Pride in Business: Leaders in the LGBTQ Community
There are many factors that come into consideration when determining what makes a person a leader in their community. There are factors such as political clout, media presence, economical impact among other things that play a role. But honesty, integrity and fearlessness also come to mind. Maintaining high ranking positions, being in the media spotlight and managing businesses is challenging enough on it’s own without the added hardship of possible discrimination in the workplace. These leaders prove that no matter who you are, there is always a way to achieve success, touch people’s lives and make a positive impact in your community. In no particular order, here is our list of powerhouse leaders in the LGBTQ community.
Tim Cook: Apple CEO
In March 2015, Cook landed the number one position in Fortune magazine’s World’s Greatest Leaders edition. The notoriously private Apple CEO publicly came out in 2014. Cook said in an interview with Bloomberg.com, “I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.” Under Cook’s leadership, Apple has increased its donations to charity and hired Lisa Jackson, formerly the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. She is tasked with assisting Apple with the development of its green initiatives.
Rachel Maddow: News Anchor and Political Commentator
This no-nonsense news anchor and TV personality has proven time and time again that she is a force to be reckoned with. Maddow is host to her own show on MSNBC which features coverage of current events and hosts lively debates on a variety of topics including national security, policy and more. Since the show’s debut, the viewing audience for her time slot has doubled and she became the first openly lesbian host of a prime-time news program in the United States.
Lavern Cox: Actress and Advocate
Lavern Cox is best known for her role as Sophia in the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. Her work on the show earned her the position of being the first transgender person to ever be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. She is also the first transgendered person to appear on the cover of TIME magazine. She is an LGBT and trans advocate and has won numerous awards for her activist approach in spreading awareness.
Ellen Degeneres: Comedian and Talk Show Host
Named one of 2015’s most powerful women in the world by Forbes, Ellen has definitely paved the way for other’s who share her passion for quality entertainment. She has hosted the Grammy’s, the Academy Awards and the Emmy’s. Her talk show simply called Ellen has also won over 13 Emmy awards. She is also the voice of Dory in Disney/ Pixar’s Finding Nemo. She is voicing the very same character in the highly anticipated sequel titled Finding Dory in theaters now.
Michael Kors: Designer
This popular fashion mogul continues to rise up the ranks. Although sales of his brand have dropped slightly in 2015, he has exceeded Wall Street expectations and is planning to open 114 new stores in the coming years. He has also successfully tied charity and philanthropic work into his brand. In 2013, he launched #watchhungerstop; a campaign dedicated to providing meals to children around the world.
Suze Orman: Personal Finance Guru
Suze Orman is the prime example of a rags to riches story. She has gone from humble beginning growing up in the south side of Chicago to becoming one of TV’s most respected personal financial advisors and motivational speakers. Suze is best known for her wildly popular Suze Orman Show on CNBC and is the author of an assortment of personal finance self-help books such as Young Fabulous and Broke and Women and Money. Suze has made it her career long mission to educate and empower people of all economic backgrounds to take simple steps that will lead them to financial freedom.
Andreja Pejic: Model
Pejic’s early childhood was plagued with uncertainty in the face of war in her native Bosnia. Her family fled to Australia as political refugees when Pejic was only 8 years old. At 17, she was scouted as a model while working at a Melbourne McDonalds. Pejic is the first openly transgender model that has ever been profiled by Vogue, and she has walked both the men’s and women’s shows for Jean-Paul Gaultier and other major designers. In early 2014, Pejic underwent sex reassignment surgery. In July, she spoke about her transgender identity with an interviewer from People. She is also the first transgender female model to front a major cosmetics campaign; Makeup Forever.
Megan Smith: Chief Technology Officer of the United States
This powerhouse thinker has quite the resume. Aside from currently having one of the most bad ass jobs in the country, she previously served as vice president of Google[x] at Google and is the former CEO of Planet Out. She has also started think tank initiatives such as Google’s Solve for X and the Women Techmakers diversity initiative. She has also been named one of the top 25 women of the web and serves on the board at MIT.
Harvey Levin: Producer and Founder of TMZ
If you love celebrity gossip, you have Harvey Levin to thank for your daily dose of dirt. Levin started his career as an attorney and worked for many years at KNBC covering legal content. He rose to fame with his coverage of the OJ Simpson murder case and in 2005 Levin partnered with AOL and Telepictures to launch TMZ. TMZ has since broke such stories as the abuse of Rihanna by Chris Brown, the death of Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy and Michael Jackson as well as other high profile celebrity controversies. Out Magazine has named Levin as one of their “Power 50” most influential voices in LGBT America since 2012.
Anderson Cooper: Journalist and author
If you watch the news, odds are you’ve heard the name Anderson Cooper. Cooper Is the host of Anderson Cooper 360º and is a correspondent to the popular news show 60 Minutes. He is no stranger to war and political unrest and has thrown himself in the thick of conflict in the pursuit of truth in broadcasting. His focus on world news has allowed him to cover events such as Hurricane Katrina, the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, the Niger famine and the Rawanda genocide. He has been in the forefront of war-torn regions around the globe, including Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda. He has won countless awards for his work including GLAAD media awards and various Emmy’s.