna be doing real work here, so I’m gonna pay you real money.

0:34:38.4 MB: They are like, “oh, great”.

0:34:40.1 MA: Yeah. This is great.

0:34:40.8 MB: ’cause you… First call was like, mom and… Mom, dad, parent, I got a job.

0:34:45.7 MA: And so they were part-time and we’ve always believed in living wages and so…

0:34:53.5 MB: S1: Love that.

0:34:53.6 MA: Not minimum wage, living wage job, hourly and then we hired our first full-time employee other than myself. It was the pandemic. Because what happened is that… You heard me say September 1st, 2019.

0:35:09.4 MB: I did.

0:35:09.4 MA: So you know I only had a handful of months…

0:35:11.1 MB: That’s it.

0:35:11.5 MA: Before here comes COVID.

0:35:12.6 MB: You had maybe seven, eight months tops.

0:35:15.3 MA: Maybe.

0:35:15.9 MB: Yeah.

0:35:16.4 MA: Right. I remember I was in the midst of traveling.

0:35:18.4 MB: ‘Cause it started like February of that… But nobody really wanted to acknowledge it so…

0:35:22.5 MA: I was traveling up through March.

0:35:24.1 MB: Oh, wow.

0:35:24.6 MA: But the writing was on the wall. I was on this flight, and coming into Atlanta and the flight is always packed. That flight was like a third full. Got into the airport. I was like, this is and I called my husband. I didn’t check into the hotel. I just went to see the client and I said, I’m coming home. So this is…

0:35:41.1 MB: Something’s going on.

0:35:41.4 MA: More than they say it is. And literally, the country shut down like two days later.

0:35:43.8 MB: Wow.

0:35:44.5 MA: Yeah.

0:35:44.9 MB: Good thing, you made it home.

0:35:45.9 MA: I know. I’m glad. But know that that first full-time hire other than myself. So COVID 2020, it was January 1st, 2021. But during that first year of COVID, I went into this hyper overdrive because I’m a data person. And we know what was happening to small businesses and especially woman-owned, minority-owned businesses. And the first thing I could think of, I don’t wanna lay anybody off or reduce any hours. And we went into hyper overdrive. And in hindsight, I know why, but it was so destructive. We burned ourselves out.

0:36:25.4 MB: So why did you do it?

0:36:32.0 MA: I think about where I grew up in the Bay area and I think about…

0:36:36.1 MB: Where did you grow up?

0:36:36.9 MA: San Pablo.

0:36:37.5 MB: Okay.

0:36:37.8 MA: It’s in the East Bay.

0:36:38.9 MB: Yeah, I know it.

0:36:39.8 MA: Not far from Berkeley, Oakland.

0:36:40.5 MB: I know it.

0:36:41.0 MA: I think you know there.

0:36:42.4 MB: Yes.

0:36:43.0 MA: And I think about Baltimore, where I really considered the city where I came of age as an adult.

0:36:48.7 MB: Sure.

0:36:49.7 MA: And I knew the impact that COVID was having on everybody, health wise, housing wise, job wise. Just all the different areas. And I really do believe that tradition to whom much is given, much is expected. And I was like, this is not the time to sit down and just try to cover myself. And so overdrive, well intentioned but disastrous and it was very clear. People loved the work we were doing and so existing clients doubled down. They said, not only are we gonna keep our work going like, here’s another thing you can have.

0:37:26.2 MB: Gotcha.

0:37:26.5 MA: We referred you to someone else and that was amazing. But then, we had too much work. But I didn’t know then what I know now, and what I’m still learning which is, oh, I should have hired people months before I actually did at that level.

0:37:40.9 MB: Sure. ‘Cause it takes time.

0:37:42.1 MA: It takes time.

0:37:43.0 MB: To get them up to speed.

0:37:43.8 MA: To get them up to speed and we were swamped with the work. And so, yeah, that was kind of the impetus and then hiring and then attrition and hiring ’cause we just… We were really nilly.

0:37:58.2 MB: It’s added flow. It’s added flow.

0:37:58.7 MA: We were really-nilly. I’ll be honest with it.

0:38:00.6 MB: Okay.

0:38:01.0 MA: And not because we were trying to be loose and fancy free but there are these ideas, oh, we need more people to do this. We need more people to do that. There was no strategy. There was no three Rs yet.

0:38:10.2 MB: I hear you [laughter]

0:38:11.6 MA: Well for me. [laughter]

0:38:11.8 MB: I hear you. Yeah, no, that’s real, that’s real. And so now when you think about staffing…

0:38:18.0 MA: Yes.

0:38:18.4 MB: For the next five years, what are some of the things you’re thinking about and what are some of the lessons you’re carrying forward? Like you said, not willy-nilly. So what does that look like now?

0:38:30.3 MA: That’s a great question. I’m in the middle of this right now.

0:38:32.7 MB: Okay.

0:38:33.2 MA: And I wish I could flip this question back to you [laughter] and say what should I be looking for? But I’ll tell you where I am today.

0:38:39.1 MB: Okay, great.

0:38:39.7 MA: Okay. So we talked about that infrastructure. And the need to really have that strong, that’s what sets aside a fly-by-night. Maybe Awesome. But fly-by-night business from one that sustains. And one that can scale, over time. And so I’m so focused on infrastructure and right now, we made the restructuring decision to outsource to vendors. So happy this coming Monday, we are welcoming our fractional director of operations.

0:39:10.7 MB: Best way to go ever.

0:39:11.9 MA: See I know this now.

0:39:13.4 MB: Best way ever.

0:39:14.8 MA: Didn’t know this some years ago. So anyone listening and you’re trying to figure out your first hire I know it seems counterintuitive.

0:39:21.3 MB: Yep.

0:39:21.8 MA: Because you’re like wait I’m professional services. I need people to do the service work. Or wait I’m products. I need people to engineer the products. You need an Ops person. If you are a classic founder of whom I am, I know I’m unique in different ways. [laughter] But that founder that’s a technician. You were an employee working doing that thing. And then you said let me try it myself. That’s the majority of us. And you have to know that and appreciate that integrator brain. Appreciate that Ops brain. We all need one.

0:39:54.8 MB: Yep. Yep. And you brought up something that I think a lot of people are thinking about now. Particularly post-COVID is the use of fractional. For some reason, we think that we have to have somebody full-time. To get the work done. But I think the labor market has moved that, we know post-COVID people are like, “I’m done with corporate America.” And so you can actually get senior level people who could do some of these tasks that may take somebody else 48 hours to do in eight hours. And so what you did was really think about it’s not just, I need to fill this role I need to think about the economics of that role. So I’m so proud that you did that fractional, ’cause you’re gonna see amazing results.

0:40:38.6 MA: I appreciate you saying that. I said hard lessons learned.

0:40:42.2 MB: Yeah.

0:40:42.3 MA: Because I didn’t just read about the fractional and do it. Remember I’m the lived experience girl. So I’m the one…

0:40:50.2 MB: You need the data for yourself.

0:40:50.8 MA: I’m the one that hired full time people. And it was the hardest thing of last year when I had to terminate staff. That doesn’t feel good. And nobody wants to have sympathy for you ’cause you’re the one that did it.

0:41:04.9 MB: Sure, sure.

0:41:05.0 MA: And so it’s really, it sounds interesting to say but it’s this distinction. It’s… I’m Mindelyn Anderson. We are all here building Mirror group. And I know it sounds odd for a person to say this is a business decision. I didn’t say it that way but I was like, “Ooh in my heart y’all don’t know how many sleepless nights tossing and turning how hard this was.” But I walked it forward and backward. Sideways and looked at it from an angle and…

0:41:32.4 MB: You held it in all kinds of mirrors. And it was still coming back the same.

0:41:35.6 MA: It was coming back the same. And I said I did not know what I did not know. But now that I know it we can’t keep doing the same thing and expect something different. And so I’m hopeful. Right? As we get that good grounding and footing. And get a handle of that. Get our systems in place perhaps we do hire full-time again in those more operational roles. But right now it’s exactly what you said. I need the senior seasoned. Been there done that. Teach me because I don’t know. And that’s part of my journey to become CEO, I told you I have my own criteria.

0:42:10.5 MB: Yeah. No, I love that.

0:42:11.2 MA: And that’s part of it.

0:42:12.2 MB: Yeah. We’ll be back with more of my conversation with Mindelyn Anderson right after the break.

0:42:22.5 MB: Welcome back. Here’s more of my conversation with Mindelyn Anderson. We always talk about hiring, talk about the firing. I’ve had to do several but you talk about some of what that experience is particularly because I think for founders and I’ve made the same mistake, we bring people on. We’re like oh we’re a family, and nobody for better or for worse nobody ever puts their family out. Although sometimes we should [chuckle] And I remember somebody saying to me, “Stop saying it’s your family because that makes it even harder.” As I tell entrepreneurs to stop saying this business is your baby. Because then you’re never gonna make the changes you need to make. So how did you approach that? ‘Cause nobody talks about like well what does a founder do when you gotta fire somebody? What was that like? I could see another deep breath coming. What was that like?

0:43:07.4 MA: Another deep breath is coming and a sip of water. [laughter]

0:43:10.2 MB: Take your sip. Take your sip. Take your sip.

0:43:12.0 MA: I’m gonna take it, actually. Yes. It was terrible. I will make no bones about it. It was terrible.

0:43:21.7 MB: Why?

0:43:22.8 MA: To try to do something with the best of intentions but to not have it come to fruition is hard. And to try to find a way to make it happen when the numbers just don’t add up. The rhythm is just not flowing. The vision is not in alignment. It’s extremely hard. So, and then just to be frank about it the compliance [laughter]

0:43:49.7 MB: Yep. Yep.

0:43:50.3 MA: And logistics things you have to do as well. I wasn’t ready for all that. I’m still waiting through it. I’ll be honest with you. We are still waiting through it right now. Because…

0:44:00.0 MB: There are legalities around that. Yeah.

0:44:00.4 MA: There are legalities around it. Like you said the notions of family. When folks are hurt.

0:44:05.0 MB: Yeah. It’s ugly.

0:44:07.7 MA: People say things and do things. And I just said, oh, And it made me think about… I met with a dear grad school friend of mine Zika Kudu and her sister circle from Indianapolis. So shout out to Nap Town.

0:44:20.5 MB: Nice.

0:44:20.9 MA: About a year and a half ago. And they have a book club. And they said, “Oh we want you to come and talk about a book.” And so I don’t know if you know Pamela CV Jolly.

0:44:31.5 MB: Yes. Yes.

0:44:32.0 MA: She has a book called The Narrow Road.

0:44:34.0 MB: Yes.

0:44:34.0 MA: And that was a game changer for me to start to really transform my mindset as to what wealth is and all these different ways, and I read that book. The first version, so this was like after the dissertation.

0:44:45.6 MB: Gotcha.

0:44:46.1 MA: And before she just rebranded. Like, I got it early, and I can’t remember how I came across from her, but I was like, yes, all the things I love.

0:44:52.6 MB: Because you were waiting for.

0:44:54.4 MA: Black people, finance, wealth, the Lord all in one book, [laughter] I was like, who does this ’cause I usually have to have three books and put it together myself. So I was just fan girl and all over family. And that book, it just changed my mindset, just understanding of our relationship across generations with wealth as African Americans in the United States. What does that mean to be systematically, legally in policy, disinvested from but to have so much wealth in so many ways. Yeah. What does that do to us? And so I met with that group just to talk about, everyone was working on their side hustle in the pandemic.

0:45:30.6 MB: Of course.

0:45:32.5 MA: And so I shared that with them. And I remember one of the ladies asked me, she said, I have to ask you, in doing all this in business, you have to have some people that you probably have to part ways from and how do you handle that? And I said it’s tough because who wants people thinking poorly of you? Not liking you, not respecting you.

0:46:00.0 MB: And particularly from inside.

0:46:00.5 MA: From inside, maybe calling your character into question. No, nobody says, Ooh, sign me up for that. But guess what…

0:46:08.1 MB: That’s it.

0:46:08.1 MA: Aspiring CEOs, myself included all of this is on journey.

0:46:11.1 MB: That’s in the job description.

0:46:12.4 MA: It’s all in there whether they tell you or not. And so what I said is that I know I’m so thoughtful and intentional with everything that I do, and I know my heart. And so even when things don’t turn out the way I had hoped or intended them to, I stand by what I do. And when I falter, I stand by, I messed that up. I should have done better [laughter] But I did it and I’m learning. I’m not perfect.

0:46:43.4 MB: No, nobody is.

0:46:44.2 MA: And so that is the part of it that I just told her, I said, I carry that because if I go through the world, I think of one of my mentors, Geraldine Kofi, who told me, she’s like, make your yeses meaningful and use no, liberally. She said, you have to. She said, ’cause I know you, you’re like, I can do that. I can do that too. I can do that. You probably can, but should you.

0:47:06.5 MB: Yes. [laughter], this is my year of, should I? Yes I can, but should I? Yeah. No, that’s fair. That’s real.

0:47:13.6 MA: And Ann knows, Ann could tell you when she reached out, I was so excited about this, we were on the call.

0:47:17.8 MB: Yes, that’s right.

0:47:17.9 MA: And I was like, sign me up.

0:47:18.8 MB: That’s right.

0:47:20.1 MA: So when she reaches out, I said, wait a minute, how can I be on the family [laughter], the family town hall, sign me up for the Founder Hustle. And then Ann reaches out. And I was like, there’s so much going on in Mirror Group right now. I don’t know if I should be on the founder hustle. And I said, I don’t know which date to choose. I don’t know if this is the time. And Ann was so kind. She said, no, completely understand that we have other dates. And I sat with it, considered it, and I said, mm-hmm. If I only show up when everything is rosy and looking bright and shiny. I am not doing justice to what this really is. And I’m not helping the me from five and a half years ago. And so that’s why I’m here.

0:48:00.6 MB: I’m so glad you did.

0:48:01.5 MA: This is a hard time right now. It’s a hard time, but I’m trusting.

0:48:07.0 MB: You mentioned that this was a difficult time and, I think nationally, right? Economically, we know it’s a difficult time. Whereby, don’t wanna use the recession word we know brothers and sisters still getting killed. We know the uncertainty of black businesses as we see the investment instead of going up has actually dramatically dropped. And I know businesses are struggling. So what did you mean when you said struggling?

0:48:38.3 MA: All of those things. All of those things. So, I mentioned how we grew little by little. Over time. And we had a large spike in hiring last year that was so exciting. And we weren’t ready for. We didn’t do, and a more strategic way, I’ll say. And so what happens when you do that, you retract. And we did, we parted ways with three, dear and beloved colleagues in December, and we just had two resignations last month. And so that’s why when you said, how large is Mirror group? I’m like, large, small, I don’t know where do we fall, but we’re 10 as of today, we’ll see [laughter] after that. But no, it’s, a hard time because we know, what this feels like. For so many, I think about our youngest colleagues and, we talked about all that and ambition and that fervor and that fire. And we love it. And at the same time, I never thought I would be viewed as the man, but I’m the man now. And that was like a really humbling like, huh. [laughter] wait.

0:49:55.2 MB: Right ’cause you’re showing up as your full self being empathetic, authentic, clearly a strong black woman, and now you’re being compared to, and we just, we say the man, it’s like usually that person who literally is oppressing the black worker and it’s one of the reasons why people like walk away from their jobs or they keep going. When they come, they go, oh man, did it to me again. Yeah. That’s hard. That hurts.

0:50:19.5 MA: So that’s extremely hard. And it hurts so that’s one thing. I would say another, it’s just the rhythms and flows of what’s happening. So because of the turns of the economy, we’re all affected.

0:50:32.1 MB: Sure. Absolutely.

0:50:33.3 MA: By this in different ways. And so you think about that uncertainty, or what people see as coming up and how they’re going to adjust to it. So for example, earlier this week may have been Monday, president Biden and the administration announced that the COVID emergency. State of emergency will be ending in May.

0:50:51.3 MB: Yes will be lifted. Yes.

0:50:52.7 MA: And so it’s important, and as they shared in talking points, we don’t wanna blind side anybody, everyone get ready. I can tell you we have a good deal of clients in the health equity space. And, when you think about what that means for health service organizations, Healthcare organizations, community health organizers, because this is a shift in policy, resources…

0:51:14.9 MB: The dollars. Yeah.

0:51:15.5 MA: And, all that goes on. And so everyone is, okay, well what does this mean? What, what happens to this part of money or that part?

0:51:20.3 MB: And it’s not like COVID is over.

0:51:23.0 MA: That year and COVID is not over. And so I also feel that ripple effect of our clients and how they worry, I told you the majority of our work is in philanthropy, and I told you that philanthropic dollars are corporate turned non-profits. So there is legislation you have to spend down at least 5% of your endowment every year. Not a problem. For most, because they have a whole investment marketing arm and they are earning far more than 5% every year.

0:51:50.4 MB: That’s right.

0:51:51.5 MA: And when you have a stock market like the one we have right now, those returns take a hit. And I know people will say, oh, that’s a nice problem to have, but the reality is that you’re funding programs and initiatives with this money.

0:52:05.3 MB: This has no guarantee. It’s recurring.

0:52:07.3 MA: And when that happens. Whose funding gets cut.

0:52:10.3 MB: That’s right. Yours. I would say I remember running a nonprofit, I mean, what we do now as a nonprofit, but people say, you’re not a requirement, you’re not an essential service. You are a nice to have. And I’m going, huh. I’m not sure that economic parity is a nice to have [laughter] or in your case, I don’t know how health services became a nice to have. Yeah.

0:52:32.3 MA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Or just the different supports. And then you think about the political shifts in ways. It’s like we said, George Floyd was not the first. And sadly so he is not the last. And still, many what we’re already seeing that backwards wave of… Aren’t we over this? By now, are we still talking about… These things right now? And that shapes, leadership that shapes policies and approaches, and that shapes whether folks have the ear for what we’ve always talked about, which we’ll always talk about. Before meeting with you today, I was having a nice conversation with the VP of a certain foundation [laughter] To not be named. And we were having a nice conversation about internal work that the foundation is doing with their staff around, equitable frameworks. How are we directing our giving? Multi-millions of dollars, it’s what I can think of and how many folks get it, and they’re coming along and the conversation, and some folks still don’t get it.

0:53:36.4 MB: Yeah. That’s hard.

0:53:37.8 MA: They don’t get it. And so that’s hard. But really the deep, hurt, I would say at this time, it’s not only felt by me, it’s felt by our colleagues at Mirror Group, those who we laid off, those who took an assessment and said, maybe I’ll cast my lot elsewhere. You know? That’s hard. That’s hard. It…

0:54:03.3 MB: Did you take it personally?

0:54:03.7 MA: As much as I tell folks don’t take this personally, did I feel it personally? I most certainly did. I most certainly did. I most certainly do. At the same time, I’m wise enough to have a healthy bit of detachment to know it’s not all about me. Some think I look younger than I am. I don’t know how much longer I can, I can hold that [laughter] or try to claim that, but…

0:54:26.2 MB: Black don’t crack. Come on. You got that. You got that.

0:54:28.9 MA: Right. [laughter] But I will say, I just love and appreciate the gift of time, because even if it hurts now, and it doesn’t fully make sense, I know that with time, things become clearer or different perspective on it. And there’s still other possibilities. And so right now it hurts. Five years from now, who knows.

0:54:50.2 MB: I appreciate you sharing that.

0:54:52.4 MA: Yeah. Thank you.

0:54:54.0 MB: One of the things that, that I was mindful of when I was doing my research, is that you’re using data to really help people change behavior ideally, or at least inform decisions that have been made. And a lot of it’s around diversity, right? And race. That whole DEI term.

0:55:18.2 MA: Oh, we gotta talk about that [laughter]

0:55:19.2 MB: Well, so I do wanna talk about that because your business, there’s a whole bunch of DEI folks now, but you were here before the death of George Floyd.

0:55:28.7 MA: Yes.

0:55:29.3 MB: And you’re here now after the death of George Floyd. Talk about what that event did. For you and for the business, because as we look at the trends, right? Everybody went out and hired a DEI expert. Whether they were expert or not, is subject to interpretation.

0:55:48.7 MA: Yes, that’s true.

0:55:49.7 MB: But now they’re all getting let go.

0:55:50.5 MA: I know.

0:55:53.2 MB: Fair enough. Right? Because that’s more about filling slots, but talk about are people… What was the discussion before George Floyd, and then did it shift? Like, are people more concerned about data, less concerned about data? I’m just, I’m gonna be optimistic.

0:56:07.1 MA: Yeah. Okay. Let’s see what I can do. I’m a pragmatist.

0:56:11.0 MB: I know, I know I said, well, you know, bring it back. Bring it back.

0:56:13.5 MA: I’ll do my best. So, DEI, I said we have to talk about it. I always tell folks all the time, you know, at Mirror group, we practice culturally responsive and racially equitable approaches to consulting.

0:56:24.7 MB: Love that.

0:56:25.5 MA: And I’m like, we’re not DEI consultants, but folks are like DEI as, let me refer you to a couple of folks.

0:56:29.6 MB: So say that again. Culturally…

0:56:31.3 MA: Culturally. Responsive.

0:56:33.0 MB: Responsive. Okay.

0:56:34.2 MA: And racially equitable.

0:56:36.0 MB: All right. Love it.

0:56:36.6 MA: Right. And so we call it out. We do name it.

0:56:39.7 MB: Yeah.

0:56:39.8 MA: We know that there are intersectional dynamics and identities and still in this country.

0:56:45.5 MB: Right.

0:56:46.0 MA: If we’re not talking about race and culture.

0:56:48.1 MB: That’s right.

0:56:48.5 MA: Then we’re dancing around something. We just are. And so, I share that because there have been many different terminologies names for these things. I think about when I started training, back at UCLA, when, 20 years ago. And what that looked like. And the language may have been different then, but the heart of it, why we do this work, what we’re trying to repair. Correct. What we’re trying to direct. Power and privilege that we’re making plain and and clear, and unapologetically. So it’s important. And so that’s our posture in the work. And I strongly believe because we have that posture. I know everyone says George Floyd. And it turned organizations and philanthropy into tizzy, I will admit, but we all know there have been so many George Floyds.

0:57:45.2 MB: Yeah. Of course still going.

0:57:46.6 MA: And still going. And so the thing that I share is that when it comes to a particular framework, we’re agnostic. I love Ibram Kendi anti-racist. We love these other, you know, these different frames. But if this is about liberation, if this is paying attention to Socio-historical context, the history, the policies, the decision making, the gatekeeping, the power, the privilege, that’s what we bring to the work. And so it’s not just your data and information, but in context, it’s not just what do we do with this program or initiative or organization, but it’s how do we transform systems? So the questions that we ask and how we utilize that data is beyond just a data point, if that makes sense. So we’re always thinking strategically. There’s a longer, bigger game that’s 400 plus years in the making.

0:58:47.5 MB: Right. At least. Yeah.

0:58:48.5 MA: And that’s what we’re committed to.

0:58:51.8 MB: What’s the most exciting body of work that you’ve done so far?

0:58:58.2 MA: That’s a toughie, [laughter] exciting in different ways.

0:59:03.4 MB: Which you’re most proud of? Or that you’re most…

0:59:07.4 MA: Yeah. And most proud of. You know, I have to share, we talked about COVID, and how we went into hyper overdrive during COVID. Well, we had the great honor to support a couple of COVID relief programs in Baltimore City. And I say honor because these programs, you know, like everyone we’re trying to get dollars out and access communities. But they were specifically designed with equity at the center. So that they’re reaching populations that otherwise would not be reached with these resources. Because you know what COVID was like?

0:59:43.0 MB: Exactly.

0:59:43.2 MA: If you said COVID money, here, the line is out the door, around the corner and down the block.

0:59:47.1 MB: Yes, yes you caught COVID trying to get the…

0:59:49.0 MA: Trying to get to…

0:59:49.1 MB: Yes.

0:59:51.1 MA: True story. But what does it mean to really craft a program that says, “We’re going to intentionally reach out to those that others will consider hard to reach.” They’re not hard to reach. We can’t have this free for all strategy and really support those most impacted. And so we have the great honor to support evaluation, learning and strategy for that. Reaching out to immigrant communities. Reaching out to youth. And so the legal term would be emancipated youth. But we know there are many youth that are not legally emancipated, but they are not home.

1:00:25.3 MB: Well on their own. Yeah. Yep.

1:00:26.8 MA: They are not home. And so you think about what is that experience like when a pandemic hits. You don’t have a steady address. Right? Your identification may have an address from two couches ago. How are you reached? What does that experience look like for you? And so we were able to support evaluation and learning of those initiatives, and that was really proud work. Another one is in black birth equity that I mentioned to you earlier. Really being able to look at these horrifyingly disparate outcomes for black women and birthing bodies. And why all the data, all the information, all the training. And we still have horrific outcomes with women bleeding out on the floor, their pain not fully recognized and…

1:01:20.2 MB: Yep. Well, Serena Williams being one of them, talks about that.

1:01:22.2 MA: Serena Williams being one of them. And I appreciated her so much because she shared this is my experience and still I’m Serena, y’all [laughter]

1:01:29.9 MB: That’s right. I’m the greatest of all time. So imagine what’s happening to folks. Yeah.

1:01:35.0 MA: So imagine that the fact that she really shared, you know, that narrative is meaningful and still is happening every day. So to be able to support programs and initiatives and funders that are saying, we can do this differently. We can fundamentally shift care, delivery, intervention, how we screen, how we resource, how we support. That’s just really proud. Yeah.

1:02:01.3 MB: What is the impact you hope to have with the Mirror Group?

1:02:07.4 MA: Oh, Mirror Group. I have to tell you honestly, and you’re gonna say, okay. Okay. But I’m telling you it really did start with a little girl dream. Not fully formed. I was eight years old and I drew myself.

1:02:21.1 MB: Oh wow.

1:02:21.6 MA: Power suit.

1:02:24.7 MB: All right.

1:02:24.7 MA: Skirt with the, you know, [laughter], nice blazer gold nameplate, ’cause that’s how you do an ’80 style gold nameplate.

1:02:32.5 MB: That’s how we do. That’s right. That’s right.

1:02:32.6 MA: A briefcase with your… But I was sitting at a desk and I was talking to people off of the page. That’s how I drew myself.

1:02:42.9 MB: Wow.

1:02:43.3 MA: Some imagined future.

1:02:45.6 MB: I love that.

1:02:47.2 MA: But no, really the ultimate goal with Mirror Group, it makes my little girl self proud. To create the kind of workspace I’ve always sought for. Sought… Dreamed of. And I just hope it becomes more commonplace. I hope we continue to strive to do the things, the living wages, the benefits. The honoring my whole self. Again, not perfect in it. Many stumbles. Some people might be listening right now, like, “Well, what about the time when you did this?” Like, “I did do it y’all, but I’m learning [laughter]”

1:03:19.9 MB: You said we shouldn’t work all night, but you sent me an email at 3:30 in the morning.

1:03:24.4 MA: I’m learning, I’m learning.

1:03:26.4 MB: Through all #Work in progress.

1:03:27.6 MA: Yeah. And just the kind of space that, you know, the next generation. Because this new generation coming up, I know, you know, they’re cut from a different cloth.

1:03:35.9 MB: I’m praying for them all, praying for them all.

1:03:37.4 MA: Cut from a different cloth. And the expectations, I love it. The audaciousness of it. And as a business owner now, I’m like, “Hmm.” It’s harder to get these things than y’all think. And still We hear you.

1:03:48.8 MB: That’s right. I love their courage. I’m just not sure they’re resilient enough yet, that’s for sure. Yeah. When you think about, you’ve named many people who are mentors in your life, I think a common theme for entrepreneurs is like, this is a team sport. We need a lot of people. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

1:04:11.4 MA: Wow. You definitely cannot do it alone. We’re a communal people.

1:04:19.8 MB: Yes.

1:04:20.2 MA: We just are. You might try to deny it, you know? Grow up a little bit, get a couple commas behind you and think you’re not. It’s because of those couple commas, you know? We are communal people, but seriously, I think about, I did have the opportunity to participate in the Walker’s Legacy Foundation.

1:04:38.0 MB: Okay. Yeah. Of course.

1:04:39.3 MA: Women in Enterprise cohort. Shout out to Ayris T. Scales, who was president then. I know she’s on with real estate now. And just that whole cohort, dynamic group of ladies. So inspiring. We get up Saturday morning, bright, early, bushy tailed, you know, or just waking up with coffee, but in there, and I’m so mad ’cause I always love to give credit where it’s due. I cannot remember our guest speaker’s name.

1:05:01.2 MB: Okay.

1:05:01.2 MA: And so I’m gonna have to find that name. But she talked about the Fab five. I keep thinking it was Calisi, but I’m not sure. So I don’t wanna give wrong credit, but the Fab five and you talk about the team sport and she said everybody needs a Fab Five. So I’m gonna do my best to make sure I get them right.

1:05:17.1 MB: Okay. [laughter] I love it.

1:05:20.6 MA: You need legal, you need an Attorney. Make sure you have a good one.

1:05:24.3 MB: That’s right.

1:05:24.8 MA: Right. You need an Accountant. And really, I learned later through Manny Cosme and the greater Hispanic Washington Chamber of Commerce. Gotta give that shout out on that financial bootcamp, you actually need two accountants. Your Management Accountant CFO is different from your Tax Accountant.

1:05:40.0 MB: That’s correct. That is correct. That’s correct.

1:05:41.2 MA: You need both of them. So I’m gonna asterisk on that. But you need a good accountant. You know, you need a coach. Right. Someone who’s really gonna grow you up into a CEO. That’s what I’m calling this journey right now. I’m growing.

1:05:57.0 MB: I love that, I love that, I love that.

1:05:57.8 MA: Myself up into a CEO love that you need a coach.

1:05:58.1 MB: I love that.

1:05:58.7 MA: Right. You need your mentors. Of course. And I know that’s weird, you know, the question came from, you have to have your mentor, you need your supportive loved ones. Those are the five. If you have that, you’re never alone, no matter how heavy it feels.

1:06:13.2 MB: Yeah.

1:06:13.4 MA: Right. And no matter how high or advanced you get in this, you have people to ground you and humble you. Wait a minute now [laughter], I remember when, I remember, I remember when, don’t forget. But that Fab five that really stuck with me. And I share that with people often because some of us have some of that part of it, or different phases of it. But when you have that full compliment.

1:06:37.8 MB: You’re, you’re unstoppable.

1:06:39.0 MA: I think so.

1:06:41.0 MB: You talked about that last one family. That’s hard sometime ’cause family is like, what the heck you doing?

1:06:49.4 MA: Yes.

1:06:50.5 MB: So I’m sure at some point in time somebody said to you, girl, I know you’re not about to leave this job for life. Because that’s essentially what, once you’re tenured, you got a job for life. So what did you say to them? Like, how did you convince them? No, this entrepreneurship thing, which may or may not work out is better than a job for life?

1:07:13.5 MA: Woo. You know, one of the things I often tell our team is that there is no replacement for time.

1:07:18.1 MB: That’s amen.

1:07:18.9 MA: There just isn’t.

1:07:19.8 MB: You can get more money. Time has to, you can get more people. You cannot get more time.

1:07:22.8 MA: You can’t. And time has to run its course. So I’ll be honest, in the time with the naysayers, it was like, oh boy. And no, I couldn’t lay out a whole plan and say well, I’ve got a plan and two years from now and this sort of thing. But I just knew with every being of myself and I had a little reputation of folks saying, you should do X, Y, Z. And me saying, but I wanna do something else. Imagine my family…

1:07:45.9 MB: Gotcha. So they expected a possible pivot.

1:07:49.0 MA: When I start UCLA as a business economics major, and I changed to a sociology major.

1:07:54.8 MB: They’re like, oh, there goes her salary potential just dropped to the floor.

1:07:58.6 MA: But let me tell you…

1:08:00.0 MB: You had a track record.

1:08:01.2 MA: One of my supportive loved ones I told you was my husband and one of my sisters, my sister Dana, Dana Chambers in McDonough Georgia. That’s where she lives now. But when I made that switch, she said, oh, you’re gonna be poor. That was her response to me, [laughter] And I said, wait a minute, Dillard University class of, you are a sociology major. She said, that’s how I know you’re gonna be poor.

1:08:24.6 MB: Ooh. Ooh.

1:08:26.0 MA: But that sister, she is one of my number one champions now. She always has been. She’s just, you know, a little tough on her little sister, but, and she said, I always knew you would do something with that. I said, that is not what you told me out loud.

1:08:40.3 MB: Actually changed that narrative. That double karma. But the sociologist is a great profession. [laughter],

1:08:45.6 MA: You know, but it’s tough. But, I think just have the conversations. Hear them out. Because there are things that people are saying to try to protect you, ’cause they care for you. But you just have to know what it is. And for me, I just, I’m so thankful for my family. I am my mother’s junior. So that carries a lot of weight. Before I was married, I was Mendel and Rochelle Beaufort, the second. I had a Roman numeral two.

1:09:13.0 MB: Wow.

1:09:13.3 MA: At the end of my name. So official. Yes. And you know, my mother was the first in her family to go to college. And so that side of the family comes from Arkansas, a history of enslavement then share cropping. Then owning some of the land, then getting run off the land.

1:09:32.9 MB: Wow.

1:09:35.0 MA: That was part of our westward migration journey to California. Was having to flee for life. And first in her family to go to college. And she went on to law school. And became an Attorney. But guess what? I never really thought about this until someone’s asking me about this journey. And I said, I’ve never described myself as a third generation entrepreneur, but I realized I am. And I wanna tell you why. My mother started off working for a firm, San Francisco Bay Area. Oakland, San Francisco, those things. And around the time, well, I always remember it from my childhood, but she stepped out, she left the firm and she started her own firm.

1:10:17.0 MB: Good for her. Good for her.

1:10:18.9 MA: And so, to some degree I saw that as a young child and I knew it wasn’t easy. I thought it was just being an attorney. I was like, I don’t wanna be an attorney. I now know it’s being a business owner. It’s being an entrepreneur. But I got to see that up close and personal. And she’s a phenomenal litigator. I remember seeing her in the courtroom and just like, ooh, mommy’s good. And just really appreciating that. But she created her own because the firm life wasn’t quite for her. She was married to her college sweetheart. Six kids.

1:10:51.8 MB: Yeah. That’s not conducive. Yeah.

1:10:54.2 MA: All the… She wanted a shift for herself. But when I thought about it, her mother also was an entrepreneur. I didn’t think about it the same way, but we’ve always been making a way. So a black woman from the south, young mother, right? In Bay Area, Richmond. California.

1:11:15.8 MB: Yeah.

1:11:16.3 MA: And she bought and owned real estate.

1:11:21.1 MB: Wow.

1:11:21.9 MA: She took her earnings as she would save from seamstress work, other things, and bought real estate. Housed herself, her parents, some siblings, other people in community. So when I grew up, it really was big mama’s houses here and auntie so-and-so was there.

1:11:37.7 MB: I love that.

1:11:38.0 MA: And this one’s Veronica and the duplex. But I saw that, I did not realize that was entrepreneurship.

1:11:43.8 MB: Sure, sure.

1:11:44.3 MA: But it most certainly was.

1:11:45.5 MB: Absolutely.

1:11:46.6 MA: Right?

1:11:46.9 MB: Absolutely.

1:11:47.6 MA: And so when I had to take full stock of that, I said, “wow, I’m third generation. I better show up and show out and do a little something” [laughter]

1:11:56.2 MB: Right. Because now you got more tech tools and everything else, your grandmother’s going. Really? That’s all you could do. You got all these tools I didn’t have really come on.

1:12:04.0 MA: Right?

1:12:04.6 MB: Yeah.

1:12:05.0 MA: But like you said, that narrative, and I think about it back to your point of you’re leaving this sure thing to do something unknown. I will share some of that skepticism came from love family members because. Because they knew this work is hard.

1:12:18.2 MB: Right. They’ve been there.

1:12:19.8 MA: You sure you wanna do this hard work?

1:12:21.4 MB: Right.

1:12:21.5 MA: But it’s like…

1:12:22.4 MB: And they worked hard so you wouldn’t have to.

1:12:27.2 MA: I know.

1:12:27.8 MB: Yeah.

1:12:28.5 MA: And the reality is that I’m working hard and smarter.

1:12:32.1 MB: Yes. There you go.

1:12:33.2 MA: Now. So that my four babies won’t have to, right? And so I appreciate all those lessons learned from previous generations and how I can leverage that now or what Olivia, Vivian, Miriam and Isaiah are gonna do.

1:12:47.8 MB: Wow.

1:12:47.8 MA: I don’t know.

1:12:48.8 MB: That one boy, he hanging on.

1:12:50.3 MA: One, he’s the last one he showed up as a surprise. But we love him.

1:12:53.4 MB: There you go. [laughter] If one of your children came to you and said,” I wanna start my own business”, what would you say to them?

1:13:00.3 MA: This is a great question. [laughter], they already know. They know their mama. One page business plan.

1:13:05.6 MB: Okay. That’s good. [laughter] That’s a start. That’s a start.

1:13:09.6 MA: They already know. So you know the one, it’s the business canvas.

1:13:13.0 MB: That’s right. Fill that out. Get them nine boxes. I love that.

1:13:17.0 MA: They know it. And so, they know, I would be excited by that. I would fully expect it to be in alignment with what they love. So I’m not looking for them to be the 2.0 me and I just see it as creativity. And a real blessing, just to be honest about to create something new.

1:13:38.2 MB: Yeah. What’s in store for the Mirror group for the next three to five years?

1:13:44.2 MA: Three to five years. So my timeline, but we’ll see, you know what they say about when you set your own timeline. But my June of next year, I intend to transition into CEO.

1:13:55.6 MB: All right.

1:13:56.2 MA: Of Mirror group.

1:13:57.1 MB: Okay. Make sure I get an invite to that graduation.

1:14:00.2 MA: Right. Look… [laughter]

1:14:00.5 MB: Okay. That promotion. Yes. Okay.

1:14:02.3 MA: That’s my plan. So I’m a little less than a year and a half out.

1:14:05.9 MB: Yeah.

1:14:07.2 MA: But really it’s this infrastructure. You know it.

1:14:09.1 MB: Yeah. It’s hard.

1:14:09.9 MA: You know it. And setting these systems in every area, our client services, project management, HR, legal, finance, IT, admin, marketing and comms.

1:14:20.0 MB: You make it sound so sexy. Not.

1:14:21.7 MA: It’s not. So that’s the thing. It’s not the sexy work, but I’m telling you.

1:14:25.9 MB: It’s the important work.

1:14:26.5 MA: It’s the work that’ll keep you…

1:14:27.7 MB: Yeah. It’s the important work.

1:14:28.6 MA: In business. And so that’s my focus. Really continuing to look inward and develop our people. We have some colleagues that have rocked with us, [chuckle] through all these rocky times. And we have some many who have gone other ways.

1:14:43.3 MB: Yeah.

1:14:43.9 MA: And we have some that are new, that are like, “what in the world is going on restructuring? What does that mean?”

1:14:48.8 MB: Right.

1:14:48.9 MA: And it’s like, it’s not as stable as me being able to tell you, here’s what we’ve done the last 25 years, and here’s what we’re gonna do the next 25 years. And so it’s not for everyone, but I can tell you, if you’re along for this ride, you’re gonna learn some things. You’re gonna have some really amazing highs. We’re gonna have some really big blows. And whatever it is that you do in your life, this is gonna shape that. And so, that’s what’s in store, raising up those senior leaders, because I’ve got my eye on a couple of staff.

1:15:22.1 MB: Okay, good.

1:15:23.1 MA: You’re my director of…

1:15:24.4 MB: I love that.

1:15:24.9 MA: And you’re the this, and I don’t wanna get too ahead on myself but I can see it.

1:15:28.5 MB: Yeah.

1:15:29.5 MA: I can see it.

1:15:30.1 MB: But that’s helpful for them too, to come along.

1:15:32.1 MA: Yeah.

1:15:33.1 MB: Well, I can see it in you. You gonna be successful. I look forward to being invited to the promotion ceremony.

1:15:41.8 MA: Yes.

1:15:42.2 MB: That’s for sure.

1:15:42.9 MA: Okay.

1:15:43.1 MB: And I just wanna thank you for being here.

1:15:45.3 MA: Thank you.

1:15:46.1 MB: I really appreciate you. I appreciate your vulnerability and sharing and I hope that even if everybody doesn’t exactly understand what you do, that they at least can be connected by your journey. So thank you.

1:16:01.1 MA: Thank you so much.

1:16:01.7 MB: Thank you.: Well, Mindelyn acknowledged her type A personality. It is clear that it has led to her being part of the Double Comma Club and good for her. She reminds us of the journey to be a CEO is challenging, especially the hiring and the firing. Mindelyn reminds us that new majority founders are communal people, and that culture matters. Luckily for Mindelyn, her community was full of entrepreneurs and risk takers who sought to make a difference for themselves and their communities.

1:16:37.9 MB: Thank you for listening to Founder Hustle. If you enjoyed this conversation, please subscribe and tell a friend. For more information about our guest, check out our website, There you’ll find all kinds of information tools and resources for the new Majority entrepreneur. To stay connected, follow us on social media @wearenmv or Search #founderhustle. Founder Hustle is a production of Kinetic Energy Entertainment and new Majority ventures. Our producer is Ann Kane. Our social media producer is Masako Envela. The intro theme is Vuelta Al Sol by Tomas Novoa. The credit theme is Glide by Columbia Knights, and the Yays are from Ratata by Curtis Cole. I’m Melissa Bradley. See you next time.

1:17:30.2 MA: So you got to ask me all these questions.

1:17:32.2 MB: Oh Lord. Well see, now it’s Diana’s…

1:17:36.3 MA: I’m breaking scripts. [laughter]

1:17:36.8 MB: Diana’s smiling now because we flipped the script on her. Yeah. Okay. Alright, you get two questions.

1:17:41.7 MA: Ooh, only two?

1:17:42.9 MB: That’s it. What did you get?

1:17:44.7 MA: All right.

Melissa Bradley

Melissa Bradley

Melissa L. Bradley is the Founder and Managing Partner of 1863 Ventures, a business development program that accelerates New Majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth and Co-founder of New Majority Ventures, a purpose-driven media brand featuring content that is entertaining, inspirational and actionable so that these entrepreneurs and their businesses survive and thrive.