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Innovation is in our DNA

Our story doesn’t begin with chains. The origin of who we are is innovation.

The blood, sweat and genius of Black people has made the world wealthy. How can we make the advancements of Black people work for Black people? 


From Chains to Links: The Innovation Podcast is a dynamic community where visionary guests explore the deeply rooted relationship between Black people and innovation. This podcast goes beyond traditional entrepreneurial topics by exploring the intersection of culture, identity, and business. We also address the systemic barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs and discuss strategies to move from resiliency to thriving. Here, we confront our journeys in an effort to reframe, reclaim and reimagine narratives about who we’ve always been and co-design the abundant world we deserve.


Each episode uniquely focuses on how we’ve innovated survival: joy, creativity, curiosity, collective economics, healing, and revolution. Through the power of conversations, each of our guests bravely revisit their own journeys to shed light on Black entrepreneurship in an authentic and honest way. Collectively, From Chains to Links is a layered library of stories, research, insights and tools that every changemaker needs to tune in to and share.


Whether you’re an entrepreneur, artist, or advocate, this podcast is your hub for fostering economic empowerment, community well-being, and sustainable success for Black creativity and innovation.

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What Is the Future of Racial Justice Work?

EP. 01

Over the last 50 years, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Affirmative Action have proven two of the most reliable strategies in remedying systemic racism. With these efforts under assault within government, corporate America and beyond, Black people and our allies are left to ponder, “what’s next”? While some view this current moment as an opportunity for more innovative and impactful solutions, others fear that such backsliding will result in major gains being lost by Black people and other marginalized groups.

What is the future of racial justice work? What do we need to know and understand about the current state of affairs to move boldly forward and what big ideas exist that might help us shore up the emergent gaps.

The Modern Undergrounds

EP. 02

For every Harriet, there’s a handful of conductors. Often referred to as the “Moses of her people,” the innovation which emerged because of her quest for freedom is a testament to the power of space, community and trust. An underlooked expertise of Black people is our ability to innovate liberatory spaces that respond to the needs of our communities. We’ll explore the ways environment impacts innovation and what is needed to support more Black visionaries to build out their dreams.

Before we were Black

EP. 03
It is hard for Black people to imagine Black liberation or Black freedom outside of our experience in White America. So much of who we are is a product of resistance and survival. But if we could imagine a “state of nature” outside of racism or white supremacy – one that does not lean into the exoticism or romanticism of our African origins or American journey, but pays homage to them and embodies them – what might that look like? And how might we reverse-engineer back into a fresh and compelling vision for ourselves?

Introducing The Equity Mindset

EP. 04

In this special episode of From Chains to Links, co-hosts Kelly Burton and Ify Ike discuss Ify’s new book, The Equity Mindset which examines the dynamics of normalized institutional oppression, offers real-world case studies, and provides readers with new practices, key performance indicators (KPIs), and milestones for measuring the success of modern DEI efforts.

In addition to exploring the core premise of the book, the two talk about Ify’s personal journey in bringing the book to life, and what she wants all aspiring writers to understand about the process of authentic authorship.

Innovation & Sustainability as Birthright

EP. 05

In the 1700s, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was continually ravaged by smallpox. Puritan Minister Cotton Mather noticed that Onesimus, a man sold into slavery and gifted to him by his church, went unscathed by the epidemic. When asked about his immunity to the disease, Onesimus shared how in his home country, he received what we’ve come to refer to as an inoculation, which shielded him from the disease. This precursor to the modern day vaccine would ultimately save countless lives through the American colonies.

We didn’t just start innovating. We’re true to it. But through violence, theft and erasure, our contributions have gone unseen. To add insult to injury, our cultural, indigenous and native ways of being are praised when others adopt our ways of being and survival. How might we ensure that the current and future generations of innovators are able to make their mark?

Commas, Currency and Collective Economics

EP. 06

The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” often doesn’t result in how much that village will cost. The price of just being Black is expensive. And for creatives, innovators and entrepreneurs, the cost of building is one many cannot afford. In the wake of George Floyd, public and private funding increased–but still lagged in comparison to what white spaces were receiving. And now that money is drying up, resulting in less movement building strategies and a return to the quest of the next “unicorn” in tech and business. But is this sustainable? And what are the capital interventions we need to imagine to really create the villages we deserve?

Frontiers, Pioneers and Pace Setters: Leading While Black in the Innovation Economy

EP. 07

The Innovation Economy represents this current generation’s technological revolution, and the first time Black people have a chance to get in on the front side of the wave.

Black leaders who are emerging on these digital frontiers not only have to navigate the challenges of new terrain, but also of being a pioneer among other pioneers who do not look like them or have their lived experience.

How do Black leaders in the digital economy continue to blaze new paths, not only for Black people, but for the future of the space in ways that allow them to lead with authenticity and purpose, without sacrificing prosperity and success?

Building the 21st Century Civil Rights Movement, Today

EP. 08

While we, as a Black race, have come a long way, we still have a long way to go.

But how will we get there?

The machinery of the Civil Rights Movement has rusted over and many of the leaders have passed away. More recent movements struggle to sustain. Racial integration has fragmented and dispersed us – so much so that we struggle to agree on what “Black community” even means anymore.

Movements have proven a primary vehicle for change, but it’s not clear the current generation has the infrastructure or the fortitude necessary for a sustained racial justice movement.

Do we need a modern day civil rights movement? If so, how do we build it? What sort of leadership do we need? How do we tap into a sense of unified purpose to continue the progress of past movements?