Jackie: Today I have two great guests, Tom Droege and Keith Daniel, founders of Resilient Ventures, a capital fund dedicated to disrupting systemic economic injustice by expanding access to capital, networks, and opportunity to African American founders. Keith and Tom, thank you so much for being here.
Keith: Well, thank you Jackie. Pleasure, pleasure to be with you.
Tom: it's a pleasure to be here too. Thank. You so much.
Jackie: Thank you. I'd love to start by having each of you share just a bit about your background and how you came to know each other.
Keith: Yeah, we met, it's been at least about 14, 15 years ago, I think, 2009, eight, somewhere in there. We had some mutual friends that were coming back from a mission trip, or actually living abroad that they weren't really on mission. They were there for a number of years. And that was kind of our mutual, friendships. And these are very, deep friendships, that we happened to share with this particular family.
And when they came back to the US, part of their kind of discernment process was how would they resettle in with, particularly around commitment to serving in, the black community in particular, what don't like to use these terms, but marginalized under, under resource communities. They had a, they were really focused on that, and they were, inviting us to be conversation partners and advisors for them.
And they were actually committed to asset-based community development, which is a philosophy, and a, you know, a research, research-based approach to addressing, systemic, community-based issues. In fact, Michelle Obama is, is amongst kind of the pioneers of that approach.
And so we gathered in our, my home for a few years, with a couple, this couple actually read a book called The Disintegration of Black America, which was also very eye-opening book looking historically over time at the kind of the gap between the majority of us and then the Oprah Winfreys of the world.
And, and you know, you know, just looking at that and then also looking at, immigrant communities, how they transition to the US versus African American native, native-born families, or captive born families and then become native. And then from there, stayed in contact, just the church, kind of church interactions, the faith-based community, various boards we've been on that are, you know, non-profit oriented.
So we kind of were around each other. And then one day Tom showed up at my church for a presentation discussion that was being led by one of my mentees from Duke on the question of race and reconciliation and faith. And after that, Tom invited me to be a part of a study he was involved in, addressing his white peers about race, racist history of race and racism.
Um, having come out of, a, a real journey of his own and in particular, having been a part of the Racial Equity Institute workshops. And we sort of combined our, our passion around liberation work, both for white folks as well as members of my, the black community, black and brown community, still, you know, pursuing racial justice and that led to us taking action by, by, co-founding Resilient Ventures.
Jackie: Awesome. Tom, anything to add and tell us a little about your background.
Tom: So that same couple that Keith mentioned, had recommended Keith back to me again when I, I, I had started this group that was trying to take racial equity concepts and merge them alongside the gospel and teach in a Christian setting.
And, the, Cameron Smith, who was our friend there, had sat in on the first group that I had and, had some other people sit in on the next, and it came to a point where she suggested I really needed to partner with someone in the community and she recommended Keith. And, you know, brought back remembrances of our prior experience.
And so yeah, it was at that church that I was actually in dire straits. I had, I had three weeks into this group of pastors at our church and I was about to do the fourth session, which was where the gospel intersected with racial equity, and I really didn't have anything. So it was a really, a providential moment and then learned a lot in that conversation. We may cover later on today, but that's the background.
Jackie: Love it. Love it.
Jackie: Now let's talk a little bit about Resilient Ventures, and I talked about what that is, but let's, let's actually get into the disparity in funding between black entrepreneurs and white entrepreneurs. The last research that I read said that black entrepreneurs receive only about 1.2% of capital investment in the US, which is actually an increase since 2020. How does Resilient work to level that playing field?
Tom: Well, we wanna move the, the needle with just the funds that we can raise. But I would add that number is, I feel pretty widely known. You know, it's between one and 2% as it's quoted. I, I also saw 1.7%. But what's less known, I think is the underlying biases that are still prevalent, and that's the underside of that question that that I think we're also really working to change.
You still have, like, there's a Morgan Stanley survey came out just in October, said 70% of white investment decision makers in large pension funds, endowments, etc. still believe that prioritizing diversity in their investment management meant sacrificing returns, right? So that's one. There, there's still a belief that investing in diversity will sacrifice returns.
And then the other study by the Harvard Business School found that minority owned firms either outperformed as well or outperformed their white owned peers. So, in terms of actually what we're doing, that's clear, not enough money is getting to founders, black founders. And we know that firsthand from Fund one, where we invested in the series stage kind of companies, companies that had revenue, they'd done product market fit, they needed a small amount of money, like 250 to $500,000.
It was still hard to raise that amount of money, but what we see, it's just gonna move up the ladder. I mean, it's no different as you move up the funding spectrum. it's just as hard or harder to get Series A money, which is the next place that people go to. So if you're asking what we're working to do the level of playing field I'd, I'd say we're moving up the, the ladder and trying to change biases in the community of, of white men that are making these investment decisions.
Jackie: Absolutely. You know, that's such an important mission right in, in trying to create that equity. You know, if you think about the wealth gap specifically,
Jackie: Talk about some of the long-term effects of this wealth gap, and what do you say to those that you know will say, we all have access to the American dream if we work hard, we all have the same opportunity. How do you speak to that?
Keith: Yeah, that's a, a question I think a lot about. and actually I would commend that book that I mentioned earlier, The Integration of Black America, it looks at that disparity. and, and there's also this, we, we talk about the myth of meritocracy, but it's a powerful myth and. You know, it's kind of what has made America great, right?
I mean, when, when Dr. King talked about the dream, it was that, yeah, we thought we were brought here cap as captives, there's this like aspiration that we can, we can pursue happiness and, and, and be happy in America. The first phase of the movement began with our, the establishment of the foundation of our own dignity despite all the systems that were overtly structured against us, right?
So that was the first step. We had to know, we had enough dignity to say, okay, I'm not going to accept the busing system as it is, right? I'd rather walk. Right. Then we pursued the matter of equity and or equality as it relates to just to, to get jobs. So just to be interviewed for example. But you know, we knew then that power was not gonna concede of any, like, moral goodwill. It was gonna have to be demanded, with all due intentionality.
And so your eyes are open to what does segregation look like today? So, you know, we talk about the segregated lunch counter. Right. Now we need to look at, I can get my coffee now, but I still can't own this building. How many of us cannot own the property, can't own the, you know, so you go up and so it, it can seem very daunting when you, you know, for generations. That's why we have to work.
We have to think, okay, the work I'm doing now, I might not see the, the fruit today. If I keep at it in 30 years from now, maybe there is a possibility that it would be more VCs of color that are successful in creating wealth that doesn't just leave the community as well. So yeah, it's, it's a very, you know, it's that whole iceberg thing, you know, you got to what you cannot see on the surface, and then you start to parse out all this other systemic toxicity that you know, puts, put some pressure on all of us to do this, to do.
Tom: I mean, the answer is the American dream is a myth and it's not, and it's worse than you would think in the sense that it's not like People failed to qualify for opportunities that were presented, but it's actually more like they were purposely disinherited. And you know, four quick examples, you know, slavery was chosen over indentured servanthood. So African Americans did not get the freedman's wages like white servants did. The vote, voting was a right that was given and then taken away. redlining prevented African Americans from benefiting from wealth gains and home ownership.
And even something like a good Supreme Court ruling like Brown v Board of Education that resulted in integration of schools. When you look at what actually went on, you know, all the black teachers and principals were fired. the black school boards, which existed were disintegrated and all the power moved to joined school district systems so you lose power and influence on your own children's future. So it's a myth and it's worse than you actually think. fortunately, I, there is, there are more and more white people waking up to this, so,
Jackie: Yeah. And you know, it's, it's interesting because you're not taught any of this in school. And so having to discover this on your own, through conversations, through research, is something that a lot of people don't take upon or haven't taken upon themselves until recently to do. But if you understand the history of how our systems are set up in this country, it, it is, you know, really eye opening.
and you know, we, we understand, we understand, right, that disparity in access to capital, but let's dig into why access to networks is equally important.
Tom: Well, I was just, this came up in a conversation I just had yesterday in that, something as simple as warm introductions.
It's all about warm introductions, you know? why don't black founders get before Angel Groups? Well, part of the screening process is you need someone to coordinate your submission of a, your entry form with an email from someone that's in the Angel group and who has that, right?
That's a big one. and it's simple and easy to do, but you have to have the relationships to make it happen. And, you know, some of our advisory board members are on our board, with amazing connections to amazing opportunities. so it is, I mean it's access to capital networks and opportunities that's, Go to market plan, I guess is what we're trying to do, right?
Keith: Yeah. What I can say to that is, I'm, I'm here in New York, this week for,
Keith: organization called Culture Shift, culture Shift Labs. It's, consulting-based organization that brings together black and brown folks, from all over the country. It's a summit this week and there's VCs in the room.
There are institutional leaders in the room. There are family offices in the room. And the last presentation that I, I, I left to, to, to make it here was the comptroller, the treasurer essentially for, Connecticut, the state of Connecticut. And he was sharing his background and his story.
And that, you know, that question came up again about the summit being a place where we really want to take action around our, our partnerships and relationships, and that as fund managers of a first fund like ours, people are really funding, they're, they're investing in us. They're, they're investing in our, their sense of trust and our aptitude and our capability.
It's just, it's refreshing to be in a room with, you know, our, our, our community. But it's also sobering to realize that scenarios like Tom and I where, you know, he's very intentional. He said, I know, we use the analogy of Jackie Robinson going to the major leagues. It's a mindset here. It's a mindset.
There's a lot of talent out. There's a whole league of, you know, geniuses out there and we know historically how many geniuses never got into the major leagues in terms of venture or owning businesses and so forth, and that's just ridiculously shameful. I mean, just think of Major League baseball today if it was still a segregated sport.
You know, it very well could have been, had it not been at least one general manager said, I'm, I'm not gonna lose out on these, these incredibly talented players. Right? So that's our mentality. And it, it's a, it's a delicate dance. You know, I'm at the stage of my career where I'm not really looking to network anymore.
Honestly I'm glad Tom has a lot of energy. He worked, you know, works, the room interacts, and that's important. You know, I do that. I do it more on a potential level. Or, you know, less, mass level. And some of that's temperament stuff. But the reality is when people introduce you, like Tom said, and they say, Hey, you don't wanna miss these guys, come over here and check this athlete out over here.
I know what that feels like, sticking with the sports analogy, having played college football and being not heavily recruited, but one day, you know, my dream coach comes to the school because my coach actually called the school and said, Hey, we got a young man down here, he's 145 pounds soaking wet.
But he, he, you, you don't wanna miss out. You know, you should talk to him. And I, if that doesn't happen, my dream doesn't come true. So that, that energizes me as well. So that's a very critical question.
Jackie: Definitely, definitely. And you know, that's, that's one of the things that we as black people in general, you know, don't under haven't had the opportunity to access are those networks. And so now that, you know, we're so many of us have wanted to start business or do start businesses, but don't have the access to those introductions that make the access to capital, access to opportunities easier. And that's, that's something that, you know, just historically we just haven't had access to as a whole. Right. So that's so important. So important.
Keith: If I, if, let me, can I, paint another, a stroke on here? Jackie could kinda take it up. So part of the weariness of, of being black in America is these decisions we have to make every day, right, that are sort of what I call borderline, am I selling out or am I all in my community? So like I use a choice about do I choose an HBCU or do I choose a white university and pursue that path of you know, expanding my horizons by attending these, you know, the elite Ivies, you know, and that that's not a, you know, that's not a simple equation because, you know, again, we learned how to make it on our own. We, we fought injustice and created our communities, then they were burned down, or they were destroyed by some other economic issue, right?
So I think part of the labor pains that still is reality is on the question of networking, you know? I'm not, and depending on where you are in your career, if you're starting a business, it's, it's a grind. And so your readiness to walk into certain rooms, and once you get there, you're the only one, or you're presenting, you know, in front of group of mostly wealthy white folks and trying to overcome the psychology of what you know, how they're viewing you.
And it's just so labor intensive. So for us, part of the, our aspiration is our team is diverse, right? It's not, we've been intentional about that. So a woman walks in the room, she's gonna see a white woman, she's gonna see a, you know, a woman of color. She's gonna see, you know, other, other forms of, a diverse group.
And I think that's kind of that vision that we see. Not to say that an all-black firm or an all-white firm is not worthy of, its commitments to venture investing, but I think that's part of, we know what the optic looks like. It, it has both and to it.
Okay. Got a black guy with a white guy, you know, the white guy's, probably the wealthy one, and he's, his privileges is sort of a current for the, you know, for the black guy. Then they look below the surface and they say, no, these guys are, you know, equal stories of like success and hard work, and, but they, but they're not ashamed to say, look, we know how historically access has only been made possible because a white person in power has on some level conceded or said, I'm gonna be intentional in sharing it. And not like, oh, I'm gonna help a black guy out. Not the, some of 'em do, but I'm saying the idea ideology behind us is not, is not about, oh, I'm gonna help some black people out. I'm gonna be charitable that it's a, again, another level of mindset around that. So, sorry, I'm kind of.
Jackie: You know, that's, that's so important, Keith. And you know, it's just true, there are some doors that are harder for us to open, that we need those allies, those people who are intentionally working with us and alongside us to be able to open, and that's, that's just a fact. So let's talk a little about Resilient. What types of companies does Resilient invest in, and is there a success story that you'd like to share?
Tom: I, I will start with that. we didn't intentionally set out to do this, but if you look at the profile of the companies we've invested in, they've turned out mostly to be business, to business. technology enabled it in some way, with product market fit determined, with real customers the differentiation.
You can give your product away and you can get early adapters to try it out, but what you really want is your bread-and-butter customers. So these are companies that figured that out. And surprisingly, or not surprisingly, either way you wanna look at it, most of the companies had had over six years of being in business.
So typically, you know, these companies, We'd invest in 'em in 2020 and they, like, 2014, I think is the most common founding date for these companies. So compared to I think the, in general white entrepreneurs, these companies have been at it longer and have had a harder time get, getting, capital, but on the other end, they've done, they've done a lot more with less over all the times. And, and also I would say revenues several of the companies already had 2 million in revenue and still finding it hard to raise capital.
So, I think we have nine success stories right now out of 11, so it's hard to pick. But, Circle In right here in Apex is a company that we've found early on. They have a steady group software for institutions of higher education that, you know, uses peer to peer learning. We all had study groups in college, right? Cause you put that on. So I think they have a great product and they've signed an incredible number of institutions of higher education and you know, that they've actually made a serious penetration into the market.
Jackie: Love it. Can you have anything to.
Keith: Yeah, saw mentioned we did make a commitment to a Main Street company and, happened to be a restaurant cafe, a uniquely locally branded cafe by the name of Beyu. They started, at the time we invested, they had two locations. They now are, about to open a sixth location, and they managed that through the pandemic.
And the way Dorian, Bolden and the CEO did it was to me just exceptional, exceptional, resilience. he found a way to, to, you know, tap into the need that, that needed to be addressed and both in terms of access to food for our school children, he core more, less, some other cafe, shop restaurant owners to address, some of the food and security concerns.
And then developed out his, ready to meal, meal packages, catering, up upgraded his operations systems and, you know, continued to, leverage the, the capital that was out there, both in terms of the, government relief and, and, and various grants and support from other partners.
Didn't have to tap into our investment that far as well so, and on and on. he grew his team, I mean, they dropped down at one point. They were maybe 12 or 13 employees. They're up to like 80 employees now. yeah, it again, mainstream is not a typical VC investment. I mean, there's a lot of high, high risk to that.
But you know, Dorian had had already been CEO for about 10 years and had purchased a building for his property and, you know, just comes out, has a finance background. So there's so much about, you know, about people talk about your, your investing in a team, or you're investing in a product, or you're investing in both.
Sometimes you'd rather have an A team if C product, and, and that mix. I mean, we love all of our, our product offerings, as it were from our deals. But they, you know, being in a restaurant space is, is, is tough. And he did, he did exceptional job. So I give him a shout out as one.
Jackie: That's so great. Thanks for sharing that. Now, what advice would you to give to an aspiring entrepreneur who's looking to launch a business? How do they get started? What are the things that they need to know as they get started?
Keith: Well, I, I'll just say for me, I mean, the story of my life has been, and, and I'm really experiencing it today in the recent passing of my father it's how important it is. And, and having said that, I, it is, it is gonna be weird. I'm gonna now mention Coach K, and that's going to offend probably you, a certain number of your listeners.
But because of so much of my careers been at Duke University and I, I did go on to play football there and won championship, you know, championship teams. I'm just often, you know, I feel sometimes overwhelmed by the kind of people I have around me. Just geniuses being, being in Durham as well, the legacy city.
I mean, relationships are key. So I, I think one of the things I reflect about black experience again in America is if you don't have an entrepreneur in your family, for example, or you don't, you don't have someone who can help you kind of visualize the work that goes into it and what it needs.
And that's, that's part of the struggle. It's like, cuz you need people coaching, you need people who can find, you know, hey, I got, I need, I need a finance guy, I need a, you know, I need an operations, and I can't spend years. I got, it's almost like I wish you had a readymade kit of the right talent and maximizing my own gifts because you do have to wear a lot of hats for one, but you don't have to keep them on, you know, endlessly.
Right. So I, I guess I would punctuate it by saying that, you know, look around you, see, see who can, you can bring into the vision, the, the, you know, what you, this problem you're seeking to solve and go as long as you can with, either not paying yourself and them, you know, before you need money. I mean, that's the bootstrap quote, the bootstrapping part of it, cuz you
Jackie: Right. That's right.
Keith: also there needs to be a fire that happens from that, but it can't be solo. You know, we don't, we don't invest in solopreneurs. Uh. It's all about teams and so I'll leave, I'll stop.
Tom: I would just add onto that. You can find that team before you start your company, right. A lot of VCs like to see a team coming out of some other entity. They look for not just one founder coming out of some place, but a founder that already has relationships with a group of people that go out of a company and form their own.
Learn how to sell. I mean, every, everybody a founder has to be able to sell and, you can moonlight and get the ex, you know, work for another company for five, seven years. I, I really don't understand how someone can go to, study entrepreneurship in college and then go out, exit from college and start a business.
Tom: It's, we've gotten to that point where we're, it's like a major in college. Entrepreneur.
Jackie: There are so many skills that need to be developed in order to do that successfully between right, that turn in that pass, and having your first really successful business. Such great advice. So what's the question that you ask in your due diligence that trips up most founders?
Tom: What a question like, I, I don't think we purposely, Keith, we don't purposely try to trip people up, but I will tell you as a general rule, what almost all founders do, they spend way too much on their product. I mean, they, they have, they'll have 10 slides on their product, they'll used 15 of their 20 minutes telling you about it and.
Gotta stop doing that. there are other questions that need to be covered, like exits and how they sell and market and their team and all those kinds of things. So your, so your deck needs to be balanced, right? I mean, there's 10 things you gotta address. So, don't, don't spend 70% of your time on product.
Um, the other, I'll just give you kind of a, a known pet peeve. And I, and it's got a twist to it too. So a lot of times a founder will say, if we can just, they'll say it's a billion-dollar market, and then they'll say, if I can get 1% of the market we're in, and how hard is it to get 1%? Well, it is really, really hard to get 1%. Really, really hard.
And then ironically, even when you get 1%, it flips on you and it gets turned the other way because say you do get 1% of a market and you have a million dollars in revenue. Then the VC's gonna apply the math and say, well, that's just a hundred-million-dollar business, so now you're in too small. just don't even go there with the 1%. It's not gonna help you in your presentation. It makes you look, kind of a rookie, amateur, and it won't help you even if you get it, so,
Jackie: Tom, that's good advice. Keith, what would you add?
Keith: The baseline is always, you know, how you gonna make money, right? I feel like maybe 50%, maybe 30% of entrepreneurs kind of really know, you know, this is, this is gonna be, this is our secret sauce and this is why people are gonna pull this off the shelf against all a hundred other options that they have for their, their desire or need.
So thinking just really critically, this is why it's priced this way, here's our operations cost, you know, cost to good scope. I mean, the, the numbers part of it, and I, I'm saying that, and I'm not, when it comes to Tom and i's, you know, work and we have our accountants and CPAs supporting us, but I'm realizing, man, if I were to be on that side, I'd be spending a lot of, you know, really focusing when I tell people, Hey, you don't wanna miss this and this, this, this, the numbers line up.
and, and part of that too is it goes back to the valuation question. That's another thing that was a learning curve for me, I think, particularly in our community, the value we associate with our product or service does not fit the same context of oftentimes how the market sees it because there's market, there's, there's actually the market is racist too, cause like it doesn't account for the historical barriers and things that we've overcome that registered for us as to why you should pay me more, or you should put in more. Right.
And that's something, Tom, we've, we've had some back and forth on like, no, it's, it is a straightforward equation. You can't say your comp, you can't say because you bought your building or you, you know, you bootstrapped that it's somehow, cause the market ain't saying that. This is what the market's saying about, you know, what you're entering.
So yeah, just being as clear and as, as ready to, to walk away from also certain investors, not take every, necessarily, every dollar, you know, just cuz you know, people throwing at you cuz that again, those that can, that can come with some cost too.
Jackie: Absolutely. So I would be remiss if I didn't ask about the link between DEI and church. So let's, let's talk about that just for a second, because that's a conversation that many of us have had that think they should be separate. That there's not a correlation between diversity, equity, inclusion, and church. Can you speak to that just a little bit and what are your thoughts on that?
Keith: I mean, part of the challenge for me and I, I'm at the stage of my career that I'm very kind of secure in my identity. that being said, my professional life, the second half of my professional life was primarily, and it's still very much lodged in theological work. And one of Dr. King's quotes that stood out for me years ago that like, I was like, oh, that's why that quote so stood out to me is that he said that philanthropy, philanthropy is necessary but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook or to ignore the economic injustices that makes philanthropy necessary, right?
And what people don't, sometimes I teach a course on teaching assistant at the school course on King. We talk about this vision of humanity that also addresses; it addresses the needs of a community of people.
Keith: That came from a theologian, a traditional church pastor, right, who did not see himself or go to school to become the voice, the leader of the march towards freedom that wasn't just about treat me with dignity and stop lynching me.
It was actually no, equal equity and pay equity and dignity that comes from a livable wage, et cetera, cetera. So for me, there's not, there's not a separation because, I mean, again, I started out by saying my age, I was born in 68. So I know what it looks like for people of faith to realize that the walls of the church do, should not stop us from doing faith work in our neighborhoods, in our communities, to make sure everybody eats.
Keith: To make, make sure everybody has a, a roof over their head. Right. Some of the basic things. So to me, to me, my, my, my view has never, the more I've emerged as an adult, as a professional is, is to realize every day is a, is a commitment to the wellbeing of the other folks. And in our country it happens to be capitalism.
And again, people talk about the, you know, immorality that can be with capitalism, cause you got, you know, these mega billionaires and half the employees are living paycheck to paycheck, stuff like that, right? So for me, that is a, a religious, it's a spiritual question. I don't think a traditional church in the ways that some folks have started to be disenchanted with the church as a whole, and they're not going back anymore that sort of thing. So that's, my, my mindset towards it, with some of that back.
Jackie: thanks Keith.
Tom: That's an interesting question in the sense that my journey that led to Resilient Ventures was so directly involved with the question of the church in race, and in my case it began in the nineties with Promise Keepers. Where, where, when I was first introduced to the concept of segregated spaces and prejudice, and that's where I met the people we talked to at the beginning, Ernest Smith, who he and I worked together in Promise Keepers in Durham to lead the efforts here. And he took it on his own initiative to walk me through, you know, what it was like to be stopped by the police and what it's like to be black and American and mentored me and
But then shortly after the Promise Keepers movement where you know, one of the promises of a promise keeper was to engage in racial reconciliation, almost as fast as it came on the scene. It disappeared with kind of the next men's movement, which was kind of this wild at heart movement. So for a while, Christian men were engaged in this idea of keeping our promises, and then, then it suddenly be, we adopted the, there, there was the banging on drums movement around that time, and so all of a sudden Christian men just went off onto another tangent. that was the nineties.
And so when the conversation started coming up again for me as my experience at my church, which was 2016, we had a presentation on the, the letter from the Birmingham Jail, I thought, amazing, our church is gonna cover this letter. And I was like, a, I'm astounded. I mean, what in the world? And, but they missed the mark. They really missed the mark. They didn't make the point that the letter was about the, the church being hesitant to engage and, and oppositional, and then when the conversation did start it, It was using terms like racial reconciliation from the nineties and things like that. That's kind of all how Keith and I got involved.
It is disheartening to see that the, the white Evangelical church or Christian Church may be more also at large uses any excuse it needs to stay away from this conversation about diversity. And the latest excuse is CRT, I mean, so we were making some progress on talking about race in the Christian Church of America, and along came just another reason why not to talk about it.
Um, so then you, you really do come, it's, it, it's not just that the Christian Church was complicit or didn't do enough, it turns out that they were really more directly involved with the creation of racism in America. So it's really dis-encouraging and, and you see the rise of, Christian nationalism and you start to see everything with a different perspective. You, you notice when all the private Christian schools started, you look at all their foundational dates and you find out they were all the civil rights movement.
Jackie: Yeah. Well, you know, I, I love what you both said about the responsibility that we have as a community, as a spiritual community to ensure that other people have what they need to survive and live and thrive. I think that's so important. So thanks for, for sharing that As we wrap up our time, Tom and Keith, thank you so much for spending some time with us today and for your amazing insights. What would you like to leave our listeners with today?
Keith: Well, I, I, I wanna thank you again for the opportunity to share a bit of our story. yeah, I mentioned about this, recently losing my father. unfortunately he lived for 86 years, and we are at the stage of life. Tom might not have picked it up, but he mentioned about most productive, some preachers say you’re most productive you use and when you're in your sixties.
I'm not quite there yet, but as far as, you know, our list is concerned. Yeah, life is, life is, is fleeting. we know we're living in some perilous times. You know, take good care of yourself, good care of your health. hold, hold those close around you. as close and tell folks you love 'em. Tell folks you appreciate 'em.
Um, I'm grateful. I had so many wonderful memories about my dad, has made, made the loss less grieving, but grieving nonetheless. so yeah, live your passion. And, and let your passions be known, to those around you, even if it seems somewhat outlandish.
Jackie: Thank you,
Tom: I'll just add I, I'm also add my appreciation to you, Jackie, and to The Diversity Movement. I was just on the call today with someone from Atlanta who knew of, had amazing experiences with, with your founder Donald as well, and had nothing but good things to say about you. I would leave it with, you know, get on the bus with this journey, if not with us, someone else.
You know, diversity is a lot more than just as a business model, right? Diversity is a lot more than just reaching markets better. You know, you'll miss out on innovation. Diversity drives innovation and, and you will miss out. I mean, every day. Like I'm hearing another story like, so Jack Daniels, Tennessee Whiskey, right?
I mean, I'm sure you know now, you know, Jack Daniels was, he basically, apprenticed himself as a young man to Nearest Green, African American inventor of Tennessee whiskey, and later turned it into a ginormous company or to learn, you know, top, Top Gun Two is in the theaters, right? So you also find out now that first Top gun award went to the Tuskegee Airmen, and the, the results of the, of the competition were listed as unknown for 50 plus years until they resolved that. So, you know, you will miss out. If you're not in this space. That's what I would leave it with your listeners.
Jackie: Well, thank you again, both so much for spending some time with me today and continued success in your wonderful investments and the companies that you're supporting and bolstering. Thank you again.
Tom: Thank you, Jackie. Thank you very much.
Keith: All right. Thank you. Thank you.