Family is everything at Zane Venture Fund. The fund is named after our founder Shila Nieves Burney’s daughter, Zane, who is her mother’s constant inspiration. Zane’s name originally came from her father, as it was his middle name. To round off Women’s History Month, we want to shine a spotlight on Zane and her story.
Born in Florida, Zane moved to Atlanta at a young age and calls the bustling city home. With a rich cultural history and strong ties to the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta is a city that Zane is immensely proud to be part of. Especially during Covid-19, the Atlanta community has shown how tightly-knit they are and how willing they are to step up for one another. Zane herself has been involved with Covid-19 testing efforts in Atlanta.
One of the most pivotal events of Zane’s life took place in Atlanta. She and her mother Shila were driving through the city to an investor meeting when they were caught in the crosshairs of a shooting.
“We were stopped at a light and I saw this guy who I thought was waiting for the bus. I noticed he had gloves on, which was odd, but it was October so I thought maybe he was cold. Then I looked over again and he took out a gun and started shooting. As soon as the light turned green my mom sped off.
When she stopped the car she told me to look myself over and I realized I’d been shot. We were on a conference call at the time, so my mom told me to hang up the phone and call my dad. I called my dad and she called 911. The ambulance came, firemen, police, it was crazy. That whole day was crazy. My day started out good and then I had to go to the hospital because I got shot. It was very traumatizing for me.”
The event was a major catalyst in Zane’s life. For the first time, she realized her passion for healthcare. Inspired by the nurses and doctors who cared for her, Zane resolved to one day be a nurse. She had always been passionate about helping others and noted that many women in her family had also pursued healthcare.
“I love helping people. That’s my personality. Nursing is the best fit for me, especially with so many people in my family being nurses. And then I got shot and had all these nurses around me. That’s what sparked it for me.”
The shooting also inspired Shila to name the fund after her Zane. Shila wanted the fund’s namesake to be a strong woman and knew she didn’t need to look further than her own daughter. When Shila was considering halting fundraising in the early stages of the fund, Zane was the person who told her not to quit.
Zane embodies everything Zane Venture Fund stands for: perseverance, tenacity, and a willingness to help others. As a bisexual woman of color, Zane is proud of her mother for starting a fund that supports diverse founders and inclusivity. Zane never hesitates to lift her mother up and push for the success of Zane Venture Fund. Her mantra has always been “anything is possible, you can do it, don’t quit.” She preaches that belief every day, never hesitating to dole out words of wisdom to her mom as she leads Zane Venture Fund into the future.
Looking towards the future, Zane aspires to earn her nursing degree and travel the world. She sees herself getting married and starting a family, perhaps even founding her own medical business one day.
Regardless of where she is in the world, she will always inspire the work we do at Zane Venture Fund.