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Vaughn Crowe
Venture Partner and Community Leader

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  • Managing Partner at Newark Venture Partners

  • Advisor at Wesray Social Investments,

  • Co Chairman of the Board at Princess House

  • Managing Director at Wesray Social Investments LP

  • Personal Lines Marketing at Chubb Insurance

  • BA from Colgate University

Proust Questionnaire


Personal Motto:  Keep Going Forward!

Role Models:  My parents, Doris and Vernon Crowe; Trevor Strigler, Burney Adams, and Eric Tee (college roommate).

Advice to High School Self:  Think…Assess…Decide…You don’t have to be correct 100% of the time!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?  Finishing the Chicago Marathon.

What is your greatest regret?  None

Biggest Influence

Relative:  My Mother and the legacy of my late father, Vernon Crowe Sr.

Outside Family:  My ability to make a difference.

Popular Culture:  Hip Hop Music.

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High School Experience

Attended:  Weequahic High School         Year Graduated:  1998

Favorite Subject(s):  Trigonometry

After school Activities:  Student Government, National Honor Society, Football, and Basketball, Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark Member.

Fondest Memories: Named an Oprah Winfrey Angel Network Scholar. Meeting actor Laurence Fishburne and United States Congressman, Donald Payne.

Biggest Influence:

Relative:  My parents and my sister, Vangela Crowe.

Outside Family:  Trevor Strigler, Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark Executive Director; and Burney Lee Adams, HS Football Coach.

Popular Culture:  Hip-Hop Music.

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+ CLUB Moments

Healthy Relationships: Vaughn Crowe

Healthy Relationships: Vaughn Crowe

I grew up in what I would call an ecosystem of love. And it wasn't a world where I was constantly told that I was less than others. It wasn't a world that I was constantly, psychologically tortured. I was reminded on a regular basis of how great I am and how much better I could become. And so those all were relationships and mentors and professionals and people who poured into me. And because of that experience, despite the challenges in the world that we experience, I fundamentally believe that the human species is good. And so therefore over these years, and it remains part of who I am, this thirst to learn more about people and to be in the presence of people, to ultimately develop relationships with no outcome necessarily tied to building a relationship. But because I fundamentally believe that people are good, the human species is good, I hope that I have an expectation that my fellow humans would think the same of me. Therefore, we can live not necessarily in harmony, but we can live in acceptance together, with a level of respect and dignity, so long that we are moving towards something that's positive. And so therefore, relationships for me is part of the reason why I do what I do. It’s part of the reason why I have a handful of really close friends and I value them. I would encourage young people to utilize the power of relationships to learn to advance relationships and also to help you avoid failure. It also helps. They help you embrace failure. So they're important.
Creating Wealth: Vaughn Crowe

Creating Wealth: Vaughn Crowe

I grew up in Newark, New Jersey. In the south section of the city on a small street called Clinton Place in Hawthorne Avenue. And at 16, maybe 17 years old, my father got diagnosed with kidney failure and he was the primary breadwinner, as my mom spent a good chunk of her life raising her or their six children. And that was my first brush with poverty as I knew it. Up until then, we lived a good life. I had food, I had clothes, et cetera. But then the income stopped once he was diagnosed. And that was a turning point for me to recognize that there has to be a differentiated way for me to create economic opportunity for myself and for my family in the long run. And that took me down a path of being curious, not a woe is me story, not a, oh my God, look at this kid. (00:20:49): It just took me down the path of being curious around how wealth was created in this country. And so I became curious about Wall Street, about medicine, about law, and what I realized is that I really liked business. I was good at math, I was good at numbers then. And this idea of putting $1 in to something and figuring out how to extract five, it's the very basic tenant of business. There's a lot of jargon and language around business, but the reality is in our old neighborhood, we would say, how do you make a dollar out of 15 cents? So, there is this notion of how do you make a dollar out of 15 cents? And that's just the basic tenant of business. And once I realized that there was opportunity for me to learn how to extract value, whether it's investing a dollar or getting a return on my labor, that encouraged me to go down the path to figure out how to become a successful business person. And it stemmed from this idea that the money dried up in my home at 16 or 17 years old. Things got better. But that was the flip of the switch in the room for me that said, I need to become more curious about ways in which I can create real wealth for myself and my family.
Mind and Body: Vaughn Crowe

Mind and Body: Vaughn Crowe

So, I am the son of Vernon and Darris Crowe and grew up in a very religious family where there was often the adage of your body is your temple and what you put in it is very important. And as you go through life, we kind of lose the idea that what you pour into your mind, what you pour into your gut, is significant. But the research is that what you pour into your mind, resting your mind, taking care of your body, eating healthy as best you can, it's hard nowadays, but eating as best you can, the output from that will lead to higher performance. So here I am 42 years old, I've had three knee surgeries, back surgery, my body has taken a toll. And what I've learned again over the years is that the mind and body are very much connected. So I do meditate and in the form of meditation. It's just sitting quietly and acknowledging my thoughts, nothing more, nothing less. Sit quiet, young people, and just let the thoughts come. And then here I am training for the Chicago Marathon. When everyone's told me, oh, Vaughn, you're too old. You've had too many surgeries, you've broken too many bones. And if you take care of the body and you push yourself, what you realize is that you control your outcomes to a degree. So I've been eating healthier, reducing the junk food, and the chips, et cetera. And by the time I arrive at this marathon, I'm overweight, challenged physically because I've adequately trained both my mind and my body. I have a bridling confidence that I will run 26.2 miles. It'll probably be my last one, but it'll be one of the biggest physical and mental accomplishments that I've achieved in my life. And that includes having played division one football.
Defining Moments: Vaughn Crowe

Defining Moments: Vaughn Crowe

Life is not always certain. And we talked about that before and you're learning that as a young person. In 2006 I met a gentleman by the name of Ray Chambers, a notable businessman and philanthropist from my home city who learned that I had a desire to advance my career, beyond where I was at that point in time, and unknowing what my skills were, unknowing what value I would bring, and I was not knowledgeable about the world in which he really worked in. He said, Vaughn, come work for me and do it for a year. And my question to Ray was, well, what will I do? And the response was, I don't know, but you have some skills that I think we could use. And almost on the spot I left what was a really good career to go and utilize some skills that someone could use. And I took a little bit of risk and that was a defining moment for me because that one-year opportunity turned into 15, which then led me to run a venture capital firm and have established relationships with some of the greatest men and women on earth. And that was done over a peppermint tea in New York City almost 17 years ago. So from a career point of view, I talk about knowing your craft and know it well. Be humble and make friends. In that case, I made a friend who took a risk on me and I embraced the challenge. And again, the story of my life as a business person, as a community professional, is not over yet. Hopefully I'm just getting started. But, so far, that was what you call a breakpoint. That was a really important moment in my life and I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.
Advice to Teenage Self: Vaughn Crowe

Advice to Teenage Self: Vaughn Crowe

I recently learned this in my adult life such that it is so applicable to what I experienced as a young person in high school. And there were three elements that I recently learned from a very successful business person, and it was know your craft and know it well. So whatever it is that you think you're good at, lean in to that experience. If you're a math student and you love algebra and you're not as good at English, maybe lean in to being a great math student. So know your craft and know it well. Be humble. So as you are excelling in various tasks, if you are the best math student, there's no need to gloat and tell the world that you're great. Let your work speak for yourself, and that's a form of being humble. And then the third component of that life lesson is to make friends. And making friends is about building relationships, accepting people for who they are and what they are. And so, if you kind of go through life, and this is something that I've learned over the last five years from a really good friend of mine, which is to know your craft and know it well. So you study and you attempt to excel at everything that you do. And secondly, be humble because you will make mistakes. But going through life with a level of humility gets you close to kind of a higher form of life. And then lastly, make friends. We cannot survive as a human species without having a companion, a friend, a partner in some form. And so, those life lessons that I've learned in my life more recently are more apparent than ever. When I think about my childhood as a student at Weequahic High School as a student at Hawthorne Avenue Elementary School and even as a student at Colgate, those are three things that had I learned earlier would've been an added bonus to my life as I began to progress in my career.
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