J. Kelly Hoey

Name: Kameeka Shirley Title: Founder Twitter: @harlemroutes

How to really get to know Harlem? With a day of clues and challenges that had participants racing around historic and vibrant neighborhood. As one participant in the May 14 #HarlemRoutes event noted “I’ve lived in Harlem my entire life. I had a chance to visit places I’ve never heard of but walked passed for years.” #HarlemRoutes is the brainchild of Kameeka Shirley, an associate at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?

Kameeka: To help build my community.

Me: What problem would you like solved?

Kameeka: I would like to bring more people into our neighborhood to experience Harlem.

Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?

Kameeka: I wish I had advice on how to build a movement.

Me: What does success look like for you?

Kameeka: To me, success would be to have people from outside Harlem say “Wow, I had a great time at the Harlem Routes event, I want to go back.”

Me: Who are your heroes?

Kameeka: Sandra Richards, my manager at Morgan Stanley.

Me: What is your best discovery?

Kameeka: The goodness, energy and enthusiasm of people who support the mission.

Me: What would the title of your biography be?

Kameeka: Other: The Story of A Life Outside Definition.

Me: What makes the Harlem entrepreneurial ecosystem unique?

Kameeka: Harlem is a true community and we are all working together to build a better community.

Me: If a Shark Tank investor asked “why should I invest in Harlem?, what’s your answer?

Kameeka: Harlem is a brewing ground of creativity and fresh perspective. The men and women in the area are pushing out bold and innovative products and services that are making major impact not just on NYC but the country and international audiences are benefitting as well.

Me: From meetups to co-working to networking events, what are your top recommendations for someone just stepping into the Harlem startup ecosystem?

Kameeka: Come up to Harlem and meet as many people as you can.

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