In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with Shelly Omílàdé Bell, Founder and CEO of Black Girl Ventures, a social enterprise dedicated to creating access to capital for black and brown women entrepreneurs. Shelly is a serial entrepreneur and computer scientist with a background in performance poetry, K-12 Education, and IP strategy. She was named one of the Top 100 Powerful Women in Business by Entrepreneur Mag, Entrepreneur of the Year by Technically DC, and acknowledged as A Rising Brand Star by Adweek. Shelly is a system disruptor and business strategist who moves ideas to profit while empowering people to live more authentically. As a cultural translator, she connects entrepreneurs, investors, and corporations to diversify their talent pipeline, increase equity and grow their brands. Shelly shares tips on creating access and social capital for people, creating a real sense of community, and scaling the community. Who is this episode for? Community leaders, business women, investors, business strategists Three key takeaways: 1. Sustainably growing and engaging a community: Building the community comes from identifying a need and offering a solution. Engaging the community is about communing with people. Sustaining the community focuses on adopting a business model. 2. Driving value for your community: There are direct and indirect revenue drivers because revenue comes from relationships. The indirect way of driving revenue is building trust, affinity, and belonging, and they will bring valuable revenue to your community. 3. Building social capital: Social capital is the strength of your network, which can be people with helpful resources, knowledge, and access to capital. Building positive social capital relationships requires a community leader to take on the role of a gatekeeper to share and protect the people's interests. Notable Quotes: 1. “Safe space means safe people. And the more safe people that are surrounding in a community, the safer it can be that comes from core values.” 2. “A community can be a great gathering of people unless you have all agreed that there's a problem that needs to be solved, or you are showcasing it as a problem that needs to be solved that this community coming together can solve.” 3. “The money is the water for the seed. It's just a tool. So you have to wrap your head around the difference between humility that takes you out of driving the necessary sustainability measures.” 4. “You may be building a community of people that you serve. But you also need to understand how to build a community of people who can serve you.” Answers to rapid-fire questions: 1. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mexican corn 2. What is your favorite book to give as a gift to others? The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz 3. What's a company in your community that you're really excited about right now? Agua Bonita 4. What is a go-to community engagement tactic, or conversation starter, that you like to use in your communities? What do you care about? 5. Who in the world of the community would you most like to take for lunch? Seth Godin 6. What is a community product you wish existed? I wish there were a product that was an easy way to create a video, like a Wiki video library of learning 7. What is the weirdest community you've ever been a part of? The poetry community 8. What's one thing you learned from the leading community and the world of poetry that you still apply to your community-building today? How to move and motivate people, and put the systems in place simply. 9. If you were to find yourself on your deathbed, and you had to condense all of your life lessons into one tweet-sized piece of advice for the rest of the world for how to live, what would that advice be? Be all that you are as soon as possible.
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