This Black History Month, we’re looking forward at how three amazing leaders – Jessie Woolley-Wilson, Jasmine Crowe, and Tiffany Dufu – are building the future. Their excellence lies not only in their fundraising success, but in their ability to scale companies with heart and purpose, as well as profitability. Why is this important? Because if we want our future leaders to be reflective of the communities in which we live and thrive, mentors and role models are essential in empowering the next generation. These women are raising the bar, and lifting others up even as they rise.
Jessie believes in the power of story. Anyone who has attended an FFA event with Jessie on a panel knows that she’s a magnetic storyteller. She loves to share profound insights about the world of startups; in many ways she is shaping the landscape for future founders, particularly for women of color. As the CEO and President of Dreambox Learning, an adaptive, online K-8 math learning platform, she believes in meeting children where they are. She endeavors to create the pathways that lead to inspiration as well as the resources that will unlock their potential, regardless of how and where they live and learn. She has raised over $175M to carry out her mission at scale, which has the potential to impact our entire educational system.
*Photo credit: Jessie Woolley-Wilson on Creating Benevolent Friction at Work (Earl Wilson/The New York Times)
Jasmine founded Goodr, because of a foundational belief that everyone should eat. She knew that to approach that challenge head-on, she’d need to leverage a combination of technology and heart to tackle it at-scale. So, a startup. Not just any startup though – Goodr appeals to the human side of business by enabling them to donate extra food to nonprofit organizations; it satiates the head side by showing them they can earn tax deductions in the process. Genius! Jasmine has managed to create an impact-driven platform that benefits hungry people, donors, and the environment – and blockchain manages the security, analytics and logistics. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Jasmine has raised $1.1M. Goodr has diverted millions of pounds of food from landfills, and has created access to food to thousands of people whose norm was going to bed hungry. She’s doing well by doing good, and setting an example for the rest of us to support businesses that seek to have an impact as well.
You may have seen Tiffany on our FFA Forum, Raising VC as the .0006%: Fundraising Lessons from a Black Woman Founder, but it’s more likely you’ve heard about the incredible, vibrant community she has created, and her fundraising success despite innumerable challenges. Tiffany will tell you that her life’s work is advancing women and girls; she is an author, a leader, and the founder of The Cru, a peer coaching platform for women looking to accelerate their professional and personal growth; a community that empowers women to find support, understanding, and authentic relationships with each other. Tiffany has found a way to infuse this startup with her beautiful heart, and she paves the way for others to do the same. Here’s what The Cru believes:
“We believe in acceptance. It’s impossible to judge others once you stop judging yourself. We believe in abundance. There is infinite beauty, talent, and resources. We believe in reciprocity. What you give is what you will receive.
We believe in joy. There is no guilt with pleasure.
We have fun with reckless abandon.”