One Day of Courage

Each one of our speakers at Startup Summit brings forth different qualities that distinguish them as outstanding entrepreneurs. We welcome these differences and believe that they keep the startup community thriving. The subject of one of our keynotes will be “How to Create a Diverse and Inclusive Culture” and will be guided by investor and advisor, Donald Thompson. Serving on boards for several startups and successful firms, his courage is a defining quality that sets him apart and has helped him succeed against the odds.

Thompson has led several technology companies that secured successful and profitable exits to companies such as Adobe. He is the current CEO of Walk West, recognized by Inc. as the fastest growing agencies in North Carolina for 2018 and serves on the board of directors for the integrated marketing firm, Creative Allies. Don also serves on the boards of multiple organizations including the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology and Innovation, NC State University’s Strategic Advisory Board for Computer Science and is a mentor Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange.

The success that Thompson has experienced was not easy for him to earn. Donald left college to pursue his entrepreneurial dream and built his career as one of few African Americans in technology, an industry where he lacked pedigree and led that company achieving 30% year over year revenue increase in the midst of a recession.

In his blog, Thompson wrote a feature called “Living Beyond Fear,” that expressed his insights on how one should embrace fear as fuel to achieve your goals. Don compares fear to cream in coffee, something that one should always leave room for. He asserts that fear often times proves that we have large enough goals. His risk-taking attitude is contagious; as a leader, mentor, keynote speaker and strategist he continues to share a leadership perspective built on a ferocious work ethic and the ability to learn from others while building high-performance teams.

Prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace and mentoring minority businesses, Donald Thompson has courageously torn down traditional social constructs and laid a foundation for entrepreneurs to come after him and continues to clear a path. Startup Summit is proud to have such a bold keynote speaker that encourages equality and will influence entrepreneurs, startup teams, business leaders and generations to come.

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