Daryn Dodson (Stanford GSB, 2007) is managing director of Illumen Capital, a private equity, venture, and growth impact fund-of-funds that delivers evidence-based bias-reduction training and coaching to its portfolio of fund managers throughout the life of each investment, a journey intended to last 10 years. A lifelong advocate of social and economic justice, Daryn founded Illumen Capital after observing that the vast majority of investments were underperforming because of racial and gender bias.
In October 2018, Illumen Capital was beginning the process of raising its first fund. Daryn was strolling along the Embarcadero enroute to an appointment when, out of the blue, he was struck hard on the back of his head.
Daryn, who is Black, turned and saw that he had been hit by a white male — who followed the blow by repeatedly shouting the N-word, and then ran away. Daryn, fortunately, was not seriously injured so he pulled out his cellphone, called 911, and gave chase, talking to police all the while. His assailant, meanwhile, took out a belt, started swinging it, and continued yelling the N-word, while running in and out of restaurants. When the police arrived, guns drawn, and caught up with the assailant, the man sat down on a bench and began conversing as if nothing had happened. The officers took Daryn’s information and that of his assailant.
Daryn decided to press charges and faced challenging circumstances in the courtroom. When he discussed his situation with a friend, the conversation proved unhelpful.
This roleplay enables students to practice a difficult conversation that involves matters of race and justice.