Pride Month commemorates the significant impact that members of the LGBTQ community have had on the world.
As entrepreneurs, LGBTQ individuals have certainly made a mark. It’s a 1.4 million-strong force that has contributed around $1.7 trillion dollars to the gross domestic product, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce reports.
In light of these contributions, and the ongoing celebration, we’re sharing words of wisdom from six LGBTQ entrepreneurs who have motivated and inspired us. (Click the quotes for more on each entrepreneur.)
Serial entrepreneur Vivienne Ming is all about maximizing human potential. It shows in her work — her ventures aim to improve teaching methods for students of all ages and help companies find talent more efficiently. Ming’s drive to simplify and improve people’s lives was borne from her own journey toward self-actualization. In her 30s, Ming started a new chapter in her life by living her truth as a woman — a decision she celebrates to this day. “I challenge anyone to say I’m not better in every way now,” she says.
Leanne Pittsford is the founder of Lesbians Who Tech & Allies, which brings together LGBTQ tech entrepreneurs and innovators to network with one another. And talk about meeting a need — according to the organization’s website, they have engaged over 40,000 people from over 100 countries in their online community. And, their events draw in heavy-hitting speakers like Fair Fight founder Stacey Abrams and TransTech founder Angelica Ross. Pittsford is definitely not just “talking the talk” when it comes to instigating change.
Speaking of Angelica Ross… She’s perhaps better known to most for her star-making performance on the hit FX television series “Pose.” But she’s also the founder of LGBTQ co-working space and incubator TransTech, which is especially focused on empowering and forging professional pathways for transgender and nonbinary individuals. We love this quote from her, which summarizes how the right tools in the right set of hands can become a powerful force for good.
LGBTQ business owner and publisher Deb Di Gregorio had to tap into her resilient nature over decades of entrepreneurial ups and downs. In 1982, she launched Camarès Communications, an enduring, successful marketing and business-strategy firm based in Maplewood, New Jersey, that helps up-and-coming tech companies develop web presences. She says her temerity and humor saw her through shaky economic downturns — and the tough time when society was even less accepting of LGBTQ individuals.
Pat Law was born to stand out. The founder of Singapore-based social media agency Goodstuph has developed for herself a reputation for being bold and unconventional in her prosperous but socially conservative city. Law’s fierce commitment to living her truth, no matter what, is definitely inspiring. And from a business standpoint, that tough persona seems to have aided her success — revenue projections topped $8 million when we last spoke with her, and her client list includes the likes of Sony and Sephora.
Hayley Sudbury is the CEO and co-founder of software firm Werkin, which creates tech solutions and offers coaching services for improving diversity and inclusion in workplaces. As she herself notes, the times we live in have made it all too clear that words aren’t enough when it comes to improving representation and creating opportunities for marginalized people. Through her interviews, as well as her work — which has reached corporate giants like EY — she is exemplifying the need to pair words with actions.