It was July of 2011, when a friend posted in our local moms' group that she was planning to host a psychic party at her home with a renown psychic medium who boasts A-lister clientele. It seemed like perfect timing as that same exact week, I had been overcome with the notion that my 11-month-old son had been carrying on conversations from his crib with my deceased maternal grandfather.
Even though I was excited, I was still filled with skepticism while waiting my turn. My name was finally called to go into the room where the psychic was meeting with each mom privately for the readings. I hadn’t even walked two steps into the room when he turned to me and said, “Normally I ask a couple questions before we get started but I can’t even ask anything because your maternal grandfather is here with us and needing to make his presence known. He wants you to know that he is your guardian angel and will always be for the rest of your life.”
From that moment, I was not only a total emotional mess but also all ears. After initially setting the tone by calling out my grandfather, the psychic continued on about my life and hit the nail on the head about so many things. So, when he made his predictions about my career, he definitely had himself a captive audience.
“I am looking at your career and I see great success in your future," he said. "Success is inevitable. You’re still learning at this point in your career but you’re acquiring all the skills … you will start a new endeavor in the future and it’s going to be great. I see March as a month where the floodgates open for you.”
I was so excited to hear this because I had left an executive level agency position to start my own consulting business in order to be home with my son. At that time in my life, I needed all the reassurance I could get that I hadn’t committed financial and/or career suicide. After the reading, I felt positive and invigorated about all aspects of my life.
Imagine my surprise the next day when I got a call from my biggest client to tell me they had just been acquired and were moving all marketing in-house. I was given my 30 days’ notice. I was totally bewildered; the psychic had been so right about everything - how could he have been so off about my career? In spite of this devastating call, the psychic’s words still rang in my head “Success is inevitable.” The days following, I networked with everyone I knew and landed a bigger and better client gig before my 30 days was even up.
Since that time, there have continued to be setbacks and sleepless nights in my career but I always go back to that psychic reading when I’m feeling downhearted. “Success is inevitable.” Whether the psychic is authentic or not, he has managed to plant a seed of positive thinking that has carried me throughout these past six years. Fast-forward to March of 2015, when I launched my current business: Gugu Guru. (Per the psychic’s prediction, the flood gates would open in March and they sure did!) Like everything else in my entrepreneurial journey, I have had some really high highs and really low lows with building this new business but I continue to go back to my mantra and it always seems to come through for me. “Success is inevitable.”
So, my fellow entrepreneurs, do I suggest that you go to a psychic medium? Not necessarily.
Truth is, who knows how things would have played out if that psychic had not opened the reading so powerfully by naming my grandfather. However, I do recommend that you find your success mantra and fully trust in the power of positive thinking. I have no real way of measuring the impact it has had on my career, but I know it’s been profound. If you truly believe that failure is not even a remote possibility in any aspect of your life, consider how it could possibly change the way you do things and the effect that it could have on your life every single day.
We're here. We're queer. Now that it's pride month, it feels like every store and corporation is flooding us with their best rainbow merchandise, capitalizing on a $917 billion dollar consumer market.
The rainbow flags are out. The mannequins are sporting pride tees. And corporate newsletters are full of interviews showcasing all their queer employees ("Look, we have a gay person here! We GET you!").
To me, this is blatant evidence that the future is queer.
These corporations follow the money, and with 20% of millennials and 31% of Gen Z openly identifying as queer, these businesses have to capitalize on the growing purchasing power of LGBTQIA+ consumers. With a recorded market size of $917 billion dollars in 2016, and a growing interest in socially conscious brands among young consumers, this is clearly a market opportunity that corporations cannot afford to ignore.
However, I'm always surprised by how little attention investors and the entrepreneurial community devotes to this undeniable trend, despite being constantly inundated with overwhelming statistics proving the importance of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Only 2.2% of venture capital funding went to women in 2018, less than .1% of funding has been allocated to black women since 2009, and only about 1% of venture-backed companies have a black founder or Latinx founder. These statistics are over-quoted but underacted upon.
This gender and diversity inequality significantly hinders economic growth, since 85% of all consumer purchases are controlled by women, and startups with higher ethnic diversity tend to produce financial returns above their industry norm.
The data is clearly leading to one direction: investing in women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, veterans, immigrants, and other minority groups in entrepreneurship leads to higher revenue and better business results.
As data-driven and forward-thinking as this industry claims to be, we haven't caught up to the queer founders, particularly queer women, who are rethinking the future. These founders understand and speak to a generation of increasing numbers of LGBTQIA+ people whose market share will only continue to grow exponentially. VCs and investors are already behind the curve.
SoGal Foundation, a non-profit on a mission to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship, is helping bridge this divide between queer women founders and investors with the launch of applications for the second annual Global Pitch Competition for diverse entrepreneurs. Hosted in 25+ cities across five continents, and culminating in a final global pitch competition and 3-day immersive educational bootcamp in Silicon Valley, this is the first and only globally-focused pitch opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs.
Startups that are pre-Series A (raised less than $3M) with at least one woman or diverse founder, apply here to pitch! The top teams selected from each regional round will join SoGal's final global pitch competition and bootcamp in Silicon Valley for guaranteed face time with dozens of top Silicon Valley investors, curated educational programming, unparalleled 1:1 mentorship, press exposure, and a chance to win investment capital.
Women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ founders: what's the best way to kick off pride? Apply to pitch!
Regional pitch rounds will be held August-November 2019; final pitch competition in Silicon Valley in February 2020. Details and additional cities to be announced.
SoGal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the largest global platform for diverse founders and funders in 40+ chapters across 5 continents; our mission is to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship. SoGal Foundation's global startup competition represents the first and largest opportunity for women and diverse entrepreneurs and investors to connect worldwide. Join the SoGal community & follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.