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By Allen Collins, Black Tech Street
Revival, it’s a word defined as a renewed attention, renewed interest or a new presentation or publication of something old.
When it comes to the rebirth of Black Wall Street with technology as the catalytic factor and the current wave of Black entrepreneurs of technology-based companies relocating to Tulsa, revival is the perfect summation.
Each week, Black Tech Street will interview a Black tech entrepreneur in Tulsa to elevate these entrepreneurs’ stories and companies. Plannly is a company that certainly fits that mold.
“Being able to do whatever we can to help people who look like us is our main priority. That is one of our biggest goals for being here (in Tulsa),” said Alisha Harris, CEO of Plannly.
Alisha Harris wants to not only make her presence felt with Plannly, the Black-owned business she and her husband Earl Harris, President of Plannly, run together, but also serve as a mentor to women entrepreneurs of color and Black entrepreneurs.
“I am a Black woman who is in a high leadership role, so that is my focus point. Women that look like me, younger girls that will have aspirations to be like me,” said Harris. “I want to show them that it is possible. My husband and I are partners in this business as well. We want to show other Black families that it is possible, that you can do things as a unit, as a Black family.”
Plannly: A solution-based company for remote workers
Harris is exceptional and resilient in not only having founded her now 5th startup company with her husband Earl, but this time around, choosing to address a need that impacted her personally. She found herself in the intricate niche of being a remote working mother in a growing family.
“When I was pregnant with my first and second sons, my wellness needs changed three times during both of those pregnancies.”
“During those changes in my life, I was a working mom, I was struggling mentally and emotionally. I was socially isolated from my personal support system. Ultimately, going through those issues and not having my employer know what was actually going on with me because I wasn’t physically in the office.”
It is that very place where most employers aren’t well suited to meet the adjusting needs of their employees.
As Tulsa continues to embrace Black entrepreneurs, solution-based companies like Plannly are arriving to stand in the gap and provide results for some of the community’s pressing needs.
“Our platform catches those life event changes and then we recommend the best solution for that employee. So whether that’s moving or a death in the family or something like pregnancy, our platform can give you the right benefit during that time of your life.”
Building in the spirit of Black Tech Street
Alisha is looking to be intentionally involved in the Tulsa community and the burgeoning Black Tech Street. Having recently relocated here, being a Black entrepreneur and not having learned about Black Wall Street or the Tulsa Race Massacre growing up, Harris feels moved to lend a hand.
“It’s very sad to me because I did not know about Black Wall Street and what happened,” said Harris. “It wasn’t taught in our schools (near the beach in California). I didn’t know about it until about a year ago.”
Harris and her husband plan to assume the key role of business mentor for women of color and Black entrepreneurs in Tulsa in pivotal cycles of building and maintaining a business.
“Because I now know of it, my husband and I, we want to do everything that we can to make sure that we are helping others that look like us. Whether it’s getting investment, we want to be role models to show them that it is possible, as long as you have the right partners in your corner.”
Revival of Black Wall Street
The spirit of Black Wall Street, mentorship and meeting people where they live in Alisha and Plannly. Aiming to cater to medium to large sized businesses with a remote workforce, Plannly promotes healthier, happier, and engaged employees of all industries.
“We’re industry agnostic, however, there is employer size where they do want Plannly. Employers with a minimum of 500 employees and a high percentage of remote workers,” said Harris. “They’re not able to see what’s going on in their day to day and they want to make sure they have things in place to prevent things like turnover and burnout. Things that cost companies 2 1/2 times more to replace a whole team or individual. To be able to prevent that is what they want to do and that’s kind of our sweet spot of where we see employers wanting to make that change.”
Merging life experiences, passion, expertise and a strong commitment to serve the community is a constant staple of success that Black businesses and entrepreneurs in Tulsa exemplify. Alisha Harris and Plannly meet the mark and will surely play a role in the revival of Black Wall Street with technology as its catalyst.
Allen Collins is a proud North Tulsa native and a Booker T. Washington High School graduate. He is the Admin and Communications Manager with Black Tech Street and is a former freelance writer and nonprofit professional.