In the past decade, co-working spaces, workplace wellness, and experimental startup environments have expanded the boundaries for what #workplaceculture can look and feel like for a new generation of workers.
But with all that innovation, the missing piece is often the inclusion of diverse experiences and perspectives from the top-down, and the ground-up. While flavored fizzy water on-demand is great, how does it measure up when Black folks are feeling isolated and stressed from daily assaults of micro-aggressions, palpable bias, and an overall lack of equity + inclusion on every level?
Enter a new generation of innovators for an equitable, inclusive, and truly groundbreaking #futureofwork. While this list only reflects a handful of the many people doing this work, we honor their super-efforts in pulling limited resources together to create spaces where Black, intersectional people especially — can thrive.
Opened in 2019, Ethel’s Club is a Brooklyn-based private social and wellness club designed to celebrate people of color. Named after Founder Naj Austin’s grandmother, who “everyone in the neighborhood would gather around,” Ethel’s Club, “redefines what it means to be brown and gather.”
“The dreamy, floaty version of what Ethel’s Club is is tied to this idea of a renaissance person and reframing what it means to be seen as a person of color. To shift that narrative around what people of color want.”
We couldn’t write this list without honoring the numerous contributions of Arlan Hamilton, Founder of Backstage Capital, who, “built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless,” and whose impact has supported over “130 startup companies led by underestimated founders.”
“Investing money, time, resources, access & belief into black people, Latinx people, all people of color, and women in the US is not something that should be looked at as doing us a favor. It is doing you a favor if you are a white male, because we are the future.”
Arlan Hamilton, Quartz, 2018
Before Nipsey Hussle’s tragic death, then real estate developer and LA native David Gross connected with him on the idea of creating an “inner city co-working space,” with a focus on STEM and nurturing entrepreneurship in their local community. This concept became Vector 90, which is now a thriving co-working space, cultural hub and incubator in LA.
Angelica Ross is the President of Miss Ross, Inc. and founder of TransTech Social Enterprises — a program that helps people lift themselves out of poverty through technical training, digital work creating a social impact and bringing economic empowerment to marginalized communities.
“We’ve created a space for trans people to come together, work together, laugh together, go to lunch together. There’s strength in numbers.”
As a Senior Global Consultant in Diversity & Inclusion, Crystle is also behind the Meaningful podcast — a show that exists to ensure black and brown women navigate, grow, and thrive in corporate spaces.
“We transform the anonymous experiences of black and brown talent into powerful audio narratives. Each month we center the dialogue around a common theme — providing you, our listeners, with tools and resources that will help you navigate, grow, and thrive in corporate spaces.”
Creators of the Brooklyn-based wellness concept + cafe HealHaus, Darian Hall + Elisa Shankle both experienced monumental shifts in their lives that inspired them to follow a healing path — while opening up doors for others to dothe same. While NYC is filled with boutique, white-washed wellness spaces, HealHaus offers something different as a grounded, diverse and inclusive space that is committed to deepening the conversation and opening access to healing.
“At HealHaus, we’ve combined diverse healing modalities and practitioners under one roof to provide people with an inclusive space focused on holistic health and wellness. We are committed to building a community that is dedicated to changing the stigma attached to healing.”
We’re just getting started. Let us know who should be on this list in the comments, and we’ll continue to share the good news.