Meet Our Staff

Britney Robbins

FOUNDER & CEO

Britney Robbins is the founder and CEO of The Gray Matter Experience. Britney has worked within Chicago's entrepreneurship and tech community for the past seven years working within some of Chicago's top venture capital firms and incubators including Sandbox Industries, Lightbank and 1871. She has been recognized as one of Ariel Investment, BMO Harris and WVON's 40 Under 40 Gamechangers, Essence Magazine's Woke 100, a finalist for Ebony Magazine's Power 100 People's Choice Award, featured on Fox32, Chicago Inno, BlackEntrepreneur.com, DNAInfo Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Forbes and Essence Magazine for her work through Gray Matter.   

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Britney is passionate about the intersection of entrepreneurship, education and youth and believes in empowering others to use their passions and strengths to create opportunities for themselves. In 2015, she authored and published her first children's book and is working to complete the second book of the series early 2020. Britney is committed to inspiring youth to reach their full potential and aims to continue to create channels for them to do so. 

Jessica Childress

OPERATIONS MANAGER

As a Detroit native and a resident of Chicago’s South side, Jessica is committed to bringing opportunity back to her communities, and using her knowledge to equip the next generation of change-makers. She has a passion for people and seeing them be their very best selves.

 

Prior to joining Gray Matter’s team, Jessica spent several years working directly with some of Chicago’s best entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship programs as an events and operations professional at 1871. While there, she coordinated and re-designed the Campus 1871 program, an immersive weekend of startup simulations and workshops for Illinois college students.

 

Jessica’s natural gift of organization, attention to detail, and creative imagination have earned her a reputation for unparalleled excellence as an event & program manager. A person who prides herself on being an executor, Jessica takes pride in cultivating events, programs and operational structure that have a larger impact on the public and clients, alike.

 

An artist at heart, Jessica studied Contemporary, Urban and Popular Music at Columbia College Chicago, where she also completed coursework in Entrepreneurship, Vocal Performance, and Creative Writing.

 

She is a proud bookworm and live music junkie.

Channing Harris

IN-CLASS INSTRUCTOR

Channing Harris is a Chicago native with international entrepreneurial experience dating back into his teenage years. While attending Roosevelt University, he started and sold his first startup company before the age of 20. The next decade of his life was spent building a repertoire of socially conscious for profit companies. Most notably, his civil justice efforts through Excuse Me Officer, an app that rates police interactions and helps promote better police-community relations - which has gained accolades from the likes of UChicago and Google. Channing has always believed that a strong support system that values youth-led entrepreneurial curiosity will positively impact the world we live in. This belief led him to co-found business programs taught at both Hawaii & Harvard Universities. With an immense level of respect and understanding - as a product of Chicago Public Schools himself, Channing wants to see the influence happen in the classrooms he was once a part of. Channing joins The Gray Matter Experience as the newest in-class instructor.

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AT GRAY MATTER

We believe empowering youth to create their own businesses can have great impact on their own self-worth, perception of the meaning of success, and can positively impact underrepresented neighborhoods across Chicago.

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