We live in a diverse world full of different cultures, new ideas, fresh perspectives, and uniquely-themselves people. But oftentimes those who are seated around boardroom tables or walking up and down corporate halls don’t reflect this same level of diversity.
In Kobie Fuller’s experience, this disconnect between what we see in our day-to-day lives versus what we witness in the antiquated world of business isn’t necessarily due to a lack of desire to bridge the gap – it’s more about the need for a more educated effort.
“There is this prominent corporate VC that I met with who had the aspirations to fund more black founders. And he then would say, ‘I have no idea where to find them.’ … Then I started rattling off names of people … that frankly, given someone whose mission [was to fund more black founders], he should’ve known. And he was like, ‘I have no idea who those people are.’ Well, the problem is that you’re not spending time interacting with the black community and the networks by which you actually tap into these people.”
Kobie is the co-founder of Valence and a General Partner at Upfront Ventures. He’s been involved in venture capital since college, and he regularly comes face-to-face with this problem of “I want to hire black talent, but I don’t know where to look.”
It’s a multi-pronged issue that requires a multi-pronged solution, which is what Kobie is working toward at Valence, a network that he is helping build which connects, showcases, and empowers the global black professional community.
Building this community is not a typical nine-to-five job, though. It’s a massive undertaking that he’s putting on his shoulders while still working as a full-time VC. So how does Kobie do it all – balance all the work needed to achieve this big vision with his daily responsibilities all the while also prioritizing being a great husband and father?
As Kobie shares today, it’s all about mindset and focus.
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