Video: A Fireside Chat on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

In this unique and candid conversation, Brandon Bryant, partner at Harlem Capital, and Lindsey Michaelides, founder of Strongsuit, candidly share their perspectives as professionals in the startup industry. They cover the landscape from both funder and founder points of view.

Brandon is Black. Lindsey is female. Brandon is from Cleveland and was raised by a single mom. Lindsey grew up in a large Irish family in the house that her grandfather bought when he immigrated from Ireland to Cincinnati. They don’t look like most investors or founders in the venture industry. This conversation is personal, pointed, and packed with realistic tips for success.

Reality Bytes

  • Women and diverse founders are treated differently. This affects not only who gets funded but what it takes to get there.
  • With female entrepreneurs, more investors focus on risk. With male entrepreneurs, more investors focus on opportunity.
  • If people don’t believe in you and in what you are building, even the best number-crunching models won’t get you there.

Tips to Succeed

  • People who see you for yourself also see themselves in you. It doesn’t matter what they look like or who they are. They are out there.
  • Find the people who believe what you already know. Show through numbers and traction that you are the right person to deliver.
  • There are four or five degrees of separation between the mentors and managers who look like you and the champions you need. Ask for introductions
  • Work harder than anyone else. Get 1 percent better every day.
  • Qualify and disqualify. Don’t keep having conversations with someone who will never say yes. This applies to customers and investors.
  • Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Taking risks is the only way to learn and level up.

There’s more.

There are just the start of the lessons-learned that Brandon and Lindsey share in the video.

Craig M. Chavis Jr. holistic business coach and founder of  Solo Creator Club, moderates, steering this unique conversation from funder to founder points of view.


About the event:

Rev1’s approach to Inclusive Entrepreneurship aims to increase diverse founders’ success in entrepreneurship through advocacy, pipeline initiatives, and core high-growth services tailored to tackle the distinct challenges faced by women and people of color. This event aims to spark conversation within the community.


Brandon Bryant is the content creator behind the wildly successful, Wall Street Paper, and co-founder & partner at venture capital firm, Harlem Capital, a revolutionary firm dedicated to funding 1000 women founders and founders of color. Brandon has earned accolades from top brand partnerships to most recently, a coveted spot on the list of Forbes 30 Under 30.

Lindsey Michaelides prior to founding Strongsuit, Lindsey was a business strategist and management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Lindsey has more than 10 years of experience in business strategy with experience across the healthcare, retail, and media industries. Both as a consultant and corporate strategy leader, Lindsey focused largely on business model transformation and large-scale M&A and joint venture creation.


Craig M. Chavis Jr. is a Holistic Business Coach and founder of the Solo Creator Club – a private membership that helps part-time creators sell their expertise and become profitable full-time creators. At the core of Craig’s coaching philosophy lies the mantra – Become the Entrepreneur of Your Life. He is currently serving as a consultant for Rev1 Ventures on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts.


Khairie Williams is a talented professional with experience in Human Resources practices. She stands out for her negotiating skills in critical areas such as personnel management and department efficiencies. She manages the Grow to Scale Mentor Program and the DE&I Grant Fund and supports Rev1’s pipeline-building partnerships.