Go Where There Is No Path: Stories of Hustle, Grit, Scholarship, and Faith
July 29, 2021
Christopher Gray wants people to see an outsider's success as earned, not a fluke, and for entrepreneurs to know that for-profit companies, just as well as non-profits, can be good companies that offer solutions to social issues.
Go Where There Is No Path: Stories of Hustle, Grit, Scholarship, and Faith by Christopher Gray and Mim Eichler Rivas, William Morrow
The paths from poverty to CEO leadership are always interesting to trace, because while the trajectories are unique, the indicators of strong entrepreneurship are analogous, and the uplifting nature of their stories never gets old. The memoirs of Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Ursula Burns of Xerox, Chris Gardner of Gardner Rich & Co. and now Christopher Gray of Scholly are just a few "rags to riches" business memoirs you should know about. If you haven't heard of Scholly, then you may not have had the classic American college experience of spending hours intensely scouring the internet for scholarships and grants of any kind to help make the smallest dent in your tuition bills and student loans. Scholly is an app that streamlines the scholarship searching and application process, and it was featured on the TV show Shark Tank where it garnered investments from two of the panelists. It began as a personal database of scholarships Gray gathered that he would use to help match other students with relevant scholarships:
I certainly wasn’t thinking of being a scholarship “app” as a goal; all I was doing was informally helping fellow students in need of money for staying in school.
Christopher Gray calls out several societal beliefs that are inhibiting all of us, individually and collectively, from improving our lives. He wants people to see an outsider's success as earned, not a fluke, and for entrepreneurs to know that for-profit companies, just as well as non-profits, can be good companies that offer solutions to social issues.
Despite lacking any Black, gay Millennial role models in finance and entrepreneurship, he was certain he'd find allies, which he did, but it took a lot of problematic conversations and meetings—as well as outright racism and injustice—to get there. He talks through each chapter of his experience realistically but also very positively, relating his struggles and successes to:
the journeys that so many are taking in the current climate of uncertainty, a time when so many proven paths of the past are starting to become obsolete. We are all forging a new path that doesn't yet exist. This is our time to write a new chapter for every generation—one of redemption and empowerment, of hope and opportunity for all.
Go Where There is No Path offers practical advice to networking to help achieve your and your business's goals, brand building, evaluating and improving your business model, and most importantly shows that success doesn't have to come at the cost of rejecting your values or yourself.