Chris Motley is Founder & CEO of Mentor Spaces. The organization helps high-performing, Black students and young professionals navigate the road to success through mentorship with experienced and influential leaders.
Mr. Motley’s Story:
I recognized that mentorship is the most transformation experience one can have. For underrepresented talent entering the workforce – one of the best tools we can provide is mentorship from corporate employees already in the workforce.
Describe the most significant influence that led you to your line of work.:
I was born on the South Side of Chicago to a 13 year old single mother. I was able to navigate my life to an Ivy League University, Goldman Sachs, the Kellogg School of Management, and now as an entrepreneur. My mom was my first mentor and taught me how to communicate with others so that they would want to support my goals. My current business is reflective of the mentorship I’ve received from so many people throughout my life that gave me the confidence and social capital necessary to achieve my goals.
What do your family, friends and colleagues say about your accomplishments?:
They would say that I’ve always been an entrepreneur since my first business as a barber. They would also say that everything I focus on has always been in service to others.
Tell us about something that made you grow the most as a leader.:
Failing. My team and I built a job matching product for underrepresented talent that no one used. We recognized we were solving the wrong problem. I had to make the hard decision to scrap everything we’d done until that point and start from scratch…sacrificing millions of dollars of investment. It also meant that I had to make the tough decision to realign the team through a significant change. Some people chose to leave. It wasn’t until later that it became clear we were better for it. Mentor Spaces was launched in the summer of 2020 amid the global pandemic and was received well by the market.
Share your ideas for mentoring the professional development of young entrepreneurs.:
I built it in our product Mentor Spaces – which is a technology solution that scales mentorship so that it is neither overbearing or time consuming. The best ideas for mentoring the professional development of young entrepreneurs center around creating a safe space for them to have conversations with those in the know. That is the essence of my company, Mentor Spaces.