FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Founder & CEO, Tani Chambers
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Being a part of a community makes us feel as though we are a part of something greater than ourselves. It gives us opportunities to connect with people and to reach our goals. A true community offers a safe space to grow and learn. Tani Chambers, Founder & CEO of RAVN, understood the importance of building a strong community when founding RAVN. She has been working relentlessly to create a positive impact in finance ever since. RAVN is a community and investment syndicate of emerging Black and Afro-Latina women investors. “We've created a safe space to learn the fundamentals of investing and how to leverage it to create wealth, improve your quality of life and make a positive impact on your community.”
Full name: Tani Chambers
Current job title: Founder & CEO
Current company: RAVN
Current location: NYC
With entrepreneurial endeavors and a successful professional career in technology, finance, marketing spanning over twenty years at some of the leading financial institutions and marketing agencies in the US, Tani has leveraged her experiences to create RAVN, an investment education platform and community of emerging minority investors.
“In early 2019, I created a small group chat to explore wealth creation and invited a few other like-minded women to join. We learned that long-term investments are key to building wealth and most of us were not investing outside of retirement accounts. Today, this group, now called RAVN, has grown to a global collective of dynamic, accomplished Black and Afro-Latina women, going from bystanders to active investors in the stock market, real estate, startups, cryptocurrency, and more.”
This winter, RAVN will host their investors' summit and debut their first public cohort on Maven.com. RAVN has a public community club of 30k members called Black Women Who Invest where the members share resources, host investing-focused events, and financial speakers and experts.
“At this stage of building RAVN, our core tenets are mission, leadership, and collaboration. The team is encouraged to take ownership of their projects and responsibilities while collaborating with the other leaders to reach our goals, and ultimately complete the mission - helping more Black + Afro-Latina women create wealth, retire well and make a positive impact on their communities.”
As the Founder and CEO, Tani believes in fostering a culture of trust, respect, and support within the community. She uses her voice and platform(s) to advocate for equitable economic opportunities for women of color and other marginalized groups.
“Black women are retiring with 10x less saved for retirement than their white counterparts due in part to the wage gap, but also the investing gap. Our surveys and other independent research show this demographic is not investing due to lack of knowledge, confidence, and access to financial advisors who understand and can adapt to their unique lived experiences.”
“RAVN exists because the 30M+ Black and Afro-Latina women in the US at the bottom of the gender + racial wealth gaps literally cannot afford to wait for the powers that be to agree on the best way to solve this crisis.”
Education, access, and equitable policies are the key to combating economic inequalities and emerging fintech provides the opportunity for widespread adoption. Tani works with regulators, policymakers, and other stakeholders to address the inequalities marginalized communities face.
In her professional life, according to Tani, the best job decision was leaving her management position at a growing financial media company to become a full-time entrepreneur. She states that entrepreneurship has helped her build her character, afforded her opportunities, helped her grow her network, allowed her to explore unimaginably great experiences, and led her to amazing adventures in life overall.
In hindsight, Tani reflects on this decision as also being poorly thought out. Blindly stepping into the world of entrepreneurship, she later realized that she had been naive about the challenges she would encounter. “I had more courage than a solid business and a young daughter as my motivation to succeed by any means necessary. Yet, I have no regrets, just lessons I pass along to aspiring entrepreneurs.”
Through her entrepreneurial journey, Tani has learned that mistakes are an inevitable part of life. “Acknowledge them, make amends when necessary, learn the lesson and grow from them. Most importantly, be patient and forgiving with yourself even if others aren’t.”
Productivity Hacks from Tani:
“Many years ago, I read The ONE Thing by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan, and it really changed how I approach my work day. It also changed my approach towards productivity. Here’s my personal spin:”
Schedule work blocks: Uninterrupted time blocks broken up in a way that’s best for your work style (4hrs, two 2hr, three 1.5hr, etc).
Daily cut-off: Having an absolute daily cut-off time no matter what. This helps to alleviate burnout.
Commit to being present: Whether it's work/business, family, or leisure. Generally, I don’t think work/life balance is an attainable thing, especially as an entrepreneur but committing to being present wherever you are is important. Turn off the phone at dinner. Close down the computer during time with loved ones.
Exercise your brain: Consider playing a card game, doing jigsaw puzzles, learning a new language or skill, or just listening to music.
Rest your brain: Take a walk or a power nap or meditate with binaural beats.
More on Tani
Where you currently live: NYC
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY (born + raised)
Favorite hobby: Listening, dancing to 90’s Hip Hop, R&B, and Dancehall Reggae (my maternal family immigrated from Jamaica), and being a “plant mom.”
Favorite part of your day: Between 5 am and 6 am, when the city is truly asleep and you can hear the birds chirping.
Favorite show to binge: I’m a TV Junkie. So outside of watching ALL the DC Comics TV programming, I would say shows that have 10+ seasons, mostly oldies like, Frasier, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy but at least 4 solid seasons like Black-ish, The Good Fight, and Chicago One (Fire, Med + PD) can give you an idea of my TV watching strategy. Anything under 3 seasons is just an investment into a cliffhanger you never get closure from. Also, I don’t have “live TV” so streaming works well for me because I catch up when I have time, no pressure to catch it live anymore.
Pictures (from left to right): Tani's Work Lounge, Promenade, Views.
4:00 - 6:00 am: I usually wake sometime during this time period and will pray and meditate. Within the hour, I usually fall back asleep listening to meditations and daily affirmations.
7:15 am: Morning walk - Today on my morning walk along the promenade I had some energy, so I diverted up the hills of the park to get my heart rate up and do some people-watching. Saw the cutest elderly couple doing Tai Chi! Note to self: Get back to learning TaiChi. See if there is a class locally or something comparable on “YouTube University.”
8:00 am: Morning self-care - Skin, hair + body love. Time to reorder facial serum + moisturizer!
8:30 am: Wellness time - Make herbal tea, and usually a triple berry shake w/ protein, and yerba matcha greens. Plus some type of elixir from my apothecary, depending on what my body is telling me. I avoid carbs or any fatty foods in the morning to keep my mind and at its optimal sharpness through lunch. I save the omelets and pancakes for the weekends.
8:45 am: Skim through daily news and newsletters subscriptions on my phone. Read/listen to articles that grab my attention. Check and clear Slack messages from my community groups.
9:15 am: Review calendar and check for emails for any urgent ones flagged by my EA and respond accordingly.
9:30 am: Daily check-in with EA via video call to discuss weekly goals and any urgent matters.
10:00 am: Financial Check-up - Check the financial health of my personal and my businesses. Make sure everything is up to date and follow up on anything outstanding for personal and/or make a list for EA to follow up on. Jot down any notes and/or questions for my financial advisors.
11:00 am: This Money Monday I have back-to-back meetings with my “Money Team” (team of financial advisors) to discuss getting an early start closing out 2021 personally and for the business. Also, my goals for 2021.
12:30: Still in meetings but get up to grab a snack, usually a clementine, banana, or apple, and an OWYN Cold Brew Coffee protein drink. This is the closest I get to coffee, I’m truly a tea girl.
1:30 pm: 1hr study block for AFCPE certification (Accredited Financial Counselor) examination coming up.
2:30 pm: Lunch.
3:00: Time to set my goals for the week. I review my schedule for the week taking a mental note of anything I need to adjust or reschedule and send any changes to EA.
3:30 pm: Free time generally spent handling personal matters or some type of personal development activity. Mondays and Fridays are ½ workdays.
5:00 pm: Weekly food delivery arrives. I don’t have the time to cook as often as I used to so this yummy prepared food service has been a timesaver!
6:00 pm: Dinner is baked cajun salmon with basmati rice and asparagus, a selection from my food service. Respond to some DMs on social media.
7:00 pm: Read some news articles and catch up on my Slack and WhatsApp groups.
9:00 pm: TV Time! I’m way behind on Chicago One!
11:00 pm: Bedtime, cue YouTube bedtime playlist of sleep meditations and binaural beats. Fall asleep.
TEAM TUESDAYS (busiest day)
9:38 am: Late start! I was up late updating my deck and completing an application for a six-figure non-dilutive funding opportunity with a deadline today that a fellow founder pinged me about last night. I’m a little frazzled, so I go pray, meditate and do some breathing exercises to calm my nerves.
10:05 am: Heading down to the gym to do a quick 25 min walk/run on the treadmill. Fall has made its debut and the weather is a little brisk, I can’t find my hoodie and more importantly, I’m pressed for time.
10:35 am: Opting for an OWYN Cold Brew protein drink while my tea brews and I get ready for the 11 am team meeting.
10:55 am: Quick check-in with EA via WhatsApp voice chat about any urgent matters and/or email. An event organizer for a major publication wants to have a pre-event discussion with my fellow panel members on Monday, which is usually a no, and she needs me to approve. I approve. She reminds me that I have three (3) more funding applications due this week and one includes a team video that is still not scheduled and the inbound investor I was scheduled to meet with today canceled, again, for the 3rd time. I told her not to reschedule.
10:58 am: Logged on to Zoom in the waiting room while finishing up with EA.
11:00 am: Team meeting begins - we start with discussing something good that’s happened since last week. Then we go into rapid-fire rounds about urgent matters. And other leaders discuss how they can support or help resolve any issues. Discuss goals and progress for the week and we’re off in one hour flat because we all hate meetings that could be an email. Head to scheduled 1:1 team meetings
12:00 pm: Mel (Melissa Wyatt, alpha member, and Real Estate lead for RAVN), and I meet to review the final draft of the RE curriculum and some recent deal flow. We’re thinking of moving our Clubhouse rooms to Twitter spaces. We also plan a dinner and a photoshoot for NYC alpha members during her upcoming visit to NYC.
1:00 pm: Lisa (Lisa Godwin, alpha member, and CTO). These meetings always start off with 5min of non-stop laughter about something. Once we recover, we start by updating the product roadmap for RAVN’s technical product (beta version) and set a preliminary timeline. Next week we start evaluating platforms. More laughter and a date for brunch.
2:00 pm: Quick break -- I need some air. I take a walk around the block.
2:15 pm: EA is pinging me like crazy! GREAT NEWS! We’ve got two major leads inquiring about partnerships for the summit and they want to get the call scheduled ASAP. I remind EA to add the updates on Canva and send the final to me by the end of the day.
2:30 pm: Meeting with my favorite copywriter, Courtney Bowden! We discuss the copy for the new RAVN website, the summit landing page. She gives me some homework, as usual, so she can provide me with the best results. We debate on starting a blog for RAVN or not.
3:45 pm: I forgot to eat lunch again! Popped a Spicy Braised Short Rib by Chef Ester Choi in the oven from CookUnity (my meal service). This is one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. Too bad I didn’t have the opportunity to invest in their last round. Note to self: Look out for their up and coming competitor. ;-)
4:00 pm: Pitch from a potential production agency for RAVN’s upcoming investor summit.
4:30 pm: Program manager of a women-focused accelerator to discuss participation in an upcoming event. Dates don’t work, I have to pass but I recommend three other women founders I think would be a great fit.
5:00 pm: Just wrapped the last (scheduled) meeting of the day! Thank the heavens!
5:45 pm: Time to start this week’s funding apps. But first I need a change of scenery. Grab my notebook, water bottle, and head down to my building’s co-working space where it's always quiet and empty. Do the residents even remember it's here?
6:00 pm: My niece calls me on FaceTime to tell me about her day at school, then abruptly tells me she has to go because she needs to watch her show. I continue working.
6:30 pm: “Where are you?!” - says my daughter. Clearly, she’s in my apartment and I’m not.
Me: Uh, hello to you, too. I’m downstairs working in the lounge.
Her: Ohhh, I should come work down there, too. I’ll be down soon. Did you cook?
Me: I’ll see you when you get here and I’m sure you’ll figure something out to eat. Bye!
7:00 pm: Almost forgot about dinner - it's been one of those days. I’m in a groove with these applications and don’t want to stop my flow, so Grubhub to the rescue!
9:40 pm: Time to shut it down and get ready for bed. The world won’t end if I continue this tomorrow. Exit the lounge.
10:00 pm: Night-time self-care routine!
10:30 pm: Something is happening in the founders’ WhatsApp group, I peek in and get caught up in the convo.
11:17 pm: No TV tonight, I’m beat! Straight to the YouTube playlist. I probably won’t make it through the first 15 min.
Reach out to Tani on LinkedIn.