Our 2016 Showcase: Reflections


Last week, we had the honor of hosting a showcase for the Camelback 2016 Fellows. Thank you to those who attended, and for those of you who were unable to make it, I’m proud to share with you some photos and reflections on the event.

Our ten fellows presented, sharing their experiences doing so many amazing things. Amina started the evening off, sharing her personal narrative as a recent black college grad struggling to find mentors and opportunities, leading her to create BLOC (www.ourbloc.co). Larry is dedicated to getting more black men teaching in the classroom with Brothers Empowered to Teach Initiative. Sunny and Tiny Docs want to bridge the information gap between families and doctors. Nicole brings mindfulness and yoga to students and teachers with Yoga Foster. Eric is equalizing the playing field for college applicants everywhere through Admit.Me. Blair and Liz make teachers’ lives easier and better with their platform The Graide Network. Andrew works to revolutionize the way Special Ed teachers collect data and build lesson plans through LiftEd (www.liftingeducation.co). Charla is a mom who, when frustrated by the schooling opportunities available to her son, decided to create her own charter school with a unique learning model. Bryan’s work on Supergleu utilizes technology to literally change conversations between students and employers. Will brought me to tears with his dedication to protecting black genius through family-focused workshops in Village of Wisdom.

While each of the fellows has done incredible work individually, I am perhaps most proud of their coming together as a family. During our showcase last week it was clear to me, and the folks in the audience, that the fellows truly supported each other as they clapped and cheered the loudest for each presenter. Knowing just that we are able to provide this experience that actually helps folks feel like they can grow themselves and their organization would be very powerful for me, but the fact that they can also get energy, knowledge, and love from their cohort members is something of which I am particularly proud.

Big shout-out to the kind words of Jim Shelton from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative who offered up opening remarks for our showcase. I appreciated Jim’s comments, particularly what he said about equal opportunity. “We have not yet, as a society, figured out how to unlock everyone’s gifts and connect them with opportunities. What’s exciting about tonight is that there’s this brother who had a vision [about diversity in entrepreneurship], but that Camelback is actually doing something about it. They’re creating a space where people with ideas, talent and skills can come together, and create more opportunities.”

Thank you to all of our friends at the newly opened Kapor Center for Social Impact, a beautiful and thoughtfully curated space in Oakland. The Kapor Center hosted us for our workshops during the day, and allowed us to be the first showcase in their new space.

I am also appreciative of how the Camelback team itself is growing. I’m excited to share with you all the new faces (www.camelbackventures.org/team). There was a time when Camelback was something I hosted out of the living room in my apartment, and I can’t believe how much has changed just in the past few years.

This cohort’s fellowship cycle will come to a close next week, and after that, the Camelback team will be hard at work reviewing our insights from this past year and preparing for the next cycle. If you know of anyone who you think may be a good fit for the Camelback fellowship, I encourage you to send them to our Contact page (www.camelbackventures.org/contact_us) and we will be in touch.

Thank you for your support, and congratulations to this incredible cohort of folks. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with you, and we can’t wait to see where the future takes you.

- Aaron, Founder & CEO of Camelback Ventures


See more photos of the event on our Facebook page.