July 18, 2023

‘The Gathering Spot’ Sees Exit Of Black Co-Founder, Prompting Discussions

Atlanta’s Black-founded and centered membership club, The Gathering Spot, has allegedly fired one of their Black co-founders, TK Petersen.

What Is The Gathering Spot?

The Gathering Spot is a private membership network focused on the Black community and was created to support its members in making connections while gaining business experiences.

Ryan Wilson, a Georgetown Law School attendee, and TK Petersen, a former Portfolio Manager at Fannie Mae, co-founded the Gathering Spot.

Their goal was to foster a community that would gather a diverse mix of individuals, including entrepreneurs, creatives, executives, filmmakers, politicians, venture capitalists, lawyers, musicians, and artists. They intended to create an environment for people to come together, reflect, and engage with their community under one roof.

Members are invited to different events that benefit their professional and personal careers.

What Happened?

ATL Uncensored tweeted that The Gathering Spot has reportedly fired co-founder TK Petersen, causing surprise within the community. 

The tweet read, “In an unexpected move, The Gathering Spot, acquired by Paul Judge and Ryan Glover, owners of the Greenwood digital bank in May 2022, has dismissed one of its co-founders.”

The Gathering Spot announced on Instagram that Petersen is departing. They’ve appointed Mike McCloskey, a white man who was previously unaffiliated with the company, as the Chief Financial Officer at Greenwood. They emphasized that this position had been vacant for a year prior to The Gathering Spot’s acquisition.

“As TK Petersen moves on to other endeavors, his last day as Chief Operating Officer of The Gathering Spot will be July 31, 2023,” they wrote.

“Without TK’s leadership as Co-Founder, TGS would not be what it is today.

They confirmed he will remain recognized as a Co-Founder of TGS and a shareholder of Greenwood.

Only last May did the digital banking platform for Black and Latino individuals and business owners announce the acquisition of The Gathering Spot, as they shared the same missions. 

How have people responded?

Some people are disappointed with the alleged decision. According to Black Enterprise, Van Lathan Jr, a founding The Gathering Spot LA member, took to Twitter to express how he felt.

“I’m a founding member of The Gathering Spot LA. I love it there, and I am there all the time. Having said that, if TGS isn’t committed to having Black people in key leadership positions, I’m not sure I see the point,” he wrote.

Joey Womack, the founder of Atlanta-based Goodie Nation, a tech-focused community of diverse founders and social entrepreneurs who worked with Greenwood and TGS’s founders, released a statement on LinkedIn on Sunday regarding the news.

“The recent news of leadership changes have hurt, shocked, angered, and disappointed many people – myself included,” he said.

“I’ve seen and heard a lot of speculation, accusations, and spirited statements over the last several days. This makes me feel as if the community that has been carefully cultivated over the past 12-15 years is fracturing, which deeply troubles me.”

Others, however, have asked for caution in taking such a negative interpretation of the news.

Brian Brackeen, organizer of Black Tech Week, wrote, “It’s time for crisis PR.”

“They need to get this cleaned up because it’s not good for the Atlanta Tech brand. Lots of REAL good things going on in Atlanta, but the narrative is infighting,” he said.

Leslie Miley agreed, tweeting “+1000 to this. The uninformed folks doing hot takes are part of the problem.”

“I hope it gets resolved for the good of the community and the brand,” said another user.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.