Diamond Greer is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Let’s Vibe. With her understanding of one needing to create the world in which she wants to live, Diamond is doing just like that! A business professional, thought leader, and catalyst for social entrepreneurship from the Southeast Side of Chicago, Diamond creates people-centered solutions for organizations and individual visionaries across sectors.
She is a human capital strategist in every way and dedicates her time to designing inclusive experiences in the city. With a deep commitment to giving back, Diamond is an advocate for education, inclusion and parity for women.
She currently serves on the boards and committees of organizations that have invested in her future, including the Chicago Scholars Associate Board, and assists with development strategy. She is also a proud member of PowerPump Salon and StartingBloc, and a graduate of Northwestern University.
In this interview, Diamond shares her passion for business while creating a positive impact. She's a disruptor, multi-passionate young entrepreneur who's always up for a challenge. Be sure to keep an eye on Diamond, she's one to follow and learn from!
Her advice to entrepreneurs starting a business in Illinois:
I’d say, start with your why and map out where you are vs where you want to be. Test your idea as soon as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Feedback is critical to the success of your idea. Once you have a solid idea, figure out how it will function.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, Diamond and how you got the idea for Let’s Vibe?
I’m a People & Design Strategist originally from the Southeast Side of Chicago. I went to St. Iggy and Northwestern as a first-gen student with the help of incredible scholarships (Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, Chicago Scholars, Evans Scholarship) that have shaped my life tremendously.
Currently, I create people-centered solutions for organizations and individual visionaries across sectors. I’ve gained families of dreamers and doers - StartingBloc, New Leaders Council Chicago, Chicago Global Shapers, and a few others – who allow me to believe and prove the impossible can be done.
I’m the co-founder of a collaborative community and experience design firm called Let’s Vibe. We connect and develop diverse women embarking on their professional journey and enable clients to do the same. Our mission is to close the global leadership and equity gap, one #Boss at a time through human-centered experiences.
Let’s Vibe was conceived after having a master-planning sessions with my co-founders and talking about our experiences and noticed something critical.
(1) We were products of nonprofit organizations, mentors, and communities of support investing their time, energy and resources in us. They’ve all helped us create something from nothing time and time again. We had also shared many formative experiences together. We noticed that the likelihood of our peers experiencing the aforementioned was low.
(2) Those years were our most challenging and yet most rewarding but then we came face-to-face with our 20s, in which there was no road-map (other than hundreds of blog posts about millennials, what not to do in your 20s, and quarter-life crises) and we had less resources and guidance to figuring it out.
Life, career, and everything in between was our canvas and we were told to make the most out of it. So what did we do? Banded together in figuring out how the hell we were supposed to make that happen. Still figuring it out. Haha!
(3) We also noticed that we were finding that most spaces curated for our peers were mostly focused on the social aspect more so than professional development for early stage careers, were not empowering for underrepresented women as far as the curation of the space and its culture, and were not that accessible. Plus, there was a notion in society that women didn’t support other women, which was not our experience throughout our academic career and also post-grad. Women just didn’t have the space and support necessary to advance as a collective.
Thus, (with all this in mind and a BuzzFeed article later) we created a collaborative community platform for women to build meaningful connections, develop professionally across industries and passions, and redefine our narrative as women globally. “Why not create a space where we could thrive and change our lives & the world together?” we thought. And why not tackle the global leadership and equity gap through this platform as well?
Who knew that one idea could create so much impact?
When did you know that you had a business on your hands and not just a ‘good idea’? (The ‘Aha!’ moment)
Our ‘Aha’ moment came in waves, like most things do as an entrepreneur. The first ‘Aha’ moment occurred when we were able to bring 40 women together to simply test our idea and gained a space and drink sponsor in just under 2 weeks (yes, we knocked it out in 2 weeks).
Our second ‘Aha’ moment occurred when we went from our original 40 to 218 women, 4 partnerships, and 1 client in just 7 months by word-of-mouth. We had a demand for designing experiences that were human-centered and inclusive.
Our community demanded more opportunities for meaningful connectivity and development, while individuals and organizations began coming to us to help them to provide their target markets with similar experiences. After our 12 months, we knew we’d be able to move from purely social to social entrepreneurship based upon what our target audience need as well as our future target market.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? Is there something you are most proud of?
Having the creative freedom to put an idea into action and see if it works, while learning along the way is what I most enjoy. I get to do that every single day with my day career and my passion career. I’m most proud of having the ability to enable those around me to see their superpowers, understand how to leverage them, and that designing the life they dream of is possible.
When you started Let's Vibe, how did you plan everything out? Any resources you used to write a solid business plan?
We are more organic in our approach. We began with the “Why” of our business then tested it with our target audience to gain feedback, which became the foundation for our masterplan. We did A LOT of piloting, testing, gaining feedback, and applying feedback. We still do. That’s how we plan – rapid prototyping ideas and using feedback to craft our next step while working within a grander vision.
Our resources ranged from myers-briggs and the Center for Creative Leadership to Strategyzer’s templates and asking many questions to those around us to who have an idea of where to begin.
What is the toughest decision you’ve ever made when starting a business? How did it make you better at the end of the day?
Finding our North Star and owning it has been the toughest decision along with the business structure. You have an idea of why you’re going into business and where you want to go, but the “how” takes time to solidify.
Making the decision to hold-off on defining Let’s Vibe and legally forming until we matured as a solid pilot was very tough because it caused discomfort to be “uncooked” while everyone wanted to consume us and our value. This made me and my team much better by teaching us patience.
PATIENCE. Patience preserves time, energy, financial resources, and sanity. It makes you a better listener, student, co-founder, service provider, leader, and person overall. Creating value takes time. Creating sustainable value may take even more time. Patience, boo. Patience.
What does your day-in, day-out look like? Is there any specific habit that has helped you become a better person?
My day begins a little like this on average: I wake up at 5am, thank God for allowing me to have another day to be great, and turn on Apple Music with one of my favorite stations. I dance awake, literally. Then, I check my emails and social media (Instagram, maybe Facebook), check my schedule for the day, choose my fit based upon my mood, and glance at my vision board.
After getting ready, I drive to my train around 7 and arrive downtown Chicago by 8/8:30am. I head to the office (my day career) and begin the grind at 9am. I take a break during the afternoon for an hour to work on my passion career.
At 5pm, I head to a coffee shop for a coffee meeting or home to kick-off my second part of the day – my passion career, 7-to-2am. I’m never not communicating with my co-founders and team, so that means I’m also catching up and working away at our major items, whether designing an experience for a client, coordinating an event for members, or further developing our master business plan overall.
If it’s the weekend, 80% is dedicated to Let’s Vibe with core team meetings – 6 phenomenally badass women coming together to create magic, collaborating with clients for 2 hours, or having coffees with entrepreneurs discussing strategy or expanding their businesses.
I’m never not working on Let’s Vibe as we are bootstrapping and building so that occurs even in my sleep most of the time as well. Lol. Oh, I also have another side business as well so I make time for that in between the in-between. I’m usually asleep between midnight and 2am, then I hope that I get another day to prove myself all over again.
Habit(s): Listening to my inner compass paired with acting on my discomfort of “norms” hands down. Call me a multi-potentialite, a productive disruptor, a wanderer; I understand that life is what you make of it, so why spend life defined by someone else? Why not at least try to defy even your own odds and labels, and see if you can provide value and positively impact others the way in which you feel most alive?
My habits have helped me gain more of “me” in the process of figuring out who to create the most effective impact possible for as many people as possible given the skills I have, the value I add, and the # of hours in a day. They’ve helped me build empathy across the board as well.
This would not be possible without listening to my inner compass and acting upon my discomfort of norms. I’m a much better person because of my habits. My careers, teams, clients, and collaborators are better because of my habits.
Who has been your greatest influencer along your entrepreneurial journey? How did they shape Let's Vibe?
Well, you have the usual badass influencers like Oprah, Bey, Steve Jobs, Dwayne Johnson, Shonda Rhimes, Tina Fey. However, I’m influenced most by the ordinary person doing extraordinary things. The Boss women in my life – my sister and her friends, my career sisters – who are entrepreneurs or have the entrepreneurial spirit have been the greatest influencer along my entrepreneurial journey.
I’ve seen them do it and in their own way, so that gave me more confidence and assurance that I could try. This set the premise for Let’s Vibe. Seeing women be Boss go-getters in pursuing their dreams while often working with or learning from other women (and yes, also a few great men out there) set the tone for our vibe (or culture).
They illuminated that there is no cookie-cutter version of entrepreneurship, no one mandating that those who go all-in will be more successful than those who have day careers and work on their passion career simultaneously or than those who bootstrap their entire business. We embrace that at Let’s Vibe as well. Come as you are and let’s vibe out together.
I cannot forget my Uncle Bob and also anyone who has ever known struggle and creating something from nothing as they are equally as influential as the aforementioned.
How do you balance life and work to remain connected and available for your loved ones? Any advice for me?
Oh, I may be the last person who should be answering this question. Haha. When I’m working my hardest, I’m usually M.I.A. I have to schedule time for my friends and my family which gets difficult when I’m working non-stop to achieve priority goals I’ve set for myself, my career, and Let’s Vibe as well.
I usually have a few “wins” with this when I’m able to integrate my friends and family in my work life. You see, I’m an integrator when it comes to work/life. Balance for me may differ depending which tasks, projects, or goals must be at the top of the priority list. My family and friends know they are a given priority for me, and that my personal life journey is equally as important as well.
My biggest advice would be to be as transparent as possible with your loved ones, and to also accept that you cannot please everyone.
Where do you see Let’s Vibe in the next 5 years? Any new products in development?
Let’s Vibe is organic in nature as it grows and expands based upon feedback from our community and our clients. In the next 5 years, I see Let’s Vibe being accessible 24/7 to women all over the world, and enabling the voices of women both inside and outside of organizations with tangible resources.
We will be enabling people to create solutions for their everyday problems through design, while providing inspiration and collaboration opportunities world-wide.
What advice would you give to our readers who want to start a business in Illinois today? Where should they start?
I’d say, start with your why and map out where you are vs where you want to be. Look at your resources and see how you can leverage them to meet your goals.
If you find gaps in your resources, such as a partner or a lawyer, (1) Google, (2) ask around, and (3) research. Test your idea as soon as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Feedback is critical to the success of your idea. Once you have a solid idea, figure out how it will function. We have great resources in Illinois for business owners and entrepreneurs, especially out of Chicago.
You have Goodcity, Chicago Community Trust, Chamber of Commerce, Helm Business Law and many organizations and entities focused on helping you start your business with support.