Here’s why the traditional route isn’t always the best route!
At 23-years-old, Dazayah Walker is one of the youngest female venture capitalists (VC) thanks to the impressive investment portfolio that she manages and maintains for one of Atlanta’s most prominent entertainment labels, Quality Control (QC).
Founded in 2013 by Chief Executive Officer, Pierre “Pee” Thomas, and Chief Operations Officer, Kevin “Coach K” Lee, Quality Control Music is responsible for groundbreaking acts that include Migos, Lil Baby, City Girls, Lil Yachty, and a host of other trailblazers in the music industry. It has also since expanded its mission to sports with an extensive roster that includes NFL’s Alvin Kamara and D’Andre Swift.
Introduction To Tech
Walker first joined the QC team as an intern during her studies at Spelman College. Prior to that, she would always find herself volunteering in any capacity that she could find to merge her passion for tech and music.
“Believe it or not, QC is my first job,” she said in an exclusive interview with AfroTech. “I started as an intern, but once I graduated, that’s when I became an official employee.”
Like a host of others, Walker knew that she wanted to work in the technology sector early on, but didn’t quite know what the path would look like for her.
After seeing firsthand the impact that our music and culture have on technology, especially when it comes to artists and their influence, she began to toy with the idea of being in a position to help those visionaries capitalize off of operating as trendsetters for what the world deems as hot.
“I see the impact that music and culture have on tech, along with the different opportunities that come their way without necessarily having someone in the position to evaluate those opportunities,” she explained. “It made me realize that we have all of this influence on what has been determined as cool and what’s not, but we don’t always have the opportunity to capitalize or really be represented in those spaces.”
It was this thinking that began to shape her interest in working in the VC space and motivated her to do some heavy research and deep diving to educate herself on how to be the change that the world needs to see.
A Day In The Life
No two days are the same for Walker who serves as both an operations manager and an investment portfolio manager for QC.
“As the operations manager, everything office-related goes through me, which is really a big task to fill because our team has grown significantly,” Walker shared. “We are now operating in a corporate environment and there’s been a lot of learning curves that have come with that.”
She finds that building comfortable environments for the team is one of the most rewarding parts of her role as operations manager.
On the other hand, as the Investment portfolio manager, she wears the hat of working alongside QC’s portfolio companies to really give them the value that they seek through their partnership with the company.
This role is a bit more bittersweet for Walker, who says that it can be a bit discouraging working as the youngest VC in a space like this, especially as a Black woman.
“It is definitely a bit scary being in a position to trailblaze and make a change and difference in this world,” she told AfroTech. “Because aside from me just being so young, but being a Black woman in this space in what everyone knows is a white male-dominated industry has its own set of challenges.”
The Sky Is The Limit
Although Walker got candid about her struggles with imposter syndrome, she definitely refuses to allow any doubts to define what she was put here to do.
She truly believes that the key to success is to remain a student of life.
“That’s one thing that I really always put at the forefront, to always be open to learning because you don’t know everything,” said Walker. “They say you don’t want to be the smartest in the room, because if you are, then you’re in the wrong room. So, I’m just taking every opportunity as a learning opportunity.”
As an avid reader, Walker believes that you can absorb so much information just by simply picking up a book, which is why she created Literary Leisure, a book club for the urban intellectual.
At such a young age, Walker also stands firm on the notion of lifting as you climb and currently documents her own personal journey, to serve as a blueprint to others through her blog, The Black Sophisticate, where she gives people a glimpse into her life as a businesswoman while also providing tips on personal development.