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We're so honored to introduce Brooke Sinclair Diversity Advisor, female entrepreneur, and founder of Velour Imports-- an Online Wholesale Marketplace for craft beer, spirits and wine.  

Brooke has spent years advising and advocating for underrepresented female/non-binary, Black and POC founders and leaders. Her ability to communicate to others about the realities of racism has earned her the nickname the "White Whisperer". With the current shifts in our social climate, Brooke is honing her years of experience to offer Bias Rehabilitation programs to companies that need it.

Lady Suite recently appointed Brooke as our official Diversity Advisor and we are inspired by her daily. Get to know this very special woman, Brooke Sinclair, with us. 

let's start with a lady brag!


1. Tell us the 3 things you love to brag about the most: 

1. A college friend and I were in a national Walmart commercial that ran for a year and a half.

2. Within two years of working for Houston Food Bank I increased the value of retail distribution programs more than $6M dollars.

3. I am the Black orphan Annie all grown up and on my way to making my own daddy Warbucks. 


2) For those who don’t know, can you tell us what a “Diversity Advisor” and why it's important? 

A Diversity Advisor is a professional who specializes in challenging mental, physical, and workplace biases especially in regards to issues like race, diversity, inclusion, gender, and equality. 

The role of the Diversity Advisor is increasingly important in this day and age because We are not going back to the Stagecoach One of my favorite expressions for helping others understand society’s focus on the future, the phrase “we’re not going back to the stagecoach” means exactly what it sounds like. Now that we have cars with incredible horsepower never again will society go back to a stagecoach as a primary means of transportation. When applied to business in today’s modern time, if your business and mentality do not adapt and become more inclusive of the new majority (minorities and women) then your business will fail.  African-Americans alone hold an estimated $1.3 trillion and growing, in economic buying power just in the United States. 
  

3) How did your own struggles with racism, specifically in your high school years, shape your values, and ultimately how you want to show up in the world?

High school was an interesting time in my life.  During my freshman year, I moved from Chicago to Houston and began to learn how to value authenticity.   It wasn’t until I moved to Houston that someone told me I was beautiful for a black girl.  
High school was the time in my life when I realized the things you see on the news happen in real life and that there was a white America and a Black America.  I was a Junior in high school when white supremacist John William King and three white men executed James Byrd Jr. by dragging him behind a truck on June 7, 1998. 

Those high school years were critical, it was the time in my life I developed the skill of translating black culture into words white people could understand and sympathize with.  High school, college, and even now as a tech founder and Diversity Advisor,  I am constantly reevaluating how to translate what is happening in the Black community into a context of cruelty that all audiences can relate to.  I guess you could call me a
White Whisperer.    

4) This has been a very intense and painful time for the Black community, and sadly, it’s been this way for far too long. It seems the difference is that the (some of the) world is finally ready to listen, learn, and act to eradicate racist behavior. What can we as non-Black people do to keep this movement alive/be effective?

And thank you for saying that because that’s exactly what this is, it’s not a moment its a movement.   And to the non-Black allies helping to keep this movement alive, I say congratulations on taking your first step to enlightenment, admitting you have a problem.  It is a relief to no longer carry the burden of oppression alone, you are now part of the struggle.   


Now that you have identified the problem the next step is to work.  Work on eliminating your own personal biased thoughts, actions, and habits.  Think of privilege as an addiction.  Like sugar, caffeine, cocaine, and opioids, biased thoughts and actions of being privileged are addicting.  When you see a YouTube video of a Karen going crazy, what you are seeing is someone going through withdrawals from the euphoric feelings of privilege and because privilege is so addicting it needs to be dealt with like an addiction.  If non-Black people do not begin to systematically tear down their generational biased thoughts, views, and actions then those people will most likely relapse.  


If this is your first experience in being woke, you want to support Black people but don’t know-how,  we need you to start by changing the only person you truly have control over, yourself.   We are asking you to begin by rehabilitating your bias.  Rehabilitating your bias means challenging your thoughts, actions, and presumptions on a daily basis.  Before you can claim to stand in solidarity with Black people, we need you to do the work.  Do the work.  Rehabilitate your bias by rehabilitating your mentality.


5) What is your perspective on George Floyd’s senseless death/what does George Floyd symbolize to you?

When I think about George Floyd, I think about Emmett Till and wonder how far has America come as a society.  America’s education ranked 38th in math and 24th in science and the 2020 World Population Review said France and Italy have the Best Healthcare In The World, but the country’s most recognizable slogan is “We’re #1.”  George Floyd, Emmet Till, Ahmaud Abry, Breonna Taylor, and the other countless men and women sacrificed by the hands of a ruler’s oppressive acts remind me of a story about another guy who was said to have hair like wool.  That guy had a hard life too.  He was publicly beaten, hung, and left to die just like George Floyd.  


6) What would you like to say to people who say “all lives matter”?

I laugh. The expression “All Lives Matter” confuses me because it’s an answer to a question that wasn’t asked.   Black Lives Matter is a fact.  It is a rhetorical statement of people who do not need, nor want, anyone’s permission.   The literal translation of the word “All” means the whole, the extent, and equal members of a group so yes all lives do matter.  But that’s why the Black Lives Matter movement is so important because the lives that are being lost are those of unarmed men, women, and children with brown skin.  That’s all we are, people who happen to have brown skin. 


7) You're both a Diversity Advisor and a female founder Velour Imports-- an eCommerce alcohol marketplace and delivery platform. Tell us more about what it is! 

Velour Imports is the first tech startup to represent American handcrafted beverages on a global scale, we are a marketplace and distribution platform for the commercial resale industry.  My team and I are building a global superhighway of distribution for the luxury retail industry. Our platform is a digital marketplace and distribution platform for luxury retailers and resorts.  An automated shipping & logistics platform for Latin America's $53.2 Billion Retail eCommerce Market. 


8) What was the aha moment that sparked the amazing idea for Velour Imports?

The amazing idea that sparked the creation of Velour Imports was Jesus.  Transportation, logistics, and supply chain management expert turned founder, I was managing three distribution programs for Houston Food Bank when a woman I befriended offered me an opportunity to bring a wine from Argentina into the states.  Though she exported by trade, my friend was a Seventh Day Adventist and unable to do business with alcohol. 


9) What is your dream for Velour Imports and what would it mean for you to achieve that goal? 

My dream is to completely digitize the import process of buying alcoholic beverages from another country.  My personal goal is to be Kevin Hart cool with Jeff Bezos’s money and to achieve that vision it means I have had to make it do, what it do to make due.  I’ve been living in a world full of No but I am pushing forward to a Yes.     

 

10) It’s no secret that fundraising as a woman is difficult enough. What is it like for a Black woman entrepreneur when it comes to raising capital for your business? What do the Angels/VCs need to know?

Yes raising capital as a woman is not easy, but I can attest that it takes exactly 1 year, 9 months, 12 days, (and counting) longer for a black woman to raise capital than her non-black equal counterparts.  Imagine if you wrote a New York Times best-selling novel but at least once a day a random person thought you couldn’t read.  That is what it is like to raise capital for a marketplace and distribution platform.  It’s almost like being born in Hawaii but yet people accuse me of not being an American.  


The first thing Angels/VCs need to know is they are better than the limited frame references they have been subjected to.  If the first step to rehabilitation is admitting you have a problem then the first step to rehabilitating your bias is to admit you were taught to be biased.  For generations, non-black people have been taught to have an affinity bias, an unconscious tendency to get along with others who are like ourselves.  To stand in solidarity with Black people, today’s Angels/VCs need to admit that they were taught this and therefore they were powerless over their bias.  Admit that you were taught one way of thinking and then decide to think another way.    


11) If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self “If you focus on school in your 20’s, you’ll have more fun in your 30’s.”  Bought my first house at 19 years old, worked at the world-famous Apollo Theatre, I was in a national Wal-Mart commercial and a few local commercials for Houston retailers.   I learned a lot in my early twenties, I had fun and enjoyed a multitude of experiences.  But I have to admit I would trade a lot of those experiences for more comfort today. 


12) Loaded question, what does the end of 2020 & 2021 look like to you?

Recovery. The end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 looks like recovery.  We’ve spent the entirety of quarantine in frequent discussions and consultations.   


13) Because we have to ask, what is your relationship with your vulva/vulva health?

Lol man if I had a nickel for every time someone asked me about my vulva. I’m kidding, I’d only have one nickel.  I have to admit it, before using Lady Suite my vulva health was okay.  Your average standard vulva, healthy, well-balanced vulva.  But then I tried the Lady Suite products and my mind was blown.  I’m pretty much a t-shirt and panties or bare when I go to bed so I like the rejuvenating botanical oil before bed.   


14) Tell us how you stay motivated every day or how you bounce back when times get tough. 

How do I stay motivated?  I remind myself why I’m working so hard.  Unfortunately, bouncing back is what I do best.  All my life I’ve been bouncing back.  Bouncing back is all I know.  

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