Erica Dozier (She/Her) is a student of the world. A member of our Programming Board from the Los Angeles chapter, Erica has spent her life traveling, researching, and learning about cultures and people. Her two startups stem from her passion for travel taking shape in Korean Convenience, a digital travel blog to help tourists and expats, and Thai Fan Meet, an event promoter company created for North American fans of Thai artists.
Erica’s commitment to supporting diverse and underrepresented communities is clear when you meet her, and it’s one of the reasons why she joined our programming board. Luckily, we were able to speak with Erica and get to know a little bit more about this independent entrepreneur.
How did you get started with StartOut, Erica?
I joined StartOut at the beginning of the year in January. I was watching a webinar for Black entrepreneurs and felt motivated by the discussions, so I filled out the questionnaire to apply for the Programming Board. While I don’t personally identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I do consider myself an ally and I’ve always tried to do my part to support underrepresented communities. I’m a female, person of color entrepreneur and I know the struggles that minorities face regarding funding and learning opportunities. So I felt like it was important to get involved.
What have you learned since joining the programming board? Are there any highlights you’d like to share?
I come from an event planning background and I helped plan an event back in March. I also joined StartOut’s Hack-a-thon event planning team and I’m looking forward to that next year. More than anything, I wanted to learn more about StartOut’s process. I was able to attend many different events with great and diverse speakers that allowed me to interact with different board members. I’m really motivated by the resources we’ve been able to provide for upcoming founders and startups. I know the frustration of starting a business when you don’t have a format or map to guide you. Many times, it’s hard to find a mentor so I want to be as helpful as I can. Any skills I have I want to provide as a resource for anyone that needs it. I’m asking for the same sort of support, so it’s important for me to give back.
What’s it been like interacting with the other members of the Programming Board?
While the pandemic has certainly been hard on a lot of people, it’s given us the chance to really make checking in on each other a priority. We share resources, grants and access to new opportunities, and we meet up at least once a month so there’s so much to get involved in. I know that I can reach out to anybody on the board and they’ll be there to help me through whatever it is I’m going through.
What are you most excited for with the future of the StartOut Programming Board?
I just can’t wait to keep assisting with other events and learning from each person that I meet. I have my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to get together before the end of the year to connect and celebrate the year’s work together but until then, I’m glad we’re still keeping up the conversations. It’s been such a great experience in my short time here and I always want to encourage others to get involved and help their neighbors. You never know what you can learn through the process.