);

 

Listen from yourfavorite podcast spots or read the full transcript  here.

OUR SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE: Trajectory Series

 

CONNECTING MENTAL HEALTH AND THE TALE OF JOHN HENRY

 

As a public health advocate and consultant, Kevin Dedner was well aware of the disparities in the health and longevity of black men in America. African American men have the lowest life expectancy of any group…67 years of age. This number is in stark contrast to their white counterparts who see life spans into the early 80s on average.

Dr. Sherman James described this impact as “John Henryism” based on the folktale of steel driver John Henry. As the story goes, John was a black man and the best in the land at driving steel into mountainsides – necessary for the building of railroad tunnels. He was challenged to race a machine – a steam-driven hammer. He defeated the machine, and then had a heart attack and died.  Dr. James saw this as a metaphor for the life of the American black man. Basically: work at full capacity ALL THE TIME, with all the extra stresses and striving, which results in a shorter life.

So with this as a backdrop, Kevin undertook his own personal journey in mental health. His epiphany from the experience: finding a provider is a big challenge AND cultural context of your therapy matters.

When his co-founder Oliver asked him if he as interested in digital mental health Kevin knew what his calling would be. Henry Health (named for John Henry) was born in 2018. The company is building a digital platform that provides culturally sensitive teletherapy services. Their first community is, as you would expect, black men. Dan and Kevin talked about his background, the origin story of Henry Health, and certainly the current situation with the Coronavirus pandemic.

What else did they cover? Listen in and find out!

 

“And so, when I was choosing a therapist, it was literally like eeny, meeny, miny, moe…
~ Kevin Dedner

Kevin and Dan talked about his startup journey, as well as:

  • Attending the high school where Brown vs Board of Education was tested
  • His personal journey with mental health
  • How Kevin and his team are coping with COVID-19 crisis
  • A shout out to the Transparent Collective
  • The “questions behind the questions” from investors

 

Episode Shout Outs:
Transparent Collective
Startup Health
 Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab
Dr. Sherman James

 

“We have pointed out a 100 year old problem that payers,
public health leaders are all aware of…
~ Kevin Dedner

 

MORE on KEVIN and HENRY HEALTH

KEVIN:
https://twitter.com/kdedner
linkedin.com/in/kevin-dedner-mph-
HxD Conference Video

 

HENRY HEALTH:
https://twitter.com/HenryHealthApp
https://www.henry-health.com

“I lost so much time by not having a technical person…”
~Kevin Dedner

 

 

 

 

Listen from your favorite podcast spots or read the full transcript  here.

OUR SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE: Founders Live

 

transforming entertainment
with Pay-what-you-want

 

Kahlil Ashanti has one amazing and unique journey. Starting with a challenging childhood, to the Air Force, to performing in Caesar’s Palace, to an award-winning show on Broadway…and even to Hollywood.

In this episode Dan spoke with Kahlil about his startup weshowup – a company that works with venues and artists to serve event audiences the option to “pay what you want.” The conversation ranged across many topics, including the origin story of weshowup, which includes an experiment with Kahlil’s own show – netting 82% more revenue than with a fixed price!

What else did they cover? Listen in and find out!

 

“So I rolled into Iowa at age eleven and people are like, where did this brother come from?
~ Kahlil Ashanti

Kahlil and Dan talked about his startup journey, as well as:

  • The Air Force as “the family business”
  • A military version of American Idol
  • Doing a one-man show on Broadway
  • His adventures in Hollywood
  • Leveraging the network

 

“There was nothing online, nothing like that. And so I built it.
~ Kahlil Ashanti

 

MORE on KAHLIL AND WESHOWUP

Kahlil:
twitter.com/kahlilashanti
kahlilashanti.com
TED talk

weshowup company site:
weshowup.io

 

“…comparison is the thief of joy”
~Kahlil Ashanti

 

 

 

 

Full Transcript

BEAUTY SERVICE ON-DEMAND

 

Modjossorica (Rica) Elysee represents why we started Founders Unfound: brave, capable, inspirational, and determined. She pulls no punches. Rica took lessons from her community and nonprofit experiences and transformed herself into an entrepreneurial force.  She’s a sought after speaker on the fireside chat founder circuit. And has boldly helped bring together other women entrepreneurs with @thetable and Female Founders Day. She’s been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, and Black Enterprise.

In this podcast episode, Dan spoke with Rica about her startup BeautyLynk – a company transforming the on-demand beauty market. The conversation ranged across many topics, including of course the wonderful origin story of BeautyLynk. What else did they cover?

Listen in and find out!

 

OUR SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE: Perfect Pitches By Precious 

 

How do we innovate the beauty chair?”
~ Rica Elysee

Rica and Dan talked about her startup journey, as well as:

  • her “third culture” life between America and Haiti
  • being on a billboard in Times Square (New York)
  • how music fits into her management approach
  • global expansion
  • what Rick Ross and Cardi B have to do with Morgan Stanley

 

“the fundraising journey when it comes to being a
founders of color is unique ” ~ Rica Elysee

MORE on RICA AND BEAUTYLYNK

Rica’s site:
(always open to speaking opportunities)
http://ricaelysee.com/

BeautyLynk company site:
https://beautylynk.com/

or check them out on Twitter:
twitter.com/BeautyLynk/

 

“There were a lot of people who told me I couldn’t do it,
and I’m still here. ”
~Rica Elysee

 

 

 

 

 

FIT, FUNCTION AND FASHION WHEN YOU ARE NOT OFF-THE-RACK

 

AK Ikwuakor, or “Coach AK” as he prefers, is a man of many talents. He’s been both a collegiate and Olympic athlete. Motivational speaker. Educator and Social impact entrepreneur. And even dabbled in some standup. In this podcast episode, however, Dan spoke with him as Co-Founder and CEO of ELETE Styles – a startup on a mission to create professional attire with fit, function, and fashion for the athlete build.

ELETE takes the broadest view of the value it adds. From athletes to first responders to returning war vets who need adaptive apparel. Men, women, casual, formal…and everything in between. 

AK’s life journey has included Olympic trials, world travel, and even a stint of being homeless. How does all this connect with an eCommerce startup?

Listen in and find out!

OUR SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE: Black Men Talk Tech

 

The future of the fashion industry…what represents 100% you”
~Coack AK

Coach AK and Dan talked about AK’s journey and ELETE, as well as:

  • life as a triplet
  • giving two weeks’ notice to start a non-profit
  • the risks of a cold drink abroad
  • working with manufacturers in China and Thailand
  • analogy of life as a 400M race

 

“We had to come up with a large amount of money, in a short amount of time ” ~ Coach AK

 

Notable ELETE Interview Highlights.

  • (04:14) How ELETE works to bring consumers custom attire 
  • (09:00) How AK’s love of his mom’s homecooking led to ELETE’s origin story
  • (15:05) The challenges of making ONLY one piece (vs. 1000) for a custom design
  • (16:55) Complexities of tariffs and currencies for a global business
  • (23:35) Powerful origin story of AK’s NGO startup Empower 2 Play
  • (33:10) The 400M race as a metaphor for life 
  • (41:21) AK’s adventures as an Olympic athlete
  • (46:44) Personal choices, perspectives, and growth
  • (50:00) Sources of influence: mentors, friends, enemies, and books

 

MORE on ELETE 

Coach AK’s Youtube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/askcoachak

E-LETE company site:
https://www.eletestyles.com/

or check them out on Linkedin:
linkedin.com/company/eletestyles/

 

“…just do something fun… and I just brought a bag of footballs ”
~Coach AK