You already know her work as the founder and CEO of Blavity, the venture-backed company providing product solutions and media to Black consumers and enterprises. But now listeners will get to hear a whole new side of media mogul Morgan DeBaun, through her new podcast ‘The Journey’, available everywhere you get your podcasts, as well as on the Blavity 360 content network and Morgan’s Youtube Channel.
Each week, there will be two new episodes – one where Morgan opens up about her personal and professional life and the other will feature an interview with leaders across entertainment, beauty, and business highlighting the unique journeys they’ve taken to achieve success.
The first season of ‘The Journey’ is packed with intriguing conversations with guests including Deepica Mutyala (Founder and CEO of Live Tinted), Santina Deck (Professional Female Football Player), Leah Thomas (Environmentalist & Gen Z Non-Profit Founder), Brian Kelly (LSU Head Football Coach), Mandi Woodruff-Santos (Leadership and Career Coach), among others.
Morgan dives into a range of topics that touch on both her personal and professional life, including her journey from St. Louis to Silicon Valley, her decision to move to Nashville to fully pursue her “soft life” era, and dating advice as a woman in power. In one of her recent episodes with Latham Thomas where the two talk about Black maternal health, Morgan makes a very personal and candid announcement, which we’ve linked to below.
Wanting to learn more about this personal side of Morgan, we had the chance to speak with her about the new podcast series, navigating the Venture Capital space as a Black woman, and the messages she really wants to share with listeners in ‘The Journey’.
Congrats on the launch of this new podcast! ‘The Journey‘ is set to be very different to your business podcast. What can listeners expect to tune in for?
Listeners can expect an enriching and diverse experience that explores the stories of purpose-driven achievers from various walks of life. Each week, they will be treated to compelling conversations with remarkable individuals who have pursued their passions and are making a positive impact in their respective fields. From Emmy-nominated actors to elite athletes, experienced doulas to viral social media influencers, and eco-conscious pioneers to visionary entrepreneurs, this podcast offers a platform for my guests to share their journeys, insights, and valuable lessons learned along the way.
Listeners can expect to be inspired, motivated, and empowered as they gain unique perspectives on how to live their best lives and make a meaningful difference in the world. The podcast serves as a source of inspiration and guidance for those seeking personal and professional growth, while highlighting the power of determination, resilience, and purpose in achieving success.
In the first episode you share your personal journey growing up in St. Louis and becoming a successful entrepreneur, as the founder of Blavity. Was there anything that was difficult to share about your own life?
Yes, there were definitely aspects of my life that were difficult to share in the first episode of The Journey. Opening up about my childhood and the challenges I faced growing up in St. Louis was particularly emotional for me. Reflecting on those early years brought back memories of the adversity I encountered and the obstacles I had to overcome. I believe that being vulnerable and transparent about my journey can inspire others who may be going through similar experiences.
Additionally, discussing my experiences in Silicon Valley and the pressure to conform to the male founder prototype was a deeply personal topic. Admitting that I had to unlearn certain behaviors and find the courage to show up authentically in my business was a process that took time and self-reflection. It was challenging to confront the ways in which I had been shrinking myself to fit into a mold that didn’t truly represent who I am. However, I felt it was essential to share these struggles to shed light on the importance of embracing one’s true self and the impact it can have on personal and professional growth.
Lastly, delving into the early years of building Blavity and the impact of the pandemic on my role as a boss was a bittersweet reflection. Sharing the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations of those initial years wasn’t always easy. But it was crucial for me to be honest about the challenges we faced and how they shaped both myself and the company. Opening up about my own growth and transformation as a leader during the pandemic was a vulnerable moment, as it revealed the complexities of navigating unprecedented times. However, I believe that these honest conversations can provide valuable insights and inspire others on their own journeys.
In sharing my story on ‘The Journey’, I knew that there would be difficult moments to confront and share. But I firmly believe that through vulnerability and authenticity, we can connect on a deeper level and inspire others to embrace their own journeys with resilience and authenticity.
Who are some of the guests coming up in the season and what were some of the highlights?
Last week, I released a guest episode featuring the founder & CEO of Live Tinted, Deepica Mutyala. Deepica talked about adjusting to her role as CEO, building a brand for women of color, starting her career as an influencer, and more. In future guest episodes, listeners can expect to hear from a range of experts from all walks of life including Rachel Cargle (Writer & Activist) , Leah Thomas (Environmentalist & Gen Z Non-Profit Founder), Tiffany Aliche (Financial Educator) among others.
Were there any shocking or candid confessions from the guests that you were surprised by?
Certainly! During one of my latest podcast episodes with Latham Thomas, the founder of Mama Glow and a Brown visiting professor, we had a heartfelt conversation about various aspects of pregnancy and motherhood. It was during this interview that I announced my own pregnancy! [watch the conversation below]
As a public figure and a woman founder, I recognized the significance of openly discussing my personal journey towards motherhood. It was important for me to share this milestone with my audience and demonstrate that success in one’s career and personal life can coexist. I wanted to break down barriers and show that women, especially those in positions of power, can pursue their dreams and embrace motherhood simultaneously, but it comes with tradeoffs.
The response from my listeners was overwhelming, filled with love, support, and well-wishes. My announcement sparked conversations about the unique challenges and joys that come with being a working mother. It also allows me to highlight the need and advocate for more workplace environments that prioritize and support the needs of pregnant women and working parents.
In our culture, successful entrepreneurs are sometimes held up on a pedestal or given celebrity status. Why do you think it is important to be vulnerable and open with your journey?
It’s important to be vulnerable and open to sharing your journey because most people only know what they see on the outside. Success isn’t a straight path. There are so many twists, turns, and obstacles you have to overcome before you make it. I want to showcase that unique part of the journey that is rarely seen or talked about, but that so many people can relate to.
You’ve also spoken about what it’s like dating as a woman in a position of power. What has this experience been like, and what needs to change in society for this not to be such a “thing” for successful women?
Dating as a woman in a position of power has definitely been an interesting journey, to say the least. It comes with its own set of challenges and complexities. On one hand, there are individuals who are genuinely supportive, appreciative, and inspired by strong, successful women. But on the other hand, there are those who feel intimidated, threatened, or uncomfortable with the idea of dating someone who has achieved a certain level of success or holds a position of power.
It can be frustrating at times because it shouldn’t be such a “thing” for successful women to navigate their personal lives. Society still grapples with deeply ingrained stereotypes and biases when it comes to gender roles and expectations. There’s this notion that a successful woman must somehow be less feminine, less nurturing, or less willing to prioritize relationships. These stereotypes need to be dismantled, and we need to shift the narrative to one that celebrates and supports women in their personal and professional pursuits.
What needs to change in society is a broader recognition and acceptance of diverse forms of success and power. Success shouldn’t be defined solely by traditional measures like wealth or job titles. We need to appreciate and value different types of achievements and recognize that success can coexist with love, compassion, and meaningful connections. Society should embrace the idea that dating a successful woman is not a threat to masculinity or a sign of emasculation, but rather an opportunity for growth, mutual support, and shared success.
Additionally, it’s crucial for us to challenge the societal pressures and expectations placed on women, which often force them to downplay their achievements or make themselves smaller to fit into traditional gender roles. Both men and women need to actively promote equality, celebrate each other’s successes, and encourage a more inclusive and supportive environment where dating and relationships are based on mutual respect, shared values, and genuine connection.
As a Black woman founder, knowing the stats on funding and investment for especially women of color, how have you navigated this space?
The statistics on funding for women of color, especially in the tech industry, are stark and disheartening. It’s no secret that there are significant disparities and biases that exist within the investment landscape. Many venture capitalists and investors tend to gravitate towards familiar networks and patterns, which can create barriers for underrepresented founders, including women of color.I am part of the 2% of women receiving venture funding in Silicon Valley.
To navigate this space, I’ve had to be incredibly resilient, persistent, and strategic. I’ve learned to leverage my network and seek out supportive communities that understand the unique challenges faced by founders like myself. Building relationships and connections with investors who believe in my vision and understand the value of diversity and inclusion has been crucial.
I’ve also made it a point to educate myself about the funding landscape and become well-versed in the intricacies of venture capital and fundraising. I’ve focused on building a strong track record of success and demonstrating tangible results with our company. Showing growth, innovation, and the ability to generate revenue has been essential in gaining the confidence of investors.
Who is your ideal listener for ‘The Journey’ and what do you want them to learn the most?
It’s for ambitious individuals who are purpose-driven achievers with big dreams and aspirations. I want my listeners to learn that success is not a linear journey, but rather a collection of experiences, challenges, and triumphs that shape us along the way.
I want them to understand that setbacks and failures are inevitable, but they don’t define us. I hope they will gain a sense of resilience and the belief that they have the power to overcome obstacles and turn adversity into opportunity. Through the stories and experiences shared on the podcast, I want them to feel inspired and empowered to pursue their passions, embrace their uniqueness, and find the courage to show up authentically in their personal and professional lives.
Success is not just about achieving external milestones or societal recognition, but it’s also about finding fulfillment, purpose, and making a positive impact in the world.