RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Donald Thompson, an investor and entrepreneur as well as a leader in the Triangle’s Black community, will be writing a weekly column for WRAL TechWire.

“I’m humbled and honored to be asked by WRAL TechWire to participate as a weekly columnist,” Thompson says.

“I think that over the years, I’ve experienced successes and failures that have tuned my insight to recognize patterns in business, to recognize excellence in people and to realize that I have a responsibility to help others through things that I’ve learned to grow and become more, think more broadly, and be stronger thinkers, I want to do that. I think that in any construct, whether you’re a technology company, marketing, whether you’re in government – selling your ideas is a critical component to anything that you do.”

WRAL TechWire Editor and Co-founder Rick Smith asked Thompson, who operates digital communications and media firm Walk West, to become a contributor after demands for racial equality erupted following the death of Black North Carolina native George Floyd.

African American tech leaders in Triangle demand change – Donald Thompson, Walk West, speaks out

“Donald and I had a very candid and lengthy conversation about race following the in-depth series of interviews with Black entrepreneurs and community leaders following Floyd’s death. Donald was one of the executives who talked with TechWire reporter Chantal Allam quite candidly about where we are as a country and what we need to do now in terms of taking action to create a more equitable country,” Smith says. “Since TechWire launched in 2002 we have always sought to have an inclusive lineup of contributors. TechWire, like our corporate parent Captiol Broadcasting, has also sought to be fair and inclusive in its coverage of all things tech with many stories about Black, female, and LGBTQ leaders as well as issues.

“The addition of Donald – joining contributors such as author and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, Tom Snyder of RIoT, Joan Siefert Rose of LaunchBio, David Gardner of Cofounders Capital, Sarah Chick and Jess Porta of HQ Raleigh, Thom Ruhe of NC IDEA Foundation, Dr. Mike Walden of N.C. State – along with the reporting of Chantal Allam, Jason Parker and Shannon Cuthrell broadens the diverse group of voices we already offer. But we haven’t done enough. We can – and will – do better.”

The mission

Thompson will be writing about a wide variety of issues affecting entrepreneurship, from funding to hiring to finding investors. But a keen point of emphasis will also be discussing challenges facing the Black community and generating dialogue leading to action.

“One of the things in terms of business career and, long term goals is that you want to be helpful in an environment where you have something of value that you think you can add,” Thompson says. “And WRAL TechWire has given me the opportunity and I’m humbled and appreciative to share some of the life experiences through partnership, through being an African American in technology and marketing, and most importantly, creating a voice of optimism in this sea of chaos by writing about how people can create a better opportunities for their business, their employees, and create personal growth.”

Thompson recently launched The Diversity Movement, a set of online courses, videos, podcasts, events and consulting offerings focused on diversity and inclusion course. He’s also initiating some “uncomfortable” conversations about race and diversity with the podcast, “Ask a Black Guy/Ask a White Guy.”

His column will apear on Wednesdays beginning July 10.