Kelsey Davis: Blazing a New Trail

Kelsey Davis: Blazing a New Trail
Written by: Ferrell Dixon Jr.
Photographed by: Jaden Da Rosa
Styled by: Ellle McCray

In the sprawling landscape of the modern business frontier, Kelsey Davis emerges as a trailblazer, navigating uncharted territories with resilience, creativity, and a commitment to inclusivity. Davis, a black queer woman, is rewriting the narrative, creating pathways for underrepresented voices and reshaping the creative economy. Her journey, highlighted in an exclusive interview for ASLUT, reflects the spirit of westward expansion—a journey marked by challenges, triumphs, and a relentless pursuit of opportunity.


Davis's journey began in Atlanta, where her experiences as a freelance creator laid the foundation for her entrepreneurial spirit. She recounts, "After scaling productions early in Atlanta during high school for companies like the YMCA and SkyZone, I started studying film and entrepreneurship at Syracuse University."


By the end of her sophomore year, Davis faced a dilemma – managing academic pursuits and professional opportunities simultaneously. The solution? CLLCTVE, a platform revolutionizing how creators connect with paid opportunities. "CLLCTVE was born out of a pathway of countless ideation, testing, and iteration, all fueled by the desire to create a space where creatives could develop skills, connect with jobs, and ensure economic success simultaneously," Davis explains.


As a black queer woman, Davis's identity deeply influences her approach to entrepreneurship, challenging industry preconceptions and advocating for diversity. She sees CLLCTVE as a manifestation of her values, standing as a platform that champions diversity and provides opportunities for creators from all backgrounds.

Davis's inclusion in Forbes 30 Under 30 is a humbling acknowledgment. She notes, "The recognition does more for the world's perception of me than my own self-perception." This accolade amplifies CLLCTVE's visibility, reinforcing the commitment to positive change in the future of work economy.


Regarding the impact on representation, Davis passionately states, "It's a paradigm shift that says creativity, innovation, and leadership are inherently tied to the diversity of experiences, perspectives, and voices, including those of black queer women." Her presence on the list challenges historical oversight and highlights the transformative impact of black queer leaders on the creative landscape.


CLLCTVE's mission aligns with the philosophy that "every human is a creator," empowering freelance creatives to thrive and contribute their unique perspectives. Davis emphasizes, "Our commitment to diversity and inclusion goes beyond rhetoric – it's about providing tangible opportunities for underrepresented voices to thrive and showcase their unique perspectives."


The platform's impact is evident in collaborations like the Chime Changemakers Social Impact Campaign. Davis shares, "We recruited a talented creator from the Southside of Chicago to collaborate with this major brand. Chime joined forces with CLLCTVE for an inspiring community event on the Southside of Chicago that aimed to educate kids about financial literacy."


Davis's journey also led her to Tulsa, Oklahoma, a modern frontier for innovation and entrepreneurship. She draws inspiration from the pioneers who built Black Wall Street. "Today, I draw inspiration from their resilience and determination, mirroring their spirit as I work to connect people with resources and opportunities in Tulsa over 100 years after the deadliest massacre on American soil."


In addition to CLLCTVE, Davis is involved in the cannabis industry with Power Flower. She became a partner to invest in a growing market while ensuring economic benefits for black individuals. "It's about turning more consumers into producers. We are proud to be the youngest Black cannabis grow owners in the United States."

Being a serial entrepreneur has taught Davis the importance of diversifying ideas, learning from past experiences, and staying nimble in the face of evolving challenges. Each venture is an opportunity to make a meaningful impact and contribute to building a web that benefits current and future generations.


As an advocate for Black people to learn more about technology, Davis views it as a gateway to opportunities and a more equitable future. "Technology is not just a tool; it's a gateway to opportunities, innovation, and a more equitable future," she asserts. Her work with the AT&T Digital Divide Campaign aims to bridge gaps, create opportunities, and drive positive change in the tech industry.


Completing her Masters of Entrepreneurship and receiving the AACSB Influential Leader Award symbolize not just academic achievements but a deepened understanding of the intersection between creativity and business. Davis reflects, "These achievements are not just accolades; they symbolize overcoming hurdles, learning from setbacks, and staying true to the vision of creating positive change in the world of entrepreneurship and beyond."

In the modern wild west of business, Kelsey Davis is not just a participant; she is a trailblazer, shaping the landscape for future generations. In her journey, Davis embodies the spirit of forging new paths—a tireless pursuit of opportunity, innovation, and positive change. As a woman of color in STEM, Davis is not just breaking barriers; she is building bridges to a more inclusive and diverse future.