Episode 24

#24 The Real Unicorns of Tech: Kathryn Finney on Black Women Founders

How do we get more funding for communities of color? Finney is founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided, and Co-Author/Research Lead on #ProjectDiane, a proprietary data project about the state of Black women in tech entrepreneurship in the United States. Leading with data, Finney is fundamentally changing the discussion about diversity in tech. In her interview with Kelly Hoey, you’ll hear Finney explain why she established BIG, a new accelerator in Atlanta dedicated to Black women founders, the Harriet Fund and Harriet Angels.  Finney’s confession that she was born to be an entrepreneur may explain why she is also so good as an investor and why, in one important way, she is no different than the rest:  she always looks to get her money back!

Notes

Why Diane Nash Is Selma’s Best Supporting Role by Christopher Wilson, Time

It’s Embarrassing How Few Black Female Founders Get Funded by Davey Alba, Wired

Digitalundivided Launches BIG Innovation Center in Atlanta for Black and Latina Women in Tech by Danielle Young, The Root

Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne

A New Way for Women of Color to Get Funding by Kimberly Weisul, Inc.

Startup Investors Hit the Brakes by Scott Martin, Wall Street Journal

Invest with Harriet Angels (Maya Venture Partners)

7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain Alice Walton, Forbes

Oprah Winfrey Delivers Empowering Speech at Essence Fest Debut: ‘The Magic Is to Surrender to God’s Dream for You’ by Kathy Ehrich Dowd

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95 by Bill Keller, New York Times

Martha Stewart Unloads on Millennials: Here’s What She Said (and Why) by Bill Murphy Jr., Inc.

Additional Reading

Inside One Woman Investor’s Plan To Get Black Female Founders Funding by Clare O’Connor, Forbes

Hey, How’d You Establish Yourself as The Budget Fashionista and founder of digitalundivided, Kathryn Finney? by Janelle Harris, MediaBistro

The Divided American Dream by Emily Badger, Washington Post

Syndicates / For Investors AngelList

Where Do Venture Capital Dollars Actually Come From? This Visual Explains by Lee Hower, NextView

Guest bios & transcripts are available on www.broadmic.com.

Bio

Kathryn Finney is the founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided (DID), an organization that invests in the success of Black and Latina women tech founders by providing them with the network, coaching, and funding to build, scale, and exit their high growth companies. DID runs the BIG Innovation Center, home to the BIG accelerator program, a 12-week program for high potential startups led by Black and Latina Founders. She is also a General Partner in theHarriet Fund, the first pre-seed venture fund focused on investing the untapped potential of high potential Black and Latina women led startups.

One of the first social media “stars”, in 2014 Kathryn sold her site, The Budget Fashionista, to a midwest media company and later was the editor at large at BlogHer (sold to Sheknows), a platform representing 40MM+ women influencers.

An honors graduate of Yale University, and Rutgers University, Kathryn received the Champion of Change Award in 2013 from the White House for her work increasing inclusion in the tech industry and is an Eisenhower Fellow and an Echoing Green Fellow. She’s also listed in Marie Claire’s 10 Women to Watch in 2016, Entrepreneurs Magazine’s“Woman to Watch in 2016”, New York Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award, SXSW Black Innovator Award, The Grio 100, Ebony Power 100, Black Enterprise “40 under 40” list, and inducted into Spelman College’s “Game Changers Academy.”

On February 26, 2015 she was honored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer with the “Kathryn Finney Appreciation Day.”

Transcript

Kelly: The things that I talk about now are not so much about the problem. It's about the solutions, because the problem is already identified. And it's not only changed our discussions, it's changed discussions really across the country and even the world.

I'm Kelly Hoey, host of BroadMic. I speak with the most accomplished entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders about the issues that matter in building a business. You will get the inspiration, as well as the picks and shovels you need to become a better entrepreneur. Be inspired, take action, think broad.

My guest today on BroadMic is Kathryn Finney, the founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided, a social enterprise that finds, supports, and trains urban tech entrepreneurs. digitalundivided leads several successful programs and initiatives, including FOCUS Fellows, a tech accelerator incubator for black women founders and co-founders. Kathryn is also the visionary behind Project Diane, and that's the #ProjectDiane, a data project disrupting pattern matching in tech.

I am so happy to have you here on BroadMic.

Kathryn: Oh, it's great to be here, Kelly. Thanks for having me.

Kelly: All right. So, huge, massive congratulations on the recent launch of BIG, a new accelerator in Atlanta dedicated to supporting female African-American entrepreneurs, the Harriet Fund and Harriet Angels. Okay, in your own words, for someone who doesn't know all these things you're doing, give us a scoop on Atlanta, why Atlanta, what's BIG, and the Harriet Fund and Harriet Angels.

Kathryn: Well, last February, February 2015, we embarked on this data collection project called Project Diane, named after Diane Nash. Diane Nash is this fabulous, amazing, great woman. She was a member of the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, she was portrayed in the movie "Selma." But a lot of people don't know who she is. She was sort of the architect of the Selma March. And so we decided to name it after her because we were looking at what's going on with black women in tech.

Kelly: And what is going on?

Kathryn: A lot, or sometimes not a lot. And what we found was that, of the approximately 10,000 plus venture deals, venture capital deals that happened between 2012 and 2014, black women only accounted for about 24 of those details, or 0.2%, less than zero basically. And that really, really disturbed us because we were like, "Look, how are we going to make change? How are we going to be a part of this space if we're not getting the funding and we're not getting the support that we need in order to build and grow successful businesses?"

So Project Diane, we took this time, a year or so, and really looked at what was going on with black women in tech and in entrepreneurship in general, and we found that there was only about 88 black-woman-led startups, which was shocking and sad. There's about 2200 woman-led startups, in general, in the U.S. So black women are somewhere around 3% of the total startups created and led by women. Our population, in terms of women, are about 14 to 15%. So we're way, way, way under.

And we really looked at other data points such as, how much are black women raising? We found that black women were raising an average $36,000. The average white-male-led startup raises about 1.3 million. So we weren't even raising enough to really fail appropriately, which is sad.

Kelly: [inaudible 00:03:47] a bargain basement failure, right?

Kathryn: Exactly.

Kelly: Jeepers creepers. Okay.

Kathryn: And so all the ideas, all the different activities that we're doing are a result of that, of this data, and seeing, "What do we do next? How do we impact change? And how do we fundamentally change what's going on in tech right now? So the BIG Accelerator, we named it BIG because we thought, "Why not go big?" and every time someone thinks about what we do and every time someone thinks about women, women of color, black and Latino women in tech, they think of big ideas, and big dreams, and big companies, and big markets...to underscore "markets," it's really important.

Kelly: Yeah, there's always a market, but heck to funding us, anyway. A little side there.

Kathryn: And so we named it BIG. And we're really excited. It's in partnership with the United States Small Business Administration. We won an accelerator program, competition that they had, which was really exciting. The city of Atlanta, the mayor, Mayor Kasim Reed, is a big supporter of ours. And so we're super excited about it. It's the first accelerator innovation center for black and Latino women, and we're really excited about what's going to come out of it, and what type of opportunities this is going to afford the community.

Kelly: That's amazing. Let's just stay on BIG for a second. When's the accelerator launching? What type of entrepreneurs are you looking for?

Kathryn: The accelerator is launching this summer. The type of entrepreneurs we're looking for, it's really interesting. The role I have in our company is I'm 100% pro-entrepreneur. I love the entrepreneur. I want us to all create companies. Every time I meet someone, I'm like, "Are you creating a company? I need you to create a company." So my role and what I look for are great entrepreneurs. I look for people who have a vision, who know what it is that they want, who understand the markets, who have a domain-level experience, meaning they have experience in doing what they actually do, in terms of a company, and they have the ability to complete it.

So a lot of the questions I ask during an interview process is about, "What have you done? Tell me a time where you couldn't complete something. Tell me a time that you were able to complete something with a lot of adversity." Those are the things that I look for, because being an entrepreneur is so incredibly hard.

Other members of the team, particularly Gayle Jennings, who is the head of Harriet Fund, which is our venture fund that funds women that come through the program, she's looking for really, "What's your market? Do you understand your business model? Is your business model realistic? Can you actually make money?" You wouldn't believe how many people have not thought about how they're gonna make money. You have to know how you're gonna make money if you're gonna ask for investment from someone. "Are you looking at this..."

Kelly: Yeah, I like so say to people, "Venture funding is not a revenue model."

Kathryn: It isn't, right? A lot of people think it is that. It isn't. Like, "How are you going to get someone to give you money?" And that's really, really important sort of aspect that a lot of women of color entrepreneurs, I think, tend to overlook. A lot of the companies we build are legacy-based companies, meaning companies that we build to then hand on to our children, or our children's children. Well, as an investor, I want my money back. I don't want to fund a company that's going to take 40 years before it exits or something for you to give your kids. I want to fund something that's going to give me money and put money back into my bank account.

Kelly: But this is also so important, that point where you're talking about legacy businesses, where, when we think about the economy of the United States, it is built on small businesses. But how much more powerful could the economy be if some of these legacy businesses that have been transforming communities, improving households, lifting up not just themselves and their family but their communities? How much more powerful would our economy be if we were funding, and scaling, and growing those businesses?

Kathryn: It would be amazing. Main Street is what drives Wall Street. And so I think it's really important that we start to think of it in that way. But there is that investment end of it. And I don't wanna sort of poo-poo these...word my mother uses a lot. I don't want to put that to the side, because I think that's really important. Even when you receive a loan from a bank, they want you to be able to repay that loan back. And so I think what happens to a lot of entrepreneurs, they've been sold lately on this this sort of myth that, "You raise as much money as you possibly can, and you get really, really big, and then you figure out how to do your business model."

Well, I was just reading in the Wall Street Journal today that the venture...particularly last quarter, the amount of venture funding was really, really down quite significantly, and is going to continue to go down. So now we're in this venture crunch where it's going to be very hard to get money to scale to that really big, big number and then figure out your business model. You're gonna, as an entrepreneur, have to know how you're gonna make money from day one. It doesn't mean that you're making money day one, it doesn't mean that you're going to be revenue profit at day one, but you have to know how you're going to make it, whether you're a small business, whether you're a startup, or whether you're a large business.

Kelly: Got it, gotta make that money. Let's go back to Harriet Fund and Harriet Angels. How are those working with BIG, Project Diane, all your other ventures? How does that all fit in?

Kathryn: Well, it's really interesting. One of the challenges that we found from Project Diane was that funding is an issue. Black and Latino women are not getting the funding. And there's a whole myriad of reasons why. We're not seeing them marketed as entrepreneurs, particularly in the tech space. Our communities don't have as much wealth as other communities. There's something about...I think there are around 10 million...10,000 black millionaires. Of those black millionaires, only about 1500 are actually liquid. Most of the wealth in the black community are in our homes. So we don't have a lot of people who can give us money and give us startup funding that they won't want immediately back or maybe we wouldn't put them in some sort of severe financial trouble.

So one of the things that we look at is, "Okay, how do we solve that? How do we get around that? How do we get the funding to people who need it in order to grow their businesses?" And so the two ways was Harriet Fund, which is our $10-million-dollar venture fund. And that is for companies that go through our BIG Accelerator program. You have to prove that you can build a product, that you can scale it, and that you can get a customer. That's very, very important. Venture money is harder money. It just is. You have to have that solid business plan, and you have to know where you're going.

The angel money is different. Angels are people who have been successful, usually in business, who are investing in others because they wanna give the opportunity. As an angel, you're not as worried about getting your money back. You would like to get it back.

Kelly: Well, you're just sort of patient. You know it's gonna be longer.

Kathryn: It's patient capital. It's very patient.

Kelly: Yeah, you want that return. It's the wealth transfer we save for our families. But you're there, I think, for different motivational reasons, on top of, "I want a return."

Kathryn: Exactly. It's a little bit patient capital. So you're not necessarily meeting the money in two to three years. You're investing in the entrepreneur, you're taking a risk. It's very, very risky, and most angels know that. And that's why you have to go through an accreditation process so that you can actually afford to lose the money.

And so our angels syndicate is really a way for us to bring in people who are new to the investment space. What we realize is that there are a lot of African-Americans, Latinos, and other folks as well who would love to invest, who have the financial ability to invest, who can pass the accreditation process, but are new to this investment and want to sort of test the waters and help develop their own investment thesis.

Kelly: Well, deal flow is a big issue. And if you are someone who is still employed and you have other interests, but you somehow want to know about angel investing, it's time-consuming. And so to have actually a vetted deal flow from someone you trust, it's massively helpful.

Kathryn: It's massively helpful, and there's also platforms now that make it easier. So the Harriet syndicate is on the AngelList platform, and we found that that's very, very helpful because it allows you to go through the accreditation process, to get involved, but on your own time. You don't have to worry about what hours an attorney is available for you to talk to. There isn't a bunch of paperwork. It's very accessible to people who are new in the angel investing space.

It also allows you access to deal flow from experienced folks, so you have access to the angel deal flow that we have at Harriet Angels, but you also have access to deal flow from other top folks who lead their own syndicates. Jason Calacanis...I always say Jason's name wrong...who was the founder of Weblogs, he has a big, big syndicate that invites people in. There's other big-name people on there who also have really great syndicates as well. Of course, we'd love people to join the Harriet syndicate, [inaudible 00:13:12].

Kelly: Well, maybe Jason Calacanis and others can get their butts over to the Harriet Angels.

Kathryn: Exactly. We could use you, Jason. But again, this is a pathway, an easy pathway for people who want to get involved, who are financially able to get involved, to get involved and start learning about investment. And that's what we see with the Harriet Angels, is really we are a conduit, a channel for people who have never thought about angel investing to get involved. And not only will they learn about investment, not only will they start to develop their own investment thesis, and also not only will we provide them a return hopefully, they'll also be able to help these companies who, prior, had a very difficult time getting the funding they need, not because they weren't great companies, but because a whole slew of social factors, now get the funding to grow and accelerate their companies.

Kelly: So good. I'm so glad you're doing this. Still, let's keep the focus on you, again, for another minute here. When did you know you were an entrepreneur?

Kathryn: I think I was born an entrepreneur, to be really honest. In the fourth grade, I had a very lucrative friendship bracelet business. I had cornered the market in South Minneapolis where I grew up. And I would do different colors. I negotiated a supplier pricing from Kmart. I had a friend who worked at Kmart. She was an older girl who was a neighbor of ours who worked at Kmart. I would use her discount to buy the embroidery thread, so I had pricing, like, really down well. I hired my brother. I gave him one of his first jobs. He was in high school and he was a big sports star, and I used him to sell for me in high school.

Kelly: So you already had your celebrity endorsement down?

Kathryn: Basically. And it's funny, my brother is like a VP of sales now, and I'm like, "I'm the reason why you got into sales, because your sister gave you your first sales job." And I remember I was clearing like 40 to 50 bucks a week. I was like nine. And my parents went out to dinner once, and the check came, and I was like, "I have this." And I remember my parents looking like...and I know, in their mind like, "Is she selling drugs, or something? How does she have 60 bucks, just on her, to pay for dinner?"

Yes, that was my first business. And then I had a very lucrative babysitting business. I had that for several years. I had a whole staff. And that was really great. Our whole neighborhood, I had it covered. We would do after-school care, all sorts of things. So I was always an entrepreneur my entire life.

Kelly: Always hiring people, as opposed to like just being the entrepreneur who, "I had the lemonade stand," or, "I had the paper route." No, no, no. you were hiring people. You were...

Kathryn: I needed to scale. I couldn't scale by myself. Also, I had school from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. and I wanted to make sure that I was always selling. It was like, ABC, always be selling. I was always selling, even when I was in math class.

Kelly: I'm just sitting here cracking up. That's like, beyond. So I was going to say, are you still employing your brother? Has he gone on to other things?

Kathryn: My brother has gone onto much better things now. But it was my birthday about a week ago, and my brother came in with my niece and nephew and we were talking about this exact thing of how I employed him, and how he was a really great salesman, and we gave him bonuses, and how I always...in my family, the joke was how I always had money, and people didn't know where I got it from. From, like, seven, I always just had money.

Kelly: And I'm just laughing, of course. As you said, parents thinking you're selling drugs, so another conversation on the stereotypes we can have on all of that. Do you see yourself as a social entrepreneur?

Kathryn: Yes and no. I feel sometimes that title is often put to anyone who's doing anything that's not considered "mainstream," and I believe what we're doing is mainstream. I would say, "Yes," in many ways because it's not motivated purely by market. Market is a big part of it. We do want a return. But that's not the only motivation. It's sort of parallel to this other motivation of getting folks into this space, having people see the opportunities that are available of tech entrepreneurship. That's incredibly important because we know the future is being created, and the people who are going to be the majority of folks in the future are not being part of that. And I think that that's a big problem. So if that is considered a social entrepreneurship thought or ethos, and yeah, you can consider me that.

Kelly: This is so funny because we're asking that question, and having asked other guests that question, it always seems to me that, as soon as you put social entrepreneurs, like, "Oh, that other category, couldn't make it in the real category because they're a social entrepreneur," where...so really think about, it's like you've identified a massive market opportunity, undervalued, overlooked entrepreneurs. What you get to open up by doing this...and, by the way, we now get to lift up communities and improve innovation because of it, like there's a whole new special category for that.

Kathryn: Yeah, seriously. And I think it's really interesting that the pitch that I make to potential partners and potential investors is, "You can make money from other people's stupidity. The fact that other people have these sort of social limitations that you may not have is a market opportunity for you. Here's a market that no one is paying attention to for the simple fact that they are other. And you can capitalize off of that, and you can make a lot of money off of that."

Kelly: All right, let's jump back to Project Diane for a second. How has that changed your work?

Kathryn: It's changed our work because we are able to quantify the problem. It's very difficult to ignore a problem when you have it quantified, when you have numbers, when you have real data. And that has really changed a lot of the conversations that we've had. Prior to Project Diane, we would talk about this sort of issue as very anecdotal. We would say, "It's bad out there for a sister." And they're like, "Okay, but we don't know what that means. What is 'bad?' Bad means 5? Does it mean 500? Does it mean 5000?" Now we can say bad means 88. And to have that...

Kelly: It's really bad.

Kathryn: It means really bad. Bad means really, really bad. And here's the number. And it gives us a baseline. It gives us all a level playing field that we all can see where we need to go from. And that's changed our discussions significantly. The things I talk about now are not so much about the problem, it's about the solution, because the problem is already identified. And that's been really great. And it's not only changed our discussions, it's changed discussions really across the country and even the world.

I've spent a long time in D.C. now, and there's a lot of discussions at the SBA and at the White House about Project Diane, and what we uncovered, and how do we solve it. What role does government play in this? And there's a really big role for government in this, probably the biggest role. And I know some people are not excited about government getting involved in different things, but in this case, this is something that government has to be involved in.

Kelly: So what role do you think they have?

Kathryn: Well, government's role is funders, right? Most of your traditional venture firms, their major LPs are governments actually. It's the pension funds of states like California and New York. The irony of it is that these funds are not hiring, nor are they funding people of color. But the money they're using to fund the companies they invest in come from people of color. They come from my grandparents, and their pension funds.

And, I think, for government to start to ask the question, "If you're going to use our money, if you're gonna use the money of our diverse population, then you need to make sure that you're investing in diverse populations. It doesn't make any sense for you to take money from these folks that you're then saying that their grandchildren and children are not worthy enough of receiving your capital." And governments can play a really big role in making sure that happens.

Also, the venture community has been horrible at hiring. I mean the diversity is ridiculous. It's something like, of the 1800 or so venture partners in the U.S., something like 36 black men and about 4 black women, which is horrible. This is absolutely horrible. And it's not only horrible from the fact it's not representative of the population of the United States. It's horrible because you're missing out on opportunities, you cannot properly evaluate opportunities that come forth, because you don't understand the market, and you don't have someone there who understands the market. And as a result, you think the market is somehow not worthy.

If a person comes to you talking about black women and hair, maybe a new hair product or a new hair system for black women, and you don't know that black women buy over 40% of all hair care products in the United States, over 40% of all hair care products, you would not understand the market and you would miss it.

Kelly: Right. And the evidence is already out there that so many people aren't curious enough to say, "I don't get it. I'm an old white bald guy. I don't get why the hair care is a big market." So many people are just not curious enough to get into the shoes of the other and say, "Explain this to me. Why is this a big market? I don't get it. I don't use it. Explain it to me."

Kathryn: Which is sad, because they're venture capitalists, the "capitalist" being the major word here, and you're not looking at where you can capitalize, you're not looking at markets you can capitalize on purely because of your own social issues.

Kelly: Crazy, crazy. We can talk about this for hours. Let's go back to some of your...not all the way back to your friendship bracelet...

Kathryn: Not back there.

Kelly: Not back there, but you...

Kathryn: That was a good business, high margins.

Kelly: That was like, "Why are we doing with this other stuff? Maybe we should just go back to that." Let's talk about black women in terms of being this fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs. You were a highly successful fashion blogger. What is your advice or guidance for entrepreneurs out there who aren't necessarily going to be the next Part Pick [SP], the next Google, the next...highly scalable, but they've got really good businesses? And given that you have this intuition, this innate ability to scale, what's your advice to those entrepreneurs?

Kathryn: My advice to them is, "Always understand what your business model is. Always understand where your money is coming from." I think that's something that is not really drilled into us. "Understand who's going to buy your product, and really know who's going to buy your product. And also realize that you are not your customer." I see that a lot with a lot of women entrepreneurs I talk to, where they're so in love with their product, they're so in love with their product, it's like, "Yes, I so love this," but no one else is. And you have to always think like your customer, and what is it that they want? What is it that they need? And how is what you're doing, if it's a service or product, is helping them fulfill that need?

That's just so incredibly important. It's really interesting how many people ignore that. So when I started Budget Fashionista, I started it completely as a blog. It was not a business, because when I started in 2003, no one was making money on the Internet. It was right after the big bust. Everyone's just like so sour on the Internet, at that point. No one thought the Internet could make money, if you can believe that.

Kelly: Comical, to think of that now.

Kathryn: They were like, "No one's going to make money. This thing is a fad." I remember all these discussions of people about how the Internet was a fad. So I came in during the height of the fad discussion and started writing about budget shopping and how to save money. I was newly married. I was spending a ton of money and happened to learn about this new thing called SEO, at that time, and a relatively new search engine called Google, which was disrupting the way people found information online.

So my husband and I, we created the site. We used an early platform called GreyMatter, which was the precursor to WordPress. It was so back in the day that I had to hand-code everything. So I had to know HTML. And I know HTML like the back of my hand and probably as well as English writing at this point. So we had to hard-code everything. Everything had to be scanned. It was just so tedious, now that I think about where we're at now. But I happened to marry someone useful. That's what I always say to people, "Marry a partner with...someone who has a skill set that can help you in some way."

And so he knew about SEO, and we did a lot of reading. And so we started to write using keywords. I was writing anyway what I was going to say. But if it's a blue sweater, why not say, "I'm buying a blue sweater from Nordstrom," if I was buying a blue sweater from Nordstrom. So we learned all this keyword stuff, and as a result, we came up number one when you search for people who budget-shop.

And a reporter from the Associated Press Googled "budget shopping" and we came right up, popped up. And she did an interview with us that just took off. And I don't know if people will remember that IBM commercial from way back in the day, where they had this team put their business online, and then at first it's like just one person, and it goes 100 people, and then, all of a sudden, it's like a million people. They're like, "Oh, my goodness, we have to get a bigger server." That's what happened to us, as a result of that.

And then that led to a lot of different things. But at first, the company was so focused on me. It was a lifestyle company. It was focused very much on me and what I wanted to do. And about six or seven years in, we're starting to get questions from people who were interested in possibly purchasing it. But there was always one little problem: it was a lifestyle business, and it was focused on me, and at one point, it even had a little picture of me and stuff. It was just totally 100% Kathryn.

And so I had to make a decision: did I want to stick with this and have this be sort of my calling card in life and take it to its logical conclusion, which, at that time, was a book -- I had a book. I was going to write another book. It was to do television. So we were developing this great television show based on the concept -- or did I want to do something else? Did I want to go this other route where it would allow me to do other things in life?

And it was a really tough decision that I had to make. And at that point, I just said I didn't want this to be my calling card. It could be part of the calling card, it could be a paragraph on the calling card, but I didn't want it to be the whole card.

Kelly: You were meant to do something bigger.

Kathryn: I wanted to do something...

Kelly: No, not that budget shopping. Yeah, it's helpful, but thank you for taking the threshold because if you hadn't, we wouldn't have digitalundivided, we wouldn't have BIG, we wouldn't have FOCUS Fellows, the list goes on.

Kathryn: Yeah, I think it was having the vision, at some...I didn't know what that vision was, but I knew that there was something more out there. And so it took us about two or three years to actually get the site in a place in which I could sell it. Because it was so heavily attached to me, we had to decouple it from Kathryn. So it was a whole big process of decoupling it. But once we did, and it was prepared, then I was able to pursue and sell it, which was a whole other process.

Kelly: All right. Let me save that for a future conversation. Okay, we're going to go the fun part now, not that the rest of this wasn't fun. We're going to go...these are the questions I ask every one of our guests. So this would be your first knee-jerk reaction and we'll fire through our pay-it-forward questions.

What are your primary sources of information?

Kathryn: Probably Twitter.

Kelly: How do you discover new information?

Kathryn: Twitter.

Kelly: What book are you reading?

Kathryn: I have a newborn, so I don't read.

Kelly: You're reading "ABCs," got it.

Kathryn: I read bottle instructions.

Kelly: [inaudible 00:30:30]. Okay, got it. Do you have any rituals or habits you swear by, as a CEO?

Kathryn: Meditation.

Kelly: And who are three entrepreneurs or leaders you admire?

Kathryn: I admire so many people: Oprah, of course, because she's Oprah, my mother, Nelson Mandela.

Kelly: I put him on the list.

Kathryn: And Martha Stewart, I mean, all sorts of people. I have a long list.

Kelly: Desmond Tutu. I'd put him on my list, too. What is the best advice you ever received?

Kathryn: "Just do it."

Kelly: Any particular myths you'd like to dispel for our listeners?

Kathryn: About me, or just in general, like about the world?

Kelly: Any myth on...well, you've already busted the myth about...

Kathryn: Not all black women can sing. Someone asked me, I can't sing. I am the worst singer in the entire world. You do not want to hear me sing.

Kelly: Okay, so worst case scenario, you and I have a cabaret out because we will like clear venues everywhere. Okay, got it. There we go. What words of advice would you give listeners about taking risks and closing the confidence gap?

Kathryn: The same piece of advice someone gave me, "Just do it. Stop thinking -- you think too much -- and do it."

Kelly: "Your heart's telling you to do it, do it." And what does "think broad" mean to you?

Kathryn: "Think broad" means expanding your mind, getting out of your safety zone, getting out of your own little box, and seeing the world from another view.

Kelly: Thank you.

Kathryn: Thank you.

Kelly: Thank you for listening to BroadMic. We welcome your feedback. Find us on Facebook, where you will have show notes and additional references for a deeper dive into today's topic. Subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode. Please review our podcast on iTunes, which will help other listeners discover BroadMic and grow the BroadMic community.

BroadMic is produced by Christy Mirabal, with editing by John Marshall Media. Our executive producer is Sara Weinheimer. Think Broad.

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