Our multi-part online speaker series featured interviews with key leaders, from Baltimore and across the nation, who recognize that sustainable change for people of color will only come when structural and institutional barriers are replaced with equitable policies, practices, and institutions. Our speakers have put equity first in their careers and passions, and recognize how important true equity is in our journey towards collective humanity. Sponsorships and individual donation proceeds from Equity First directly support ABC’s mission to eliminate race-based barriers in the Maryland workforce.
We are thrilled to announce the next installment of the newly renamed Diane Bell-McKoy Equity First Speaker Series will take place on September 29th. The virtual session will feature Baltimore-based tech leader Luke Cooper and Baltimore-born media entrepreneur Crystal Berger. Free tickets are available online.
The interview will feature Luke Cooper, Founder and CEO of Latimer Ventures. In 2021, Mr. Cooper founded Latimer with the aim to elevate the experience of Black tech entrepreneurs, provide training curriculum and advisory services to BIPOC founders, and facilitate strategic connections between investors, Fortune 1000 acquirers, and high growth companies.
Mr. Cooper sold his previous venture, Fixt, to Assurant for more than 11x revenue. He grew revenue >400% year-over-year, raised over $6MM in Series A funding, and delivered an Enterprise SaaS product used by millions of end users. He is only the second Black tech entrepreneur to see a company through to a successful exit in Baltimore. He is passionate about building a diverse & inclusive culture and looks forward to a “robust conversation” in ABC’s upcoming session. “
Former FOX News Channel host and producer Crystal I. Berger will serve as guest host for the interview. Ms. Berger has been a featured speaker and host at the United Nations, Business Insider, the Congressional Black Caucus, AMC Networks and more. She is published in Black Enterprise, Mediabistro and on FOX News. Ms. Berger’s upcoming book, “Commanding Confidence”, set for release in September 2022 is the playbook for commanding confidence in business and in life. She is also the founder of EBO, an on-demand expert matching engine that makes it easy for media outlets to discover, vet, and book on-air talent.
For a special Giving Tuesday edition of “Equity First” on Tuesday, November 30th, we were honored to host global media leader, philanthropist, producer, and actress Oprah Winfrey in a one-on-one interview led by our President and CEO, Diane Bell-McKoy. The evening’s conversation explored Ms. Winfrey’s experiences in Baltimore and her search for career equity, her approach to creating and maintaining authentic relationships, and her perspective on finding one’s personal value within the imposed systems of our society.
Over the course of her esteemed career, Oprah Winfrey has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world. As host of the top-rated, award-winning “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she entertained, enlightened, and uplifted millions of viewers for twenty-five years. Winfrey’s accomplishments as a global media leader, producer, actress, author and philanthropist have established her as one of the most influential and admired public figures in the world today.
Dr. Alex Camardelle of Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
June 1, 2022: Our latest installment of Equity First featured Dr. Alex Camardelle, Director of the Workforce Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Dr. Camardelle leads a program that centers Black workers in policy debates concerning the future of work, workforce development, and access to good jobs. He also serves as Principal Investigator for anti-poverty research at the National African American Child and Family Research Center housed at Morehouse School of Medicine.
Clarence Wooten of X, and Revitalize
Nov 9, 2021: We met with Baltimore native Clarence Wooten. Clarence is presently an Entrepreneur in Residence at X, Alphabet’s the moonshot factory (formerly known as Google X) and co-founding General Partner at Revitalize. He shared personal perspectives of his journey from inner-city Baltimore to Silicon Valley. He is passionate about creating a world where Black and Brown people can “prosper in place”, rather than having to escape to succeed. He envisions a Baltimore that is an “equitech” city, and believes in holistic solutions for communities’ challenges.
Michele Fuller of Minerva Global Business Solutions
Sep 23, 2021: We featured Michele Fuller – CEO, President, and Founder of Minerva Global Business Solutions. In a one-on-one interview with Diane Bell-McKoy of ABC, Ms. Fuller shared her first-hand experience with the unique obstacles and challenges confronted by Black women in Corporate America. The evening’s conversation provided an empowering toolkit for other professionals who are striving to build an equity-centered career in a corporate world influenced by structural racism, micro-aggressions, and implicit biases.
Keesha Boyd of Xfinity Consumer Services
May 20, 2021: At our inaugural session of Equity First, we met Keesha Boyd, Executive Director, Multicultural Video & Entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services in a one-on-one interview with Diane Bell-McKoy. The evening focused on Keesha’s personal journey as a woman of color in corporate America and Technology, and how equity has been essential to her career path at Comcast.