The past year has been challenging, but it didn’t slow down Carla Harris. While Harris, vice chairman and managing director at
isn’t logging as many business travel miles as she was before the pandemic, she has been using some of her found time to finish up her third book, release an album of Christmas songs, and grow Morgan Stanley’s accelerator for start-ups, the Multicultural Innovation Lab.
Harris, 58, says that keeping strong in her faith and being extra intentional about managing time have enabled her to weather the past year.
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“I knew that this was going to pass. And I wanted to have something to show for it,” Harris, a 34-year veteran of Morgan Stanley, tells Barron’s.
Her efforts will also help empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. Harris has run the in-house Multicultural Innovation Lab for the past five years. The pandemic forced the lab to go virtual—a move that threatened a program reliant on in-house instruction. But instead, the lab flourished as the start-ups learned to pivot amid challenging market conditions. The program doubled the number of companies supported.
“Many of these companies that have been founded by women and folks of color were actually surviving, or thriving, in this Covid environment because they are flexible,” says Harris. “They’re scrappy. They’re resilient by nature because of who they are. And it takes a lot to get to the point where you can even raise venture-capital dollars.”
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