Becoming an Asset with Arlan Hamilton

“I don’t subscribe to there being a possibility of imposter syndrome. I encourage people to look beyond what you think you’re supposed to be, look beyond what rooms you think you’re supposed to be in.”

-Arlan Hamilton

Her Story of Success…

Backstage Capital Founder and Managing Partner Arlan Hamilton understands the importance of investing in underrepresented founders, because less than five years ago, she was one herself. Arlan started the venture capital fund Backstage Capital in 2015 and built it from the ground up, all while experiencing homelessness. Since then, Backstage Capital has raised more than $10 million and invested in more than 130 startup companies led by high-potential founders who are people of color, women and/or LGBT. In 2018, Arlan co-founded Backstage Studio, which runs accelerator programs for underestimated founders in Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and London.

Arlan quickly became a star in the venture capital world, and in 2018, she became the first non-celebrity Black woman to be featured on the cover of Fast Company. She’s also been honored on lists like Forbes’ “40 Under 40” and Business Insider’s “Most Powerful LGBTQ+ People in Tech.” In May, Arlan released her book It’s About Damn Time, sharing some of the biggest lessons she’s learned throughout her career and teaching readers “how to turn being underestimated into your biggest advantage.” She also hosts the “Your First Million” podcast and speaks at events around the country. 

In This Episode:

Arlan talks about some of the biggest lessons she’s learned while growing her business, along with some of the affirmations that inspired her to keep going through the challenges she faced. She also shares the importance of becoming knowledgeable while still continuing to take action. 

Arlan and Leah are joined by guest co-host Brittany Cole. Brittany is a speaker, coach and consultant who founded Career Thrivers, a leadership development firm that partners with organizations to engage, develop and retain diverse talent through targeted leadership development. You can hear more from Brittany by listening to the Career Thrivers Podcast.

Episode Highlights:

  • Why Arlan decided to write her book 
  • Developing a commitment to learning, but also knowing when it’s time to take action
  • Why imposter syndrome is an unhelpful concept 
  • Two key affirmations that have helped Arlan build her business and her confidence
  • Staying resilient in the face of difficult circumstances 

Episode Transcript

Non-Profit Spotlight: Thistle Farms provides healing and hope for women survivors of trafficking, prostitution and addiction. The organization’s residential program includes two years of free housing, along with education, healthcare and employment. Survivors work at Thistle Farms’ three social enterprises, which include a bath and body care brand, a café and a Global Shared Trade program.

Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Insperity, an HR company that makes a difference. Insperity combines first class service and robust technology so you can focus on your people.