As advocates of the United Nations’ Social Development Goals, at Hackquarters, we embrace equality, diversity, and inclusion in all its shapes and forms. The 16th goal states that it is vital to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” We strive to keep this in mind with every step we take toward innovation.
In honor of Pride Month, let’s recognize and celebrate 5 LGBTQ+ founders and entrepreneurs that work to make equality, diversity, and inclusion possible for our ecosystem.
You have most likely heard of, if not used, Prezi, the interactive presentation software with over a 100 million community of users. Today, we celebrate co-founder and former CEO Peter Arvai. Alongside Prezi, Arvai and his team co-founded the non-governmental organization WeAreOpen which promotes and helps underline the benefits of being open in the workplace.
Former COO and President of Digital at Time Inc. -current COO of Reddit, Jen Wong is among the most influential LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary innovators. To draw attention to the challenges of being open in the tech world, like finding venture funding, Wong supports communities like Lesbians Who Tech & Allies and Out in Tech.
Founder of United Therapeutics, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical company focused on the cure of end-stage organ diseases and transplantable organs, Martine Rothblatt is also a transgender rights activist. As the highest-paid female CEO of 2014, Rothblatt acknowledges the bountiful encouragement towards men on becoming successful in business and technology and hopes to be a role model for future generations.
As CEO of the American agricultural cooperative Land O’Lakes, Beth Ford became the first openly gay female leader among Fortune 500 companies. About being open, she mentioned, “I think it must be tough if you feel like you’re in a culture where you can’t be who you are. Work is hard enough, and then when you have to feel as though you can’t be who you are, that’s got to be incredibly difficult.” With the American Connection Project, she works to provide technology and broadband to the rural areas of the United States.
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Tim Cook, the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Apple’s CEO came out in 2014, which ignited sparks of change towards equality, diversity, and inclusion not only among LGBTQ+ individuals but also for corporations and organizations. Cook is a vocal LGBTQ+ rights activist who emphasizes how far the world has yet to go on gay rights.