Episode 65: Equity, Empathy, and Entrepreneurship with Karl Sona

By Kelly Barner | May 18, 2022

Corporate programs like ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) are growing increasingly common and high visibility. And while the stated vision they are associated with is admirable, they aren’t enough to drive the changes most of us want to see. For that, we’re going to need a strong combination of empathy and entrepreneurship.

In this episode of The Sourcing Hero podcast, Host Kelly Barner welcomes Karl Sona. Karl was working his way through a successful career in medical device sales when he realized something was missing. There was part of himself that he wasn’t able to bring to bear in his work – so he joined the ‘Great Resignation’ and struck out on his own.

Today he is the Founder and CEO of The Kas Company, a firm that specializes in brokering profitable partnerships between corporate brands and black-owned businesses, and the host of his own podcast, Dear Black CEO.


In this interview, Karl talks about his philosophy – and incentives – for brokering profitable partnerships between corporations and minority-owned businesses:

  • His perspective on the nature of relationships between corporations and their suppliers
  • Whether relationships with minority-owned and other diverse-owned businesses should be different 
  • The role that regulations play in driving companies to increase their investments in ESG versus inadvertently incentivizing box checking
  • The best pieces of advice and take-aways that he has heard from black CEOs on his podcast


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