Top 10 Most Successful LGBT Entrepreneurs
Last year marked the first time professionals in the fields of science and technology recognized the contributions of LGBT members. The event celebrated LGBT entrepreneurs and political leaders and reflected the healthy diversity among today’s prime movers in industry and government.
As the world anticipates the 2019 LGBTSTEM Day on July 5, get to know ten of the most prominent LGBT individuals in global entrepreneurship today.
Tim Cook (CEO Apple)
Prior to taking the reins of tech giant Apple in 2011, Tim Cook was first recognized as the Chief Operating Officer who turned around the company’s inventory and outgoing expenses towards positive results. He also has the distinction of being the first openly gay individual to make it in the esteemed Fortune 500 list.
Peter Thiel (Co-founder and Former CEO PayPal)
Thiel took on the role of PayPal’s CEO from its early beginnings in 1998 until its sale in 2002. The known philanthropist now concentrates on developments for artificial intelligence and life extension, plus a global hedge fund company called Clarium Capital. Thiel has proven himself as a staunch supporter of LGBT rights mainly for HomoCon, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and GOProud.
Martine Rothblatt (CEO United Therapeutics)
Martine came out as a trans woman in 1994 and is now regarded as the highest-earning CEO in the biotech industry. She remains a strong influencer for trans rights and happily lives with her partner Bina Aspen and their four children in Florida.
Nick Denton (Founder Gawker Media)
As an entrepreneur caught in a web of controversy concerning Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel, Denton established prominent online media outfits Deadspin, Gizmodo, and Jezebel. After filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for Gawker, Denton is still one of the most trusted vanguards of modern media today.
Hayley Sudbury (Founder and CEO WERKIN)
Heading a company that aims to improve diversity in job acquisitions among companies through behavioral science, Sudbury is an open lesbian who actively campaigns for the community’s rights in the tech industry. She was also one of the top executives at Barclays prior to being the Founder and CEO of WERKIN.
Joel Simkhai (Founder and Former CEO Grindr)
With the birth of dating apps for straight individuals, Simkhai launched the thriving dating app for gay men Grindr in 2008. He has also used the platform to express his strong advocacy for LGBT rights and raise proceeds for the community’s causes prior to the app’s acquisition by Chinese company Kunlun in 2018.
Chris Hughes (Co-Founder Facebook)
Along with current Facebook Chairman CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Andrew McCollum, Chris Hughes also co-founded the social media app in 2002 at Harvard University. He is married to political activist Sean Eldridge and authored the book Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn. He currently serves as co-chair of the Economic Security Project.
Megan Smith (Former CEO Planet Out)
She is one of the most accomplished LGBT members having served as vice president for Google, the first female chief technology officer of the United States, a board member of MIT, and the former CEO of Planet Out. She is also considered as one of the most active LGBT leaders today.
David Geffen (Founder DreamWorks)
His name has been revered in the music industry for decades. Today he is recognized as one of the most prominent figures in the entertainment industry after founding DreamWorks in 1994. He publicly opened up being gay in 1992 and has since been acknowledged as one of the most successful LGBT entrepreneurs in the world. His advocacies include advancements in medical research and the arts.
Vivienne Ming (Co-Founder Socos Labs)
Her company Socos Labs applies neuroscience with artificial intelligence to explore human potential. She is a theoretical neuroscientist who ventured into entrepreneurship and rose to be one of the most important women in tech in 2013. She is married to Norma Chang who is also a co-founder of Socos Labs.
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