Lebone C. Moses specializes in providing strategic thought leadership, oversight, and solutions to help businesses address and overcome complex business problems. She has two decades of experience advising business leaders, entrepreneurs, and boards across multiple industries (including Fortune 100 & 500 companies and large multi-national organizations). As the Founder and CEO of Chisara Ventures, Inc., a management consulting firm, she provides strategic solutions to businesses of all sizes specializing in risk management, compliance, privacy, cybersecurity, and organizational strategy.
During her career she spent 17 years advancing through corporate leadership roles at two of the largest public accounting firms in the world (PwC and EY), as well as global financial institutions JPMorgan Chase and Fidelity Investments, and has over 15 years of experience actively serving on the boards of non-profit and for-profit startup organizations. She is an Advisor and Chair of the Investment Committee for Resilient Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on investing in African-American founders, and a member of Pipeline Angels, Duke Angel Network and Eagle Angel Network.
Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?
I am a first generation African-American, of West Indian descent, specifically from Guyana, South America. I was born in Brooklyn, NY and spent my childhood between New York and Connecticut surrounded by an entrepreneurial family. I received my Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Information Systems from Bentley University, my MBA from Babson College and professional certifications from Bentley University, Babson College, Northwestern Kellogg School of Management and Duke University.
I spent the past 20 years of my career assessing companies and advising business leaders. During my career, I spent 17 years advancing through corporate leadership roles at two of the largest public accounting firms in the world (PwC and EY), as well as global financial institutions JPMorgan Chase and Fidelity Investments. I also have 18 years of experience sitting on non-profit boards.
Leveraging my experience and expertise, I founded and currently run Chisara Ventures, Inc., a management consulting firm to provide strategic solutions specializing in risk management, compliance, privacy, cybersecurity, and organizational strategy to startups and small-to-medium size businesses.
I have been an Angel Investor since 2012 and my portfolio is focused on female founders and founders of color. I am currently an Advisor and the Investment Committee Chair for Resilient Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on investing in African-American founders, and a member of a number of Angel Investing networks.
In 2019, my passion to close the wealth gap led me to co-found a financial wellness program in Durham, NC called the River Wealth Institute.
I also co-founded and am currently developing an Acquisition Entrepreneurship program in Durham, NC, called ACQUIRE, which is designed to train and equip entrepreneurs of color to purchase profitable businesses as an alternative to founding a startup.
Q: What motivated you to get started with Chisara Ventures?
I am passionate about empowering people and businesses. I started Chisara Ventures because I realize that startups and small-to-medium size businesses needed the same services and advice I was giving to Fortune 500 companies in my corporate career. I also realized that startup companies needed more than a check. They needed strategic advice; and often the ability to get the strategy and advice they need is worth much more than the check I could write.
Q: How have you attracted clients and grown your firm?
My business has historically grown and continues to grow organically by referral. I also proactively reach out to companies in my surrounding area to introduce myself and my businesses and to learn about their business. Through business development efforts and outreach, I identify and develop partnerships with other businesses, which also helps my business grow.
What are the biggest challenges you've faced and obstacles you've overcome?
Mindset: The biggest obstacle was shifting my mindset and success criteria when I shifted to full-time entrepreneurship. For example:
- Entrepreneurship required a mindset focused on process over outcome. My corporate career was outcome-focused, whether or not the process was efficient or effective in the long-run. But when you own the business, the strength of your processes drives success in your outcomes.
- Failure became my friend. So much is often tied to your career success that failure is a dreaded word. However, as an entrepreneur, I needed to embrace failure. I learned to fail fast, learn quickly and try again based on what I learned. I experienced my greatest successes through what I learned from my failures.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
- Embrace your failures. Fail fast and learn quickly.
- The most frequent word you will hear as you succeed is “No”. Translate every “no” you hear into “not yet”, “not now” and “not them”, and keep going.
- You don’t need everyone’s funding or support. You need the funding and support from people who believe in you as an entrepreneur and in your business.
- It is never too late to pivot your strategy or start again.
- Remain coachable and intentionally create a board of advisors for your business as early as you can.
- Show up. Get into the room. Sit at the table. And you’ve already won half the battle.