diversity, Policy, Uncategorized

My 5 “Points of Persuasion” That Influence Me as a Georgia Lawmaker

State of GeorgiaFor those of you that are in Georgia and have ANY sense of timing, you’d know that the 2018 Georgia General Assembly session is upon us. We convene on Jan. 8th, 2018 at 10:00 am, per our state Constitution. And we will meet up to forty (40) days per our constitution, although not consecutively. Sidenote: Did you know the Georgia constitution happens to be one of the longest in the nation behind Texas? That’s not a compliment folks….

Become a Citizen Lobbyist

Anyway, I am in my 4th term or 8th year as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. My! How time flies when you are having fu…..well, not having much fun since I am in the minority party. Although, that’s an upgrade because I used to be a member of the SUPER minority party until recently but I digress. During my time in the legislature, I have seen my law degree, my undergraduate communications degree AND my M.B.A. all serving me well in terms of persuasion with others. But it doesn’t take degrees to understand the art of persuasion when it comes to influencing your lawmakers. And let me take this personal point of privilege to STRONGLY encourage you to pester your lawmakers as much as you can and hold them accountable. But aside from that, don’t let the media tell you only paid lobbyists are the ones that persuade legislators. I assure you that is NOT the case. Citizen lobbyists are some of the most persuasive people I know. They are passionate. They are pithy (which is important). And most importantly, most of the time they are my constituents, which is of the highest priority for me.

My 5 Persuasion Points

Here are 5 points that work well to persuade ME on pending legislation (This doesn’t work for every legislator but I’d like to think it works with most.)

Point No. 1: Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I am looking for whole truths and not half truths or puffed up lies. There are competing interests on every piece of legislation so eventually the truth will get back to me. So, to avoid my rage and your embarrassment, just be upfront about the whole situation in the process. If you can accurately convey the pros and cons of your argument, you would have gained the respect of me as a legislator and as an attorney. I mean, attorneys…most of them anyway…like facts and knowing all of the arguments. So perhaps this is why I put the most emphasis on this persuasion point.

Point No. 2: Give me data.

I love data. You can lie about a number of things—-but numbers don’t lie and neither does the data and conclusions that come from those numbers. I am particularly a fan of charts and infograms. It helps me digest the millions of information I receive each session. So take that load of information, numbers and data and put it into a form that is easily digestible and distinguishable among the piles of paper that sit on my legislative desk everyday. But remember when you are giving out that data to refer to point no. #1. That’s important.

Point No. 3: Think about those I represent.

The majority of constituents I represent are middle age, African American females with 2.5 kids and a post graduate degree from DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. Relate your position to how it affects MY district specifically. If you can combine points number 1, 2 and 3 you have hit the jackpot as far as I am concerned! I know as a citizen lobbyist that can be a daunting task. Indeed, I know it would be hard to specify your argument based on 180 distinct House district—-but it goes a LONG way in persuading me. I need to know the impact on those I serve and it’s easier to get me to your position if you can tell me how it affect those 54,000 Georgians I serve.

Point No. 4: Advise where the bill is in the process.

Seriously, don’t talk to me about a bill that hasn’t even had a 2nd reader. Or hasn’t been assigned to committee. Or has been assigned to a committee I don’t serve on. Or has no chances of seeing the light of day. Why? We vote on thousands of pieces of legislation which means thousands more have been filed. I need to focus on the forest as opposed to the trees—specifically the forest that is ahead of me and not the trees behind me. It’s a waste of both of our time to discuss bills that are far on the horizon. In fact, I will forget what you told me by the time the bill becomes relevant anyway. It takes a little patience but prioritizing your arguments are the best way to get my full attention when I have a million other things on my mind. And I can talk competently about it when it is in my radio. And THAT is a win-win for all of us!

Point No. 5: What’s in it for you?

It’s an honest question and one I think, as a lawmaker, I am entitled to know. I don’t judge motives; only outcomes. However, knowing motives does allow me to determine how I process information coming from someone. If the answer is “because I am being paid by a client” or “this affects me personally”, fair enough! I am a lawyer. I have clients. I know what it means to have a duty to zealously represent a client. I’m not mad. But be honest. We are all humans so self-preservation is a thing…a real thing…a thing none of us should hide from. Now, some of my colleagues won’t appreciate the honesty but I do.


Where there you have it! My 5 points for how to personally persuade me, Dar’shun Kendrick, the State Representative from House District 93. I hope that this list will be helpful as we embark on the 2018 Georgia General Assembly session. It is my particular wish that each of you reading this blog post will put these skills to use and come visit me at the “velvet rope” outside Chambers.

Need more “hands on” training and expertise?

Then I have THE workshop for you, hosted by my private business Kendrick Advisory & Advocacy Group, LLC. Tickets are VERY limited so I hope you will join me, others and pitch expert A.C. Chan to learn more about the art of “pitching” and persuasion. The best part—I will be there since it’s my program so you can try your “pitch” out on me. You can’t get better beta testing than that so join me!

Get tickets HERE!

NOTE: This workshop is a part of KAAG’s signature lobbyist training program, the GA Path Program, designed to expose minorities and women to careers as professional Georgia lobbyists. This program is in its first year of operation with twenty (20) members of the Inaugural class.


I am Chief Diversity Activist and Consultant for Kendrick Advisory & Advocacy Group, LLC. Visit us online to request me as a speaker, set up a time to chat about your diversity goals or view upcoming events.

I serve as a board member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s corporate development society, founder and Board Chair of Minority Access to Capital, Inc.,

a nonprofit dedicated to educating and empowering minorities on how to access capital to grow their business and create generational wealth. I have been elected to the Georgia House of Representatives since 2010, serving over 54,000 Georgians in DeKalb and Gwinnett countries under the Georgia State Capitol each year.

Follow Me on Social Media:

LinkedIn Company Page





diversity, Policy, Uncategorized

What’s my “secret to success”? Find out what I told a room full of women.

Below is text of my speech that I gave as the keynote for this event. You can also download the PDF of my speech and share. Enjoy, like, share and leave comments!

Good Afternoon,

First, I want to thank Ms. Leverette and the Atlanta Council for giving me this opportunity to speak at this Meeting. It is always a pleasure to speak to business women as a business woman myself but ESPECIALLY important when there is a diverse group of women who want to learn how to grow personally and professionally from each other. Today is not only about me imparting wisdom and life lessons on you—but learning from you as well so I look forward to chatting with some of you after this event.

Also thank you to Dr. Sykes for her support and joining me today. Give her a round of applause. She is a part of my consulting firm’s “Givers Circle”, which is a group of diversity advocates that meet monthly to discuss a number of diversity issues and discuss solutions to race and gender problems.


This is my 1st of about 5 speaking engagements I have over the next month including 2 award ceremonies. Even though I am asked to speak numerous times a year, the pace and importance of my speaking engagements are starting to pick up so I have been wondering how to introduce myself in a memorable way. And I think I have come to the conclusion that I need Beyonce’s back up dancers to follow me around and play her song “Who Run the World” every time I take the stage. But, I cannot afford Beyonce’s back up dancers so if anyone wants to volunteer for these roles let me know. But it is true that we all know who run the world and that’s who ladies? (Repeat) It has been proven repeatedly that when women are at the table—things get done faster and better, both in business and in politics.

So if you cannot by one of my back up dancers, I have another task for you that I hope you can help me out with: I need you to snap pictures and tag me on social media. My tags are just DarshunKendrick (page on FB, Twitter @TheDiversityAct, Instagram and LinkedIn). Can you do that for me?

Now the flier for this event is a little ambitious—I am supposed to “introduce you to a proven system for success and tips to be a part of political decision making.” Well I can tell you right now how to answer the first part of that: My proven system for success IS, and write this down ladies, ….FAILURE WITH GRACE.

Proven System for Success: Failure With Grace

Now I know you are saying Dar’shun that’s not quite what we wanted to hear. We wanted to hear something uplifting and inspirational on this Saturday afternoon. Well, I am a pragmatist and I am here to tell you: failure and defeat with the utmost grace got me to where I am today. It’s often said that in life we either learn or succeed, but never truly fail so long as we are trying. That may be true, but it’s through failure that I learned to use grace to turn to what makes me happy: service to others. Let me explain.

My Childhood in the Dec

I was born at Grady Hospital and raised in Decatur GA. Not the nice part of Decatur—-the drug deal making part of Decatur, off Glenwood Road. My parents are blue collar, lower middle class folks. Neither one of them had a college degree until my mom got hers at the age of 53 a few years ago. None of my 4 grandparents have a high school diploma—let me repeat NONE of my grandparents had a high school diploma. But God got the last laugh because now I have 4 degrees, one in honor of each one of my grandparents.

The High School Blues

But the road to 4 degrees was rough. I went to Towers High School where the graduation rate at the time was 30% and I had a 25% chance of being pregnant by age 16. High school was also the time of one my first big fails in life, as I saw it. I am an introvert. No one believes me but I am very good about being extroverted when I need to. But in high school I was extremely shy, very nerdy and—check this out—-unbothered by others opinion of me, which was rare for a high school student especially a female. And for this, I was bullied physically, emotionally, and psychologically. I felt I had FAILED in high school. I was extremely unpopular.

But at the time, I could have got depressed or complained or isolated myself but what I decided to do was to get involved in student government. I was involved in elementary school but I really gravitated towards it in high school and so I emerced myself in student government activities. I could never get elected—but I always got appointed to plan Spirit Week or to plan the Homecoming Parade and Dance because the leadership knew I got stuff done. And that’s where I fell in love with the ability to serve others in a leadership capacity. Failure with grace.

The College Years As a Stormy Petrel & Bulldog

Fast forward,I am at Oglethorpe University. I work for 2 members of Congress, one on Capitol Hill in DC, work at the State Capitol for 2 years, run a State Senate campaign, work for the Democratic Party of GA and get into EVERY law school I apply for, including a full ride plus cash to one, all before the age of 22——life was good

And then came law school at UGA Law. Another opportunity to fail with grace. I wish I could tell you all that I was made to be a lawyer but it would be untrue. I ran for several positions in leadership—lost them all. I interviewed for law firm jobs—-didn’t get any. I tried to make friends—that didn’t seem to work either. So what did I do? The same thing that I did in high school. I turned to service. So with a new professor at UGA Law, I started the first ever business legal society focused on networking with transactional lawyers, not litigators. That society, ladies, still exists today at UGA Law and still thriving and I am proud to say I was the Founder. Failing… with grace.

The Perfect Storm

What happened 2 years after graduation is the story of a lifetime: In August of 2009, I came back from a cruise for my 26th birthday and none of the partners at my law firm were talking to each other. True story. And I knew that things were bad at the firm but didn’t know it was THIS bad. Long story short, the firm imploded and everyone was released by the end of the year. Bad timing too because I was just enrolling in my M.B.A. program at Kennesaw. It was in the middle of the Great Recession and, as a new lawyer with no job, I felt I had failed myself, my parents, my law school and Sallie Mae because I still had school loans to repay. So ladies—what I am about to tell you next is the ULTIMATE failing with grace story so listen carefully.

To Everything, There is a Season

Many of you can relate that since I had a law firm, I needed clients. In order to get clients, I needed to do business development and I wanted to have a business event in DeKalb where I lived. So I set up a meeting with a legislator I knew, Rep. Howard Mosby, for Wednesday around lunch time to discuss some ideas. Wednesday around lunch time, you hear me? Something came up and he cancelled. I thought “great. another delay.” I really wanted that Wednesday meeting but decided not to get upset but instead fail with grace. So, I pushed for him to immediately reschedule to that following day, Thursday for lunch.

So I get to the Capitol Thursday and we are walking down the Capitol steps to lunch and I will never forget what he turned around and said to me that literally changed my life. He said “What district do you live in?” I said” Rep. Randall Mangum, House District 94″. And he said “You are running for his seat. 2 hours before you got here, he decided to run for Governor and we need someone to run.” True story. Remember ladies, to everything there is a season.

Now, I was hardheaded, as some of us are when blessings are chasing us down. I said “no” several times. I called my friend Ted Terry, who is now the Mayor of Clarkston, to talk me out of it and he did the opposite and paid my qualification fees. My colleague in the House now Rep. Doreen Carter offered to take me down to qualify after I tried to get her to run in my place instead. On the way to qualify, I received a call from a friend of mine who was an intern on Capitol Hill in DC at the same time I was. He just so happened to work for then Commissioner Lee May who represented my district who said to me “I don’t know you. I’ve never met you. But Edmond says great things about you. If you’re ok with him, you’re ok with me. You have my support.” Ladies, failing with grace has served me well.

I went on to qualify 30 minutes before the deadline and at age 27 became the State Representative from then House District 94, beating out 5 other competitors.

So to conclude—-my secret to success is simple but a hard reality: Failure, because it teaches you to be creative and makes you stronger. Remember that pearls are made from friction and diamonds are made from pressure. But take it a step further and concentrate on failing wit

That’s why my consulting firm has several initiatives like:

That’s why my consulting firm has several initiatives like:

  1. The GA Path Program, which is an initiative to expose more minorities and women to careers in professional lobbying. We are still accepting applications for that program until Oct. 11th. I will talk more about this program later.
  2. We also have our Corporate Board Training program to train and mentor minorities and women to be on PAID, corporate boards. We are in talks with a large NGO in New York to partner with us to make that happen soon so stay tuned if interested.
  3. And last, a Wonder Women Confidence Conference that I am planning with some wonderful women for March of 2018…complete with capes…to focus on empowering and teaching women who are in male dominated industries.

So in conclusion, I pray each of you find your failure and then find your grace…. in service on boards, in your community or any other capacity you see fit.

Tips to Be a Part of Political Decision Making

So change of topic a bit. How to be a part of political decision making, another one of my favorite subjects.

This is less anecdotal and more of a teaching experience so take out pen and paper. Here we go….I have 6 “action items” for you to be a part of the political decision making process.

  1. Vote. This the very BASIC thing that each of us can do, the very LEAST that each one of us can do to participate in the political process. So vote often in every election and vote fully all the way down the ballot. Now you are a group of active women so I am sure that if I looked you up on Votebuilder, you all would be what we call “super voters”, those voters that vote often. Yes, you are more likely to get picked for jury duty but guess what—-that’s being a part of the decision making process as well. Who decides who gets locked up—juries, who are made up from voters. If you don’t like how the judge conducted the proceeding, you can vote them out.
  2. Lobby (paid or unpaid). As a private, unpaid citizen, you have a right to come down to the Capitol or anywhere in your local or federal government, and tell your elected official what you want as many times as you want. You can email them, call them, write them or, my favorite, tweet them and let your voice be heard. Now…what I want to spend some time to talk about is the PAID opportunities. Many forget that lobbying is an actual profession with the same opportunities and challenges as any other profession. Every major corporation has a lobbyist. Every large non-profit organization has a lobbyist. Every powerful group behind key pieces of legislation has a lobbyist. So while people think that lobbying is some nasty word filled with visions of back off deals and endless food, (1) that’s not true most times and (2) it’s how government works. Lobbyists, or Governmental Affairs professionals as we call them, serve a vital purpose in our policy making infrastructure—one that is necessary. Because let’s face it. Not all of us regular people can spend the time to influence politicians and provide information and so we pay someone, just like any other profession. That’s why I created a program called the GA Path Program. It’s the first of its kind in the state and its an initiative from my firm to encourage and expose more minorities and women to paid lobbying opportunities. My GA Path Program is having its first class in October. Applications are technically close but we have a few spaces open for the 7 month program with a absolute Oct. 17th deadline to apply. We have 37 professional mentors of various backgrounds ready to provide insight into this world and what is means to be a professional lobbyist. If you are interested, take a look at my website and apply if interested.
  3. Join like minded people. If you don’t want to quit your day job, find a few issues you are passionate about and I am almost 100% sure that there is an organization or a few organizations that support your issue. If you don’t know of an organization, google them or ask someone then get involved. You will be surprised the leadership roles and the activities that will support your particular issue. You can support with your time and talent. I am sure any organization would be thrilled to have you ladies.
  4. Give money. Now, I know this sounds bad because of what you hear and see in the media and the horror stories you may have heard but think about this. If you have a favorite candidate, whom you trust to do what’s right for you and your family, and they decide to run for office…how are they going to get elected? The dean of the House and a friend of mine, Rep. Calvin Smyre who has served for over 40 years in the State House, he says “It takes coal to run a train but it takes gold to run a campaign.” We may think that money is evil but even the Bible says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Focus on using money as a tool to accomplish your goal of electing good people. Don’t be afraid of it.
  5. Volunteer. If you find an organization or a public official that you like, volunteer for events and initiatives and programs. You would be surprised how much you learn just by showing up. I have a gentleman that was a former federal lobbyist who has been helping me on several initiatives. He shows up to special events I can’t attend, sits in on my behalf at meetings and events and through all that, found out about an executive role in government and policy that he is interested in that I am going to recommend him for. Volunteering is a great way to access opportunities. My first volunteer opportunity was working in then Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s district office as a 17 year old—which made my resume for other positions take off and here I am today.
  6. Run for office. I often joke that you have to be a little mentally unstable to run for office—at to some extent that’s true because it’s a rough existence. But if none of the other things I said work for you, running for office is always an option. Now, your timing has to be right—because timing is everything in politics (How we got Trump)—but is a viable option for some special and disturbed people. I put this as the last option because other people will always push women especially to run for office and let’s face it, we do a darn good job at it so I am not surprised. However, it is not for everyone. But if you do feel like running for office is in your future, do it! No hesitation please like I hesitated! You know, men have an amazing ability to get up, tie their shoes and all of a sudden believe they can run for President of the United States. Women can have several degrees, award winning results and we still, like in my case, have to be asked several times to run. Don’t let that be you if you know you want to run. Just do it!

So just to recap……ways to get involved are….(call them out)

Call to Action

You can receive a copy of this speech if you sign up for my enewsletter which goes out every Wednesday at 10 am. I also encourage you to follow me on social media—you will both be inspired and entertained.


So again thank you ladies—for taking the time to hear me today. I hope that you found some inspiration of how to “fail with grace” to move you towards your destiny and also that you will take up the “call to arms” to get involved in YOUR…YOUR political process. And remember—-who runs the world?!


I am Chief Diversity Activist and Consultant of Kendrick Advisory & Advocacy Group, LLC . We curate and execute customized initiatives, programs and events for organizations to meet their specific diversity & inclusion objectives and provide results. Visit us online to request me as a speaker, set up a time to chat about your diversity goals or view upcoming events. Also, learn a little bit more about me.

I practiced private securities law for over a decade before this transition to more meaningful work. I was featured in the Huffington Post as 1 of 25 People Poised to Scale Atlanta’s Growing Technology Start Up Ecosystem for Black Americans and Beyond. 

Follow Me on Social Media:

LinkedIn Company Page





diversity, Inclusion

My Personal Pledge to “Grab My Sister Girl”…and Add More Color to Any Room

Intro: Let me get some things out the way…..

Ahem. So the featured picture in this blog post may have you going “wha….” as it seems counter to the title of this blog post. First, let me give some photo identifications to this fabulous group of people then I will explain. Going from left to right: Rep. Doreen Carter (Treasurer of Georgia Legislative Black Caucus), Bernie Dixon (President of Atlanta Tech Angels), Dana Ugwonali (President of Black Tech Foundation), Stephen Hassett (Chair of the TAG Corporate Development Society), Chrissa McFarlane (CEO of Patientory), Allyson Eman (Executive Director of Venture Atlanta), yours truly and Mrs. Jennifer Callender, (Vice President of Membership of Minority Access To Capital, Inc.) Lots of women. Lots of people of color. I smiled a lot that day.

So what’s up with the photo?

Minority Event_Get Your Ticket Today (9)

To provide some clarity, this was a joint event held at the Georgia World Congress Center between the Technology Association of Georgia’s Corporate Development Board (where I serve on the board), my non-profit Minority Access to Capital, Inc. (where I am Founder and Board Chair) and the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus (where I serve as Chair of the Economic Development committee). It was a wonderful event focused on “Capital Raising & Growth Strategies for Women and Minority Owned Companies”—-so the marketing targeted…you guessed it…women and minority owned companies. So it’s not surprising that we had a room full of black people (let’s be honest) and women. But this focused event is the EXCEPTION to the rule and frankly, I’m tired of it.

Story of my life: The only black woman

“Dar’shun, what exactly are you tired of?” Answer: Being the only black woman in a room when money is being discussed at non-targeted events. That’s right—I said it. I went to an event to bring an international angel investor group to Georgia at the beginning of August. I was the only black woman out of about 100 people that attended this presentation. I also attended an event just last Friday on corporate venture capital funding with some of Atlanta’s top corporate leaders in venture capital. It was probably 150 people in the room at the Commerce Club BUT, low and behold, I was the only black woman. As many of you know, my outlet for venting my frustration is Facebook so I posted these (see below) at the time of both events….and yall, I am tired of making these same posts because this is NOT the first time I have made similar posts.

Rant RE corporate VC only BW.png

Rant RE Kiretsu only BW

Now I did NOT write this blog post to point blame at anyone or any organization for this too often recurring situation that I find myself. However, I am placing blame on myself and holding myself responsible for making sure this happens as less as possible in the future. I tried my best to reach out to a diverse group of people to attend both events but I MUST DO MORE if I want to see black women at these events. Therefore, I am personally pledging to pick up the phone and personally invite black women. I am personally pledging to send as many follow up emails as necessary. And I am personally pledging to even pick my sister girls up on my way to the same event. I have never been one to complain about a situation and expect others to solve it. I must do more and I will do more.

Why This Matters to Me

Some of you may be saying “What’s the big deal? You see them [black women] at targeted events.” Well…well…well…

A few responses to that:

  1. I serve on a volunteer board of the largest tech organization in the southeast, the Technology Association of Georgia. There is no reason why I should be the only black woman “in the room” and “at the table”. I need to invite others that look like me to enjoy the meal as well. It is 2017. We can go where we please so we need to show up!
  2. This is not an exclusive offer. What I mean is that just because I am trying to get more black women to join me at certain non-targeted events doesn’t mean they cannot attend or shouldn’t continue to attend more targeted events. We are women—we can walk and chew gum at the same time.
  3. Optics matters. Ever heard the phrase “perception is reality.”? Well, it’s true in business and true in life. ALL presenters at both of the aforementioned events were white males, except 1 male at the corporate venture capital event. I am CONVINCED that there would be a different group of panelists and a more diverse discussion if black women had a significant presence in the room.

In closing, my self-inflicted “Call to Action”

And there you have it. I have put out what I will personally do the next time I am invited to a “non-targeted” event that I think should have the presence of black women to contribute to the discussion and the optics. I ask that each of you hold me accountable. Make sure that I do what I say I will do. It’s important, especially in these perilous times in the United States, that a diverse group of people talk with each other, respect each other and interact with each other in the same room. I hope you will join me in lighting up any room with a variety of colors and perspectives.

Upcoming Events & Initiatives

  • August 31st- Deadline to apply for GA Path Program, an initiative to expose more minorities and women to careers in Governmental Affairs (lobbying)
  • November 8th– 1st EVER Georgia Blacks in Tech Policy Conference. Registration opens Sept. 1st. Sign up for my enewsletter to receive early registration link.
  • Outstanding RFP– Looking for an organization with strong corporate ties to develop a program to train and expose minorities and women to PAID corporate board positions. More information HERE.


About Me

I am Chief Diversity Activist and Consultant of Kendrick Advisory & Advocacy Group, LLC. We curate and execute customized initiatives, programs and events for organizations to meet their specific diversity & inclusion objectives and provide results. I practiced private securities law for over a decade before this transition to more meaningful work. I was featured in the Huffington Post as 1 of 25 People Poised to Scale Atlanta’s Growing Technology Start Up Ecosystem for Black Americans and Beyond. 

I serve as a board member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s corporate development society founder and Board Chair of Minority Access to Capital, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to educating and empowering minorities on how to access capital to grow their business and create generational wealth. I have been elected to the Georgia House of Representatives since 2010, serving over 54,000 Georgians in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties under the Georgia State Capitol each year.

Follow Me on Social Media:

LinkedIn Company Page





Criminal Justice, diversity

Not guilty verdict in Castile case? Another reason I am a recovering attorney on a mission.

Collage of black facesI am tired. I work 16 hour days 7 days a week and sometimes longer. But it’s not the work days that tire me—-it’s the American justice system. As an attorney for almost 10 years, I am tired of believing in a system that time and time again over the last few years has seemed to fail me and others that look like me. From Trayvon Martin in 2012 to Philando Castile in 2017, my faith in our justice system has waned more and more. In 2016, over 250 black people were killed by police with 39 of them being unarmed. (Source) I used to be the proud, defiant attorney that said “We have the best legal system in the world. I was not on the jury so I have to trust those decide makers’ decision.” And I am not saying these are necessarily untrue statements as they may be true. But one thing is true: Our American justice system is terribly flawed. And I intend to use my talents to do something about it.

I found my passion!…..I think…..

The above paragraph is one, if not the most important, factor that is driving my decision to transition out of the practice of law. I have never practiced criminal law. In fact, criminal law was the worse grade I ever received out of the 4 degrees that I have. (I am honored to have received that distinction from Dean Paul M. Kurtz at the University of Georgia.) The point is, I have never enjoyed or had an interest in criminal law for a variety of reasons. Instead, I decided in law school that securities law fascinated me—the way that companies could raise lots of money under a variety of regulatory schemes. My fascination only deepened with the passage of the “JOBS” Act by Congress in 2012. This enabled, at least in theory, even more people to raise capital for their business, particularly people that look like me. We should all know that entrepreneurship is one of the fastest ways to wealth creation and job creation. (Source) Therefore in 2015, I decided to focus my law practice on private securities law, helping as many minority and women owned founders raise capital as possible. I became a FINRA certified non-public arbitrator and kept up with every regulatory change from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Minorities and women are notorious for receiving less funding than their white, male counterparts. (Source) I had found my calling…or so I thought.

Reality Check!

For those of you that are not lawyers, particularly transactional lawyers, my life is an endless cycle of reading and paperwork. I am not Matlock. I rarely see the inside of a courtroom. I am not on camera defending clients in some flashy outfit. I am a detailed person sitting behind a desk, on the phone most of the time or filling out paperwork. This work was fulfilling at first—seeing someone take an idea and convince people to give them money to grow their business. But then shooting after shooting after shooting happened. Then in 2016 I started my non-profit with some interested parties to focus on minority and women entrepreneurs’ access to capital. It was then that I really started to examine the numbers and gap in wealth generation and sustainability between minority groups and women. (Source) And I was floored! Listen, I am a child of the South being raised here in Georgia but I am one generation removed from the Civil Rights Movement. Not sure why I was surprised, but I was. This revelation lit a fire under me that is hard to put into words even as I sit and write this blog. But I knew it was wrong and something had to be done.

The Epiphany: Money is the universal language.

It was in February of 2017 I had this epiphany. I was planning a “Signature Event” focused on women and minorities with the Technology Association on Georgia, of which I sit on their corporate development board. I always knew that economics is what made people in society and power pay attention to a people and to a cause. For example, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was an economic boycott. And I was not getting much done under the Gold Dome as a firebrand Democrat in a overwhelmingly controlled Republican state. So I thought “What would have the MOST impact on social injustices we are seeing today?” Money. The universal language of people is the same: money. Green is the color everyone wants to wear. Mess with someone’s money and you are going to get their attention. The reality is that money buys influence in elections (think judges and lawmakers), access to decision makers, and commands respect. It’s the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil but money, ladies and gentlemen, makes the world go ’round. But in order to control the purse strings, we have to have people of color and women that are in decision making positions both in government and in business. Enter my consulting firm to fulfill that mission.

My New Title: Chief Diversity Consultant

The Birth of a Mission

So here I am today as Chief Diversity Consultant for Kendrick Advisory & Advocacy Group, LLC, providing “hands on” consulting services to organizations that want to promote diversity in business and government decisions. (Website) We are looking for a few partners for a few initiatives that we have so if you are interested contact me. For example, I am looking for an organization or group of people that are interested in starting angel investor clubs or a group that would like to develop a program to train minorities and women to be on “for profit” corporate boards. (See proposals) In the meantime, we have some exciting events coming up that I hope you will participate in or share. I am but one Decatur bred woman born to lower class parents. There is always going to be someone prettier than me, smarter than me, richer than me or more powerful than me. But you are going to be pressed to find someone to outwork me. I have a mission and I hope you will join me.

#BeInTheRoom and #BeAtTheTable

The only way we are available and qualified when the time comes to put minorities and women in positions of power in government and business is if we SHOW UP. Here are a few opportunities below:

I am asked all the time about creating a venture fund to invest in black or women owned businesses. But it’s not as easy as it sounds! Let’s discuss requirements and options.

Register HERE.

This is my signature event between my non-profit, TAG (Technology Association of GA) and the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, where I chair the Economic Development committee.

We have sold half our tickets. Get yours today!

We also have the 1st ever “Blacks in Tech” Policy Conference on November 8th, 2017. Only 200 free tickets available. Sign up for my enewsletter for more information on that coming soon.


Simply put: It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. I want a meaningful life.


I am a Diversity Consultant & Owner of Kendrick Advisory and Advocacy Group L.L.C. providing “hands on” consulting services to organizations that want to promote diversity in business and government decisions. More information can be found online at www.DarshunKendrick.com about our vision for “Driving Diversity in Decisions.” I was featured in  Huffington Post as 1 of 25 People Poised to Scale Atlanta’s Growing Inclusive Technology Start Up Ecosystem for Black Americans and Beyond.

I am a lawyer by trade, owner of Kendrick Law Practice, business attorney. I have 2 B.A.s from Oglethorpe University (2004), a law degree from the University of Georgia (2007) and a Master in Business Administration (2011).

I have been elected to the Georgia House of Representatives serving East DeKalb and South Gwinnett counties since 2011 where I serve as the ranking Democrat on the Small Business and Job Creation committee and chair the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Economic Development Committee.

In my spare time, I am also a board member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s corporate development board, the first sitting legislator to sit on any TAG board, and I am also the founder and Board Chair of a non-profit organization to EDUCATE and EMPOWER minorities on capital access called Minority Access to Capital, Inc.