In honor of Juneteenth, we're continuing our Community Conversations series, which amplifies voices and stories to help inspire our community. We talked to Monique Idlett-Mosley, the founder of Always Believing Foundation and co-founder/managing partner of Reign Venture Capital, a venture capital (VC) firm supporting and investing in women- and minority-led startups. This former entertainment executive and business pioneer talked to the Quay squad about her story, helping others breaking through glass ceilings, and Juneteenth. Read on for our Q/A with Monique.
“The evolution of self is never ending.”
Q: Let our community know what you're all about.
A: I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur. From a young age, I made sure that I put myself in places where I could learn and grow. I was very fortunate to have a mother who taught us that we are never our circumstances—that we can be as big as we can dream. So, I always stuck close to the idea of dreaming big and having vision.
I knew that to do some great things, I needed to be an example of disruption. And I needed to be the example of what VC firms should be like, which is inclusive. I'm a huge advocate for being in rooms where all voices matter. So, three years ago, my business partner and I formalized Reign Venture, where we specialize in the funding of businesses for women and people of color.
Q: What does it mean to you to advocate for success stories?
A: We all have the power within ourselves to advocate for others who can't use their voices. For me, my entire career has been about advocating for the underserved the underrepresented. Based on how I grew up, I've always made sure that I'm never comfortable being the "only one" in the room.
Q: Why is learning and educating yourself about history crucial in evolving as a community?
A: I was born to a mother whose parents are Greek and Russian. My father is Indian, French, and African American. My mother understood that the world was going to see me as a Black woman.
With Juneteenth, I think it's important to understand the scope of hundreds of years of enslavement. That it IS a freedom celebration. My mother, to this day, will call me and ask me, "Are you working? You better not be," and she means it.
Research [Juneteenth] and know that we still live in a nation that hasn't come to terms with its truth. We have obligations as human beings to acknowledge that truth. To try and understand each other, not tolerate, but accept each other. Part of acceptance is continuing that curiosity to learn. I try to learn about everything. All cultures. All experiences. Because that's what makes this nation so amazing.
Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
A: I wouldn't tell her anything. The person that just spoke to you today is a combination of all my experiences. And without those, I don't know that I would be here. We all know that there are different paths and easier routes we can take—winning versus lessons. And I say lesson because I don't talk about failure. There is always a lesson in there for us.