learn by doing

In the first few months of launching and running Abernathy, I learned more than I would have in a year of grad school. Not just the nuts and bolts of publishing and media and selling sponsorships, but also things like the transformative power of going faster than you’re comfortable with and working on projects that you believe in.

There’s a fascinating transition that occurs when a project goes from an idea to being A Real Thing. There isn’t always a dramatic delineation between these phases like when you click “send” on an email campaign, sometimes the thing that you’ve been dreaming up more or less materializes before your eyes.

Our first live event was a launch event here in New York, where ten speakers gave five minute talks (a format borrowed from my colleague Wes Kao, who emceed the event). I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud than that evening, looking around the room full of friends going back decades, strangers who braved the cold on a windy evening to talk about race and privilege, and #DayOne colleagues who helped me refine the writings on my wall into what the world now knows as Abernathy.

It was a memorable evening of ideas and storytelling, and many of you asked to be notified when we had another live event.

As promised:

On Wednesday, November 16th at 7pm, we’re doing an event in New York, sponsored by WeWork. It’s called Harlem Movers & Shakers and it’ll be an evening of networking, music, and a ridiculously good-looking panel moderated by yours truly:

  • John Henry, a young and disarmingly wise entrepreneur and investor
  • Jonathan Jackson (no relation), the multi-talented co-founder of Blavity
  • Neal Ludevig, co-founder and executive director of the Harlem Arts Festival
  • Mary Pryor, a passionate and accomplished media expert and Urban Socialista
  • Mike Street, digital media influencer and host of the top-rated #SmartBrownVoices podcast
  • Teri Johnson, host of Travelista TV and owner of Harlem Candle Company
  • Ivo Philbert, an eminently magnetic and gregarious VP at The Jackie Robinson Foundation
  • Carra Patterson, an actress who played Eazy-E’s wife Tomica Woods-Wright in Straight Outta Compton
  • DJ Ness will be on the ones and twos (I’ve always wanted to say that), and I’d be thrilled if you could join us. You can check out the details and RSVP here.

    PS If you can’t make it, tune into the livestream at https://www.facebook.com/HarlemNY

    Abernathy is the leading online magazine for professional black men, and this is an excerpt from a recent newsletter. Subscribe for full and early access.

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.

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