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Minority-owned businesses have long faced systemic barriers that have been underlined amidst the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests over racial injustice. On Thursday, Dec. 2 at 12:00 p.m. ET, Tristan Walker, CEO & founder of Walker & Company Brands, and Cheetie Kumar, a North Carolina restaurant owner and chef, each share their journeys as entrepreneurs, how they have used their platforms to affect change and how technology has opened up new ways to reach customers and create community during the pandemic.

Cheetie Kumar

Cheetie is a self-taught cook who studied recipes while pursuing a career as a guitarist in The Cherry Valence and more recently Birds of Avalon, alongside her husband and business partner, Paul Siler. Time on tour and as the owner of the music venue Kings and adjoining cocktail bar, Neptunes Parlour, taught her the value of the independent, artistic spirit that is the backbone of the downtown Raleigh community which she considers home.

Upon moving to North Carolina, she embraced the area’s culture of readily available renowned agriculture, and incorporated these seasonally evolving foods to fit her multi-cultural menus at Garland. Cheetie’s cooking is created in a refined and thoughtful way, filled with imagination and rebellion. It is unassumingly delicious. Her food may seem “foreign” but is rather an interpretation of local ingredients made through the eyes of someone who grew up in India, New York City and the South.

She was profiled in the New York Times in October, 2018 and Southern Living in September, 2019, the Wall Street Journal in 2020 among other national publications. She has been nominated semifinalist for James Beard Award’s “Best Chef: Southeast” consecutively from 2017-2020 and is a finalist in 2020.

Tristan Walker

Tristan Walker is CEO and founder of Walker & Company Brands, a company at the forefront of making health and beauty simple for people of color. Prior to his founding Walker & Company (acquired by Procter & Gamble, December 2018) he was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Andreessen Horowitz. Prior to his time at Andreessen Horowitz, he was the Director of Business Development for Foursquare, where he oversaw strategic partnerships and monetization. In this role, Tristan managed integrations with large brands and media entities including American Express, The New York Times, CNN, MTV, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Starbucks. In 2019, he was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 “World’s Greatest Leaders.” Walker has also been named a USA Today Person of the Year, Ebony Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful People, Vanity Fair’s “Next Establishment,” Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” AdAge “Creative 50,” The Hollywood Reporter’s “Digital Power 50,” and Black Enterprise’s “40 Next.” Tristanis a member, Board of Directors of Footlocker, Inc and Shake Shack, holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stony Brook University, where he graduated as valedictorian, and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He currently lives with his wife, Amoy, and two sons, Avery and August, in Atlanta, Georgia.