Here’s how they achieved their goals and paved the way for their communities.

As we celebrate Black History Month, we’ve compiled a list of three African American icons who have redefined the concept of entrepreneurship and groundbreaking innovation. We focused on three leaders who have had non-traditional journeys, yet have found a way to disrupt their communities and become the definition of “gamechangers.”

We hope you’ll feel inspired by them and find encouragement to follow their steps.


Durell Coleman, Founder at DC Design


Coleman is the founder of DC Design, a social media impact design firm dedicated to addressing social challenges through human-centered design. The strategy and design firm was founded in 2012 and continues to develop solutions for government, private companies, non-profit organizations and start-ups.

A Stanford University graduate, Coleman is also the creator and director of Design the Future, an award-winning STEM program that, in collaboration with higher education institutions, teaches high school students to design products for individuals with physical disabilities.

As a design and innovation guru, Coleman continues to inspire his community daily. You can learn more about DC Design and follow his amazing journey here.


Arlan Hamilton, Founder and Managing Partner at Backstage Capital



Arlan Hamilton’s journey has seen a lot of ups and downs, yet today she thrives as founder and managing partner at Backstage Capital, a company that addresses the low amount of venture capitals that go to women, people of color and LGBTQ founders.

Arlan’s goal is to find investors for diverse tech startups and minimize funding disparities. Her leadership skills and the platform she has built not only make her an iconic Aftican American entrepreneur, but she’s also an inspiration to women and the LGBTQ community.

You can pre-order a copy of her book “It’s About Damn Time” here.


Kymberlee Jay, DoodleDirect

Kymberlee Jay started out as a dancer for pop superstar Madonna before working as a choreographer, but that’s not where her resume ends. From entrepreneur to artist to leader, her creative mind and entrepreneurial spirit lead her to the creation of DoodleDirect, a company that makes slick animated videos to boost companies’ internal and external communications.

DoodleDirect has offices in New York City and London and continue their expansion taking the world by storm. You can click here for Kymberlee’s full profile.

Black History Month

During Black History Month we look at those who have made a positive impact not only for the African American community, but for everyone. Here at The Gig Life, we want to celebrate disruptors every day, and as we continue to build a culture that fosters change and innovation, we want to remember these icons daily.

Like many others, the entrepreneurs mentioned above have identified a gap in the community and have fought to make a change. We respect them, admire them, and strive to be more like them every day.


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