Pivoting Business in the Covid-19 Era

In February, MATV co-hosted a networking event for startup businesses and entrepreneurs. A panel of five spoke about the role generosity plays in business success. Natasha Kayulu, Fatiha Ainane, and Ose Schwab will moderate a followup discussion by zoom exploring how businesses are having to pivot and adapt through the Covid-19 challenges. Panelists include: Sandy Felder of The Gallery@57, Tiago Prado of Best Rate Zone (BRZ), Mirna Diaz, Esq of Diaz Law, Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff Jones of Afro Flow Yoga, Heather Yunger of Top Shelf Cookies, and Nicholas Mathews of Mainvest.

Be inspired by a panel of seven entrepreneurs as they discuss how they are weathering the Covid-19 pandemic. Continuing a conversation about developing a business held in February before the pandemic hit, the discussion turns to how businesses are adjusting to the challenges a pandemic, social distancing, and economic fall outs pose. Seven entrepreneurs will share the challenges, adaptations, and pivots they are making through the Covid-19 era. Along with original panelists from The Gallery@57, Mainvest, Myrna Law, Top Shelf Cookies, and BRZ (Best Rate Zone) Insurance, we are delighted to add to the conversation Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff Jones of Afro Flow Yogo®.

Panel discussion followed by a time for questions and further discussion with viewers.

Registration required for Zoom participation





Sandy Felder

Sandy Felder is one of the artist leaders managing The Gallery@57, an artist -led enterprise selling handcrafted products provided by local artists, artisans, and cultural entrepreneurs. With many years experience working as a union organizer, she turned to photography as a post-retirement hobby and then commerce endeavor. Herself a frequent exhibitor, she joined the initial iteration of The Gallery@57, while still a popup and known as The Gallery. Now, completely invested and learning much about how to sell handcrafted items in a brick and mortar shop and now online, she is concerned about the future but sure of the import of this endeavor.

Tiago Prado

Tiago Prado is an entrepreneur and immigration advocate. Originally from Brazil, Tiago Prado graduated from Tufts University, worked in Wall Street, and moved back to the Boston area specifically to channel his own experience as an immigrant in service to his own people. As Founding Partner and CEO of Best Rate Zone (BRZ), he works with an exceptional team of people who help Latinx make educated insurance purchase decisions. BRZ has been recognized by Progressive, Utica First, and other insurance companies as one of the fastest-growing agencies in Massachusetts.

Mirna Diaz

Attorney Diaz represents clients in need of criminal defense, post conviction relief, divorce, custody, child support, or family based immigration. She supports those who find themselves in difficult stages in their lives with with passion and diligence no matter the complexity of the case and circumstance. She stands by clients and family.

Leslie Salmon and Jeff Jones

Afro Flow Yoga® founder, Leslie Salmon Jones has been cultivating her passion as a professional dancer at the Alvin Ailey School in New York, yoga instructor, wellness coach, public speaker and community activist. Her work caught the attention enough to be included in the filming for the documentary entitled “Dark Girls 2: Dark, Deep and Divine”, which premiered on the OWN network June 23, 2020. She completed her BA in interdisciplinary studies in health sciences and dance at SUNY. It was the connection with African spirituality, yogic principals and a transformational journey throughout Africa and the Caribbean, that inspired Leslie to create Afro Flow Yoga® in 2008, along with her husband, Jeff Jones.

Jeff Jones is a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, musical director, composer, and co-creator with his wife, Leslie Salmon Jones. Jeff creates an intuitive dynamic flow through a stream of consciousness and the mastery of African-inspired rhythms, instruments, and vocals, synergizing the class collective.

Heather Yunger

Before Top Shelf Cookies was a bakery, it was a superstition. A Boston hockey girl through and through, Heather first came up with the Black & Golds as a good luck charm to share with her fellow fans for every home game. Not only were the cookies a hit, but the team kept winning. A few months later a trophy got raised, the Duck Boats paraded down Boylston Street and an idea was born.

With a broad selection of unique, delicious cookies, Heather launched Top Shelf Cookies in 2014. What started as a passion became a calling and Boston’s Craft Cookie company was now a reality. Using high quality, often unexpected ingredients, a creative spark for combining flavors, and meticulously crafted recipes, Heather creates cookies that aren’t just one of a kind, they’re also very tasty. If she can work in a reference to the city she loves while she’s doing it, all the better. After all, these are “Cookies as Fresh as the City They Come From.”

Nicholas Mathews

Coming off of nearly seven years of experience at Uber, Nicholas is an expert in GoToMarket Strategy and business operations for marketplaces. He played various roles at Uber: launching Uber’s marketing presence in New England, scaling its marketing team, going to market with every Uber core product—from UberBLACK to UberPOOL—and more. After experiencing the power of boosting economic development through transportation, Nick was inspired to make an even greater impact. Upon the passage of RegCF in 2016, Nick saw an opportunity to empower entrepreneurs and everyday investors at a local level. With over $2MM invested in dozens of small businesses within just a year of operations, Mainvest is ready to expand its reach and take back Main Streets across the country.

A fun excerpt from the original business networking event, held in February 2020 at J Malden Center, Malden MA, also included in an article describing the event in more detail.