entrepreneur tips

entrepreneur tips

KC Cohort 3.0 is on its way! - Applications open now.

When we began the second iteration of the Khafra Community (KC) Cohort last October, our goal was simple: We wanted to provide a 3-month strategy and development incubator for Bay Area small businesses and nonprofits, completely free of charge.

And we did just that. Plus, a little more.

khafra community cohort fall 2017

Our traditional work with small business entrepreneurs usually focuses on one-on-one brand strategy and implementation. However our second iteration of Khafra Cohort allowed us to create brave communal space, fostering connection and thought partnership for entrepreneurs who too often find themselves making some of their most important decisions alone.

SOL Development founding member Felicia Gangloff-Bailey with SOL Development manager BJ McBride

SOL Development founding member Felicia Gangloff-Bailey with SOL Development manager BJ McBride

Our Fall 2017 cohort included: Qulture Collective, Roots Community Health Center, Roots Healing, and SoL DeVeloPMeNT - all POC and (most) women-led organizations located in Oakland. We met with folks in five group sessions to outline their larger strategies, discuss the importance of message development, and identify ways to build internal capacity and hold themselves accountable. We even connected our cohort members with a team of mentors skilled in legal analysis, finance, strategic planning, movement-building, and more.  

Show & Tell, Qulture Collective, and Black & Brown Ballet owner Alyah Baker with SOL Development founding member, Karega Bailey

Show & Tell, Qulture Collective, and Black & Brown Ballet owner Alyah Baker with SOL Development founding member, Karega Bailey

To our surprise, each of these organizations were committed to healing of some sort, and used this core value to connect deeply with one another throughout the process.

Below, we share some cherished insights from last fall’s group.

The next KC Cohort begins this May!

On deciding to join the Khafra Community Cohort:

I am in a transitional phase for all of the different projects. So, I was looking for a space to think about my overall goal. And how to align them in a way that makes sense.
— Alyah
Two things. One is I’m at this juncture where I’m ready to take Roots Healing to a bigger, larger audience. Knowing that I needed help in making that visualization come to life. Two, because I really admire khoLi. and I knew she would bring together some phenomenal and intelligent people of color.
— Minerva
Our Executive Director, Dr. Noha, signed us up. She thought it would be good for us because our communications strategy and messaging has not been solidified in the past. We didn’t have a strong voice. She felt that we could use the assistance.
— Y'lonn
Roots Healing founder Minerva Arias with Alyah Baker

Roots Healing founder Minerva Arias with Alyah Baker

On how KC Cohort has transformed their visions and goals:

The biggest thing is taking the time to actually look at the grand vision and write down all of the different moving parts. Figuring out what I already have, pieces missing to get me closer to this bigger vision - a balanced life with all of these projects without feeling stressed. Where there are overlaps for areas of efficiency and where I need help. That was helpful.
— Alyah
It got us back into a pretty solid groove. From us doing the meetings on a regular basis, it helped me identify that the band needed to be checking in on a weekly basis. So we started doing that, we got on slack to check in with each other on the progress of things we wanted to accomplish. It helped the whole crew get on a routine. So that really has helped this month to solidify some things before our next release.
— BJ
It’s had a really huge affect on the way I view the content I put out and the questions I ask myself before. The purpose, why is it important, who is it important to? KC Cohort has helped me to take a step back and really think about my messaging and branding. And even for myself personally, it brought about a lot of personal growth.
— Y'lonn
Roots Community Health Clinic Policy & Public Affairs Manager Y'lonn Burris

Roots Community Health Clinic Policy & Public Affairs Manager Y'lonn Burris

On the unique experience of going through the program with a cohort of healers.

It was an affirmation, it let us know that we were on the same route. When you bring together a group where they’re all pushing towards the same things, it shows there is healing to be done in our community.
— BJ
When we had our cohort meetings, it’s made it more fruitful because we already have the same baseline. We all want to have our communities find freedom in the different avenues we all offer. We know there are different roads on the journey toward freedom and healing. So we’re like “You’re doing this, have you thought about this?: And offering each other ideas from an outside perspective, but also as someone who gets it.
— Minerva
It broadened my perspective of how we need to collaborate more as community. We say we’re whole health. We do focus on that but there are other aspects of whole health: music, yoga. So many ways to heal a community.
— Y'lonn
SOL Development

SOL Development

On the biggest takeaways from the KC Cohort?

So many! A major one for me personally was my first convo with the lawyer mentor in which she really pushed me out of my bubble of naivety. She was like ‘Think of the worst case scenario, and how do you protect yourself.’ Having disclaimers and having an eye opening experience in how to protect myself in the long run …
— Minerva
I really enjoy the mentor sessions. I think that those are really helpful. To get a chance to build with someone with a very high level of expertise. We haven’t touched everyone, but the ones we talked to were very helpful.
— BJ
It’s really important to take the time to make strategic plans for your business. We’re so used to planning and going after something but sometimes we get so fixated on one thing that we think that’s where we should put all the energy and not thinking if there are other priorities to focus on. To get clear on what story you’d like to tell and think of the pieces you need to put in place to move that forward.
— Alyah
Khafra Community Cohort, Fall 2017

Khafra Community Cohort, Fall 2017

Learn more about Khafra Community Cohort + 

apply today!

entrepreneur tips

Being first is not about an end result,

heather hiles equity entrepreneur

As of 2016 (when Cengage bought Pathbrite), I hold the dubious distinction of having raised the most venture capital of any African American woman founder, and of being the first and only African American woman to have successfully exited a venture-backed company in the United States.

But, being first has not about an end result, it’s always been about my process and practice.


I have again and again:

  • Developed an uninterrupted commitment to an idea.
  • Worked on that idea diligently.
  • Remained as equally committed to rest and reflection as I have been to the idea itself.
  • Surrounded myself with creative, empathetic, high-functioning individuals.
  • Developed and maintained a discerning eye, personally and professionally.

But most important, I have never believed I would fail.

Focusing on the act of being first won’t serve you. Very few celebrate the first to fail, or develop a terrible concept, or even a mediocre product.

We celebrate ingenuity, progress, a penchant for the bold and clever. We celebrate greatness.

Greatness is only ever achieved by developing a lifelong practice of making every moment a personal first.

Every moment is the first time in a specific part of your journey, one in which you can choose to excel.

And it is that choosing - that sustained practice of aligning yourself with a purpose, showing up for yourself, working diligently, and editing (your plan, your process, even your circle) fastidiously - that gets you to the finish line, not just quickly, but exceptionally.

To read Heather's full post as a part of LinkedIn's #IWasTheFirst series, CLICK HERE.


EXPLORE: Women at Work: Heather Hiles

entrepreneur tips

4 things we learned from the 5th Annual @StartOut Awards

If you follow our founder, @kholi, then you already know that the StartOut Awards Show happened at the St. Regis this past Friday (in SF).

Honestly, it was amazing. Even Leslie Jordan's too long stories about Chattanooga. 

But, of course, every moment is one from which we can learn, so - admittedly, without some much needed context - here's what being in the room taught us.

Wolfe Video Founder & CEO, Kathy Wolfe and Khafra & Company Founder, Carrie Y. T. Kholi

Wolfe Video Founder & CEO, Kathy Wolfe and Khafra & Company Founder, Carrie Y. T. Kholi

  1. #BlackLivesMatter (still) - Oh, of course, there were black people in the room. But honestly, a number that could have been counted on 2-4 hands. 
  2. #LesbianLivesMatter - We wouldn't even comment on this if StartOut were one of those other organizations feigning inclusion, while really only working to ensure the wellbeing of wealthy white usually male constituents.  We'd certainly take it for granted that the entire evening was basically the best of the best of the gayest of the gay.
  3. #WomanLivesMatter - Even if we had counted the number of women in the room (and don't get us wrong, there were definitely more than 4 hands worth), we would have eventually been reminded that the number of non-white women was certainly lacking.
  4. "We got a long way to go." - Like a young pop scholar once revealed, sometimes we're not nearly as close to the goal as we think.  StartOut is self-defined as being "driven to inspire all LGBTQ entrepreneurs to achieve new heights." And still, Friday - with its discussions of visibility and progress and full and equal rights - made clear that the full breadth of "all" is a space most catering to the LGBTQ community have yet to reach.

But these lessons are no shade to StartOut.

With a two-tiered membership offering education, research and funding options, mentorship, and a directory of some of the brightest LGBTQ entrepreneurs, StartOut is "a new community of leaders with economic resources and personal support." And like any new community, they need the integration of the rich diversity of their neighbors; they need the illumination of some of their lesser visible immediate community, and they need all of us to hold them accountable - through constructive criticism as well as participation.

Image via StartOut

Image via StartOut

StartOut currently has six chapters across the US, offering a variety of informational meetups and events throughout the calendar year.

Find one. Register for two tickets. Give the extra one to a self-identified POC.

Extra credit if she's a woman.

    entrepreneur tips, self care

    6 signs you might be the worst at doing the most

    We've all seen or been (some version) of this person at least once in once in our lives:

    They "show up" for everyone, all the time. Kind of. If "at least I can say I did it" is a kind of showing up. They always say "yes." They never have downtime. Busy might actually be their middle name. They seem, not so much "happy," as "eternally wired and quite possibly high, but not on life."

    They believe their life looks like this:

    via Google

    via Google

    But (if honest) it kind of looks like this:

    via Tumblr

    via Tumblr


    If this is you or anyone you know, check out Tina Williamson's tips from Lifehack below.


    Is this you?

    1.  You spend time worrying about time.

    This is the first clue. If you stress about even a five-minute change in schedule, jump right down to the solutions.  You are overextended.

    2.  You eat on the go.

    The last time you sat down for a proper meal was the family Thanksgiving dinner.  Really?

    3.  You’re not getting enough sleep. 

    You’re so tired that all you can think about is sleep, but ironically, you’re so busy that you don’t get enough sleep.  When you do blindly fall into bed at night, you wake up at the witching hour, compiling to-do lists while wrestling with your pillow.

    That’s right, you’re starting to resemble a zombie.

    4.  You don’t have time for friends, favors or hobbies. 

    You haven’t seen your friends in months, haven’t had time to phone your siblings in weeks and can’t even remember the last time you did something spontaneous.

    If you’re starting to resent people asking for favors, it might be time to consider cutting back.

    5.  Your Health.

    Are you experiencing muscle tension, back aches or insomnia?  While these symptoms could be from a number of issues, overextending yourself will cause stress, which we all know is the big “silent killer.”

    6.  Can’t handle changes.

    You want, no, let me rephrase, you need everything to go exactly as planned, and it’s not going to go as planned.  One little shift and like a Jenga puzzle, it’s all going to come toppling down around you.

    (Reuters/Toru Hanai)

    (Reuters/Toru Hanai)


    If you’ve crossed over into this muddy territory, you’ll need to consider making some changes.


    You will need to write a list to assess what changes you can make.  I know you don’t have time for lists–that’s the problem, right?  Well consider taking a day off work, or wake up extra early tomorrow.

    Start with outer changes. Maybe hire a housekeeper or a babysitter or maybe take a break from social engagements.  But along with outer changes, there are also some inner changes that will need to happen.

    Let’s get back to a balanced life, shall we?
    1.  Put you first.

    Put your own needs above all others.  Much like in a plane, always put your mask on first; you are no good to anyone if you break down.

    You are a mother/father, wife/husband, sister/brother and friend, but these roles don’t define who you are.  Do you something you love once a week.  Even if its just curling up with a good book.

    2.  Laugh.

    Stop taking life so seriously.  No matter what’s happening, life will go on; stop causing yourself unneeded stress.

    3.  Learn how to be assertive–say NO.

    Helpful hints to saying “no” without causing a rift:

    Tell them “maybe,” then take the proper time to think it over.
    Be honest and explain that you can’t commit because you have previous priorities.
    Soften the blow by saying, “I’d love to but…”
    Give them a suggestion: “I’m not the best person to help you with that because…”

    4.  Ignore Expectations.  

    Accept that what others think you should do might not be what you want or need.  And that’s okay.  You need to learn that what other people love, like golf or skiing, you really don’t enjoy.  Don’t be afraid to be honest.  Lose your “shoulds” and realize that you don’t have to do anything.

    5.  You’re not Perfect.

    If you miss a spot on the bathroom floor, it’s okay.  Being perfect can replace any sense of fun with a nagging, soul-sucking, endless effort that never gets anything quite right. Stop obsessing; perfectionism will only leave you frustrated.

    6.  Make yourself a realistic schedule.

    via  Gabrielle Lutze for Stocksy United

    via Gabrielle Lutze for Stocksy United

    Take a deep breath and focus on one task at a time. 

    Fully complete each task before moving onto the next.

    Are you ready to be better to yourself? Let us know how you're getting started in the comments.

    entrepreneur tips

    We could all learn something from this 22-year-old millionaire

    growing wealth

    There are so many things you can do in your 20s to grow wealth by the time you're 30. Like putting 25% of your paycheck into an untouchable savings account, saving specifically to invest, focusing on earning money and securing a financially stable future ... the list goes on.

    rudolph maag

    At 25, knowing that I still have about 5 years left to "get it together," my biggest obstacle is finding a well-paying job that will provide me with the biggest opportunity to invest in my future (read: I need a real paycheck and a real salary).

    Being in your 20s and in debt because of college is challenging, especially when you're living paycheck to paycheck and essentially chipping away at your student loan interest. It's discouraging. You can't get a job in your field of study because you don't have enough experience, and you can't get any experience unless you're willing to intern for free, and interning for free doesn't pay the bills.

    rudolph maag seattle

    It's a double-edged sword - you work to survive and you survive to work. And that's not the life that I envisioned for myself 10 years ago.

    So I'm trying to change it, and I'm starting to think differently, with a little help.

    Tucker Hughes is an entrepreneur and a real human being who generated a million dollars in commissions - in the real-estate industry - by the time he was 22.  Of course, he's something of an overachiever: He received his master's at the age of 20 after fast-tracking four years of school, he's traveled to more than 50 countries, he's completed 13 triathlons; this list, too, continues. 

    When Hughes finished school, however, he was broke, but, luckily, not broken. In fact, Hughes attributes his success in the business world to a shift in his mental thinking.

    Check out the seven shifts Hughes made in his thinking + the  core values in the video below.



    1. Age is just a number.
    2. Reinvest in yourself.
    3. Avoid decision fatigue.
    4. Build a resilient mind.
    5. Think big. Be big.
    6. Be methodical.
    7. Believe in yourself.

    Your life is your investment, and it is critical, and so, so necessary, to invest in your personal growth in ways that you probably didn't think about before. Because if you don't invest in yourself, no one will.

    Not sure how to get started?

    Consume knowledge voraciously and know that you will always have an appetite for more. 

    1. Pick up a book about an unknown subject and read it for an hour a day 
    2. Listen to podcasts while you're driving and engage yourself mentally. 

    Avoid distractions, and avoid wasting your energy on things that you don't have any control of - focus on what you do have control of.

    1. Focus on yourself.
    2. Set your goals, write them down, and fall asleep asking yourself what you can do to achieve them, then wake up, read them, and pursue them.

    Here's to making your first million!


    By RUDY

    EXPLORE: Internet personas are really only 20% true

    arts + entertainment, good news, entrepreneur tips

    #WomenatWork: 'LADYLIKE' director Tiffany Johnson schools us on art as freedom

    Welcome back to our "Women at Work" series, where you're introduced to a curated selection of working women discussing their professional lives as well as the impact they're making - through an audacious blend of professional and personal passions - on the world around them.

    Closing out Women's History Month, meet Tiffany Johnson.

    via @tiffanyjenellej

    via @tiffanyjenellej

    Admittedly, I wait until the morning each WaW story is due to write it. As an entrepreneur whose entire life is now guided by one giant Passion Planner, I get joy out of being able to wake and feel my way to useful words - hopefully, accurate words - describing these women who move me so much.

    When I started thinking about Tiffany this morning, I started thinking about freedom. I started thinking about "the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint," the "absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government," "the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved."

    via @tiffanyjenellej

    via @tiffanyjenellej

    As a graduate of the Los Angeles Film School - one who majored in Directing and minored in Screen Writing - I can imagine that Tiffany knows a lot about engaging the right to speak, think and act without hindrance. I'm probably projecting my 8-year black girl experience as an English Ph.D. student, but I'm willing to bet Tiffany would bring brilliance to a discussion of art, particularly Hollywood filmmaking, and the feeling of foreign domination.

    We just haven't discussed that yet.

    I think about freedom when I think about Tiffany because (well, look at her, so in and of herself)  since graduating, she's worked for CBS, Overbrook Entertainment, and Academy Award-winning Producer Peggy Rajski.  She's also worked as an Associate Producer on numerous live television award shows, including MTV Movie Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards and the 2011 Primetime Emmy’s. She also serves as assistant to another fave, Lena Waithe.

    Tiffany is a woman not just standing in, but operating from her multiple freedoms: to desire, to choose, to create, to redefine. If you're not quite sure how I got there yet, you will be after further reading.


    Check out the best from my correspondence with Tiffany below.


    On owning her professionalism ...

    I didn't always, but I definitely do now. I had to learn to change the way I speak. When asked what I did, I would say, "Oh I am an aspiring director." That's bullshit--I am a director. Filmmaking is what I do. 

    On the logistics of life ...

    There's definitely a lot of music ... Music gets me through my days. As an assistant to a Showrunner/Writer, my day usually consists of lots of emails and reading scripts. In the evenings, I'll sometimes grab drinks with friends, maybe catch a movie I've been wanting to see or go home and binge a new show. It varies.


    On the last year ...

    I actually have 2 important projects I completed last year. One was my short film LADYLIKE.
    We screened it at a few festivals and even went to Cannes--such a wild, life changing experience! It's currently streaming on Issa Rae's YouTube channel.
    I also completed a short documentary last year, entitled The Ride Home. It's the most emotional and personal film I've ever worked on. It was the first time I turned the cameras on myself--it follows me and my dad on the day he was released from prison and the ride home we shared. 


    On what's up next ...

    I'm currently in post on a short film I recently shot called Dead. Gay. Fictional. It's a fun rom-com send up, written by my good friend Caty Zick.
    via wesjanisen.com

    via wesjanisen.com

    Also, my writing partner, Nick Williams and I are developing LADYLIKE into a feature which I'm really excited about!
    via ladylike.com

    via ladylike.com

    On sustaining your craft ...

    I think it's super important for creatives to fuel their craft. What I mean by that is: surround yourself with other creatives that inspire ... and encourage you. Learn from each other. Study those you admire and dedicate time to your [calling]. I'm constantly watching films or reading books or articles on filmmakers I'm obsessed with.  


    Do you see why I'm thinking about freedom?

    Before I began writing this, I kept scribbling a phrase in my journal: "Do not complicate your freedoms."

    Over and over.


    It wasn't until I reread Tiffany's correspondence that I realized what that phrase was really getting at. We, like Tiffany, will often have to enter into spaces that others might dictate as never having been meant for us. However, what's important is our presence there, that we have shown up, not the narrative surrounding our entrance.

    Tiffany Johnson reminds us all that we have a right to exercise our freedoms, uncomplicated in whatever form they appear to us. We can show up as ourselves, for ourselves, and tell the stories we want to have heard. Or in Tiffany's case, seen.

    via @tiffanyjenellej

    via @tiffanyjenellej

     She is a vision, with sublime vision. 

    The only appropriate way to end this is by butchering Bambara, is to say all of our freedoms are real, all of our dreams, attainable. "The failure to realize is the only unreality." 

    entrepreneur tips, good news

    #WomenatWork: @ItsAriFitz brings out our deepest feels

    Welcome back to our "Women at Work" series. If you joined us last week, then you already know that our newest series introduces you to a curated selection of working women discussing, of course, their professional lives. But Khafra's always trying to help you look good and live great,  so we explore the impact these women are making - through an audacious blend of professional and personal passions - on the world around us.

    Allow us to reintroduce Tomboyish founder, Ari Fitz.

    photographer: Brenton Gieser

    photographer: Brenton Gieser

    It's difficult to discuss Ari Fitz without reaching into the most vulnerable depths of my feels (or fee-fees as my lil sis would call them). In 2013, Ari and I had one very important phone call, followed by a few strategic meetings, and a short stint in a world of surreality. From that, we made magic.

    Like. A lot of it.

    A whole lot.

    Today, the feels are lovely, dark, and deep, not because we're more homies than creative partners these days. That's to be expected of magic makers - those who come together at a brief moment in the universe's juncture for the sole purpose of sharing.

    I speak about Ari from a soft spot because I look at her and see the manifestation of intentional desire matched hunger, unimaginable work ethic, and indestructible self-belief.

    photographer: Brenton Gieser

    photographer: Brenton Gieser

    Ari is proof that if you dream it, build it, do it, it can and will come ... and in ways, that (even to me, thank god) were unforeseen. From the day I began collaborating with Ari, I recognized in her what I see in so many of us who know that we know; I saw will. And for the last three years, I've been proudly watching her wield that will, shaping a future (and undoubtedly the next media empire) along the way. 

    This is the shit that moves me, folks.

    I recently checked in with Ari on the current status of life. Check the best of her interview below.

    On the architecture of dreams ...

    I'm one of those creatives [funding] their projects with a day job, so a day in my life is pretty hectic. My nights, weekends, and lunch breaks are spent ... curating content on TOMBOYISH's Instagram, casting/producing/filming/editing fashion films, engaging with my audience at every moment, and in my spare time looking for new collaborators (photographers, videographers, brands, etc.).

    On her most important project of the last year ...

    Late last year, TOMBOYISH launched a partnership with Reebok Classics where we had complete creative freedom to develop something dope for their new styles. That [partnership] was definitely one of my most exciting, rewarding, and impactful projects in the past 12 months.

    On what's next ...

    Right now, [I'm] hosting meet-ups for TOMBOYISH to bring other tomboy-ish folk together. [I'm] headed to nine cities: SF, LA, Chicago, Toronto, NYC, Philly, London, Paris & Cape Town in the next few months.

    Some sound advice ...

    Don't let anyone else decide what success is for you. Define it for yourself and don't sleep until you have it.

    Define it for yourself. Don't sleep until you have it.


    Need more Ari in your life? Complete our  STYLE SURVEY and request an invite to Ari's INVITE ONLY salon at Relove Vintage Boutique in SF on Friday, March 25.


    By khoLi.


    EXPLORE: #WomenatWork - We spoke with @Pathbrite founder Heather Hiles. It was everything.

    good news, entrepreneur tips

    Who knew 4 easy steps + 30 seconds could change your day?

    Drop everything. Pause for just 30 seconds. This is all the time you need to refocus and center yourself. And we know what you're probably thinking (because we were thinking it, too): 30 seconds seems like a small window of time to essentially dismiss your life's chaos. We understand your skepticism. 

    skeptical african boy

    However, this 4-step "mindful pause" outlined by Jon Krop, a lawyer and meditation teacher from New York City (who also, in a balanced marriage of his passions, leads Mindfulness for Lawyers workshops) is something like a "spot treatment" - for when you feel the colossal mass of the world pressing against your chest, for when you feel doomed, stressed, and about to collapse under your own anxiety.

    via JonKrop.com

    via JonKrop.com

    The first step is to take a deep breath.

    Take a slow inhale from the bottom of your lungs to the top, slowly filling your torso and, finally, your chest. There is a connection between breath and mood, and slow, deep-breathing fosters a feeling of calmness.

    The second step is to turn toward your body. 

    This may sound a little complex, but it's really all about focusing on the small sensations of your body - whatever you're feeling, whether it's the material of your clothing against your skin, or the coolness of a breeze rippling mellowly through your hair. All you need to do is focus on these sensations and watch them, and if you happen to feel sensations connected to stress and anxiety, then all the better. Watching them, as opposed to resisting them, will help you pass through them, and them through you. This step can last for one in-breath or one out-breath, and if you choose to stay here longer than that, then feel free to.

    The third step is to focus on your breath.

    Focusing on the sensation of air entering through your nostrils roots you in the present moment. At this stage, allow your body to breathe however it chooses to. Like the previous step, this one can last for as long as you need it to.

    The last step is to carry on with your life

    Re-engage with the world, remembering there's no need to do this in a hurry. Try to keep the calmness that you created; keep your rootedness. Don't feel pressured to hurry back into the world; take your time, and fall in slowly.


    But is this for me?

    What's perfect about this mindful pause is that it's fast, and you can do it anywhere, anytime. Krop notes that the most difficult part of the mindful pause isn't in completing the process itself, but in remembering to do it.

    via hellobeautiful.com

    via hellobeautiful.com

    Our days are cluttered and over-saturated with things - work things and personal things and commitments and deadlines and responsibilities - and feelings of anxiety and stress are always there; they will come, and they will go.

    Remembering to take 30 seconds to deeply breathe, to channel ourselves, and to turn towards our feelings and watch them isn't always on the agenda, but re-engaging with ourselves throughout the day guides us through challenging emotions, reminding us that we are transcendent. 

    Try it now!

    Get a Stopwatch like this or make your own! At: Online Stopwatch

    good news, entrepreneur tips

    #WomenatWork - We spoke with @Pathbrite founder Heather Hiles. It was everything.

    If you follow us on Instagram, you probably already know it's Women's History Month. In celebration, we're launching our newest series, "Women at Work."

    "Women at Work" will introduce you to a carefully curated selection of working women discussing, of course, their professional lives. They'll also explore the impact these women are making - through an audacious blend of professional and personal passions - on the world around us.

    First Up ... Pathbrite Founder, Heather Hiles

    via leanin.org

    via leanin.org

    I was first "introduced" to Heather at the first Lesbians Who Tech Conference in San Francisco. We didn't actually meet. I was dizzied by a round of curious and provoking pitches from powerful women committed to diversifying tech, then sobered by Heather's discussion of her (much newer then) company, Pathbrite.

    via Pathbrite

    via Pathbrite

    As an English Ph.D., my interest was peaked - though admittedly, more in Pathbrite than Heather. But I don't always know what's good for me.

    Some two years later, watching Heather open the Capital Connections Conference in Oakland, the universe brought me to my senses.

    At Capital Connections, Heather revealed that, launched in 2012, Pathbrite (the world’s first Portfolio Learning Platform) has since raised over $12,000,000, and been acquired by Cengage Learning. The company currently supports more than 500 schools, colleges, universities, and companies, and -- with Heather still serving as CEO -- "Pathbrite’s Portfolio Learning Platform is transforming learning, teaching, and assessment across the globe."

    Moved by Heather's discussion of what she calls "overt inclusion" -- a commitment to not only inviting diverse representatives to the tech table, but providing them with access to equal would-be victuals when they arrive -- I decided, "We need to talk."

    In my pre-call prep (Internet stalking), I was reminded that Heather is a serial entrepreneur, one who's held founding and leadership positions in multiple private and public sector organizations. For instance, she's served as Board of Directors Member of Liberty & Justice (Africa’s leading Fair Trade Certified™ apparel manufacturing company, based in Monrovia Liberia), Commissioner for the San Francisco Unified School District; Executive Director of Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2); co-founder of EARN; and CEO of SFWorks, a nonprofit that transitioned women from welfare into careers.

    Heather has also previously been named as one of the Top 100 coolest people in Silicon Valley by Business Insider.

    via Pathbrite

    via Pathbrite

    Below, you can check out some of the highlights from my chat with Heather Hiles.

    On Pathbrite's ideal audience ...

    Pathbrite is a modern version of the e-portfolio with the power to improve meta-cognition through learning, and mastering ... content.  [It's] helping all lifelong learners [and] built for all human beings … not just [people working] in education.

    On intuition ...

    [When making the decision to separate from my co-founder and transition Ripple to Pathbrite,] it was definitely a gut decision. Intuition happened earlier than action. It was like any relationship, you just know when it's time. 


    [A lot of women believe they need a co-founder, but] trust yourself. You need one leader. You need to trust you can lead. It has never served me wrong, believing in me.


    [You have to] get to your core. You know what you need to do. Sometimes you’re afraid of the answer, but you’re there already. Ask yourself, "What is the honest truth about the situation?"

    On overt inclusion ...

    It’s fulfilling. There’s not a tremendous amount of gratification in being the first of something if you can't do something meaningful with it and share that. [There's something about being there] to just share access - not pitching, just helping.

    On choosing to share information and resources ...

    It's about creating more opportunities for people to be in a place of growth and transformation. I'm invested in the creation of organizations, the experience of building and growing with other people. So, sharing is not a decision. It's what I have to do. It's who I am. There is a calculated decision about what and who [I give my time to] … but then it’s pure instinct.

    But then, it's pure instinct. 

    Interested in learning more about Heather? Check out her portfolio on Pathbrite, or follow her on Twitter.


    by khoLi.


    EXPLORE: I think you are a Lost Queen | Interview with founder Eboni Merriman