Jodie Taylor Interview
People of color inherently shift the culture with their philanthropic endeavors because often times their work is reflective of their personal experiences...
Jodie Taylor, Founder of Super Riche Kids and the Founder’s Collective
How did you get started in this space?
Super Riche Kids was birthed out of a lot of frustration. I attended Northwestern University, which is a great school, but unfortunately, it did not provide me with a lot of insight into postgraduate life. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to do when I came out of college. I had an internship in everything. From Vibe Magazine, to working at an entertainment law firm, to working at Morgan Stanley in Asset Management. I ended up working at a non-profit helping students of color get into banking and finance and ultimately ended up at my current job, Google. Looking at my own journey, it should never be that difficult for a student of color to discover what career opportunities are available to them. I created Super Riche Kids to profile individuals and share their insights of how they got into their industries.
For the Founder’s Collective, I created this platform with another person at Google and for a while, it was hard to get it off the ground. We both had full-time jobs and were so overwhelmed with how to create a platform. Concurrently, another colleague of mine from undergrad had just started her own business that had gotten so much incredible press, and it just struck a chord; women of color often have similar struggles but there are also women who have been able to master those struggles. We thought why not have a collective of women of color entrepreneurs and we could all share our knowledge with each other. I wanted to provide a space for that. It started as a Groupme and it grew quickly. I was so impressed with how dynamic the women were and it was inspiring to see how they were willing to help each other. We started to have in person events and focused on creating a community to acknowledge, share and inspire other women of color entrepreneurs.
Why is giving back important to you and how have you seen yourself grow as a person because of this?
My first job when I moved to NYC was helping students of color get into banking or finance. I saw the way providing access to those students changed their lives. They would call me years down the road and share their successes with me. If I had that kind of access at 18, it would have fundamentally changed my life, my family’s life, and my community. Giving back creates a domino effect and being able to see the scale of that is important. It is deeply personal for me.
How will you continue to shift the culture in your philanthropic endeavors?
JT: People of color inherently shift the culture with their philanthropic endeavors because often times their work is reflective of their personal experiences. Same for me, I felt like I did not have access to jobs or to women entrepreneurs of color so I created Super Riche Kids and Founder’s Collective as a way to provide access, opportunity and education for people of color in spaces that we have typically been left out of.
Can you talk more about the importance of mentorship, especially for students on their college journeys?
Mentorship is so important because while we can give students the tools they need to succeed, there needs to be a person that is constantly checking on them, making sure they are okay, that they have had a good day and that they have enough money to eat. We like to see mentors following up with the students and doing things with them so when they get to college, they are not experiencing some sort of culture shock, but can see they have the tools they need to make it.
How you seen SocialSocietyU grow from when you first started? Where do you see it going next?
When we first started, it was a great faith journey. Our very first event we were just trying to get people there; that was our main goal and we were worried about not having enough. Our second event comes around, and we were worried about the space not fitting the number of people we had. I have seen it grow a lot of traction. It has gotten a lot of attention of different people from amazing platforms like BET and Essence and we are very happy about that. I see us traveling to different states and bringing our programs and workshops to various schools to touch as many kids as possible.
I noticed you have a prayer line associated with your organization. Can you talk more about its purpose? How does faith connect to what SSU stands for?
Our faith aspect is what makes us different from many college prep organizations. Aside from our main goal of appealing more to students, we also want to bring God into the picture. On the outside surface, we can be doing great, but how are students doing on the inside? How is their spiritual growth? Are they stressed? Are they depressed? Those are not easy things to come over. Our faith aspect is getting people's attention but also providing them with spiritual guidance as they give to us.
What are some of the ways you connect faith to the culture of SSU? Why is it necessary?
SC. Before our events, we all pray together. Not only that, but we do our best to get the kids' attention so that if they are lacking in their self-worth, motivation and their happiness, they also have a place to turn to for that. Personally, I think it is very necessary because I notice when I am constantly giving without taking time to check on my mental health, well-being or my spiritual clock I burn out. We want kids to stay motivated while also providing them with a sense of direction.
In addition to working on SSU, you are also in school. How are you able to balance going back to school and working on SSU?
It requires staying up late sometimes. Every night I plan my schedule and where I have to go for the week. I make sure my assignments are done and I am doing great in my classes so I am not slacking anywhere. Creating a schedule for myself and being disciplined enough to stick to it has helped.
How will you continue to shift culture through your philanthropic endeavors?
We are shifting the culture by hosting our events. We host this big event called The Gathering, which is a college prep program done differently. It is for youth by youth. We bring out DJ’s, Greeks, colleges and we have workshops. We call it a college prep party where you turn up with all of your friends, but also get the resources you need to be successful. Many times, you go to a college prep event, and it is an environment where students have to conform to a civilized, mature state when all kids want to do is have fun. Our big gathering does that.
What is the biggest myth about giving back and volunteering that needs to be debunked?
People think they have to choose between a philanthropic career and having a lucrative career; the reality is you can do both. Do not think of it as something that has to be done as a sacrifice or detriment to yourself. I work in a space that allows me to be philanthropic while growing and sustaining myself. It is possible.
How do you decompress or manage stress?
I try to reframe stress. There are moments in my life where I feel overwhelmed but I remember I worked for this. I change my language from “Why do I have to” to “I get to.” For instance, I get to work at Google and that is amazing. For me, that is the key in managing stress. The other thing is not becoming overwhelmed with the idea of self-care. The term itself can be stressful. Whatever reenergizes you, think about that and re-center yourself on those things. You have to be a full cup to pour into other people.
What is your organizations biggest need and how can people support?
For Super Riche Kids we need visibility. Whenever we post content, it is the same people sharing our stories. We want to push to larger platforms. For Founder’s Collective, many of these women need mentors, guidance and money. Having a larger network of people who have run a successful business would be super helpful. That and funding. I think it is important to make the financial ask, especially as entrepreneurs of color.
Finish this sentence: I give too because...
It is critical in empowering communities I care about and it is deeply personal for me. It has completely shifted the trajectory of my life and has forced me to be intentional about using my platform.