Black Chamber of Arizona President/CEO Robin Reed Believes in Learning From the Past to Change the Future

September 12, 2019

Robin Reed believes in learning from the past to change the future. And instead of dwelling on inevitable challenges in business, Robin believes those obstacles are invaluable opportunities to grow, gain insight and refine problem-solving skills.

He’s the President and CEO of the Black Chamber of Arizona, a nonprofit founded in 1998 that exists to improve the economic development of its business entrepreneurs and the communities it serves. Robin and the Chamber offer leadership and advocacy surrounding economic, political and social issues, as well as help to attract local, national and international opportunities for black-owned enterprises. 

Before landing his gig at the helm of the Black Chamber, Robin served as the President and Senior Strategy Officer for Occam Sustainability Partners, as well as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch and later Waddell & Reed. 

Tune in as Robin chats about befriending the neighborhood bully, his advice for entrepreneurs and the definition of “success.”

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:51 — Occam’s razor  

2:08 — Learning from the past to change the future

3:53 — Robin’s parents taught him and his siblings the value of a tremendous work ethic 

6:12 — “Tell me something about him that he has control of” — an important lesson about people’s character that Robin learned early on 

10:19 — “In our home, if you opened the dictionary you wouldn’t even find the word ‘lazy’” — slacking off was not an option for Robin growing up 

12:09 — From fighting to best friends: How Robin befriended the neighborhood bully 

14:27 — California → Ahwatukee — why Robin left the Golden State for Arizona 

17:54 — Robin and team focusing on making the Black Chamber recognized as a community organization, not just a black community organization 

19:37 — Occam Sustainability Partners named after “Occam’s razor” 

22:54 — Emfluent: Robin’s new company trains you to become fluent in emotional IQ 

33:02 — “We can be so close to something that we see the pixel and not the picture” — Robin says it’s important to take a step back from an issue first before searching for a solution  

41:09 — “Show up” — Robin shares his No. 1 suggestion for entrepreneurs

46:57 — “No matter what you do in life, do it the best you can” 

51:25 — Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike” tops Robin’s reading list 

54:42 — “Don’t let someone else tell you what success looks like”

59:42 — “We’re going to be a better nation, and we’re going to be a better world” — Robin is confident about our future

1:01:38 — Want more Robin? Shoot him an email at or head to one of his websites: /


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