He Turned Down Harvard To Go To Wharton: Barron Channer, GHOGH Podcast Episode 13

Written by Dana Sanchez

Barron Channer
Barron Channer is the CEO of BACH Real Estate, an affiliate of Woodwater Investments. Photo: Anita Sanikop/Moguldom

Barron Channer is considered a rising leader in Miami’s real estate industry, and he credits his success in part to a healthy level of confidence that he said is “almost endemic to Jamaican culture.”

That immigrant confidence and drive to get the job done led Channer to reach out early in his career and ask for mentorship from real estate billionaire Don Peebles, who eventually hired him. And it gave Channer the guts to choose Wharton over Harvard when it was time to pick a business school for his master’s degree.

Channer is the CEO of Miami-based BACH Real Estate, an affiliate of Woodwater Investments. The business focuses on real estate development and tech. It was inspired, Bach said, by a desire contribute to South Florida’s emergence as a world-class metropolitan area. Prior to founding BACH, Channer led investment activity for The Peebles Corporation in the Eastern U.S.

Channer earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was headed to Harvard Business School for his master’s in business administration, but ultimately decided that he wanted to focus on real estate.

“That was my calling,” Channer said in a GHOGH podcast interview. “If I was going to focus on real estate, it was just unquestioned that Wharton was the best business school for real estate.

“The style of teaching between the two schools was substantially different,” Channer continued. “I don’t know if one is inferior or superior, but for the way I learned, I was mature enough to know that Wharton would teach me the best for the way I learn and Wharton is just the best real estate program in the U.S., maybe in the world.”

President Donald Trump also attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Channer credits the education the president got there for part of his real estate successes in the ’80s.

“During the ’80s, (Trump) had as good of a run in real estate as anyone had,” Channer said. “We can argue what happened after that and I don’t know all the facts, but if you go back to the ’80s — most people forget — he’s been around as a professional. Forget the politician’s stuff. Yes, he started with a leg up, but he did a tremendous amount with that leg up that others didn’t do during the ’80s. I’d like to believe that some of that had to do with the environment, but also some of the education he received.”

In a GHOGH podcast with Jamarlin Martin, Channer talked at length about an incident in Miami history when Cuban Americans chose to shun Nelson Mandela because he was on friendly terms with then-Cuban president Fidel Castro. After visiting Cuba, Mandela planned to visit Miami. The Cuban politicians in power at the time received pressure from their community to not extend a formal greeting to Mandela. African Americans and then the larger community took umbrage, and it resulted in a national boycott of Miami Beach led by prominent lawyers, H.T. Smith and Marilyn Holifield.

“And so for probably two or three years, they, through their national networks discouraged all African American groups from coming to Miami Beach,” Channer said. “Miami Beach, which had never paid attention to the amount of business they were doing with African Americans, started to realize that something was off in terms of the numbers, and then they learned that there was a boycott against them.”

Immediately after he graduated from Wharton, Channer was hired by Peebles’s corporation.

Digital media pioneer Jamarlin Martin talks to real estate entrepreneur Barron Channer. The Wharton MBA shares how he got to work for billion-dollar real estate developer Don Peebles right after graduating from business school, and revisits how Barack Obama handled a controversy with his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Jamarlin launched the GHOGH Podcast Franchise — Go Hard Or Go Home — at SXSW 2018, GHOGH is a counterculture business-content platform that’s programming for the Black economic revolution.

Hear more of Barron Channer, Part 1, on Episode 13 of the GHOGH Podcast.

Other GHOGH episodes:

Episode 24: Delane Parnell is the founder and CEO of high-school esports company PlayVS, which just raised a $15M series A round. He discusses growing up in the streets of Detroit, developing a passion for business and tech, and closing an exclusive deal with the NFHS, which writes the rules for most high school sports. Delane also talks about how he put together the raise, and how entrepreneurs can keep a positive attitude after being rejected by investors.

Episode 23: Everette Taylor, a serial entrepreneur and marketing whiz, talks about building GrowthHackers, PopSocial and other companies in his potfolio. He shares what he learned from selling his first tech business at age 21 and working with Snapchat on a new startup accelerator. He also discusses founders investing too much in public relations, and whether negro tech elites need to step up, reach back and help more Black people.

Episode 22: Angelica Nwandu, founder & CEO Of The Shade Room, discusses how she built a multimillion-dollar media platform and her recent moves into films. She and Jamarlin also discuss the academic and business success of Nigerians in America, and why Facebook shut down The Shade Room multiple times while allowing Russians and Cambridge Analytica to market anti-Black ads.

Episode 21: Devin Johnson, president of digital sports programming network Uninterrupted, discusses his career path, changes in the media industry, and what it’s like to work with Lebron James. He and Jamarlin debate whether Spotify targeted Black artists with policy changes and they revisit “white flight” from MySpace to Facebook, and whether this could happen to Instagram.

Episode 20: Andrew Gillum, Mayor of Tallahassee and Democratic candidate for Florida governor, discusses the DNC taking the Black vote for granted, its silence on the killing of 60 Palestinian protestors, and whether big tech and Silicon Valley elites can be regulated at the state level.

Episode 19: Anthony D. Mays talks about Black cultural optimization, getting bullied in Compton for being a computer geek, and how he landed a job at Google.

Episode 18: Dr. Boyce Watkins, Part 3, founder and CEO of Watkins Media Group, talks about potential 2020 presidential candidates, and the lopsided relationship between Black America and the Democratic Party.

Episode 17: Dr. Boyce Watkins, Part 2, talks about building The Black Business School, and how he deals with his negro critics and their victimology teachings. He and Jamarlin also discuss the #MeToo movement and racial bias in Facebook’s content policing.

Episode 16: Dr. Boyce Watkins, Part 1, founder and CEO of Watkins Media Group, talks about Black self-determination and Kanye West bangin’ for MAGA. He and Jamarlin also revisit Bill Cosby’s “Pound Cake” speech, and whether he received a fair trial.

Episode 15: Clarence Wooten, a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, sold his first tech business for $23 million. He discusses his new venture — STEAM Role — meritocracy, and common mistakes founders make. He also talks about Bitcoin’s long-term prospects and how blockchain has opened up new capital-raising opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Episode 14: Barron Channer, founder of Miami -based Woodwater Investments, talks about turning down Harvard Business School, and whether Black-on-Black murders need to be prioritized over police-on-Black murders. He also debates what is to blame for the Black murder rate in Chicago and whether most U.S. police departments are racist in the second of a 2-part podcast.

Episode 13Barron Channer, founder of Miami-based Woodwater Investments, shares how he got to work for billion-dollar real estate developer Don Peebles. This Wharton MBA’s business focuses on real estate development and tech. He revisits how Barack Obama handled Rev. Wright in the first of a 2-part podcast.

Episode 12Keenan Beasley, co-founder and managing partner of New York digital analytics company BLKBOX, talks about his early mistakes, how NY and Silicon Valley investors differ, and the advantages of getting experience in an industry before trying to disrupt it. The Westpoint grad and former P&G brand manager also discusses M&A activity involving Richelieu Dennis, Byron Allen and Robert Smith.

Episode 11Travis Holoway, founder and CEO of peer-to-peer lending startup SoLo Funds, discusses Mark Zuckerberg as a liberal tech version of Donald Trump, Jake Tapper’s double standards on CNN towards Black leaders, and whether Silicon Valley has “negro helpers” who set the community back.

Episode 10: Karen Fleshman, the founder of Racy Conversations, talks about women of privilege exploiting civil rights and diversity movements, and whether Kamala Harris can be trusted on criminal justice reform. She also discusses Facebook’s problems, and whether these can be primarily sourced to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Sheryl Sandberg’s values and ethics.

Episode 9: Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson talk about Black Tech Week, economic empowerment, and the potential impact of Atlanta landing Amazon HQ2. They also discuss the politics of diversity favoring women of privilege, and whether or not Silicon Valley is the global capital of white supremacy.

Episode 8: Marlin Nichols, co-founder of Cross Culture Ventures, talks about the culturally-themed fund he started with Troy Carter. He discusses the burger-flippin’ robot, Flippy, and socially responsible investing. Marlon offers advice to founders seeking investment, and answers questions about whether there is too much “shut-up-and-dribble” in Silicon Valley.

Episode 7: Tayo Oviosu, founder and CEO of leading Nigerian mobile payments company Paga, discusses bitcoin prospects, superior Nigerian academic performance in the U.S., and why Nigeria is the African economic opportunity. The podcast also touches on Elon Musk, Aliko Dangote, and whether Oviosu would ever run for president.

Episode 6: Rodney Sampson, founder of HBCU@SXSW and the Atlanta-based Opportunity Hub, discusses investing in Atlanta blockchain startups and the importance of connecting HBCU endowments to Black tech. He covers the intersectionality of oppression, discrimination, and holding SV leaders accountable for inequality.

Episode 5Angela Benton talks about starting NewMe Accelerator, building her personal brand as a single mother while battling cancer, and whether or not most of the “diversity” gains in Silicon Valley will go to privileged white women.

Episode 4Detavio Samuels, president of Interactive One, leads a $30M digital media business that in 2017 acquired Bossip, Madamenoire, and HiphopWired. He discusses Richelieu Dennis’ acquisition of Essence, Facebook’s recent fumbles, and whether Complex Media is a culture vulture.

Episode 3Arlan Hamilton talks about Backstage Capital, the VC fund she dreamed up while she was homeless. She talks about the Silicon Valley establishment and about Tamika Mallory, who attended Saviours’ Day with Louis Farrakhan.

Episode 2Rodney Williams, founder and CEO of Lisnr, talks about raising $10 million in venture capital, HBCU endowments that invest in black tech, and how to fire loyal employees you like.

Episode 1Brian Brackeen talks about his path to starting his facial recognition firm, Kairos, how blockchain can be applied to the NFL, and whether Disney’s’ “Black Panther” is revolutionary.