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Sevetri Wilson is the CEO and Founder of ExemptMeNow, a New Orleans based tech startup she launched in 2016 to simply the creation, compliance and management processes for nonprofits and for profits. She has raised $2M for her tech startup to date, making her the first Black woman in Louisiana to raise over $1M in venture capital, and the most of any woman of color to date in the state. She possesses expertise in strategic communications, brand marketing, technology, public affairs and project management. In her role at ExemptMeNow, Sevetri sets the vision for the company, builds and manages the team, and leads the company’s execution against its strategy.

She is also the founder of Solid Ground Innovations, LLC. (SGI), an awarded winning strategic communications and management firm with offices in Baton Rouge and New Orleans that she founded in 2009 and grew to a multi-million dollar agency. As CEO, she provides strategic oversight for client project execution while facilitating new market entry and client cultivation. Her technical strengths include business development, communications strategy, market analytics and trends, advocacy and community outreach, team building and coaching, process analysis and project management.

Some of Sevetri’s clientele over the years have included Fortune 100 and 500 companies, small businesses, government agencies, political figures, and not for profit organizations. Her work and that of her clients has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times and CNN. In 2010, Sevetri received the National Nobel Prize for Public Service, The Jefferson Award for advocacy and community outreach for the curriculum design she created for a nonprofit, and was featured in the Senate’s report to the White House on volunteerism in the country. In the same year, Sevetri received a proclamation from New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and was further recognized by former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. In 2013, Sevetri received Business Woman of the Year from the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus.

SGI, the company Sevetri founded in 2009, has received dozens of accolades and awards, and has been named to the LSU 100: Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses in the world by the university’s Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute(SEI) for three consecutive years.

In 2016, Sevetri was appointed to Governor John Bel Edwards’ Economic Development Transition team where she worked with 16 other business leaders from across the state to create recommendations for economic growth in the state of Louisiana. In 2017, Sevetri was appointed to Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s transition staff after leading communications in a successful campaign bid for Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish.Sevetri is a former contributing writer for Entrepreneur and Inc. magazine where she has written about best business practices, diversity, technology and civic engagement. Sevetri is heavily involved in the community and serves on the board of directors for UNCF-NOLA, Downtown Development District, YWCA, LSU AP Tureaud Black Alumni, and is an active member of New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans Black Chamber of Commerce and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc. Additionally, Deputy Mayor Judy Reese Morse selected Sevetri to serve on the City’s Equity in Business Community Roundtable a partnership with WKKF Kellogg to advance diversity and equity work throughout city.

Sevetri received her Masters in History and a dual Bachelors of Science in Mass Communications and History from Louisiana State University. She is currently a 2019 Masters Candidate in Public Policy and Government at Harvard University.

True to her New Orleans roots, Sevetri is an accomplished musician and in her free time enjoys motivational speaking, writing and volunteering with youth to further their interest in technology.

  • (Background questions for inspirational purposes)
  • Can you tell us about your journey and what led you to what to start your own company? Watching your mother support you and your siblings with a $30,000 salary, how did that motivate you? Why is financial stability and freedom important?
  • You grew your business, solid ground innovations, from $0 to seven figures, how? And what was the biggest lesson you learned about yourself and business?
  • Can you share some candid insight about starting a business?
  • What is something you wish someone would have told you then that you know now?
  • We look around the room and we see so many women, do you feel you experienced different challenges because you are a woman and business? If so, how did you overcome that?
  • You have two successful businesses, I want to take a moment and walk through a SWOT analysis, as our participants are getting ready to create their pitches.
  • When we announced the Blueprint program, it was at an event by Jay Morrison, who is also a strong proponent for Black Wealth. Why is it so important that we begin to build generational wealth?Follow up: Do you think it’s too late for us to catch up or be competitive with other cultures?
  • When we announced the Blueprint program, it was at an event by Jay Morrison, who is also a strong proponent for Black Wealth. Why is it so important that we begin to build generational wealth?Follow up: Do you think it’s too late for us to catch up or be competitive with other cultures?
  • Milwaukee has a very rich history of non-profits, it has been reported that 1/3 of the property in city of Milwaukee is owned by non profits, what are your thoughts on AA starting non-profits versus for profit entities?