Gay Marketing Association proudly awards the GMA 2020 Business of the Year Award: LGBTQ Corporate Equality to OutBüro!
Why this matters to us: LGBTQ workplace equality is especially important for the founder of Gay Marketing Association, Will Senn, who was previously terminated for coming out as gay at work and created a group he always wanted with Gay Marketing Association.
does Outbüro most contribute to the LGBTQ community?
Recently, Fabrice Houdart, a top Human Rights Advocate for the United Nations publicly said via a posting on LinkedIn, ”This (Outbüro) is fascinating and much more aligned with the UN’s Global LGBTQ Standards for Business than most (any) indexes! (LGBTQ Corporate Equality Indexes)”.
mission is to connect the world’s LGBTQ employees, professionals,
and entrepreneurs with opportunities to grow in their careers and
grow their companies. We strive to connect companies and
organizations that support LGBTQ Corporate Equality with quality
candidates while providing a voice and insight into workplace culture
and LGBT workplace issues.
LGBTQ employees ratings/reviewing their employers to improve LGBTQ Corporate Equality, and impact the economic growth of individuals and the LGBTQ community as a whole. It also provides a LinkedIn-style professional online community. Employers of any size, any type and anywhere in the world may participate leveraging the employer branding to convey in a consolidated platform all they do for their employees, clients/customer and the community. They also may utilize the site as a review/rating monitoring and interaction platform to stay abreast of what LGBTQ current and former verified employees think of them as an employer.
How does Outbüro feel about winning the GMA 2020 Business of the Year Award for LGBTQ Workplace Equality?
I am honored to be nominated and receive the recognition of this award. I started the first LinkedIn Group for LGBTQ professionals and entrepreneurs 12 years ago 100% voluntarily. After I began working to build Outbüro (www.OutBuro.com) I branded the LinkedIn group as a service of Outbüro.
I am so grateful that the community, including the Gay Marketing Association, is starting to take notice. Not for me, but for the entire LGBTQ community. Outbüro is where you belong and your voice matters.
Do you have any exciting plans for Outbüro in 2020? How will the organization expand?
Like most businesses, we had some early hurdles to overcome. Outbüro around 6 months behind where I wanted to be. So I am considering 2018-19 a soft launch and January 2020 it’s official launch.
So our exciting plans for 2020 is to be 100% fully functional by the end of January. There is just a small part to reach that. Then to start aggressively reaching out to employers of all types and sizes to join.
We will be expanding our grassroots marketing to attract more LGBTQ professionals and entrepreneurs to leverage the employer ratings/review platform where verified current and recent past employees may anonymously rate their employer on not only LGBTQ focused topics such as discrimination and harassment, but also general areas such as how happy are you to go to work each day, effectiveness of meetings and more. It is a tool to provide employers the accolades for supporting LGBTQ workplace equality. Posted ratings and review provides LGBTQ job seekers the information they need to find their next amazing employer.
Additionally, Outbüro is launching LGBTQ Virtual Career fairs bringing LGBTQ friendly employers together with quality LGBTQ candidates. Although not only a job site, we believe this will create a great value proposition for employers to get on board and LGBTQ professionals to join the site. The first 12 planned virtual career fairs are already listed on the site – easily found in the top navigation menu.
Since 2008, Dennis Velco founded and has nurtured LinkedIn’s largest LGBTQ networking group from a concept to an international networking resource with over 46,000 global members – that grows daily. Velco is a social entrepreneur with a passion for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.
It was the driving force for Velco to launch the LGBT media crowd-sourced corporate social justice tech startup OutBüro. Additionally, OutBüro is a growing site of LGBT related business news, information, resources, and stories of careers and business owners.
Velco continues to moderate and grow the LinkedIn group yet now branded as and supported as a service of OutBüro.
For Dennis, creating, cultivating and growing the OutBüro on LinkedIn group has been a persistent and passionate endeavor.
OutBüro on LinkedIn welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT), queer, intersex and questioning professionals and entrepreneurs, along with friends, allies, recruiters and diversity professionals seeking to connect, network and communicate to advance their careers.
A Persistent Pioneer – How it began
“I’ve been on LinkedIn since way before people knew what it was, when I was living in New York City 16 years ago,” says Velco, now based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Back then it wasn’t as prominent as it is today. I put it on the backburner for a couple of years. As more clients began to mention it in casual conversation in late in 2007, I got more involved and did what most people do-I filled it out like a resume and began to prospect on it.”
As he became more involved, Velco began noticing other features of the networking service, especially the preponderance of collegiate alumni association groups listed on people’s profiles.
“I scoured LinkedIn searching for an LGBT Group and looking up very prominent LGBT community members to see if their profiles had any LGBT group listed. I found nothing,” he says. After several patient inquiries and a few months of back and forth, it turned out the site wasn’t hosting an LGBTQ networking group.
Velco contacted LinkedIn providing a strong case for an LGBT group on the site. Eventually, LinkedIn gave the green light, and Velco agreed to be the group’s owner and moderator voluntarily donating his time and resources.
He approached the project with fervor and a sense of mission. “I felt and continue to feel it is vital to have a strong open and out LGBT presence on the world’s largest professional networking site,” he says. “People are much more likely to be out on Facebook yet still hesitant to be out on LinkedIn.” At Velco’s request, all groups on LinkedIn offer the option to hide a group’s membership on public profiles.
Adding Members & Content
Once LinkedIn signed off, Velco jumped in with both feet, embracing the project, donating hours of time each day – including weekends – to building the group, taking a labor-intensive, trial-and-error approach.
“I would search LinkedIn and find profiles of people that had ‘LGBT, GLBT, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer and so forth’ in their listing and send them invitations to join the group. I’d have to be careful to weed out people who have ‘Gay’ in their names,” he says. “I then would send each person a personalized invitation to join the group.”
Building and maintaining this group has been a labor of love. “My past life partner thought I was crazy in the beginning of building it due to the amount of time and personal money I was investing in the group. The first several years I would spend anywhere from two to six hours a day combing the Internet for pertinent content to post,” Velco recalls.
“March 2018 will mark ten years that I’ve done this voluntarily,” he says.
In addition to writing pieces for the group, Velco searched international news sites to curate LGBTQ-focused, business-oriented pieces. “I would strive to stay non-political and avoid content that would alienate members,” he says. “I’d try to get global content because I didn’t want it to just be an echo chamber of U.S. and Canadian content. I can’t wait until LinkedIn gets automatic translations because I would like all members to be able to contribute, view and participate in their native language. I believe that being an English only site is a deterrent to many. Having such a feature I believe would increase member active participation.”
Nixing NSFW Content
Despite what a handful of aspiring members might think, LinkedIn is not an adjunct to Grindr or a Circuit Party Facebook page. Deflecting accusations of being sex-negative, Velco has spent a fair amount of time screening out applicants who submit genital images as their profile photos. As a business-oriented (rather than social) site, even shirtless pictures are typically verboten.
“Policing the group is important because while Facebook is typically banned at most businesses via the company internet, LinkedIn is not,” he emphasizes. I want OutBüro main site and our channels such as OutBüro on LinkedIn to remain Fortune 1000 level office friendly.
“I hold to LinkedIn’s terms of service. I’ve had to moderate and get involved with spats and even had a stalker who ended up banned from LinkedIn for life. I’ve had blatant anti-LGBT content in profiles. Every single person’s profile in the group must be reviewed by me to a degree.”
Partnering with StartOut
In 2017, as StartOut investigated new channels for outreach, freelance Marketing Director John Graham reached out to Velco to see if the two groups could cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship, one that would boost StartOut’s member recruitment.
“I knew how large the LinkedIn group was and how it made sense to develop a partnership with him. It’s a large channel to find LGBTQ entrepreneurs and those who support them,” Graham says. “The OutBüro on LinkedIn group has been one of the most effective means to continue growing StartOut memberships/registrations. It has been nearly 11 times more effective than Facebook.”
Today he’s exploring his new home town of Wilton Manors and the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area.
The group has from high school students through White House staff of both the Obama and Trump administration and every role in between. “Knowing that people at that level value the group enough to have an open LGBT or they are friendly representatives present makes me feel great. My effort to date has been well spent.”
Nevertheless, Dennis and his passionate quest continue with OutBüro being part of the evolution. He states, “I feel good because OutBüro is about helping people and companies/organization be better and make good decisions be being a resource and a tool of communication, growth, and change.”
December 12, 2018 (updated June 18, 2019) Published by Dennis Velco
Bright spots and areas of optimism exist within traditionally underserved groups in the face of income inequality, retirement insecurity and household debt, new data from Prudential Financial reveals. The in-depth exploration of data from Prudential’s Financial Wellness Census™ highlights the dramatic differences in the experiences of diverse populations within the U.S., many of whom were disproportionately impacted by the 2008 financial crisis.
“Resilient and diverse communities are the foundation of a stable and strong economy. Their progress enables our progress,” said Judy Dougherty, Prudential’s financial wellness officer. “This new analysis presents a layered portrait of the financial lives of Americans and exposes factors that underlie and sometimes impede our ability to achieve financial security. These insights are critically important to Prudential’s businesses, informing our efforts to develop products and services that help more Americans improve their financial health.”
The data highlights challenges and opportunities
The research details the wide range of outcomes, experiences and attitudes among traditionally underserved communities. For example:
By significant margins, black Americans at all income levels are more likely than the general population to prioritize helping others financially: taking care of parents or other family members, providing college tuition for their children, helping children with a down payment on a home, leaving an inheritance to their heirs, and giving to charity.
The average annual income for women in the survey was $52,521, compared with $84,006 for men—women reported earning about 63 cents for every dollar earned by men. Additionally, 54 percent of all women reported being the primary breadwinner in their household, irrespective of its makeup.
Thirty-eight percent of caregivers in the study do not think they will ever be able to retire versus only 25 percent of non-caregivers. Although caregivers for children with special needs were as likely as other caregivers and non-caregivers to have a defined contribution retirement plan, they were also the most likely to have taken a loan or hardship withdrawal.
“The journey to financial wellness is deeply personal,” said Lata Reddy, Prudential’s senior vice president, Diversity, Inclusion & Impact. “While there are common experiences that tie us all together, there are also distinct factors that are unique to our individual journeys that impact the ultimate destination. These factors need to be clearly understood for true progress to be made. The first step is to actively listen to the voices in our communities, and it is in this spirit that this research was conducted.”
The original Financial Wellness CensusTM was conducted by Prudential’s Decision Insights Group and Chadwick Martin Bailey within the United States between Sept. 20 and Oct. 9, 2017, among a nationally representative sample of 3,013 U.S. adults ages 25-70. For the complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].
November 5, 2018 (updated June 18, 2019) Published by Dennis Velco
Out Leadership, the global LGBT+ business network rang the Nasdaq stock market opening bell on November 2, 2018. The ceremony celebrates Out Leadership’s instrumental impact in making LGBT+ equality a priority in global C-suites, and the progress its executive events and talent initiatives have made towards inspiring Out Leaders and global companies to grow their businesses through inclusion.
“When I started this company, it was rare to see a CEO discussing LGBT+ equality as an issue that affected how they did business. In the last 8 years, we’ve engaged more than 400 global CEOs in our work, helping them realize the immense positive business impacts of inclusion. In many ways, ringing the opening bell is symbolic of the immense progress we’ve made in establishing LGBT+ equality as a guiding principle for many of our world’s most influential companies. As we rang the opening bell, we are grateful to the many companies and leaders who’ve helped us get here. And we are also reminded of how much potential remains locked behind closet doors. Our commitment to driving LGBT+ equality forward, in every kind of company, and in every region of the world, is stronger than ever before,” said Todd Sears, Founder and Principal, Out Leadership..
Todd Sears was joined by members of Out Leadership’s senior leadership team, representatives from Out Leadership’s member companies include members of its Leadership Committees and other supporters. A live webcast of the honorary opening bell ceremony, courtesy of Nasdaq, which began at 9:15 am ET on Friday, November 2, 2018, and was available at https://livestream.com/nasdaq/live
Image courtesy of Nasdaq – Todd Sears – CEO of Out Leadership pictured center.
About Out Leadership Out Leadership is the global LGBT+ business network CEOs and multinational companies trust to generate Return on Equality®. It creates global executive events and insights that help leaders realize the economic growth and talent dividend derived from inclusive business, and convenes groundbreaking talent accelerators: OutNEXT, the first global leadership development program for the next generation of LGBT+ talent; Quorum, which seeks to advance LGBT+ diversity in corporate governance; and OutWOMEN, which convenes and celebrates LGBT+ women in business. Out Leadership is a certified B Corp. For more information, please visit www.outleadership.com
Have an LGBTQ related news tips focused on the professional side of life? Contact us to get the word out.
October 30, 2018 (updated June 18, 2019) Published by Dennis Velco
I was recently first connected with Laxmi Narayan Tripathi via our OutBüro on LinkedIn Group and connected directly as a 1st-degree contact when I noticed a posting from her in the group about Kineer Drinking Water. She is a transgender activist and social entrepreneur that works tirelessly for the transgender community in India and thereby around the world. She’s an activist, entrepreneur, dancer, actress and more than anything a compassionate human who is leveraging her skills and energy to help others to belong, be safe, feel dignity and be empowered.
We at Kineer are at empowering the transgender/third-gender Indian community with employment opportunities and more.
You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes and difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. – Laxmi Narayan Tripathi
India’s transgender women community, or Hijra, has been a part of the subcontinent for about as long as civilization has. With a recorded history of over 4,000 years and is mentioned in ancient texts, the Hijra community is a testament to the sexual diversity that is integral yet often forgotten in Indian culture.
However, when the Indian subcontinent came under colonial rule during the 19th century, British authorities sought to eradicate and criminalize the Hijra community through various laws. These laws were later repealed after India attained independence.
While the Hijra community is still revered by society at large and celebrated in religious and spiritual ceremonies, they are often the victims of abuse and discrimination. Violence and hate crimes against the community are common, as is housing and other harassment and discrimination.
Although the hijras are human beings full of efficiency and human dignity beyond the male-female dichotomy, the government has not taken proper initiatives for their upliftment. Our society has just rejected their different physical complexities.
Hijras are boycotted from their own family, society, and state. Their own family hides them to cover the so-called ‘shame’ and neglect the truth that hijras are not responsible for what they are. Society ignores the reality that they are just the third gender. Their gender is naturally constructed as diverse. For their diverse identity, they cannot even inherit their family properties. Their funeral activities are also not functioning properly as the persons related to those rituals are not willing to conduct funeral activities when he comes to know that it’s a dead body of a hijra!
Although some attempts are taken for the hijras by the government and some non-governmental organizations who work for conserving human rights, those are really insufficient. We cannot step forward leaving these people having diverse gender identity far behind. Obviously, they have the ability to serve various sectors, but at present, they are not playing that role just because of not getting an opportunity. They could become talented doctors, engineers, intelligent scientists, scholars and what not?
Creating a Solution Through Water
The plight of the Hijra Community (Third/Neutral gender) is not hidden from anyone but still, no action has been taken towards providing a sustainable employment/ income source for them. They are left with a choice to either beg on the roads or to indulge in Skin Trade. It was surprising to see that the grants too were only focused on ways of distributing condoms or taking HIV/ safe sex sessions. Which we feel is just another way of labeling/ approving their indulgence in the skin trade.
Kineer Seeking Corporate Customer Partners and Distributors
Kineer Drinking Water is seeking direct corporate customers who serve water to their customers/staff as well as distributors. This is social entrepreneurs where when you serve Kineer Water you are making a statement that you support empowering the community with jobs and a future of safety and security.
If you serve bottled water for any reason, you are a perfect corporate partner customer. Kineer would appreciate the opportunity to provide the refreshing water you need and the transgender community will be grateful for your support of their employment and lives of dignity.
Water Not Kineer’s Only Product or Service to assist the Community
Most entrepreneurs work tirelessly to realize the potential of one business. Laxmi formed Kineer Services which not only has the drinking water brand yet the following services/products:
Kineer Packaged drinking water plants
Kineer Cosmetics and washroom amenities range
Kineer Education platform
Kineer Mental health Helpline
Kineer National Cricket league
Kineer manpower Placement and Diversity inclusion platform
Kineer corrective surgeries helpline
Kineer Security Services
Kineer Dance and fine arts academy
Kineer apparels and lifestyle accessories
Trans Queen India events
Kineer Services Pvt. Ltd was formed with a vision bringing about a Paradigm Shift for the members of the sexual minorities. They are not only working towards creating dignified employment opportunities for the members of the sexual minorities but is also working towards ensuring the mental and physical health of this neglected community is taken care of.
About Laxmi Narayan Tripathi
She is the Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of the Kinaar Akhada, a transgender rights activist, dancer, and actress. She was the first transgender person to represent Asia-Pacific at a UN task meeting in 2008 and represented the region again at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne. She works with numerous NGOs, including the Astitva Trust, the Asia Pacific Transgender Network and Maharashtra Trithiya Panthi Sangatana, to promote the equality of transgender individuals. She was one of several petitioners in the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment recognizing the ‘third gender’ and is a member of the core committee set up by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for Transgender Rights and Upliftment. She is the subject of two books, Me Hijra, Me Laxmi (written by R. Raj Rao) and Red Lipstick: The Men in My Life (written by Pooja Pande).
October 29, 2018 (updated June 18, 2019) Published by Dennis Velco
Paul Lorenz – Artist Entrepreneur
Artistically driven renaissance entrepreneur gay man, Paul Lorenz is creative while realizing that art is a business. We initially connected with Paul via LinkedIn. Currently, he is preparing for a large solo exhibition at the Evanston Art Center, near Chicago, for November 2018.
His background is in architecture (15 years) specifically in Bauhaus (my personal favorite) architecture and fine art. Paul Lorenz has carved an intriguing space in the international art world. He unites the visual and tactile intimacy of painting and drawing with the auditory stimulation of sound. His rich background in architecture is seen, felt and heard through the details and clarity of vision.
Lorenz states. “Being an artist is an extremely challenging yet rewarding professional career. You get to fully express yourself and create beautiful unique items. A traditional business would call it a product. I hesitate to use that term but it’s true. My artwork, any artist’s art creation, is a product. Like any small business, I must find creative ways to market my artwork/product to reach new collectors – target customer audience. Further, to do so, I must create community and business relationships such as with galleries to further my market reach and take the sales parts off my plate so that I can focus on the part of the business of art that I most enjoy doing. Art is a business – make no mistake.”
He states that his education and life experiences have given him the confidence and perspective to follow numerous creative paths: interior architecture, fine art education, and film festival management. Above all, he identifies himself as an artist (independent since 1999). A commissioned work can be seen publically in at the 45 Rockefeller Center in New York. He has been displayed in numerous group and solo exhibitions around the globe and always open to exploring new creative opportunities anywhere in the world. However, if a company or government would like to install the first art on the moon, Lorenz is up for a challenge.
At this time, he represented by LuminArte Gallery in Dallas, Texas and online for originals at 1340 Gallery. If in the market for a fine art print you may find him at VitualGallery. For a few snazzy fashion accessories and home decor at Pauls work may be found at Vida.
My work is my autobiography. My work plays and questions abstraction and permanence. The pieces reflect my education in Bauhaus architecture, my explorations of line and content, and my reaction to life in locations discovered through my continued quest for knowledge.
Linear Stream is the result and flows defining what a line, series of lines and volume of lines can be.
Studying architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, created the basis for the paintings and drawings. Architecture and structure form the logic behind the way a painting is built and constructed. How do the tools used affect the making of a line or volumes? Each work is an answer to a question exploring how marks and gestures can be created to form a complete composition. What is the difference between working on paper, film or linen? How does the same medium react to differing circumstances?
Abstraction is not a style, but a state of mind…a balance of subtlety and boldness, confidence and risk…the known, and that what needs to be found.
October 28, 2018 (updated June 18, 2019) Published by Dennis Velco
BringMeGift is the brainchild of Viсtor Semeniaka a Belarusian developer who had the vision to bring the global gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community a unique tool to make your next travel exciting and personal.
To take the BringMeGift to the next level he moved to New York City and was accepted to participate in the startup accelerator at Starta Ventures. Further, BringMeGift has made a smart move in creating a relationship with Mr. Matt Skallerud, founder of Pink Banana Media, who is very adept at reaching the target LGBT market through online marketing. BringMeGift is a unique approach and seeking investors who share their vision.
This is built on an invite-only trusted network concept. Mr. Semeniaka believes that this will make users of the amazing new app feel more confident in creating the vacation experience of a lifetime. What makes this new travel tool so interesting is the ability to either pay directly for a service offered, or barter – offering a gift, thus the name BringMeGift. For example, say you have a favorite Spanish wine that can only be purchased there. If you live in the US, you cannot get it. So, if you offer a service, say the use of your spare room, be a local guide for an afternoon or more to a Spanish traveler you may request they bring you a few bottles of that so much loved wine in return. Then sit back and sip away.
Offer a home cooked meal for example coupled with great conversation. What a great way to be a global citizen and make new friends. Offer the use of your car for a few hours or a day. Offer to be a hiking guide in local parks. Offer to be a shopping guide. Nearly anything can be offered and requested in return.
This is not just for your vacation. As a past extensive business traveler myself, I would have absolutely loved an app like this during those times. Business travels can be so mundane with few options to get out of the hotel after work. I spent many evenings sipping cocktails at bars just so I’d have someone to talk to that wasn’t work related. With BringMeGift, on your business travels you can offer to bring a token of your appreciation and explore the city with a local and make great friends if you find yourself in that location again.
Naturally, the participants will have to keep country customs and airline baggage restrictions in mind.
About Starta Ventures: Starta Accelerator’s mission is to introduce startups with European R&D roots to best practices, trusted advisors and mentors, and overcome cultural differences through a customized educational program that helps startups gain traction in the United States and become part of the local startup and investing ecosystem. To put it simply we do everything we can and everything that you need to expand into the American market and succeed globally.
About Pink Banana Media: Pink Banana integrate s the power and reach of content & social media marketing with traditional online strategies including banner ads and e-mail campaigns. We merge PR, Advertising, Marketing & Social Media.
Send us your news tip regarding LGBT owned businesses and/or companies focusing on the LGBT community.
October 22, 2018 (updated June 18, 2019) Published by Dennis Velco
LGBT entrepreneurs and gay business leaders have been stepping out of the closet helping to represent the community like never before. With that in mind, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most powerful LGBT CEOs, LGBT opinion leaders, and successful gay entrepreneurs in the spirit of what OutBüro is all about.
This is by no means an exhaustive listing of all the outstanding LGBTQ entrepreneurs and professionals at top levels out there. We’d love to feature your business and career as an out LGBT professional. Contact us to get that ball rolling with a little information about you and if a business owner a little about it.
The individuals listed are in no particular order, and have not been ranked.
Inga Beale: CEO of Lloyd’s of London
In 2013, Inga Beale became the first female CEO of Lloyd’s of London. In 2017 she was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her efforts as CEO and her contributions to the British economy.
Beale is openly bisexual and has been instrumental in the creation of a number of LGBT+ friendly policies and structures at Lloyd’s. Chief among these is an internal LGBT resource group for Lloyd’s employees.
Peter Arvai: CEO and Co-Founder of Prezi
Swedish entrepreneur, Peter Arvai, is best-known as the CEO and co-founder of Prezi, a software company which specializes in cloud-based presentations. In 2009 the company was successfully funded, in part, by TED Conference.
Arvai came out in a Forbes article in 2015. He felt it was important for LGBT+ youths to have role models within the fields of entrepreneurship and STEM, and this is what pushed him to come out publicly.
Hayley Sudbury: Founder and CEO of WERKIN
Entrepreneur Hayley Sudbury is the founder and CEO of WERKIN, an analytics platform that utilizes behavioral science to improve diversity in company hiring practices. Before founding her own company, Sudbury was an executive at Barclays.
Sudbury is also an openly out lesbian, who campaigns for LGBT+ rights and diversity in the tech industry. She is a member of the committee for LB Women and is a mentor for Stemettes
Tim Cook: CEO of Apple
Tim Cook has been at the helm of the technology giant, Apple Inc., since 2011. Prior to becoming CEO, he held the position of Chief Operations Officer at the company and is credited with giving Apple’s inventory and outgoing expenses a much-needed overhaul. Cook publicly came out as gay in 2014, though he had always been open about his sexuality in his personal life. His announcement made him the first openly gay person to be included in the Fortune 500 list.
Source: Mike Deerkoski/Wikimedia Commons
Megan Smith: Former CTO of the United States
Megan Smith has had a storied career. She was a vice president at Google and the former CEO of Planet Out. In 2014 she became the first female CTO of the United States, and the third person to ever hold that position. She served as CTO under President Barack Obama until 2017. Today she is a member of the board of MIT.
Smith is openly lesbian and has been recognized by both Out Magazine and GLAAD for her visibility as an LGBT+ leader.
Source: Chuck Kennedy/Wikimedia Commons
Alan Joyce: CEO of Qantas Airlines
Irish-born Alan Joyce rose to the position of CEO of the Australian airline, Qantas, in 2008. Prior to working for Qantas, Joyce had worked in numerous positions for Irish airline, Aer Lingus.
Joyce has been open about his sexuality throughout his career and has been in a committed gay relationship for almost 20 years. Last year he became a Companion of the Order of Australia – the highest civil honor that can be bestowed upon someone by the state.
Source: Jetstar Airways/Wikimedia Commons
Martine Rothblatt: CEO of United Therapeutics
Martine Rothblatt is currently the highest-earning CEO in the biopharmaceutical industry, as well as the founder of her company, United Therapeutics. Her fascinating and storied career has spanned the fields of law, aerospace, and medicine.
Martine publicly came out as a trans woman in 1994, and remains a fierce advocate for trans rights. She’s married with four children and dedicates much of her time to transhumanist efforts.
Source: Andre Chung/Wikimedia Commons
Nick Denton: Founder of Gawker Media
Controversial entrepreneur, Nick Denton, founded Blogwire Inc. in 2003. In 2004, he renamed the company Gawker Media, which went on to become the parent company of popular online media sites such as Deadspin, Gizmodo, and Jezebel.
Nick Denton is open about his sexuality, and in 2014 married his partner, Derrence Washington. Gawker was dissolved in 2016 in the aftermath of a much-publicized lawsuit. Since then, Denton remains hopeful about his future in media.
Source: nrkbeta/Wikimedia Commons
Jennifer Pritzker: Founder of the Tawani Foundation
Jennifer Pritzker is best-known for being the first transgender billionaire. She served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, and founded the Tawani Foundation in 1995. Through the foundation, she seeks to donate to numerous civic causes.
Pritzker publicly came out in 2013 via a statement to her employees. She has received many accolades for her work in advancing the visibility of and discussion around gender identity.
Source: Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Burden, U.S. Army/Wikimedia Commons
Peter Thiel: Co-Founder and Former CEO of PayPal
Peter Thiel served as PayPal’s CEO from its launch until its sale to eBay in October, 2002. Since then, he has founded a global hedge fund and is well-regarded as a philanthropist, funding primarily efforts in artificial intelligence and the extension of life.
As an openly gay man, Thiel has also supported a number of LGBT+ causes over the years. He was a guest speaker at 2010’s HomoCon and continues to support the American Foundation for Equal Rights and GOProud.
Source: Dan Taylor/Wikimedia Commons
Vivienne Ming: Co-Founder of Socos
Vivienne Ming is a theoretical neuroscientist and entrepreneur and is the co-founder of Socos. Socos aims to combine machine learning and neuroscience to maximize the potential of students. In 2013, Ming was named one of Ten Women to Watch in Tech by Inc. Magazine.
Vivienne came out as trans to her then-fiancé, Norma, on her 34th birthday in 2005. She and Norma married the following year and went on to found Socos together. Today, Ming sits on the boards of StartOut, The Palm Center, Emozia, Engender, and Genderis Inc.
Joel Simkhai: Founder and Former CEO of Grindr
Joel Simkhai is the founder and former CEO of Grindr, one of the most successful dating apps and, arguably, the most successful dating app for gay men. Simkhai launched the app in 2008 and announced his departure from the company in January of this year following the app’s acquisition by Chinese company, Kunlun.
Simkhai has always been open about his sexuality and has used his platform to promote gay rights and raise money for LGBT+ causes.
Source: TechCrunch/Wikimedia Commons
Claudia Brind-Woody: Vice President of IBM
Claudia Brind-Woody is one of the most powerful women working in tech today. She is currently employed as the Vice President and Managing Director for IBM Global Intellectual Property Licensing. She has worked for IBM for over twenty years and has held multiple different positions.
Brind-Woody is also an out lesbian and has served on the boards of numerous LGBT+ organizations over the years. She was awarded the Out & Equal Trailblazer Award in 2011 and has spoken publicly on issues of diversity and LGBT+ rights globally.
Jon Hall: Board Chair for the Linux Professional Institute
Jon “Maddog” Hall is a veteran computer programmer and currently serves as the board chair for the Linux Professional Institute. He’s also the CEO of OptDyn, a tech company which produces open-source technologies to be used in P2P cloud computing and the Internet of Things.
In a 2012 article for Linux Magazine, Hall publicly came out as gay. His decision was made in honor of Alan Turing.
Source: Cristiano Sant’Anna/Wikimedia Commons
Gigi Chao: Executive Director of Cheuk Nang Holdings Limited
Gigi Chao was thrust into the media spotlight when, in 2012, her father and owner of Cheuk Nang Holdings offered $65 million to any man who would marry her. In 2014, Chao’s father raised the amount to $180 million.
Chao responded to her father’s offers by publishing a letter in the China Morning Post, where she revealed that she was a lesbian and that she had been married to her partner, Sean Eav, in 2012. In 2008, Chao founded the Faith In Love Foundation, a charitable organization aimed at lifting under-privileged youths out of poverty.
Jason Grenfell-Gardner: CEO of Teligent
Jason Grenfell-Gardner is the current Chief Executive Officer, President, and Director of Teligent. Prior to working for Teligent, he was Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for West-Ward Pharmaceuticals. He is also a current Director at IGI Laboratories.
Grenfell-Gardner is one of the few openly gay CEOs of publicly traded American corporations. In a 2014 article with the New York Times, Grenfell-Gardner and C1 Financial CEO, Trevor Burgess, both said they were unaware of any other openly gay CEOs in their field.
Juergen Maier: CEO of Siemens UK
Juergen Maier is the current Chief Executive Officer for Siemens UK. Before rising to the position of CEO, he held numerous senior positions within the company, including Industry Sector Lead for the UK and Ireland.
Early in his career, Maier was worried that his sexual orientation might affect his career opportunities and remained secretive. In recent years, he has opened up about his struggles as a gay man and now speaks out against homophobia in the workplace.
Anthony Romero: Executive Director of the ACLU
Anthony D. Romero is the current Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He previously served as the Director of the Ford Foundation, where he facilitated as much as $90 million in funding for various civil and human rights projects.
In 2001 he became not only the first Latino man to be Executive Director of the ACLU, but also the first openly gay man. In 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Hispanics.
Source: Rsd315/Wikimedia Commons
Mark McBride-Wright: Chair and Co-Founder of InterEngineering
Mark McBride-Wright is a chartered chemical engineer and the chair and co-founder of InterEngineering – an organization that seeks to connect LGBT+ engineers and supports them in the field of engineering. InterEngineering was instrumental in the development of LGBT STEM Day. He is also the founder of EqualEngineers, an organization dedicated to connecting employers with diverse candidates working in STEM, and in consulting on matters of diversity within various companies.
McBride-Wright is, himself, a gay man and has worked tirelessly to provide more inclusive spaces within engineering for the LGBT+ community. He appeared in the Financial Times Future LGBT Leaders List in both 2015 and 2016.
Chris Hughes: Co-Founder of Facebook
In 2002, Chris Hughes co-founded Facebook along with Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Andrew McCollum in Harvard University. Since then, he has gone on to become the co-chair of the Economic Security Project.
Hughes is openly gay, and in 2012 married Sean Eldridge. Earlier this year he published his book, Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn, which primarily addresses income inequality in the United States.
Source: Lisa Berg/Wikimedia Commons
David Geffen: Founder of DreamWorks
David Geffen is, arguably, one of the most powerful figures in the American entertainment industry. In addition to founding DreamWorks in 1994, he co-founded Asylum Records with Elliot Roberts.
Geffen came out as gay in 1992, and is frequently regarded as one of the most successful LGBT+ business people in America. He’s a dedicated philanthropist, who frequently donates to medical research and the arts.
David Bohnett: Founder of GeoCities
David Bohnett was behind one of the first ever social networking sites, GeoCities, back during the early days of the Internet. After founding the site in 1994, Bohnett has gone on to found the David Bohnett Foundation which seeks to improve society through social activism.
Bohnett is openly gay, and has been recognized throughout his career for his contributions to tech and the LGBT+ community.
Tim Gill: Founder of Quark
In 1981, Tim Gill founded Quark Inc., which produced an early and important software for the layout of graphics. Gill sold his stakes in Quark in 1999 in order to focus more on his interests in LGBT+ activism and philanthropy.
Gill married Scott Miller in 2009, and continues to advocate for the LGBT+ community through the Gill Foundation. He is believed to be the largest single donor to LGBT+ rights in America, having donated over $422 million to various LGBT+ causes throughout his lifetime.
Harvey Levin: Founder of TMZ
Harvey Levin is the founder of popular and polarizing celebrity news site, TMZ. Levin got his start as a lawyer, and transitioned into the entertainment industry in the early 1980s. He founded TMZ in 2005, which has since become one of the most up-to-date and important celebrity news sources in the world.
Levin publicly came out as gay in 2010 when speaking to the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. He frequently appears in Out Magazine’s Power 50 list of influential figures in the LGBT+ community.
Source: SupportPDX/Wikimedia Commons
Trevor Burgess: Former CEO of C1 Financial
Trevor Burgess is the former CEO of C1 Financial and is known as being the first openly gay CEO of a bank on the New York Stock Exchange. Before rising to the position of CEO, Burgess worked as an investment broker for Morgan Stanley for ten years.
Burgess has been very vocal about his position as a gay CEO, in an effort to better represent the LGBT+ community. He was featured in The G Quotient-Why Gay Executives are Excelling as Leaders. In 2016 he stepped down as C1 Financial CEO following its acquisition by Bank of Ozarks.
Stephen Clarke: CEO of WH Smith
Stephen Clarke is the Chief Executive Officer of British bookshop chain, WH Smith. Last year he spearheaded a training initiative in the company to better accommodate workers suffering from mental health issues.
Mental health is an important issue to Clarke, who has spoken in the past about his husband’s struggle with mental health. He also privately mentors fellow members of the LGBT+ community who work in the business sector, guiding them on how to come out among other things.
António Simões: CEO of HSBC Bank
Portuguese banker, António Simões, is the current Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Bank, presiding over Europe and the UK. He previously worked for both McKinsey & Company and Goldman Sachs.
He has always been open about his sexual orientation, and in 2015 was named number one in the Out at Work & Telegraph Top 50 LGBT Executives list. Prior to this, he was recognized by many publications for his status as an influential gay executive.
Source: Richter Frank-Jurgen/Flickr
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I was bullied throughout middle school because I was a gender nonconforming boy who loved princess toys, singing, and theatre,” Jha explains. “After I came out during my freshman year in high school, my life turned around. I found love and acceptance, as well as a new purpose: to make sure others would not experience the same harassment I did. – Sameer Jha
Read This, Save Lives aims to help teachers create classrooms and schools where gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer students can thrive. This book has deep personal relevance for Sameer, because he was severely bullied for being different in elementary and middle school. As he grew older, he learned more about his own identity and came out as queer and trans. He found acceptance, as well as a new purpose: to put an end to anti-LGBTQ+ bullying in schools.
Today, Sameer is an activist, an educator, and the founder of a non-profit called The Empathy Alliance. He is a Congressional Silver Medal recipient, has been named one of the top 10 trans youth activists in America, and has reached over 1 million people with his message promoting LGBTQ+ student safety. This book tells the story of Sameer’s journey, using specific incidents to illustrate important lessons about LGBTQ+ youth needs and how to meet them.
Find more than a 100 actionable tips created with busy, resource-constrained teachers in mind. An entire chapter is devoted to an extraordinary teacher who has transformed her own school using many of the same principles included in this guide. Read This, Save Lives is brimming with expert quotes, sobering statistics, cutting-edge research, critical terminology, real-world case studies, and resources from some of the best LGBTQ+ rights organizations in the country. Get ready to be inspired by one of the few books on the topic of LGBTQ+ youth safety that has actually been written by an LGBTQ+ youth!
Video interview with Sameer:
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October 8, 2018 (updated June 18, 2019) Published by Dennis Velco
The personal finance industry has taken notice of the award-winning highly informative personal finance by the Debt Free Guys who focus on for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community as their target underserved audience. Debt Free Guys is the passionate and often funny collaboration of David Auten and John Schneider III who share their story of how as a gay couple they use to live beyond their previous means and accumulated $51,000 of consumer debt. They woke up to the disadvantage that put them in and decided to do something about it. They strategized together a plan to pay off that $51,000 and as a result Debt Free Guys was born. In addition to writing they host audio and video interviews of experts in an array of fields that also focus personal finance in its many forms from managing your money to career tips that help you earn more too.
They have a solid understanding that there’s more to life than money. They share that you need to give money the importance it deserves, but warn that you should not make it more important than it actually is. Your freedom from debt provides financial freedom to do more with what you have. After paying of debt and living within your means – it’s like getting a raise. You have more money to invest in your long-term financial health providing you security and peace of mind. Having fun is critical to a balanced life and paying for that fun should be balanced as well.
A few selected past advice interviews they have completed are:
David and John have built a credible resource and have been referenced in Business Insider, US News, Market Watch (and here), TIME, The Motley Fool, MSN Money, The Huffington Post, and more. Further, their rich and thoughtful content caught the eye of Forbes.com where they were invited to become regular content contributors.
A little about David and John:
Nationally recognized experts on queer and straight personal finance
Authority on debt fee living, investing and financial independence
Speaker at FinCon 2017 and on Prudential’s 2016 LGBT Financial Experience Tour and 2017 LGBT Financial Experience Symposium
Brand ambassador and partner for MassMutual, Prudential and Capital One
Online contributor for Forbes, The Motley Fool, YahooFinance, Business Insider, MSN Money & Time
2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018 Plutus Award Nominee and winners of Best Personal Finance Blog in 2018
Co-authors of the hard-copy book, 4: The Four Principles of a Debt Free Life
Co-authors of the eBooks: Money Conscious Student, Money Conscious Financial Planning Guide & Do You Know How to Be Money Conscious
Over 20,000 social media followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & YouTube
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