Morgan Stanley
  • Access & Opportunity Podcast
  • Oct 9, 2020

Articulating Our 'Why?'

Guest Host
Ian Folau

We turn the tables to ask Carla Harris and Alice Vilma about the work they do at Morgan Stanley to address funding equity.

On this special episode of Access and Opportunity our usual host Carla Harris is in the guest seat along with her Morgan Stanley colleague, Alice Vilma, managing director and co-head of the Multicultural Innovation Lab. Guest host Ian Folau takes us on a journey into the 'why?' of the lab, explores the ways in which Morgan Stanley is working towards a more equitable funding landscape for women and entrepreneurs of color, and gives us some insight into how Carla and Alice came to do this work.

Episode Transcript

Carla Harris: Welcome to a special episode of Access and Opportunity. I'm Carla Harris. Now, although I'm typically your host, today, the tables will turn and I'll be in the guest seat along with my Morgan Stanley colleague, Alice Vilma, managing director and co-head of our Multicultural Innovation Lab.

Carla Harris: For this episode, we're taking you on a journey into our why, to explore the ways in which we, at Morgan Stanley, are working towards a more equitable funding landscape for women and entrepreneurs of color through our in-house accelerator, the Multicultural Innovation Lab.

Carla Harris: Now the next voice you hear will be our guest host, Ian Folau, former founder and CEO of GitLinks and a graduate of the Multicultural Innovation Labs inaugural class. Acquired by enterprise software leader, Infor, GitLinks monitors open source usage for enterprise, identifying risks in security, licensing, and updating. Now working as an investor, Ian will talk with Alice and me about the lab's five month intensive accelerator program designed to help build and scale startups. We'll also chat with Ian about our respective personal journeys that led to spearheading the lab program. All right, Ian, take it away.

Ian Folau: Thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited about this conversation we're going to have today with Alice Vilma and Carla Harris. I spent so much time with you guys in the halls of Morgan Stanley. Don't get to spend as much time with the guys these days, but I'm glad we have this conversation about your why, how did this all come to be, all these initiatives around multicultural founders at Morgan Stanley. I'm super excited about hearing why you guys do it, why you guys do it on a daily basis.

Ian Folau: But before we get started in that, Carla, I want to ask you, because I've heard some stuff about your background and your career and everything that you've shared with me from obviously being there at Morgan Stanley and running a lot of stuff on that side, you're also a very accomplished singer. Tell me a little bit about your journey. How did you get to where you are today?

Carla Harris: Yeah. I started at Morgan Stanley right out of Harvard Business School and I wanted to be an investment banker and I started in M&A, because M&A was hot, frankly. And I thought that I wanted to go to the toughest, roughest place, and everyone said, "Don't go to M&A, they don't have a life. You won't have a life. They were beepers." And I said, "Okay, that's exactly where I'm going." Because you know me, Ian, I'm negatively motivated. You tell me I can't do something or I shouldn't do something, I'm all over it.

Carla Harris: And I did learn a lot in those first couple of years, but M&A died in '89 was the last big year. In '90, it was dead, '91, it was dead squared. And at that point, I said, "Well, if I'm going to be in this business longterm, I should understand the bread and butter of investment banking," and that is capital raising. And that's where I went to equity capital markets and frankly, had the time of my life. I loved equity capital markets, helping companies go public for the first time, raise large amounts of capital in the public markets. I also started Morgan Stanley's Equity Private Placement Business. So I learned how to actually raise money for private companies as well. And then moved on to try to help the firm raise a fund that would invest in women and minority-owned asset managers; better known in the market at that time as emerging managers.

Carla Harris: But unfortunately, my timing was terrible because I've made that move in the summer of '08. I don't need to tell you what happened in September. But it still was a really great move, because it gave me an opportunity to build relationships with people who had hundreds of billions of dollars of pension assets and other capital. And I learned more about the business, more about the motivations around asset allocators. And even though we didn't complete that fund, it gave us an expertise around emerging managers, such that when we decided that we wanted to actually build a platform, I was able to be helpful with that. And in fact, some of the very people that I had pitched, actually gave us our first money to manage in that space in 2012.

Carla Harris: Around 2014, the chairman of Morgan Stanley said to me, "No firm on Wall Street has ever gotten it right, with respect to multicultural clients. I want to be the firm that leads." And I said, "Thank you for your confidence, but what is that? What is a multicultural client strategy?" He said, "I can't tell you what it is, but I'll tell you what it's not. It's not philanthropy, because we write all the right checks to all the right organizations through the Morgan Stanley foundation. It's not DNI, we handle that in HR. It's around commercial connectivity with multicultural decision-makers and so that it is productive and constructive and that we can lead in that space. And you have a blank sheet of paper to figure out what that looks like."

Carla Harris: And from there, Ian, what was born was the Senior Multicultural Leaders Conference, which we have the only one of those that exists in the marketplace. It's the conference where the most senior African-Americans, most senior Hispanic Americans, Asian-Americans, American Indians, get together for a business conference. It is not a diversity conference. We talk about everything from what's on the chairman's mind to the imperative in board rooms that year, to the political landscape, to the intersection of the civil rights agenda and the corporate agenda. You name it, we talk about it; all those topics that leaders need to be concerned with in their C-suite seats today.

Carla Harris: And we also created the Access and Opportunity podcast, which you happen to be hosting right now. I'm really psyched about being on the other side of the table right now, instead of doing the interviewing, be the interviewee. And we also created the lab, which you happen to be a graduate of. And the lab was important and the idea came from having been a judge in the summer of '14 in this organization called Power Moves, where they were trying to position New Orleans as the right ecosystem for entrepreneurs in the middle of the country and with a particular focus on entrepreneurs of color.

Carla Harris: And in being a judge there, Ian, that's when I saw all these multicultural entrepreneurs with these tech enabled businesses across all industries. And I thought, "Oh my gosh." I was so ignorant of how deep that market was, but I was so excited about what we could do as a leading global investment bank to actually try to close this gap with respect to access to capital. And oh, by the way, we could accelerate their growth because we're number one in the IPO market. We know what you need to look like if you're going to hit the IPO market. We're number one or two, depending on the year in M&A, we know what you need to look like for a really great M&A exit.

Carla Harris: So if we know what the end game is, we can create the content that will help these companies get to that end game. So I was excited about making sure that this was the third leg to the stool, and we brought the Multicultural Innovation Lab to life.

Ian Folau: We'll touch base on the Multicultural Innovation Lab, we're definitely going to dig deep into that. And obviously, I was a part of it. I was part of the first class, the inaugural class, and I learned so much from that experience. We'll dig a little bit deeper into that. I want to jump over to Alice, though. Alice, give us some background. I'd love to know how did you and Carla get to know each other?

Alice Vilma: I actually met Carla as I think a college sophomore, doing an internship at Morgan Stanley. And so just about as green as you can be, that was me, in capital markets. And it was very funny because I was on my way to becoming a corporate attorney and told folks at Morgan Stanley that, which was hilarious, and now here I am. Isn't that great?

Alice Vilma: So, actually what happened was that summer changed my mind. And so I wanted to be in investment banking, because I thought that was the more dynamic of the careers, and we were doing things that were business changing and on the front foot all the time. And so that was 20 years ago or so. And so fast forward, I started my career at Morgan Stanley. I went to work at one of our clients. I went back to business school, got an MBA, started working in another field doing investing, so always around investment banking and capital markets. And then came back to Morgan Stanley in 2009, after the company I was working for filed for bankruptcy during the financial crisis.

Alice Vilma: And so I went back into capital markets, and Carla and I had always been in touch. So believe it or not, through that experience, we had always been in touch through pretty much all of my career. And so in 2015, there was an opportunity to join this newly created Multicultural Client Strategy Team. And I was literally minding my business, doing equity transactions in the utilities, transportation's, industrials, oil and gas sectors; very sexy. And she said, "Hey, I have this new opportunity that you might be interested in, not without its own risk and certainly much, much different from the work that you're doing today. And when I thought about it and what we were trying to do and what James had in mind for the vision of what this could potentially be, there was no innovation lab to get excited about but there was the opportunity that doesn't really come often in a career, particularly in corporate, where you can create something completely new, create new business out of nothing and really, with a little bit of educated risk and understanding what you bring to the table to mitigate said risks you can really create something new, that has impact and the ability to completely transform an organization. I think we're on our way to doing something like that.

Ian Folau: Well, absolutely. So, the Multicultural Innovation Lab, I remember first hearing about this. Again, I was CEO of my startup. I had a bunch of VC friends and associates, and I think three of them reached out at different times to me and said, "Hey, Morgan Stanley is putting something together that you might be interested in. It's an accelerator. They're looking to throw some investment dollars towards companies that they like and they'll bring you into their location and they'll help mentor you, they'll help connect you to resources." I said, "Morgan Stanley? Morgan Stanley, like the big, big Morgan Stanley?" And they said, "Yeah, yeah, Morgan Stanley is doing it."

Ian Folau: To me, I was like, man, that's super innovative and surprising like you said, Alice, surprising that somebody so large could think so small in the sense of help these guys, these smaller startups, get some traction and grow and scale to be able to look at that level and think at that level is super innovative of a large company in my mind. Anyways, I joined it and man, it set me up for so much success. Tell me though, why did you guys think about an accelerator? Why wasn't it just, "Let's put together a venture fund and invest in these guys"? What was the idea of putting together an accelerator to actually bring in companies that have female and multicultural founders?

Carla Harris: I'll start, and I'll tell you, Ian, because it's a little bit more than the money. And when I was chair of the National Women's Business Council, I got an opportunity to spend time with a lot of female founders who had had experiences with some accelerators and no one was really going deeper than giving them a little bit of content and exposing them to their network. And as you know, as in younger founders, someone who may not have had 25 years of corporate experience or business experience, but somebody who has a great idea that knows how to move it forward, there are still a lot of other things that you need as you make the transition from founder to CEO. And those are some of the things that we are very clear on because again, we have to evaluate CEOs and management teams when we're taking them out to the public market. Sometimes we have to have a tough conversation with the board and say, "He's not your guy," or "She's not your girl, so if you want to get this, if you want your exit, you're going to have to do something about this management team."

Carla Harris: We've seen a lot of really great leaders and not so much. And so I thought that we brought more to the table than just money and that we could really set some of these companies up for long, longterm success. And some of these entrepreneurs are going to build billion dollar companies, some may not, but some may be serial entrepreneurs, but there's so much more we could bring to the table than a few hundred thousand dollars, which is what a lot of accelerators offer. And if you're going to enter a market where there are already players, you need to differentiate yourself. And I think that that was one of the major points of differentiation.

Carla Harris: One last point that I'll say is, as you know, entrepreneurs of color are often handicapped because they don't have the friends and family around. So they go to institutional investors or institutional angel networks, "But they're told come back when you get..." Well, they can't ever get X. Well, these are things that we could be helpful with because we were willing to go a little bit earlier stage in some cases than some other accelerators as well. So there are a lot of gaps that are in the marketplace between all entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color that we can quickly erase by having them involved in the lab.

Ian Folau: Yeah. I like what you said there around the early stage. I think there's a lot of venture capitalists out there that aren't going to invest in early stage, but an accelerator can essentially say, "Hey, we'll take you at an early stage because we're going to help you. We're going to provide you resources. We can move you to a stage where you feel like you are comfortable enough or investors are comfortable enough in investing you."

Alice Vilma: Yeah. The other thing that I would say right to that point, Ian, and to Carla's point also twofold. First is we get in as investors and immediately you don't trust us. Immediately you don't trust what recommendations we're bringing to the table, because at the end of the day, particularly when we started the lab, VCs were not to be trusted because they're taking everybody for a ride. Maybe that exists today, maybe it doesn't.

Alice Vilma: Secondly, to Carla's point, I don't think we could really find a lot of... So at the VC level, when we're thinking about these companies who need larger investments, so I'm going to put a million dollars to work as an example, [inaudible 00:14:32] was really at the seed and Series A round where we would find the most numbers of folks of color to invest in. And so the trust factor, when you come in as an accelerator, yes, we are investing in you but at the end of the day, we do have your best interest at heart. And you see it in action. For instance, when we're talking to you about some of your acquisition opportunities, it's not about our dollars, back to Carlas' point, a couple hundred thousand dollars is nice, it's helpful, but it's not going to make or break you the company and certainly not a company like Morgan Stanley, but it's the advice that you get and that builds the trust to then receive the outcomes that you're looking for, to then go to the VC, have learned everything that you need to learn, have the tools in your toolkit to then understand the game a little bit more and you're ready for it.

Alice Vilma: That's what I would say. I think, even at the million dollar stage, you'd be in a position where we're probably setting the company up because it's a little bit too much money not enough runway to get what you need to get done. And on top of you haven't been as acclimated to the game as you might've thought, or as some of your counterparts.

Ian Folau: So this podcast is called Access & Opportunity. I think the premise of starting up the lab was around access and opportunity, providing access and opportunity like you mentioned, Carla. Other than the friends and family rounds, which is, I think it's glaringly missing in a lot of underprivileged populations. So just getting an idea off the ground is hard because there's nobody that's going to give you money for that until it's at a certain stage, that's obviously a big obstacle and an opportunity that I think Morgan Stanley is providing, but what other opportunities are entrepreneurs in need of? According to your experience with the lab.

Carla Harris: Yeah. The opportunity, frankly, to get exposed to different classes of investors. We just talked about the friends and family, we talked a little bit about VCs, but there is family offices, there's institutional investors, there are corporates that qualify as institutional investors, of course, but more importantly, that could be suppliers or that could be customers. And as you well know, as a emerging company, it is really difficult if you don't have those networks to go knock on the door of a Microsoft or a Walmart or Target, or, pick the company. So that's something that we can also provide access to some of those introductions and at a minimum, I can't think of anybody that we don't have a relationship with, but at a minimum, we can certainly talk to you about how you ought to approach. And if we can't get you all the way to home base, we could probably get you the third and then provide some, an introduction to somebody that could get you home.

Carla Harris: As I said, it's also the visibility. And we didn't talk about that. There are two things that happen when you come into Morgan Stanley Lab. First of all, there's a press release that's put in the marketplace about the fact that you've come into the lab. So that immediately raises your level of visibility. And again, hard for you to buy that kind of access, that kind of visibility when you're an emerging company. And then we continue to have stories in the marketplace that either we write, or that are on social media, or that are on television, that also raises the level of visibility. And again, that visibility brings customers, it brings suppliers, it brings other investors. So that's also access and opportunities that emerging companies just don't get.

Ian Folau: From personal experience, there's a lot of opportunity here, like you mentioned, to find a new network. Coming from the military, I served about a decade in the army, you come out of the army at that point in your life, and you realize that your network is made up of soldiers, not necessarily millionaires and wall street investors, your network is really small. And outside of that, coming from a multicultural background from the Island of Samoa, there's not a lot of millionaires running around that island. So, my network was small. I think a lot of times I was really putting pressure on how do I expand this network? How do I get outside of this circle? Going to business school was one, and then joining you guys at Morgan Stanley was another way that I can confidently say it was the reason for so much of my success.

Ian Folau: Not only did Morgan Stanley lead our seed round, which, you go to any investor and say "Hey, I need some money for my company." And they say, "Well, is anybody else investing?" You say, "Well, Morgan, Stanley's leading this round." And they're like, "What? Morgan Stanley cares about you guys? All right. So maybe we solicit up." Just that alone provided so many openings and conversations, but I'll say at the end, Carla you know this, we were looking for an acquisition and we got acquired by a company that mentored me during the lab. It was honestly honest to goodness a result of a network that I didn't originally have before I started the lab. So hats off to you folks for putting together such an amazing lab with true opportunity and access to a network that not a lot of people have. They're not born with it. They're not raised with it. They needed to acquire it after a lot of experiences. And this is one experience I highly recommend.

Ian Folau: All right. So let's jump into a little bit more about investors. After the acquisition of GetLinks, I moved over it and decided to become an investor. So I run a venture capital fund at a company called LMI that are in the government space. One thing that I've started to realize, and obviously I think about women owned and multicultural founders a lot, and I try to think about how do I help them? How do I provide a resource to them? I would love to invest in them, but it's not always the case that I can find them. Specifically, government space, specifically around strategic technologies that the government needs. I'm looking out there, scouting out and trying to find these things, but they're not always led by these type of founders. Tell me, what do you think about from a corporate VC standpoint? What can a corporate VC like myself do to be able to focus a little bit more effort in that space?

Alice Vilma: Yeah, so I think doing again, partnerships with labs like ours that are supremely focused on these demographics is paramount because you're going to increase your chances tenfold or twelvefold with respect to meeting these guys. It's interesting because we have a lot of affinity relationships with affinity groups that are looking at women entrepreneurs, multicultural entrepreneurs, black entrepreneurs, Indian, Hispanic, et cetera. And it's such a breeding ground for all types of interesting technologies. I was just at a pitch night the other day, where I found very technical black founders. And now that more founders are exiting, now that you have more investors such as yourself who are coming into the space as partners, et cetera, the network affects growth. And so you come to somebody like us and say, "Okay, we're looking for this type of technology, or we're looking for this type of founder." Because we built that credibility in the space already, we can just go out to our networks and say, "Go find this person."

Alice Vilma: That you will probably return the founder you're looking for. Now, whether you invest or not, that's up to your thesis and et cetera, but at least you found them. And so I see in some of the research that we've done, this is what some of VC needs to do to bring on diverse investors who are looking for a diverse founders to diversify portfolios. It's critical. And so I think corporates who have more affinity relationships with accelerators who are more demographically focused, if you're looking to diversify your portfolio demographically, as well as other affinity groups, that's a very good place to start.

Ian Folau: Let me talk about 2020, obviously a crazy year. We have the pandemic, obviously. The BLM movement. What would you give advice to an entrepreneur and an investor in this time and this year, where everything's changing around them? What's important for them to keep in mind when it comes to the entrepreneurs and the founders that you guys support within the Multicultural Innovation Lab?

Carla Harris: Well, the first thing that I would say is, piggybacking off of your question that you just asked Alice, if it was a corporate and was someone who hadn't played in this space before, I would say chaos breeds opportunity. There's been a lot of visibility around entrepreneurs of color, take advantage of this now. So if it's something you've been thinking about, something that you wanted to do, now's the time to jump in. You're going to have more flow than you would have had if you had to try to do this when everything was "going great." If you are an entrepreneur, I would tell you to be aggressive about using your networks. Because, again, there's lots of people who are raising their hands saying, "I'm interested", and you may or may not hear about that. But if you start accessing your networks and talking to people, you will find easy, warm introductions into some of the sources of capital.

Carla Harris: So it's a case that I've never seen before, where both are kind of moving to the middle right now. So if you're looking for capital, there's lots of capital that's out there, but make sure that you can articulate your value proposition, and this is what I would say in all environments. You have to be able to answer two questions: why me? And why now? Because there's always a reason to wait, especially with the private company, because you have the illiquidity factor, and there are lots of private companies that are out there. So you need to be able to articulate in your narrative why somebody needs to invest now, which means if they don't do it now, you're going to be more expensive later. So when you're telling your story, you need to be able to incorporate some of that into your story, no matter what kind of environment, but particularly in this environment where they might have more choices than not, because the visibility has been heightened around entrepreneurs of color.

Ian Folau: I love that.

Alice Vilma: I will add in one thing that I think, particularly in this moment, is important for particularly founders of color to understand. So at the end of the day, I get it. Maybe you don't want to necessarily have an investment because corporates and/or society and/or VC have opened up to investing in black founders, but for companies that traditionally have a hard time raising capital, take the money and don't get in your feelings about whether or not what some of the intentions were behind this capital being available. The point now is it is. And so let's all just understand that in a world where we might be going into recession, liquidity may get scarce, particularly for early stage capital, given that certain investors, particularly your angel markets, are doing tough in the economy and so they may not have disposable income to put around, when XYZ corporation stands up a fund or XYZ fund stands up a new fund to help founders of color, take that. Go and explore getting that money and let's not be too righteous about whatever we think our causes are.

Ian Folau: Take the money, take as much as you can be because you don't know what the future holds. No, I actually agree. You're winding down the fourth cohort of the Multicultural Innovation Lab. What's next for the lab?

Carla Harris: Oh, well, shall we make our big announcement here, Alice?

Alice Vilma: Yeah, let's do it. Let's do it.

Carla Harris: Yeah. Well, we're actually doubling the size of the lab. We are going to have two cohorts per year and we are going to have a side-by-side fund that will invest in later stage companies. So we'll be playing in all parts of the ecosystem. We will obviously continue to serve early stage companies like you were in, but companies that are in that series B, series C round, we get an opportunity to be there as well.

Ian Folau: Look at that. Chaos breeds opportunity. There it is. You're not just staying the course. You're doubling down. I love it.

Alice Vilma: Literally doubling down.

Ian Folau: Well, ladies, this has been amazing, very insightful. I see a lot of the background as to why you wanted to start this up. What keeps you guys moving on a day-to-day basis?

Ian Folau: You guys dedicate so much of your lives towards this effort and initiative of making sure there's access and opportunities for founders like myself, founders like my co-founder, and all the other founders of the, of the companies that have gone through that lab. Final thoughts; if you guys could give some advice to entrepreneurs, especially those of color, what would that advice be?

Alice Vilma: Look, stay the course. Stay the course. Yes. We have to be potentially a little bit more nimble, a little bit more agile, work probably 10 times harder, but stay the course because if you really are solving a market problem, there'll be investors who believe in that and there is capital that can help you. There are people that can help you, that want to help you and keep going.

Alice Vilma: So stay the course, be nimble, iterate, iterate, iterate. And make sure that you're always taking in the data around you. Iterating on that data, such that you're getting to the right product. You were somebody who did that a lot Ian, and you saw the opportunities as they came.

Alice Vilma: You said, "Let me just take advantage of this while it comes," and look at your outcome. Kudos to you. We need more founders who can do that in the way that you did to fully realize their opportunities to not only realize exits, but also be founder number two, number three, number four, of different companies. As well as potentially an investor who can help to change the game as well.

Carla Harris: And I guess what I would add, in addition to what I've already said about being able to answer the two questions, why me, why now? I would say, listen, listen, listen, right? And really challenge yourself not to be emotional about what you hear. And one of the analogies that I would like to use is let's say you have a vintage car and this is your baby. And you've kept this car in pristine condition. And you believe this car is worth $20,000 because it's all that. But you've gotten three offers for your car at $10,000. Guess how much your car is worth? $10,000. The market has spoken, right?

Carla Harris: And so you really, really have to listen to what you're being told. Sometimes the market could be wrong, but it's not wrong that often. So when you're getting the same information over and over, and over again, you've got to pay attention. You may still choose to not do it, but if you choose not to listen to what the market is saying, now I'm going to tell you to check yourself as to whether or not you're being emotional. Or if you have really good rational reasons as to why you don't want to take that feedback. Right? Because I've seen too many founders lose their opportunity because they were emotional.

Ian Folau: What great advice. Yeah. Wonderful advice, Carla, I love that. It is one of the things that I tell most people when they think about investing is just take the emotions out. Sage advice. That's why you are the host of this podcast and not myself. But ladies it's been wonderful.

Carla Harris: No, you've been great, Ian.

Alice Vilma: You did good. You did good, Ian.

Ian Folau: It's my pleasure spending time with you.

Carla Harris: Absolutely. He did. I agree. I'm like, shoot. I better watch out for my seat.

Ian Folau: Ladies. Hey, Now we get to go to actually the best part of this podcast for me, the lightning round. Again, Carla is usually the guru behind the lightening round. I get to turn the tables on her now and see what she would do if the questions came at her rapid fire. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to ask you a group of questions, rapid fire. Just answer off the top of your head. Let me start with Carla first. And then I'll go over to Alice.

Ian Folau: Carla favorite book or magazine?

Carla Harris: Of course, Expect To Win, favorite book.

Ian Folau: City or the countryside?

Carla Harris: Oh, city.

Ian Folau: Winter or summer?

Carla Harris: Summer.

Ian Folau: Wall Street or Silicon Valley?

Carla Harris: Wall Street.

Ian Folau: Coffee or tea?

Carla Harris: Coffee. I just had my fourth cup.

Ian Folau: Email or phone call?

Carla Harris: It used to be phone call, but now it's email. Much faster. I'm much faster on it.

Ian Folau: If you had a talk show who would be your first guest?

Carla Harris: I think it would have to be President Barack Obama. I have a lot of questions for him.

Ian Folau: And what's one word that you would like to use to describe your legacy?

Carla Harris: Helpful.

Ian Folau: Amazing. I have to read, Expect To Win, now. That's that's my next book in queue.

Alice Vilma: you should, it's pretty good.

Ian Folau: And like Alice, your turn. Rapid fire lightning round.

Alice Vilma: Okay. Oh boy.

Ian Folau: Favorite book or magazine?

Alice Vilma: Favorite book, A Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabrielle Garcia Marquez.

Ian Folau: Wow. City or countryside?

Alice Vilma: City. City girl.

Ian Folau: Winter or summer?

Alice Vilma: Summertime.

Ian Folau: Wall Street or Silicon Valley?

Alice Vilma: That's a good one. Wall Street. Wall Street.

Carla Harris: I know it was hard, right? I had the same struggle.

Alice Vilma: Yeah.

Ian Folau: Coffee or tea?

Alice Vilma: Tea. Absolutely 100%. No doubt about it.

Ian Folau: Very classy. Email or phone call?

Alice Vilma: Believe it or not, phone call.

Ian Folau: Hey, I think you're a minority there. My opinion.

Alice Vilma: I know.

Ian Folau: If you had a talk show who would be your first guest?

Alice Vilma: That's a good one. I don't know. Maybe Michelle Obama. I think I was a little biased, but maybe Michelle, she can say things that Barack can't.

Ian Folau: And what's one word that you'd like to use to describe your legacy?

Alice Vilma: Pioneering.

Ian Folau: Great word. Well, ladies, thanks so much for your time. As a guest host, this has been a lot of fun.

Carla Harris: Yeah, it has been. Thanks, Ian.

Alice Vilma: All right. Thanks, Ian. This was a lot of fun. Yeah, this is awesome.

Carla Harris: Another special, thank you for this conversation to both Alice Vilma and our excellent guest hosts Ian Folau. It's great to talk about our work at the Multicultural Innovation Lab and the steps we can all take to create a more equitable funding landscape for investors and entrepreneurs. To learn more, or to apply to the winter 2021 cohort of the lab, be sure to go to Thank you all for listening. Please remember to share your thoughts and feedback with us I can't wait to hear from you.

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