Valence is a new curated network and platform that connects, showcases, and empowers the global Black professional community. Join us for our launch dinner series, kicking off in LA. We've curated an incredible group - culture shapers, deal makers, diversity leaders and icons of industry will come together to dine & discuss the ways we can support each other and collaborate on meaningful initiatives that create real change for the Black community. Our launch dinners feature a candid & inspiring interview with an iconic mentor and one of their mentees - and we're honored to have Randy Jackson and DeAnna Gravillis as our Mentor Spotlight for the evening.
Musician, Producer, Entrepreneur, and TV Personality
CoFounder & CEO
Jackson is known for his personal endeavors as a bassist and producer, as well as for his 13-season stint as an original judge on “American Idol,” alongside Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. Jackson and the original “Idol” team received five consecutive Emmy nominations for outstanding reality/competition program from 2003 to 2007. Behind the camera, the music mogul started his own artist-management firm and production company Dream Merchant 21 Entertainment, which has produced TV series like MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.”
On the music side, Jackson has collaborated with several high-profile artists, including Smokey Robinson, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Keith Richards, Journey, Carlos Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Garcia, and Bob Weir. His efforts on both singular tracks and records amounts to more than 1,000 gold and platinum plaques and more than 200 million albums sold worldwide.
DeAnna Gravillis is the CEO and Co-Founder of Gravillis Inc., a boutique design agency behind dozens of iconic movie posters including recent Oscar-winning films like Free Solo, BlacKkKlansmen, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Bohemian Rhapsody. Through her energetic and savvy leadership over the last 19 years, Gravillis Inc. has grown from a one-room studio to a powerhouse with clients like Netflix, 20th Century Fox, Amazon, Disney, and HBO which rely on Gravillis for consistently innovative design. Well-respected in the industry, Gravillis is the recipient of numerous Clio and other awards for excellence in brand design and advertising campaigns, including Straight Outta Compton, Kiss of the Damned, Hidden Figures, BlacKkKlansmen, Deadpool 2, RBG, and Logan.
Prior to relocating to Los Angeles from her native New York, DeAnna interned for talents like Wu-Tang Clan, Vincent Herbert, and more. She quickly went on to rise within managerial positions at Def Jam Records and Uptown Entertainment. From there she launched Joséa Agency, her first entrepreneurial venture, representing photographers such as Jonathan Mannion and Norman Watson.
A lifelong entrepreneur, seeing the need for innovative brand strategy and development, in 2016 DeAnna launched Evoke Inc. - a brand management and representation agency centered on increasing revenue and market share. A natural progression of her background in marketing, and drawing from her time from Oxford University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, DeAnna is at her best developing brand strategies from idea conception to launch. With over 20 years of experience collaborating with best in class creatives, Evoke Inc. is the ideal collaborative partner to catalyze and launch unique initiatives.
DeAnna’s innate ability to envision all possible strategies and identify one most aligned with a company’s objectives stems from her youth discussing the cause and effect of events on the world economy with her mom, one of the first black female brokers on Wall Street. She is actively involved in philanthropic activities and serves on the executive committees of Knock Out Abuse West, 826LA, Get Lit, and Literary Riot. DeAnna still makes time for yoga, cooking, creating music playlists, and binge-watching comedy specials.
Kobie is a CoFounder of Valence and a Partner at Upfront. He joined Upfront in June 2016 after having previously worked at Silicon Valley based Accel, where he led investments including UserTesting, Campaign Monitor, AdRoll and Invoca (also an Upfront portfolio company). Prior to Accel, Kobie was the Chief Marketing Officer at REVOLVE, one of the largest global fashion ecommerce players based in Los Angeles.
Kobie brings to Upfront expertise in SaaS businesses and marketing technologies. He has deep knowledge of emerging sectors including VR and AR and was an early personal investor in Oculus, later sold to Facebook for $2B. Earlier in his career, Kobie helped found OpenView Venture Partners and was an investor at Insight Venture Partners where he sourced notable early investments in Exact Target (acquired by Salesforce for $2.5B) and Instructure (NYSE: INST).
Kobie graduated from Harvard University where he was captain of the track team, a multi Ivy league champion sprinter and still current school record holder.