Juneteenth marks the annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. Although African Americans have celebrated this historical date since June 19, 1865 it was the nationwide protests in 2021 sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor that galvanized efforts to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday. 

A growing number of companies now honor Juneteenth by offering a day off for employees. The national holiday further educates and raises awareness of the racial challenges and evident disparities that still exist today. 

As African Americans continue to fight for social justice and racial equality, Juneteenth is a reminder that although we’ve made progress towards breaking racial barriers and promoting a more inclusive environment for all, significant barriers still exist. 

We take pride in building diverse teams at Mach49 and across our Global 1000 venture teams. Our VP of Product, Monifa Porter, leads our Belonging@Mach49 initiative to promote authenticity and inclusion of team members from various backgrounds and experiences. But Belonging@Mach49 does much more than state our mission to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across Mach49. The initiative encourages each one of us to bring our whole selves to work every day. We’re also conducting a series of ongoing tests and data-driven experiments to identify how we might create opportunities to build empathy, increase connections, and collectively bring new solutions to market by cultivating company culture across diverse teams. In honor of Juneteenth, please join us in celebrating the achievements and voices of our Black executives!

1. Meet Jenny Pierre, Senior Program Manager

Jenny is an accomplished program and product manager, with over 15 years of experience collaborating with both public and private-sector clients of all sizes. She is execution-oriented, with a specialization in helping businesses develop their strategy and vision to deliver on their goals.

2. Meet Brian Beswick, Executive-In-Residence

Brian is an accomplished entrepreneur with a proven track record of guiding startups and enterprises to profitable growth. Brian is highly skilled in identifying market trends and gaps and taking products from ideation to global commercialization. As Executive-in-Residence, his extensive knowledge of foreign business protocols and cultural nuances, as well as his proficiency in Spanish and German, are particularly valuable assets for Mach49’s global clients. We’re so grateful to have him on our team! 

“I view Belonging at Mach49 as our superpower. We encourage and allow oneself to be known and heard - using your authentic voice. And there’s magic in being willing to know and hear others.”

3. Meet Brianna Larson-Jackson, UX Designer / Researcher

Brianna is an interdisciplinary designer with a strong background in visual storytelling, design thinking, and UX/UI research. As a UX Designer and Researcher, she partners with Mach49’s clients to turn stellar ideas into actionable ventures, using her expertise in ethical and inclusive design. Brianna has been a great addition to the Mach49 team! 

‘What I enjoy most about my role as a Mach49 UX Designer/Researcher is the daily collaboration with clients and colleagues. It makes for a dynamic job where no one day is the same, and each is lifegiving.”

“We are a company whose work demands a learn, build, grow mentality to thrive. This translates to how we relate to each other as well. In my experience, there is a positive culture of everyone embracing differences to seek unity in shared belonging.”

4. Meet Ronan McCoy, Full Stack Developer, Tech Lead

Ronan is an expert in website development with an impressive career spanning 20 years. His record of delivering beautiful, intuitive design solutions, often with little infrastructure or support, speaks for itself, and he’s been recognized as an educator and leader on every team he’s touched.

“What I enjoy most about Mach49 is how damn smart my coworkers are. I'm continually impressed by everyone's talents, knowledge, and interests. Every day I've learned something new, and that's not an exaggeration.”

“I love that the overall culture of Mach49 is one that allows everyone to express who they are and share their stories with others however they wish. From emails about the Chinese New Year and how it's celebrated, to folks sharing their Spotify playlists and explaining the stories behind those playlists, to company hands-on meetings where we discuss diversity. That kind of environment just makes it easy to be oneself.”

5. Meet Samson Opayemi, UX Designer / Researcher

Samson is a visionary creative with an altruistic spirit, driven by creating solutions for a better future. His entrepreneurial passion first ignited when he responded to a design competition challenge by co-founding Ooze Drinks, a natural, sustainable beverage company designed to reduce food waste. His innovative venture concept won grant funding from significant sources, including Shell PLC. Since he joined Mach49, Samson’s creative talents have played a critical role in the success of our portfolio of large multinational clients. 

“I enjoy working at Mach49 because they support me in client-facing roles where sometimes the work can be challenging but rewarding. There is a good balance between team socials, traveling across the world for work and on the job training, and career support. I love that we work in global and culturally diverse teams, it makes our work fun and interesting.”

6. Meet Michele Chambliss, Operations Lead

In her 20 years based in Silicon Valley, Michele has split her time between operating roles at Fortune 100 companies and strategic advisory roles at companies of all sizes. At Mach49, she works with clients to marry startup ingenuity with Mothership capabilities, building environments to best support new businesses.

7. Meet Terrance Orr, Entrepreneur-In-Residence

Terrance is a dynamic operator and startup coach with expertise in venture building, product management, fundraising, and business development across both startups and large corporations. Propelled by his passion for mentoring entrepreneurs, Terrance brings energy and focus to the teams he leads as Entrepreneur-in-Residence. 

“What I enjoy most about my role as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Mach49 is being able to bring my authentic self to work every day alongside building new ventures with some of the world’s most admired corporations.”

8. Meet Genesis Emery, Marketing Manager

Genesis is an award-winning marketer and startup accelerator, with over 15 years of experience leading growth marketing teams and helping small businesses and early stage startups maximize profitability. Being a trusted partner of entrepreneurs, she skillfully develops actionable strategies and competitive go-to market solutions to help businesses scale, improve retention, and drive revenue. As Marketing Manager, Genesis promotes Mach49’s brand messaging and furthers the company's mission by developing integrated marketing communications campaigns and strategically amplifying the voices of our world-class thought leaders.

“What I enjoy most about working at Mach49 is that I have this exciting opportunity to learn from the world’s most trusted advisors and talented leaders in corporate venture building and corporate investing. Mach49 gives me the freedom and pathway to share my unique talents and increase my industry knowledge, while challenging me to identify new ways to deliver solutions and solve the world’s greatest challenges.”

“Since joining Mach49, I’ve always felt encouraged to share my ideas, unique talents, and authentic voice among a phenomenal team of world-class executives that have worked with multinational companies across the globe. Each day, I feel empowered to show up to work as “Genesis” and truly shine as the authentic, professional woman of color that I am. It’s been an exciting journey to work alongside leaders from almost every country and continent you can imagine. And together, we utilize our collective strengths, talents and vast experiences to ideate new entrepreneurial ventures, introduce new solutions to market, and deliver customer-focused products and solutions that drive meaningful change.”

9. Meet Allen King, Accelerate Executive-In-Residence

A former C-suite executive, Allen understands how to execute the rapid growth new businesses need to not just compete in, but successfully disrupt, markets. His marketing savvy motivates his use of customer data and evolving technology beyond product development, to strengthen brand awareness, engagement, and customer retention. He develops and implements processes and tools that ensure alignment across departments, so companies can accomplish short-term objectives on their way to long-term success.

“I enjoy working with such an amazing motivated group of people. Our diversity of thought in my opinion is unmatched which allows our outcomes to be unmatched. As a marketer first, gathering as many perspectives as possible is pertinent to the work that we do. We are fortunate to have so many unique points of view under one “roof”. We also just care about each other as humans and not just about our client outcomes, but about our team members.”

10. Meet Alexia Mallette, Talent Acquisition Specialist

As Talent Acquisition Specialist, Alexia practices strong leadership and communication as she develops Mach49’s recruiting team. From attracting new talent and showcasing the amazing work of our team, Alexia works at the forefront of HR’s recruiting efforts to expand our world-class team! 

"Feeling like I belong has always been a challenge for me in the workplace."  As a woman of color, I have learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable.  So it's crucial that I work in a culture where everyone is accepted for who they are regardless of where they come from." 

“Mach49 has been a great experience, thus far!  I love working with talented, innovative individuals who collaborate and develop unique ideas. As a black woman in corporate America, working with a team where I feel valued and included has been refreshing.”

11. Meet AJ Lovewins, Film Producer / Digital Storyteller 

Starting with his role as Film Producer at Mach49, AJ brings twenty plus years of digital storytelling and production expertise to the company. As Mach49’s film lead, he works closely with the Marketing team to develop video content that drives international sales and highlights Mach49’s mission to help global businesses solve humanity’s greatest challenges.

“I feel I'm home when I'm with my Mach49 family. Linda, Paul and the team have gone above and beyond to welcome me in and treat me as a valued part of the culture and have provided me with the tools to rise to my potential both personally and professionally. I love everything about this company.”

“I'm inspired by the heart, vision and energy of our Founder Linda Yates and count her as one of the great inspirations in my life. As great leaders do, she has attracted some of the greatest minds and personalities in the valley. All of whom I am additionally inspired by. To help solve the world's greatest challenges with these people... It doesn't get any better.”

12. Meet Brenna King, Presentation Designer

Brenna is a highly skilled design professional with a background in photography, branding, and presentation design. She works closely with the Corporate Investing practice and Client Creative Services function to deliver engaging, persuasive narratives that empower client teams to reach their strategic goals.

13. Meet Grace Diida, DOI Analyst

Grace is an analytical strategist with a background in IT laws and policy and experience in the venture capital space. At Mach49, she performs deep-dive qualitative and quantitative analyses to support the Corporate Investing practice’s external venturing team, whose clients include strategic partners and venture capital funds launched by corporations, family offices, and government entities.

“Mach49 encourages diversity and inclusivity. Not just on paper. The people of Mach49 come from many walks of life, different countries and ethnicities. It truly takes concerted effort to develop a close knit community from such a variety. Watching them all interact, grow in the company and truly mesh, allowed me to be my authentic self knowing I would be accepted.”

“I love the levels of professionalism wrapped up in community and empathy. Mach49 is full of great people. Moving from Kenya to the USA, Mach49 was the best place to land. The people of Mach49 are some of the smartest people I have met. I have learned so much here, grown so much, and it is a truly enjoyable place to work and interact with some of humanity's finest individuals. As an analyst, I get to research, learn and interact freely within the company. ‘Bureaucracy' in Mach49 is used to enhance learning and transfer knowledge as opposed to bottlenecks, allowing for 3X learning and growth.”

14. Meet Jocelyn Smith, Talent Acquisition Specialist

Jocelyn has built a highly successful career as a recruiter over the past six years, helping organizations fill positions across countless industries. In her previous startup experience within EmployBridge, she gained invaluable insight into the skills required by talent to effectively execute innovative venture concepts, which gives her unique leverage as she seeks out entrepreneurial talent at Mach49.

“I am so proud of  being one of the first internal recruiters at Mach49. Our organization trusts me, a black woman, to represent them as the face of the company, which I do not take for granted. I have a voice at Mach49, I’m not just the black person on the team but an individual which brings her education, experience and personal insights to the conversation.”

“I enjoy working for Mach49 because I know I’m working with the best and brightest in their respective fields, which makes recruiting for Mach49 even more rewarding. Mach49 embraces intellect regardless of a person’s racial background.”

15. Meet Jarrod Epps, Entrepreneur-In-Residence

Jarrod is an accomplished venture builder with a passion for contrarian ideas that challenge market expectations and produce tangible, positive social impacts. A masterful 25-year veteran of startup ecosystems, he has a proven track record in defining the vision and strategy for organizations, raising funds and managing P&Ls, building teams and developing talent, creating and executing global strategies to support geographically dispersed teams, and cultivating mutually beneficial partnerships to increase organizational capabilities and drive revenue.

“Mach49 is built around the hopes, needs, and goals of its employees. In my 40 some-odd year career, I’ve never worked in a place (or for a client) where I felt as much acceptance for who we are as real people as opposed to being ‘just employees.’ Working at Mach49 is empowering, motivating, and it’s just plain fun to work in such an environment with people who all feel the same.”

16. Meet Taylor Crossland, Director of Marketing

“Mach49 is a remarkable company that doesn’t just embrace diversity, it makes a conscious effort to weave #belonging into the core of what we do both internally and externally. The team leads with empathy, prioritizing dialogue and conversation to ensure each person is heard and able to contribute in a way that best fits their unique superpowers. We recognize the value and strength of diversity in thought and representation. It is refreshing and encouraging to be able to do great work with such amazing people that truly support each person being their most authentic self.”

17. Meet Monifa Porter, SVP and Head of 2401

Monifa is the Senior Vice President and Head of 2401 who peers 20 minutes into the future to expertly connect people, build teams, create products, and grow businesses. As a veteran of the Silicon-Valley corporate venturing factory, Monifa plays an integral role in shaping Mach49’s go-to market product strategy for large multinationals seeking transformative ways to create and accelerate new growth opportunities. 

“I get to build things. As SVP and Head of 2401, I'm responsible for building a SaaS platform that takes our professional services delivery and democratizes it on a digital platform. It's fantastic to take seven years of Mach49 expertise and distill it into a platform that more people can access and that more companies can scale up with.”

Stay tuned for more upcoming stories from our team as we strive to break corporate barriers and redefine the future of work.