Creating an Inclusive Ecosystem: Dr. Cheryl Watkins-Moore of BioSTL

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Photo courtesy of Cheryl
Photo courtesy of Dr. Cheryl Watkins-Moore

Nationwide, the need for increased diversity and inclusion in the startup space has (rightfully) gained more attention. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal government’s anti-discrimination watch dog, recently held a rare public hearing to examine disparities. We asked local leaders in the innovation class to weigh in on what St. Louis is doing right and how the city can improve as we move forward.

Dr. Cheryl Watkins-Moore is director of bioscience and entrepreneurial inclusion at BioSTL.

From your perspective, what is the current level of inclusivity in the tech/startup community in St. Louis?

We are making strides in being more inclusive, but there is more work to be done.

What would a more inclusive ecosystem look like?

An ecosystem that includes more women, minorities and other under-represented groups, not just as employees but as leaders and mentors in our startups.

What are a few things that could be done to get there?

Making sure everyone in our ecosystem thinks about ways to ensure as many groups are represented as possible.

What are some wins that you’ve already seen that show we’re taking the right steps as a community?

BioSTL and partner organizations who are focusing on inclusion by providing connections, resources and pathways for under-represented groups.

In your role as a leader in the startup space, how can you use your influence to further progress and make STL’s ecosystem more inclusive?

I will continue to connect our resources, organizations and startup ecosystem to broader areas of our communities.

This story appeared in EQ’s Summer 2016 issue.


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Kelly is Cofounder/Managing Partner of EQ and Cofounder of ALIVE Media Group. After earning an M.A. in literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Kelly cofounded ALIVE in 2002. He believes becoming an entrepreneur can change not only the life of that entrepreneur, but also his/her community and the world, and that being able to tell stories of transformation like that is the best job one could have.