To round out season 1 of AfroTech’s Black Tech Green Money podcast, host Will Lucas sits down with Tristan Walker, founder & CEO of Walker & Company Brands (Bevel, Form). Along with Walker & Co, Tristan Walker is also a member of the Board of Directors of Foot Locker, Inc. and Shake Shack.
Walker starts the interview by discussing his decision to plant his roots in Atlanta, the mecca of Black entertainment and rising Black entrepreneurship.
He says confidently, “Before Walker and Company, I am a Black man. I am a Black father and I am a Black husband. So, every decision I make is in line with my personal values, which happen to match my company’s.”
It goes without saying that Black culture drives the needle of what’s considered popular or successful. However, for many years, white corporations had a monopoly on products made for people of color. Walker took a moment to speak to the importance of developing products for African Americans by African Americans.
“A lot of people make products for us but it doesn’t mean that they’re good,” says Walker. “We deserve to have products that work well for us. We deserve to not be treated as second class citizens. Our cultural impact deserves it. Our purchasing power deserves it.”
Tristan Walker also discussed how building solid relationships can play a role in securing your own seat at the table. He points out that there is a clear access and awareness problem when it comes to Black people in leadership roles.
“A lot of people don’t even know this is an opportunity for them,” says Walker. “Let’s shout this from the mountain tops.”
He also says that it’s important to educate yourself on what boards to and all of the work that is involved.