About Us

Welcome to realTLK! Andrew and I found that many events were just networking “meet and greets” and we wanted to create one that truly added value in a raw and honest way. We want to provide a safe place for entrepreneurs to get the “real talk” on what happens in startup land. You won’t find any “Facebook happy” here. Our goal is to share stories and information, in a safe judgment-free way, about what to expect with your startup business. Learn from industry experts, peers and friends so that you know what you will really face and be able to make the best decision for you and your business.

We are proud to bring you three amazing flavors of realTLK.

#epicfails – Our founders will share things that went wrong, how they dealt with it and moved their businesses forward, if they moved it forward. 

#funding – Listen when VC’s, Angels, Family Funds, etc. share how they make their decision, some of their investment horror stories and how you can help them help you be investible.

#hackingthesystem – too many things are “dirty little secrets” in startup land. This series will give you the real dirt on industry secrets, like how distribution really works or the real cost to get on a story shelf, as well as some of the coolest and cheapest software tools and tricks to grow your startup with little to no money or employees.

We hope you join us and share your realTLK at our next event. We can’t wait to meet you!




Cheryl Durkee + Andrew van Bark

Our  Team

Cheryl Durkee

Cofounder of realTLK

Cheryl is the Founder and CEO of her former company, PieShell. The demise of PieShell “went viral” on LinkedIn, seen by more than 500k people. She received hundreds of messages of support and thanks for sharing things to what others are going through on a daily basis and giving a voice to those that felt so alone. She realized that truth in the space is what was really missing. Cheryl is super excited to work with Andrew and bring to realTLK to the community she loves so much.


She’s an innovative Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Brand Strategist, Community Expander, and Networking Queen with a background in fundraising, brand-identity development, and public relations. Working with clients through her CD Consulting business, helping them with challenges is what she finds so fulfilling.

If you have any questions for Cheryl, or would like to work with her, reach out at cheryl@realtlk.com! 

Andrew van Bark

Cofounder of realTLK

Andrew founded and ran LC Farmery brewery & tasting room & Craftlink, a marketplace connecting alcohol producers & suppliers with restaurants. The demise of both, epic as they were, opened the doors to an amazing community of foodtech & hospitality entrepreneurs/leaders in NYC & beyond. Enter realTLK: Andrew partnered with Cheryl to enrich & expand the community via a monthly forum to share real stories, answer real questions, provide real support and make real use of our time together. No bullshit, no fluff. 

Andrew recently wrapped up an incredible stint with Uber Eats in the realm of Virtual Restaurants & Dark Kitchens to lead operations for Pepper, (another) B2B platform connecting suppliers with restaurants & suppliers. Pepper is a tenant of Chelsea’s WeWork Food Labs. Outside of the Food Lab, he is a early-stage tech advisor/investor & proud dog dad. 

Reach out to Andrew for vent &/or whiteboard sessions: andrew@realTLK.com

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