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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

"Breaking down barriers in the venture capital industry"

Kiara Damon ‘21 | Brooklyn, NY

Major | Psychology

Minor | Real Estate & Entrepreneurship

My absolute favorite speaker so far has been Crystal Callahan, during the “How Covid Changed Investing” session. While all of the speakers had a lot of valuable information and content to deliver to us, I feel as though I connected with Crystal on a level beyond the business realm. Her values and actions as a person connected with me on a personal level as she often described breaking down barriers in the venture capital industry.

As many other speakers have explained, she told us about how the venture capital industry is heavily saturated with white males, so they lack a lot of diversity within the venture capitalists and sometimes in the startups/ founders they decide to invest in. As a result, she explained how she is dedicating her career along with Paul Martino to breaking down the barriers in the industry that are limiting diversity. For example, some obvious barriers include race and gender, but she also mentioned knocking down geography as a barrier too, explaining how she is open to exploring and investing in companies all over the world.

Overall, she displayed confidence in her answers and represented herself well as the only woman in the room. Her LinkedIn account had many quotes I connected with, but the main one was “I like working with good humans. Good humans can be Men, Women, White, or People of Color. Just because I am a Black Woman does not mean that I only want to work with people who look just like me”. I genuinely appreciate her dedication to working with people for their talent and values rather than any other factors.

If I ever got to sit down and speak with her, I would definitely want to speak with her about having confidence as a black woman in a male dominated industry. I felt as though LSV was not the place for such a conversation that only applied to a very small percentage of people within the conversation, but I would love to speak more with her one on one because confidence is something that I struggle with when I get my seat at the table.

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