Who is this guy
Stephen is a an economist, speaker, startup advisor and “recovering” venture capitalist. By day he is the director of operations for Pensole, the world’s only footwear design and development school based in Portland, Oregon. He has spent his career helping founders start, grow and prosper. His tireless advocacy for Black & Latinx founders has landed him on stages across the country speaking about the power of entrepreneurship. One of his projects “PitchBlack” is a national pitch event that connects ecosystems with talented black founders in cities across the country. Since 2015, competitors in the Portland event have gone on to raise over $32MM for their ideas. He is a husband to a brilliant wife and father to 3 wonderful children. Spreadsheets are his super power and sneakers are his kryptonite
We Out Here (yes, even in Portland)!
Read The Atlantic, watch the show “Portlandia” or listen to my man W. Kamau Bell on CNN’s United Shades of America and you are left with the impression that Portland has a melanin problem. Not a “burning crosses,” “people kicked off of the bus” kind of problem but a “there might not be more than a handful of us here” kind of impression.
In reality, the home of the “Swoosh,” “Voodoo Donuts,’’ and the “Naked Bike Race” (seriously, completely naked) is also helping lead the way in cultivating African-American founders and their companies. Wait what? No, I haven’t been hanging at one of Portland’s many weed shops. I know something most of the country doesn’t… we out here.