Street genius radio is a space for black entrepreneurs to discuss the challenges that are unique to people of color; as well as a space for low-income people of color to get on the job training in radio and video production. Street Genius spoke with Susan Campion, co- founder of the Giant Steps conference. Susan shared what it means to "Be completely, unabashedly, yourself.” Susan Campion is the founder of Camponovo Consulting, where she works with leaders to crystallize, scope, and execute emerging business strategies. She combines strong analytical skills and creative capabilities to help your team re-frame problems, identify new opportunities, and design new ways of working. She has spent her career working across cultures, industries, and sectors–fostering innovative and “unlikely” collaborations and constructively blurring boundaries between business and art.
Susan grew up in an extremely corporate family, where job and financial security were highly valued. The first twelve years of her career she worked for 3M, seven of those years were spent overseas. Even though she was raised to “work a regular job” she knew she didn’t want to work at 3M for forever. A couple of Susan’s friends had managed to leave their corporate jobs to start new ventures, and somehow managed to survive. Even though Susan had no idea what she was going to do, she decided to leave her good paying job to find a space where she could “Be completely, unabashedly, herself.”
Before hosting the first Giant Steps Conference, Susan spent most of her time consulting for boutique firms on operations. During this in-between stage, as a consultant, she happened to come across a poster for a Ghanaian hip-hop artist’s, named M.anifest, concert. On a whim, she went to see him perform. After his performance she introduced herself and asked if he would be willing to come and speak at a high school to talk to students about the ways you often need to tap into other revenue streams to finance something like an album. M.anifest agreed to do it, which began his and Susan’s partnership on the Giant Steps Conference.
For the first 2010 Giant Steps Conference it was just the two of them planning for four months in advance. Admittedly Susan says they really had no idea what they were doing, but they were going to do the best they could with what they had. Around 116 people attended and 35 people spoke. The conference got so much attention that Susan received a call from the Walker Art’s Center, asking “How did you get all of these amazing speakers in one room?” The Giant Steps conference goal is to create a space for artists or entrepreneurs to feel safe to explore what it means to start a business. Her goal isn’t to bring speakers that talk about all their success, but rather discuss how they too are still figuring it out as they go. Susan says there is no way she could ever go back to corporate life, where she was only able to be two thirds of herself. As the founder of Giant Steps and Camponovo Consulting she is able to be one hundred percent herself, and create a space for others to do so as well.
Street genius radio is a space for black entrepreneurs to explain the challenges that are unique to people of color; as well as a space for low-income people of color to get on the job experience as an intern. Street Genius had the opportunity to chat with Bianca BLovely Rhodes, a co-founder/executive producer at Crown Lens Media Group.
Bianca talked about her journey working in film along with the challenges she faced as a black woman working in that space. From a young age Bianca developed an interest in media, by age fourteen she become a part of a show called “Don’t Believe the Hype”, sponsored by TPT television. Every week she would take three buses from Robbinsdale Cooper High School to TPTs station in St. Paul. A large part of her learning experience was through osmosis, she found mentors that she could shadow and begin to learn the sometimes intimidating world of film.
After high school Bianca went to St. Cloud State University to study mass communications with an emphasis in film and production. There were only a few other students of color in her program, and so she was often excluded from certain opportunities afforded to white students. Bianca told a story about how it felt to enter the white and male dominated space of film and T.V. at Saint Cloud. On her first day of work study, as a tape editor at the university’s T.V. station, she was asked if she was sure she was in the right place. On her first day she already had to deal with people assuming she didn’t belong based on her sex and the color of her skin. Thankfully Bianca is a strong woman who decided she didn’t have the time to let other people’s opinions and assumptions discourage her from accomplishing what she wanted to accomplish.
Fast forward a few years Bianca is running her own business, called BLovely Productions and Photography, while simultaneously working for Minneapolis public schools. After doing that for five years, her job was terminated. Instead of letting that dishearten her she used that “unexpected free time” to register her business. Not long after that she was offered the position she holds now at Crown Lens Media through Saint Paul Neighborhood Network.
Once she was hired, she happened to reconnect with the now executive producer of her show Candy Fresh, Aaron Price. Bianca and Aaron brainstormed about what they felt was missing from television, and put those ideas into action. They shot their first episode of Candy Fresh at Bedlam Theatre through the help of dozens of volunteers and community support. Candy Fresh has now had the time to be able to finesse exactly what it is that they do. Now that Bianca feels she has produced something that is more fine-tuned, networks will start to pay more attention. Often times people in media want to blow up right away, but it takes time and persistence to make it happen. Bianca B'Lovely Rhodes is an incredible black, female, entrepreneur who has actually made it happen. Make sure to check out her show Candy Fresh to see what she has to come !
Our program is a work training social venture, and will provide training & job opportunities for blacks in tech.
I've always been very aware of microphones , & how they are used. The responsibility one has when they grab the mic . Which voices in our communities are amplified, and which ones are on mute. This show creates opportunities for untraditional entrepreneurs to share knowledge, & support the startup journey. Our program is a work training social venture, and will provide training & job opportunities for blacks in tech. "When I reach $1,500 per month, I’ll add an additional intern to our show. This will allow me to give them a liveable wage while they continue their education in college."