For those concerned about the inequitable distribution of wealth in the venture capital community – and the Maryland economy at large – Associated Black Charities’ newest speaker series installment will be a not-to-miss session. With an online airing featuring an updated name and format, The Diane Bell-McKoy Speaker Series on September 29th will host Baltimore-based tech leader Luke Cooper and Baltimore-born media entrepreneur Crystal Berger.

“Fifty percent of all new wealth will go to tech entrepreneurships, and 90% of the money goes to white males exclusively”, Cooper shared on a recent call. A determination to forge equitable pathways for fellow entrepreneurs of color led him to found Latimer Ventures in 2021. Latimer is an early-stage venture capital firm with the aim to elevate the experience of Black tech entrepreneurs, provide training curriculum and advisory services to BIPOC founders, and facilitate strategic connections between investors, Fortune 1000 acquirers, and high growth companies.

Cooper sold his previous venture, Fixt, to Assurant for more than 11x revenue. He is only the second Black tech entrepreneur to see a company through to a successful exit in Baltimore and is passionate about building a diverse and inclusive culture. He looks forward to a “robust conversation” in ABC’s upcoming session. “Until we can define inclusive pathways for Black and brown faces to participate meaningfully in the tech revolution – and every other business revolution happening – so we can change our own narrative arc and access to wealth, I won’t be satisfied.”

Former FOX News Channel host and producer Crystal I. Berger will serve as guest host for the interview. She has been a featured speaker and host at the United Nations, Business Insider, the Congressional Black Caucus, AMC Networks and more, and is published in Black Enterprise, Mediabistro and on FOX News. Berger’s upcoming book, “Commanding Confidence”, set for release in September 2022 is the playbook for commanding confidence in business and in life. She is also the founder of EBO, an on-demand expert matching engine that makes it easy for media outlets to discover, vet, and book on-air talent.

While planning the upcoming session ABC’s Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships, Anike Neverdon Edmonds Coates, shared about the heart of their on-going virtual conversations. Equity First seeks to not only highlight individuals across many different fields of work and their personal work towards equitable workplaces, but was created to “specifically address how to make workplaces in Baltimore more equitable so we can improve economic outcomes for Black people.”

Free tickets, made available with sponsorships from Wells Fargo, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, are available now on abc-md.org/news/speaker-series.

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