At the Kapor Center we have the privilege of working with scholars, activists and entrepreneurs who come from many different backgrounds. Many have faced barriers in their early years, — barriers that result in an unmatched hustle that no elite education can teach. We’re fortunate to have members on our own team who embody this same hustle and who are willing to share their distance traveled stories.
Meet Phil Sanders, Investment Accounting Manager at the Kapor Center. Phil’s story is both unique and inspiring. Born in the Southside of Chicago, Phil says he was siloed throughout his childhood with little exposure to diversity, support to pursue higher education or encouragement to explore opportunities outside of Chicago or even the Southside. “I didn’t really get a perspective of speaking with anybody white or anybody who wasn’t black until I became an adult. I didn’t think that I had anything in common with them because it was like an untold rule in Chicago where, you’re in the southside, it’s all black, you just stay here. Everything you need is here,” says Phil.
Despite the lack of access to rigorous college prep courses and exposure to diversity, mentorship or resources, Phil persevered to expand his opportunities and push himself to, as he puts it, “become comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Phil says, “I went to a public high school, so it wasn’t a lot of options for technology. The theme was go to college, figure out what you want to major in there, otherwise you can get a city job after high school. You make good money. I just knew that I wanted to leave, and I was determined in leaving.”
Watch the full video above to hear about Phil’s distance traveled on his way to the Kapor Center.