As countries worldwide bring us news of vaccines to boost our immunity against Covid-19, we thought of doing a series of stories on initiatives undertaken by non-binary leaders across technology, business, marketing, etc. Today, we will discuss LGBTQIA2S enterprise leaders and entrepreneurs who have made a difference globally by leading innovation, boosting economies, and creating job opportunities for millions. This feature is our endeavor to shine on those who continue to shine on us.
Note: Personal pronouns to be considered an exception sourced based on Internet attribution.
Angelica Ross is a trans non-binary leader in technology, and also a brilliant TV actress. Angelica is a notable role model of success and courage who represents and advocates transgender and racial equality. As the President of Miss Ross, Inc., Ross is the founding member of TransTech Social Enterprises. It’s a platform that supports minority groups to lift themselves out of poverty by providing technical training and digital work. With her work for the marginalized trans and LGBTQIA2S communities, Ross continues to make a huge social impact by empowering economies.
At Digital Catapult, Juergen Maier is the Chair and co-Chair of Made Smarter. He is also a member of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Council. Previously, Maier was the CEO of Siemens UK. Juergen is a strong supporter of restructuring the UK economy and has backed several national programmes to promote manufacturing and engineering professions. Maier kept his gay orientation a secret early in his career, fearful that it might impair his job prospects. He recently spoke against homophobia in the workplace and the challenges he faced as a gay man.
Claudia Brind-Woody, IBM’s Global Co-Chair for the “LGBTQ Executive Taskforce,” is a powerhouse. In 2019, she was declared one of the most powerful influencers in technology. Claudia has been at IBM for nearly two decades and has held a variety of responsibilities. In 2012, she was awarded as one of the Guardian’s 100 most influential LGBT individuals of the year and earned the Out & Equal Trailblazer honor in 2011. Claudia came out of the closet during her early professional years and has since been an advocate for LGBTQIA2S rights and workplace equality.
David Bohnett is a software developer. In 1998, he founded GeoCities, the first Internet enterprise centered on user-generated content. In 1999, Yahoo bought GeoCities. David came out to his family much later in life, after he completed graduation. Since then, David worked tirelessly for equal rights for gays and lesbians and advocated for the legalization of same-sex marriage. He established the David Bohnett Foundation to empower communities through cultural, educational, and civic projects.
In 2008, Joel Simkhai launched Grindr, an online dating app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people. He started the app out of a “personal desire” to connect with more gay men. However, Grindr now has over 4 million members and is the biggest social networking website for non-binary males worldwide. After China’s Beijing-based Kunlun Tech bought the app in 2018, Joel resigned from the company. Joel Simkhai was always vocal about his orientation. Leveraging his platform, Joel used it to advocate for gay rights and raise funds for LGBTQIA2S organizations.
Keshav Suri, the Executive Director of the Lalit Suri hospitality group, the Founder of Delhi’s renowned nightclub Kitty Su, and the Co-Founder of the Keshav Suri Foundation, was among the five complainants against Section 377, the antiquated colonial law that appropriately outlawed same-sex couples. As one of the non-binary leaders, Keshav actively encourages LGBTQ staff at the Lalit hotels by implementing policies that address same-sex couples in family policies. If an employee chooses to undergo sexual reassignment surgery, he provides financial assistance by covering a portion of the expenditure.
In 2014, the normally discreet Apple CEO and the most notable of global non-binary leaders, Tim Cook, came out in an open letter issued in Bloomberg Businessweek, confirming his sexual orientation. As a result, he became the first overtly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 business. In the open letter, Cook wrote, “part of social progress is understanding that a person is not defined only by one’s sexuality, race, or gender.” His motivation to come publicly in 2014 were letters from kids struggling with identity. Cook claims that being gay provided him with a unique perspective on how other humans behave, making him more compassionate.