Career Insight – Conference moderator Stephanie Creary

Conference moderator Stephanie Creary, identity and diversity expert and adjunct professor of management at Wharton University welcomed guests Melissa Bradley, managing partner of 1863 Ventures, which brings together entrepreneurship and racial equity to support “new major” entrepreneurs, and Frederick Groce, partner at Storm Ventures Venture Capital and co-founder of BLCK VC. We encourage all students to check out our Exploring Business pages to delve deeper into the challenges black entrepreneurs face because of unfair practices that limit their opportunities to succeed, and to learn how the venture capital community, which provides funding, is working to make a difference. Although not mentioned in the article, Melissa Bradley gave her advice to the peer group, saying that many young black entrepreneurs now suffer from “imposter syndrome.” Creary gave good advice to the next generation of black entrepreneurs and women who want to break into an industry that has held them back in the past. The challenges facing this ecosystem of entrepreneurship and finance are significant, from making decisions that bias and judge people based on harmful stereotypes to outright discrimination against entrepreneurs of color. Bradley, Groce and Ethan Mollick, Wharton’s assistant professor of management specializing in entrepreneurship and a colleague of Dr. Bradley’s, said, “Do you find a peer group that allows you to see the great work you do, but at the same time with confidence say,I’ve hit rock bottom, can someone help me? Don’t let external norms define your greatness. They talked about their approach to diversity, equity and inclusion in the world of venture funding and business development. “A lot of people are trying to figure out how to be allies, and really want to fund more black founders and women,” Mollica said. The Wharton Global Youth Program’s new mini-courses, “Exploring Business,” offer an in-depth look at the impact of systemic racism on business and society. “The most important thing is to find a peer group that doesn’t compare to everything,” Bradley said. Are you a young entrepreneur of color who has had to deal with stereotypes? Share your story in the comments section of this article. Black business history is an important topic to keep in mind during Black History Month.