Stephen DeBerry: Kind, True Leader
Stephen DeBerry is a man of honor and joy. It’s my pleasure to work with him in the same offices at Kapor Entreprises, Inc., where we often catch up at the tea station. We share laughter, lessons learned in life, our quest for balance, and being true to ourselves. These “7 minute catchups” with Stephen are a true treasure!
So when I heard he was included on The Root’s list of 100 emerging and established African American leaders, I was so glad he was honored. But I am more honored to say he is my friend, colleague, who shares much joy and enthusiasm for life. Stephen DeBerry, congratulations, and congratulations for just being a wonderful individual!
Here is the background on Stephen that The Root included about him:
DeBerry combines financial savvy, passion for the underserved and venture capital investing. He is chief investment officer for an organization founded by Lotus Development co-founder Mitchell Kapor, that provides grants to groups that promote equity among low-income minorities. DeBerry also founded Bronze Investments, an asset management firm that helps the wealthy make socially responsible investments. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in anthropology from UCLA as well as a master’s degree in social anthropology and an MBA from Oxford University. He is a Marshall Scholar and a Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. Follow him on Twitter.
Cedric Brown: A Talent for Change
Cedric Brown has a talent for social change. He always has a ready hand, a helpful idea, and time. I know because I am privileged to be his “KEI Roommate.” At Kapor Enterprises Inc., one interviews to be accepted into the entity, which celebrates the utmost in diversity, values and embetterment for our world. As a very fortunate KEI newcomer, my past 9 months have been filled with learning, growth, exposure to new opportunities — and most importantly — access to thought leaders. Cedric is one of my most cherished “go tos” on how we work towards social equality, and the values by which we must live to attain it.
I remember one evening when Cedric dropped his work for a very meaningful discussion, important to my growth. I’d just seen Prom Night in Mississippi, where Morgan Freeman offers to pay for an integrated black and white prom nite in his hometown. In 1997 he was turned down; in 2007 his offer was accepted. The hard-to-hear but honest dynamics which ensued were such valuable learning for us all.
As I spoke with Cedric about what we could do about this issue, we brainstormed different ways to help. We talked about bringing people together to discuss race. We talked about joint activities. We dug into what it meant to be a person — just a person who is valued for their values. And then we talked about how the color of one’s skin also informs identity, and how people can perceive you.
While he admits to sometimes tiring of talking about race, Cedric also recognizes it as a critically important issue to address. He wants to continue highlighting and celebrating how our differences can actually bring us together to better serve the greater good.
Therefore I wasn’t surprised when I saw he won the 2010 Award for Emerging Leader in Philanthropy from the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE). The award celebrates significant social change which someone is fostering, and Cedric leads that change not only externally in the community, but also internally at KEI. Positive change can occur anywhere, and that is what Cedric is committed to in his daily life.
Cedric, we salute this fine recognition of your Talent for Change. Improving our World. Helping People. And using your life, to make differences, in the lives of others.
Founder and CEO