San Francisco, US
A unique island nation in the Caribbean with an extraordinary past –Haiti is home to many notable historical women figures deeply etched in the fabric of its history. This country has seen enormous challenges and has always stood through the test of time to overcome them all. And there in this magnificent land lived fearless mothers like Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile, who is one of the most notable figures in the Haitian revolution and whose courageous act of risking her own life to give Emperor Dessalines a burial has earned her rightful place in the nation’s history.
And this nation has yet again seen another story of an incredible mother’s voyage through all odds and hardships to build a new life for herself and her children. There is a famous Creole expression, ‘Piti, piti, wazo fe nich li‘, which translates to ‘Little by little the bird builds its nest‘ and it reflects a family’s awe-inspiring journey to overcome challenges and break barriers, to build a home for themselves in a faraway land.
So here’s introducing the next human in the series, the enthralling Florcy Morisset, with Haitian roots hailing from the Bay Area, the co-founder of ‘Spooky Fresh’ and creator of ‘Crypto Flossing‘ who has been flawlessly navigating the world of art and technology through her various ventures in the NFTs/Metaverse/Web3 space. She represents the emerging forces in the evolution of the third generation of the web and intends to use this next stage of her career to bring in more women, people of color and minority communities to build a more human-centric technological world in the upcoming Web 3.0 universe.
Her Haitian Roots
The Morisset matriarch, Paulette Groves, was pregnant with Florcy when she left her home in Haiti in search of a better life for her children. She recalls being born and raised in New York.
Being a first-generation American, she explains how education was emphasized in the family. She reveals how early on she realized it was the only way out. When she was as young as five, she remembers telling her mom how she wanted to be a ‘nurse’ and get into the medical field.
She recalls, ‘It’s the immigrant story of where most parents give you a choice of being a doctor or a lawyer. I didn’t go down that path, but it laid a foundation to do better for myself. ‘
The Morisset household, as she described was always a unique amalgamation of Haitian and American culture, and how most people in her early life including her babysitter were from the island nation. The children grew up being aware of their roots and heritage.
‘Haiti was one of the first Black Republics and one of the first nations to end slavery. And to be a part of such a legacy is an honor‘, she confesses.
She draws inspiration and strength from her heritage and she describes how she has integrated that nature of perseverance and passion into her own career. She remembers visiting the island country when she was fourteen and reconnecting with the rest of her family.
Growing up in the household, she recalls how every meal-time was always a celebration and how there were always big pots of rice preparations that would last for days. She recounts how her mom would make the best dishes and how warm and lively the household always was.
‘We didn’t have a lot, but I grew up with joy. I really had a full life.’, she reminisces.
Good food, music and laughter were the essences of her childhood. She reminisces on the days when her beloved mom would share memories of her life in Haiti and mesmerize them all with her amazing stories. She feels incredibly lucky to have had such a joyous childhood.
Dominating the art world
She recalls being drawn to the ‘Sciences‘ from an early age and how she initially wanted to forge a path in the medical field. But she wanted to explore her options and find a niche she was really passionate about.
‘After my graduation, I handed down my degree to my mom and told her it’s for you, but I am going to go on a journey to find myself.’, she narrates.
There were a couple of transformational years that she fondly recollects when she tried to find her calling and how that landed her back in Haiti in search of art. And that journey would lead her to work on building a cultural art gallery that represented artists from diverse backgrounds and countries. Until that fateful trip back to her home nation, she had not realized how she could have a successful career in the art world.
‘My home country was where I started out from. I would subsequently travel back and forth once a year to find art and work with the community.’, she reveals.
This experience, as she recalls, was a thriving success as the gallery became a legendary space for countless artists and their diverse artworks as well as to represent various art communities from across the globe.
She explains, ‘Beyond Haiti, I would go to Cuba, Latin America, Mexico and Jamaica and work with artists from all over the world, including India, Africa and Spain to hear and represent their stories …and try my best to alleviate these art communities.‘
Her hard work paid off as this venture earned her several awards and recognition in the world of art. This would subsequently lead her to pivot toward the world of design and technology.
‘And that’s how my journey into tech started …’, she admits.
If there is one person she would dedicate her success to is her mom, Paulette, who has been the biggest influence in her life and her source of strength. The matriarch’s decision to find the American dream led her children to have opportunities she didn’t grow up with and created a space for them to thrive in their chosen paths.
She reveals, ‘My mom’s decision gave us the opportunity to live our dreams. I was able to build my career because of her sacrifices. ‘
From shifting her goals to work in the medical field to the tech space, from her successful transition from a thriving art gallery owner to a program manager in reputed tech companies, and from her tryst with the start-up world to her role in the arena of consultancy in various web technologies, she describes how her journey has been nothing less than unconventional. And how it all ties back to the lessons her mom has taught her along the way.
The Morisset matriarch
On being asked who her greatest influence has been, she replies in a heartbeat that her mom has been the single most influential person in her life.
She says, ‘My mom taught me how one can give up everything and start over again.’
The courageous matriarch had left her life and businesses behind in Haiti and headed to the States to find a better future for her children. She recalls how her mom in the initial days would take up any job that came along her way to provide for the young family.
‘From working in the bakery to nursing to learning how to drive school buses, she did it all. In all these industries she worked in, she had to learn and relearn. She would get certifications and take tests.’, she reveals
The resilient Paulette had singlehandedly shown her children how nothing was impossible if there was a will to learn. Her life-long learner attitude is something she has magnificently passed on to her children.
She would say, ‘All my triumphant transitions have been due to the lessons I have learned from my mom’s life. As long as one is willing to learn, one can always be successful’
And that lesson made her take a sabbatical to really immerse herself into the various technologies in the Web 3.0 space and reimagine what she really wanted to do in this next stage of her career. Reinvention is something she has never shied away from, and she dedicates this trait to her beloved mom.
‘She has given me values that I live by -of how education is everything, of working hard and of persevering. That’s why I am still here. And I get to do what I do’, she reveals.
The determined single mother of five has successfully raised her children to stand on their own ground and find their own career paths. Four of her children are in the medical field and education has always been something the family has been passionate about. She cheerfully describes how most of her siblings have two or more degrees under their belt. The family has been able to turn their mom’s dream of wanting the best life and opportunities for her children into reality.
She explains, ‘ We all grew up to be academically inclined. To be in the household was to always be achieving’.
Seeing their mother work odd jobs and try her best to create a better life for herself and her children imprinted the resolve to make sure their mother’s dreams for them came true. So she recalls how all of them worked incredibly hard to achieve better things so that her sacrifices would not go in vain.
Growing up in NYC
Having grown up in the financial capital of the world, she reveals how it really gave her life lessons on how to navigate through the business world and laid a foundation on how to be a professional in whichever domain one was in.
‘I appreciate growing up in such a multicultural and cosmopolitan place.’, she reflects.
She completed her undergrad at Duquesne University and majored in subjects like Psychology and Biology. Her initial plans to enter the medical field would get interrupted by her passion for the arts. And closing down her gallery to complete her MBA at John Hopkins University as well as to get a master’s degree in design leadership at Maryland Institute College of Art has all contributed to this next transition in her career.
She recalls, ‘It was an amazing opportunity for me to recharge my life and learn things all over again.’
The friendships she has gained over these experiences are something she really cherishes. She describes how she and her friends would call themselves the ‘MAMBAS’ which is an abbreviation for Master in Arts and Masters in Business Administration. This was a small group of around twenty motivated learners who had a dual master’s degree and as she recalls, they were enthusiastic about creating a human-centric solution to the problems around them.
‘It redefined my perspective on life and how to approach business with humanity in mind.’, she confesses.
All her experiences, especially as an art gallery owner who had seen how art could be used as a medium to celebrate cultures and give a platform for people to tell their stories, have really influenced her work in the tech space. It has given her a lesson on how to make businesses more sustainable and more focused on humanity.
Her foray into the Metaverse and the Web 3.0 world has been another incredible voyage. She explains how she started out in this space with her interest in NFTs and that she now sees how there is an enormous opportunity to build a diverse and representative industry in this new landscape.
She adds, ‘I see great potential for growth to correct our mistakes of the past.’
This new tech revolution has created the potential for a globalized industry that is not governed solely by the highest bidders or the capitalists or the big corporates. And this momentous chance to leverage technology to create something better is what motivates her.
‘The metaverse and web 3.0 are going to redefine how we do businesses as well as how we connect to each other. I am really excited to see how this space emerges.’, she reveals enthusiastically.
The Web3 space
Having decided to give the tech space a shot, she recalls closing down her thriving art gallery after almost seven years of success and heading back to a business school. It was the era of Web 2.0 and the e-commerce space was booming during that period. She reveals how she wanted to bring technology into the art world she inhabits and financial rigor to the non-profit space she is passionate about.
‘I knew my businesses wouldn’t survive without moving on to the Web 2.0 space. I flipped my entire career plans on the head and dived right into the tech space’, she explains.
She would go on to work for reputed companies like Dell Technologies and Netflix, to name a few. Her transition into the technological world has now brought her to her latest venture in the Web 3.0 space.
She describes, ‘The idea of decentralization or ‘defi’ would provide so many opportunities for businesses and even small nations to thrive without a middleman.‘
Her interest in this space started out with her observation of how Web 2.0 came and reinvented the e-commerce scene for all businesses. She firmly believes that this new wave of change will unlock the way that we think about technology and business.
‘Just like every business had to figure out how to sell online in the Web 2.0 era; in the next few years, every business would need to have a Web 3.0 strategy again.’, she discloses.
The motivation now, as she describes, is to make the Web 3.0 a more representative and diverse space , especially for women of color, minorities and underrepresented communities.
She would say, ‘The most important thing to do is to use the Web 3.0 platform to alleviate these communities, to have financial freedom and create a free space for artistic expression.’
The emergence of decentralized technologies and applications with advanced blockchain technologies and a growing cryptocurrency ecosystem has heralded a new generation of developments in the world of tech that has a huge potential to create a positive impact on the world.
‘My mission in this next stage of my career is to help at least a million women and underrepresented communities transition into the new web era. I believe I can be part of this shift that’s going to happen.’, she confesses.
Having had all the opportunities and blessings along the way, she feels really fortunate to be able to have the resources and the right platform to give back to society and communities. This, she reveals, is her passion and she wants to figure out a way to incorporate her skills and expertise to enable change in the world around her.
LESPWA FÈ VIV
Having achieved everything she has in such a short span of time, she reveals how the greatest joy and happiness is in seeing her mom witness all her children achieve greater heights in their careers.
The devoted mother has always taken pride in her children’s achievements and has been their biggest supporter in all the career choices they have made.
‘All the big moments in my life, like having my own art gallery, having news reporters coming in, finishing my MBA and getting my dual master’s degree — have all been something she has found immense joy in.‘, she narrates.
Her motivation, as she describes, is to be able to alleviate and try to do better with each new career decision she has taken as well as ventures she is working on. The importance of financial security has been something the family has learned from the past and she reveals how they have all strived to achieve something better for themselves
‘My goal has always been to try to make my mom proud. I feel incredibly lucky to still have her in good mind and health. She is my best friend. ‘, she divulges.
Her latest project, Spooky Fresh, which she co-founded alongside her pals Richard and Luke, has been her entrée into the world of NFTs. This innovative venture aims to create a social impact through human-centric designs and solutions. And it has been an overwhelming success in connecting hundreds of NFT collectors and building a community in the Web 3.0 space.
She reveals, ‘The next step is to educate and to onboard folks to this new space. I am committed to finding creative ways to innovate in this new ecosystem.’
She has several interesting projects lined up, including her recent venture called ‘Crypto flossing‘ that aims to create a platform for people interested in transitioning to this new NFT/Web3 space and writing eBooks to help people navigate this world.
On being asked what’s the next mission she is working on, she highlights how this new technological revolution can herald a new era of inclusivity and change in the domain.
‘We need to make sure women and people of color and minority communities have the right tools, guidance and resources to come onboard to the Web3 space and thrive.‘, she discloses.
This transformational journey she has undertaken has not been just a story of one persevering individual’s achievements and glory but a story of hope that a young mother had in her heart to find the ‘American Dream‘ and to set out on an adventure to seek a better life and opportunity for her children.
The beauty of ‘hope’ is something a doting mother taught her children years ago, and that same ‘hope‘ is something Florcy now intends to spread across underrepresented people and communities and build a human-centered technological world.
With incredible pioneers like her, we indeed look forward to being present in this new era of innovations and designs with humanity at the forefront.
Like the Haitians would say ‘LESPWA FÈ VIV‘.
Hope makes one live.