Cover art for podcast Social Entrepreneur

Social Entrepreneur

290 EpisodesProduced by Tony Loyd: Business executive and mentor to social entrepreneursWebsite

Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.

24:01

The Many Side-Hustles of Sherrell Dorsey, ThePLUG and BLKTECHCLT

ThePLUG is the first daily tech newsletter covering founders and innovators of color.

What do these people have in common: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Tim Cook, and Larry Ellison? Yes, these are all icons of the tech industry. They also happen to be white men.

Sherrell Dorsey of ThePLUG says, “Part of my personal and professional growth was staying abreast of what was happening in the news.” However, she noticed a gap in tech news. “The daily business and tech news cycle is filled with the stories and work of white men building the future,” she says. “Rarely are we recognizing the work of black, brown, or female-led companies that are powering our future.”

As Sherrell investigated why this gap existed, the common explanation that read was that there were no black or brown people in STEM. “It was just lazy journalism related to the problem,” Sherrell contends. Working in the tech industry, Sherrell saw first-hand the contribution that people of color made to the field. But where were their stories?

Sherrell’s answer is ThePLUG Daily. She and her team curate some of the best news stories about founders and innovators of color. They also create original, well-written content.

Where Social Justice, Entrepreneurship, Tech, and Journalism Collide

Sherrell Dorsey grew up in Seattle, surrounded by a family of activists and social justice leaders. “Much of my work is inspired by their early commitments to black, brown and marginalized communities being treated with humanity,” she explains. Sherrell’s work would eventually follow in these same social justice footprints. “I remember going to those board meetings where my mom was working on issues. I hated it back then. But now I’m like, ‘Oh my god, she created a monster.’”

Sherrell was also an early entrepreneur. Sherrell’s mother instilled in her a sense of independence. She insisted that Sherrell find a way to earn money to purchase the extras she wanted. From the age of 12, Sherrell gave tap dancing lessons. As she grew up, she took on more and more clients. Eventually, she convinced the studio owner to give her a key to the studio so that she could provide private lessons at a higher price.

She also worked at her aunt’s hair salon. “I got to watch these incredible women who were providing such a tremendous community service,” she explains. “I watched the way they interacted with their clients. I watched the way they ran their operations. It gave me this idea of, wow, I can do whatever I want to do.”

Not only was Sherrell an early entrepreneur, she had an early start in the tech industry. She was an intern at Microsoft while she was still in high school. After college, she spent time working with Uber and Google Fiber.

Sherrell also honed her writing skills. While she was still in college, she launched OBV Media, a multimedia content platform serving a community of eco-conscious multicultural women. She has also contributed to Fast Company, TriplePundit, Black Enterprise, Redox, and others.

Today, Sherrell is a data journalist and entrepreneur. Her interests have come together in ThePLUG and BLKTECHCLT, Charlotte’s only inclusive and immersive tech center.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Sherrell Dorsey

“Having access to resources helped me to have choice and freedom.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“My family supported me, but I had to look outside for influence and guidance on business.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“It’s definitely been a nonlinear path.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“Every decision I made was about, what do I want to learn?” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I learn hands-on.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I began to explore that through writing.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I knew I wanted to work with super-smart people and people who would challenge me.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I stayed on my aunt’s couch for three months.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I started hacking with a Goodbits account and MailChimp.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I didn’t have a logo. I didn’t even have a true voice for the publication.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I wasn’t sure what it was. I just knew this service should be out there.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I was up at 5 AM putting together the newsletter.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“It really forces you to go back to your original Why.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“Now we’re looking at original reporting.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“We’re very excited about turning data into stories.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“For us, there’s that public interest piece that’s important.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“How do we drive inquiry into how tech applies to our communities?” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I’m starting to understand and respect the purity of what journalism is supposed to be about.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“Persistence, grit, and endurance matters.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“If you feel like you don’t have the skills to take it to the next level, get some help.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“We derive a ton of value from constantly serving our audience.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

 

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