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About this Podcast
Melissa welcomes CEOs, Investors, VCs, Foundations, and other guests to the famed Oak Bluffs community of Martha’s Vineyard for Porch Talks. These personal, funny and touching conversations are first-hand accounts of what it’s like to be a part of a fast growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. They share their struggles and insecurities – both professional and personal, along with the courage and resiliency needed to be a partner to and for the New Majority entrepreneur.
PRESIDENT, BROWN EXECUTIVE SEARCH
Prior to starting Brown Executive Search, Bruce and Daversa Partners have established an unparalleled reputation as the headhunters “recruiting the un-recruitable” across the C Suite for privately held enterprise software, eCommerce, digital media and consumer internet companies. Bruce builds teams that generate billions for clients and shareholders by supplementing founders’ visions with the top tier of material impact executives. Bruce has earned his reputation as one of the most sought after Headhunters in Silicon Valley & NYC.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & PRESIDENT AT CENTER FOR BLACK INNOVATION
Derick helps brands become magnets for funding, having built 5 successful brands that have raised millions of dollars. As the co-founder of the Center for Black Innovation, Derick’s work has been featured in Comcast, NBC Today Show, Afro Tech, Black Enterprise, Techcrunch, Inc, and Forbes. He was honored at the White House as one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs under 30 in 2011. Author of the book Spitting Game.
FACULTY, LEGAL STUDIES AND BUSINESS ETHICS DEPARTMENTFACULTY, WHARTON SCHOOL
Mori Taheripour is a globally recognized executive, highly sought-after speaker, and negotiation expert who has worked with some of the most iconic sports leagues and Fortune 100 corporations over the past twenty years. She teaches Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is an eight-time recipient of awards for excellence in teaching.
CEO, SNAKE NATION
Snake Nation is a mission driven, culture, content and technology company for Creative Rebels in film, music, art, fashion, dance and tech based in Atlanta, GA and Cape Town . We are building a platform that helps M2 (Multicultural Millennial) creators, build audience, distribute their product and monetize their work in the global creative economy.
After winning $1.3 million in scholarships himself, Christopher Gray founded Scholly, an app that helps students easily find scholarships for college and graduates pay off their student debt. Scholly was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, landing a deal with Daymond John and Lori Greiner and sparking the biggest fight in Shark Tank history. Scholly has over 4 million users and has helped students raise over 100 million dollars.
CEO OF BLENDOOR, FOUNDER OF VISIBLE FIGURES
Stephanie VanPutten, Fortune 40 Under 40 and international backcountry skier, is the founder & CEO of Blendoor: SF-based, DEI scoring and analytics software company. Stephanie’s career spans 20 years in the tech industry: two software startups, Microsoft, Lockheed, Deloitte, and TripAdvisor. She is vice chair of the Fair Pay Workplace and EIR at venture fund The Equity Alliance. Stephanie founded Visible Figures: the largest network of venture-backed Black women in the world.
VICE PRESIDENT, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, KAUFFMAN FOUNDATION
Philip Gaskin is vice president of Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he is responsible for leading the Kauffman Foundation’s efforts to build an economy that works for all people by making entrepreneurship an integral component of economic development policies, practices, and programs.
PROGRAM OFFICER, INCLUSIVE ECONOMIES, SURDNA FOUNDATION
Patrice R. Green serves as Interim Director of the Inclusive Economies Program overseeing a $9.2 million grantmaking portfolio seeking to advance Surdna‘s social justice mission. Patrice’s work seeks to actualize racial equity through wealth creation, systems accountability, and democratic participation for communities of color across the nation through grantmaking. Prior, she was the Program Officer for the Inclusive Economies Program from 2018 – mid 2022.
- Produced by Ann Kane
- Podcast editor is Sonya Harris
- Social media producer is Misako Envela
- Theme music is “A New View” by Tony Cruise
- Video is produced and directed by Eric Masunaga of Modulus Studios