Keisha Mabry Haymore is a woman on a mission, make no mistake about it.
Mabry Haymore is director of entrepreneurship with WEPOWER, a non-profit committed to building more power and wealth opportunities for Black and Latinx people, by restructuring the education, economic systems.
The program provides access to capital and training, using Village Capital’s scientifically-proven, business curriculum, advice from a business coach and mentors; access to attorneys and a range of professionals; and a collaborative working space.
“The goal is to continue to get power, money, and resources into the hands of Black and Brown people,” Mabry Haymore said in an interview with The American.
As the newly named director of entrepreneurship, she oversees the Elevate/Elevar Accelerator, a six-month program designed to equip 10 Black and Latinx entrepreneurs with the resources and training they need to take their businesses to the next level.
“Our main goal for the accelerator is to use entrepreneurship as a path to wealth building,” Mabry Haymore said.
Applications for the 2021 Elevate/Elevar cohorts may be accepted, starting Jan. 18. Interested applicants can visit the information form to learn more: https://wepowerstl.org/elevate/start-your-application/. Successful applicants will begin the program in April for six months.
The next round of participants will launch at the end of next year.
According to the website, the ideal candidate for the 2021 Elevate/Elevar Accelerator program would be someone with an annual revenue between $50,000 and $500,000 with a for-profit startup company and/or small businesses dedicated to St. Louis; living-wage job creation; and someone currently working full-time on a business or who aims to be by April 2021.
“The goal is for all entrepreneurs to grow their revenue, hire people, and be on the path to sustainability and profitability,” Mabry Haymore said. “We want them to be connected to the capital, the people they need, and the system they put in place to be on the track to upward mobility and wealth building.”
In addition to the accelerator, Mabry Haymore is now the digital coach with the ‘Grow With Google’ initiative’s expansion in St. Louis, where every month she will facilitate three free workshops to help Black and Brown entrepreneurs with digital skills training.
In the workshops, they will learn techniques from how to use Google ads, products and services, and how to monetize Youtube. For more detailed information, visit the website: https://events.withgoogle.com/digital-coach-stl/.
“I’m excited about this opportunity, and I’m just thankful to have such a supportive organization like WEPOWER aligned with my role as director of entrepreneurship. It just makes sense,” Mabry Haymore said.
Mabry Haymore met her supervisor, Charli Cooksey, founder and CEO of WEPOWER, when the two worked together at Teach for America a decade ago. When the pair met they hit it off immediately and somehow knew eventually one day they’d work together; they just didn’t know when.
In November 2019, Mabry Haymore and Cooksey crossed paths when Cooksey asked if she would be interested in being director for the accelerator program. This came right after Mabry Haymore decided to quit her job to pursue public speaking full-time and learned she was pregnant. She had been director of human resources at College Bound, a nonprofit that helps economically-disadvantaged students pursue college degrees.
She declined Cooksey’s offer and instead applied for the Entrepreneur in Residence position.
“From March 2020 until August 20, 2020, when my daughter, Zari, was born, I was the entrepreneur resident responsible for the accelerator, facilitating all the curriculum,” she said. “And then I also was a business coach for the accelerator.”
She took a month off after her daughter’s birth. Once again, Cooksey asked if she would be interested in taking on the director role. This time she agreed.
“I thought about it. With everything that happened in 2020, public speaking changed drastically because you could no longer host events in-person. Now you have to rely on the virtual format,” Mabry Haymore said.
“I just don’t get the same feeling that I had or have the same love for online public speaking that I had for in-person public speaking, so it just made sense to pivot.”
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Mabry Haymore has a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Kentucky, and a masters of business administration in entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville. She received a masters of secondary education in middle school education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
She also does public speaking and is the author of “Hey Friend: 100 Ways to Connect with 100 People in 100 Days.” She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc., and the wife of LaRon Haymore.