wordsmith + lover of language

catalyst: brooklyn, ny

Brian Lam // Founder of  Wirecutter  & Burt Herman // Co-founder of  Storify

Brian Lam // Founder of Wirecutter & Burt Herman // Co-founder of Storify

AAJA Catalyst: Inagural Class of 2017 - Also the only time I've ever stood in the back row for a photo #shawty

AAJA Catalyst: Inagural Class of 2017 - Also the only time I've ever stood in the back row for a photo #shawty

Chosen as one of 15 women to join the inaugural class of 2017, I took off to Brooklyn, NY to attend Catalyst: AAJA's Media Entrepreneurship Program. It was a bootcamp for founders of color to refine our pitches, meet with coaches and really distill our big ideas down to clear concepts.

I've always known I'd be my own boss someday. I can't describe it, I actually never say the words aloud, but I know I'll run something or own a company and that's that. No one ever told me I would. No one ever said I should aspire to that. In fact, I think my parents are still just relieved I got a job after graduation because "writing is nice but you got bills to pay."

But I always felt, deeply, that I was supposed to do something. Like this quiet voice in the back of my mind kept saying, "I can do that," anytime I saw young entrepreneurs founding magazines or media startups. I kept waiting for the idea to come and it never came in a bright, brilliant, lightbulb moment. It just became clear after years and years of writing about it, thinking about it, talking about it, that I wanted to do something about race. I pride myself on writing for underrepresented people and it's the only thing I care about enough to let consume my life.

This program forced me to think critically about the kind of business I want to start, what my mission is, what are the ways I'm going to connect with my audience, but mostly it provided a staunch reality check. Start ups don't pop up overnight, they're the product of so many nights and weekends, splinters of days that add up to months, thoughtful curation, nurturing and growth that sometimes results in something and sometimes not. I had every intention of starting my company within the next three months but realized my execution wouldn't be what I wanted or what the people I'm trying to represent deserve.

Rest assured, I will continue my efforts but I'm going to do so with more thought and care after this weekend. It was an inspiring few days and now I'm just buzzing with excitement about what this could grow into. 

Stay tuned,


Katherine K. EllisComment