The first step

Hello friends, this is my warm greeting, my big hug to you in these simultaneously confusing and clarifying times. I don’t know about you, but the deeper I get, the more I understand; the less I know.

If you are getting this note, I hope you’ll imagine us talking and laughing together as we catch up, and I tell you about my new endeavors: (1) Venu Gupta & Associates (VGA); (2) Sol Squad; (3) American Anthem; and (4) Racial Reckoning in Nonprofit Leadership.

Venu Gupta & Associates

My firm, VGA, offers coaching, consulting, and community building services. And, as we all know, it’s hard to use bite-sized words to describe human capacity and ingenuity. In general, however, we bring these skills to the following areas:

  • Organizational health/values alignment;
  • Organizational strategy;
  • Self-expression and development;
  • Equitable resource generation/partnership development; and
  • Building equity and belonging practices and culture in the workplace.

If you would like to chat, please schedule a 30m meeting on my Calendly. I love talking about possibilities and want to be part of your journey in working with you to find the best partner for your work, whether it is VGA or another organization.  

Sol(idarity) Squads

This year, VGA held its first Sol Squad cohort of 8 women of color. The goal was for women of color to come away with a greater understanding of themselves, other women of color from diverse backgrounds, and the issues that affect us all. We achieved this goal. Even more importantly, however, we saw with clarity the power we hold as individuals and as a collective. In the spirit of building and lighting the way for collective power, VGA will be holding its second Sol Squad session beginning February 2022. This session will include two cohorts – one for women of color and one for white women. More information here! Each cohort has very limited availability. Please reach out to Junko Clancy at to express interest in participating or for more information.  

Sol Squad is built to respect your time and attention as your most valuable resources.

Sol Squad Women of Color (Facilitated by Venu Gupta)

The purpose of Sol SquadWOC is to gather women of color across lines of racial and ethnic identity, age, geography, and more to learn from one another and build a political home — since as we know, for women of color the personal is always political. The squad will meet online, for 90 minutes each week, for eight weeks. I will provide topics for and facilitate the first four weeks, and the Squad will decide on a topic and facilitating member for each of the second four weeks. 

Sol Squad for White Women (Facilitated by Mary Anderson)

The purpose of Sol SquadWW is to gather white women engaged in racial justice and anti-racism work individually or within their organizations. This Sol Squad cohort will bring together white women across lines of age, geography, sexual orientation, and more to learn from one another and build a political home for themselves and this work. The squad will meet online, for 90 minutes each week, for eight weeks. Mary will provide topics for and facilitate the first four weeks, and the Squad will decide on a topic and facilitating member for each of the second four weeks. 

American Anthem

I’m excited to announce the launch of American Anthem, a fund to support progressive candidates who explicitly make multiracial community building and multiracial democracy goals for their campaign and platform. Midterms are here, and elections won’t wait for our exhaustion, disbelief, and anger to subside. Contribute to the American Anthem PAC, and know that your dollars are moving us to the other side.

Racial Reckoning in the Nonprofit Leadership: Transitions from White CEOs to BIPOC Lead

In 2020, America suffered its most recent and transparent racial reckoning, as the simultaneous pandemics of racism and COVID fueled mass movements calling for justice across our country. Through the efforts of communities of color on the ground, with Black Lives Matter setting the direction and pace, Americans could not hide (at least for a short time period) from the consequences of a country built on anti-Blackness, exploitation, and a “divide-and-conquer” orientation. In response to these uprisings, some white people and white-led organizations announced their intent to share power with people of color.                   

This effect was particularly pronounced in the nonprofit sector. Activists and organizers – and then donors and influencers – demanded that the nonprofit sector account for the gap between those who these organizations served, and those who actually made the decisions about how to serve. Consequently, after years of neglect at diversifying their leadership, nonprofit boards began demanding diverse candidate slates and hiring CEOs of color. This effort is to be appreciated and applauded — if these organizations are able to attract, support, and retain these leaders. However, early evidence suggests that board support for leaders of color who succeed white leaders is markedly different and deficient, potentially causing harm to organizations and individuals.                   

Our solution to this ongoing challenge is to better understand the experiences and conditions facing leaders of color navigating nonprofit spaces, we propose to answer the following questions through quantitative and qualitative statistically significant research.
Our goal is to inform decision-makers in nonprofits, CEOs and potential CEOs of color, executive search firms, and those that work with nonprofits in the area of organizational development and staffing.   
With this research, we expect the following positive outcomes:

  • Leaders of color in the nonprofit sector will have a greater likelihood of bringing their full selves and their talents to their role and organizations;
  • Boards of directors will be better equipped to attract, support, and retain leaders of color;
  • Internal and external examinations of organizational infrastructure will be informed by the
  • findings and recommendations.

I’ll share updates on the above in this space and also look for other folks to utilize this space with their ideas. If you’re interested in joining in on above or beginning a new adventure please reach out. Solidarity is the only way forward. 


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