Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, colleagues from the Stanford Business School’s Class of 1994 decided to take collective action to address systemic racism in the United States.
When some of the classmates came together in a working group on organizational practice and accountability, many working as general managers said they felt they could be doing more on diversity, equity, and inclusion. They knew resources were out there, but they didn’t know where to start. After speaking with leaders who had made progress on DE&I, DE&I consultants, and academics, the group put together a framework and specific recommendations for change. The Racial Equity Playbook, a tool designed to help corporations make meaningful changes to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion, came out of this collaboration.
When a tiny light went on at a table in the lunchroom at ACE Academy, cheers erupted from a group of girls working on an electronics project made up of tiny metal parts pinned to a foam block. Debbie Andres, one of three volunteers from SVLG member companies guiding groups of middle school girls through the project as part of the 2021 Young Leaders Forum, leaned in as she coached each girl, then went around to other tables to help other groups.
Whether they started with a brilliant idea that they sensed could help people or were inspired by a problem caused by current events, every startup founder is changed by the journey.
Sasha Seletsky, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer of SummerBio, and Ainsley Braun, Co-Founder and CEO of Tinfoil Security, are no exceptions. Both have dealt with challenges and have pivoted when faced with failure. They’ve experienced loneliness after success, and politely tolerated unsolicited advice. But both also leaned on colleagues and experienced unexpected support from people in their networks, learning valuable lessons and skills every step of the way.
In a recent discussion moderated by Jason Baker, SVP of Transportation, Health and Housing Policy at SVLG, Seletsky and Braun spoke candidly about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, sharing wild stories, useful insights, and inspiring ideas.
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