StartOut News

StartOut Expands Leadership: New Board Members Reflect Commitment to Diversity & Expansion

For Immediate Release

NEW YORK, NY–StartOut announced four new members of the Board of Directors, adding to the roster of LGBT entrepreneurial and business professionals who govern the national organization. The addition of three out lesbian business leaders along with an openly gay entrepreneur & investor is a demonstration of StartOut’s commitment to increasing diversity on its Board and more accurately reflecting the network of over 12,000 LGBT professionals they serve each year.

“I am delighted that StartOut’s sixth year begins by expanding our Board of Directors to its most diverse makeup yet.  Reflecting the diversity of the LGBT entrepreneurial community is top priority for our Board,” said Patrick Grosso, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Businesses benefit tremendously from diversity, especially when there is diversity in their leadership. The work of improving the visibility of women and minority leaders is never finished. This holds particularly true on boards. I’m proud of StartOut’s commitment to supporting diversity in leadership throughout our work.  These new Board members bring a vast array of skills and insights from every sector of entrepreneurship, education, corporate governance, and nonprofit leadership. They will be invaluable to the continued expansion of our programming this year, and beyond.”

The new Board members include business consultant and marketing professor Mary Shea, attorney Nicole Dogwill, serial entrepreneur Carla McKay, and digital content and investor Chris Young.


New Board Member Biographies:

Nicole Dogwill

Nicole Dogwill, Partner in Joseph & Cohen’s San Francisco office, is a skilled litigator with experience in advising and defending leading, established and emerging companies, as well as their directors and officers, on matters involving fiduciary duty, corporate governance, securities, fraud, antitrust/unfair business practices, and related business claims. Ms. Dogwill also advises and litigates fiduciary duty and related claims arising in trust and estate matters. She has significant experience advising and litigating claims involving directors, officers, trustees, and all other fiduciaries including in precedent setting reported cases.

Ms. Dogwill was named a “future star” in both the 2012 and 2013 editions of Benchmark Litigation. The National LGBT Bar Association selected Ms. Dogwill as one of the Top 40 under 40 LGBT Attorneys for 2010. She is currently the President of the National LGBT Bar Association’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining Joseph & Cohen, Ms. Dogwill was a partner at Shartsis Friese LLP and Winston & Strawn LLP, respectively. Ms. Dogwill received a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from the University of Michigan in 1994 and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Michigan State University College of Law in 1998, where she was managing editor of MSU College of Law Review.


Carla McKay

After more than 20 years in Business Development and Sales positions for big corporations and startups, coupled with eight years of toiling on the weekends for a winery in Sonoma, CA., Carla took her background and brought it to the wine industry in 2012 when she created the Crushed Wine app to power social sharing of wine which launched in iTunes in 2013. Currently, Crushed is launching a content and lifestyle platform for the wine industry.

Carla’s background includes business development, sales and client relationship management roles with Vault, Jobster, Mercer, Buck, Ceridian and ADP. Carla is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone School of Wine and a Certified Wine Professional. She grew up and spent much of her career on the East Coast before a job moved her to San Francisco. She now splits her time between San Francisco and New York City. As an avid triathlete and cyclist, you might catch sight of Carla toting wine on her bike to clients and friends throughout the Bay Area.


Mary Shea

Mary Shea is the Founder & CEO of The RevvEX Group, a growth consulting firm, and an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Mary has over sixteen years of general management, commercial leadership, marketing and direct selling experience at companies ranging from high-growth startups to publicly traded firms. Her expertise includes creating and implementing go-to-market plans, building and developing sales teams, establishing winning cultures and increasing the effectiveness of underperforming teams. Mary has been recognized for recruiting, developing, motivating and retaining high-performing talent and for establishing the critical infrastructures and repeatable processes that enable market-facing organizations to quickly scale and achieve long-term profitable growth.

Early in her career Mary was a concert oboist and Musicologist who performed extensively throughout Mexico, Italy and the United States. Mary holds a PhD in Musicology and Ethnomusicology from Kent State University.


Chris Young

Chris is a serial entrepreneur and 15-year veteran of the digital video advertising space. He is currently a general partner at Revel Partners. Chris is also a partner at Wider Wake LLC, an angel investment firm and digital consulting practice. Chris serves on the board of directors of Collective, Vidible and Believe Entertainment.

In 2013, Chris sold Digital Broadcasting Group (DBG), of which he was CEO, to Alloy Digital.  Founded in 2008, DBG emerged as content production and video content syndication platform and was at the forefront of creating digital-first content.  In 2011, DBG produced the web series, The Confession starring Kiefer Sutherland and John Hurt, debuting it on Hulu and later on Netflix.  The mission was to prove that A-list talent, A script and A production values could work digitally and not just in the traditional TV model.  In 2012 DBG won a Webby Award for the project and Forbes ranked DBG #3 on its list of America’s Most Promising Companies.

Prior to starting DBG in 2008, Chris co-founded online video advertising and management solutions company Klipmart in 1999 and grew it into the nation’s largest video rich media vendor taking advertiser’s TV commercials and putting them online.  In 2006, under Chris’ leadership, Klipmart was sold to now Google-owned DoubleClick. Chris assumed the role of Executive Vice President of Rich Media and Emerging at DoubleClick, where he worked to accelerate innovation in digital video and emerging advertising formats.

Chris began his career as an investment banker at Citibank before founding his first company. Chris holds a BS in Business from Skidmore College and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Chris loves to travel and is hooked on any amazing wine or food experience. A self-proclaimed music connoisseur, he considers himself a rock & roll savant and has decided to join the Rolling Stones as a member when they tour again…if they will have him of course — they are still in negotiations.



About StartOut:

StartOut is the national non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and developing entrepreneurship in the LGBT community. StartOut empowers aspiring entrepreneurs to start new companies, helps current entrepreneurs to grow and expand their businesses, and engages successful LGBT entrepreneurs as role models and mentors for the next generation of business leaders. Annually StartOut produces over 60 programs on mentorship, education, networking, and access to capital, serving a network of 12,000 (and growing) LGBT entrepreneurs.

For more information, visit and follow @StartOut


For Media Inquiries & Interviews:

Jonathan D. Lovitz

Director of Communications + Operations




January 2015 News & Announcements


-Upcoming Programs-

  • Check out opportunities from our community partners below



What can StartOut do for YOU?



with StartOut Today 

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Welcome to 2015, StartOut Entrepreneurs!

 As the new year begins, StartOut is here to connect, educate, inspire, and empower YOU to succeed by offering the LGBT entrepreneurial community the best resources possible.

As you can see by our events calendar, whether it’s branding, lesbian programming, finance, networking, or coding, we’ve got you covered. And we’re just getting started.

We’ve grown at a tremendous pace. Last year we produced over 60 events, serving a network of 12,000+ entrepreneurs nationwide. This year we’ll focus on building out infrastructure to support that growth, as well as the expansion of a number of national initiatives, including: a new online presence, as well as expanded mentorship and capital programs.

But we need your help to make it happen! You can make a difference by volunteering your time and skills(event coordinators, software developers, web and print designers), by donating, and/or becoming a member.


Wishing you a great start to the new year,

Team StartOut

Success Story of the Month

“As a young entrepreneur starting a tech firm outside of the Bay Area, I never had strong connections to Silicon Valley.

After attending my first StartOut event, I was immediately introduced to top Silicon Valley VCs, attorneys, and others with whom I have developed strong bonds and who have helped me take my business to the next level.”

-Mac Clemmens, Digital Deployment

Click HERE for more inspiring Success Stories.

Share YOUR Success Story:

Help us promote your business story and inspire others. From connections to mentors, to finding co-founders, to getting funded, we want to hear about it.

Meet Tom Gerace, “The Storyteller”

“A lot of what drove me through my early career was to prove myself worthy and lovable, which was rooted in my self-doubt from being in the closet,” Tom Gerace says. “It pushed me to work hard. Then I hit a moment when I started my company and I didn’t want to lie anymore.”

The Skyword team is responsible for one of the many StartOut success stories in recent memory. During a recent “Demo Day”– StartOut’s largest pitch competition– they met, and soon acquired, Vidaao, a company that changes the way enterprises purchase and manage custom video.

Read Tom’s story, and many other inspiring StartOut Spotlights HERE.

LGBT Entrepreneurs in the Media: December Features

Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program:

Meet our 2014 LEMP Class HERE.  Signups for 2015 coming soon.

Our mentors and mentees are wrapping up their active relationships from 2014 and we look forward to sharing their success stories with you soon. We encourage you to get involved in our various mentoring programs and pay it forward to those who could benefit from your business expertise.

Because StartOut is committed to creating success and opportunity in the LGBT community through entrepreneurship, we developed the Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program to offer unique learning experiences to our female members.

Opportunities from our Community Partners:

Pulling Madison Avenue out of the Closet and into AdRespect Date: January 15th, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM TO 8:00 PM EST

Microsoft | 11 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

StartOut members get FREE admission. Simply contact the MCC directly at to register.

Veteran business journalist Michael Wilke analyzes the way dozens of commercials represent LGBT people – from stereotypes and homophobia to same-sex weddings – and examines how effective they are.

Wine and cheese professional networking following the presentation.


O.P.E.N. networking event (Out Professional Executive Networking) with StartOut Boston

Date: Monday, February 2nd, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM TO 9:00 PM EST

Empire Restaurant & Lounge | One Marina Park Dr. (55 Northern Ave for GPS) Boston, MA 02210

This is a free event featuring complimentary passed appetizers and a chance to meet and network with other LGBTQ professionals from a wide range of industries, as well as informational tables hosted by several organizations that support and benefit the LGBTQ community.

RSVP to Jarrett Hanley at JHanley@BNEG.comno later than Wednesday January 28th to attend.


 The Lesbians Who Tech Summit 2015

Dates: February 26 – March 1, 2015

San Francisco, CA

StartOut members get 25% off with the code LWTSTARTOUTat

Lesbians Who Tech is the community of queer women in/around the tech world (and the people who love them).

Started in 2012 in San Francisco, the community has over 5,000 women and chapters in 16 cities. Whether you work at a tech company, have a technical job, or just love technology.

Even if you’re just obsessed with every new app that comes out, Lesbians Who Tech wants you to get geeky with techy folks just like you, land gigs, and make new friends and connections. The Lesbians Who Tech Summit is open to everyone.

Thank You to Our Annual Partners        Forward to a friend       Unsubscribe
1350 Broadway, Suite 2000 New York, NY 10018

NYC Demo Day + Networking is Coming, February 24th


When: Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM EST
Where: Civic Hall | 156 5th Avenue | New York, NY 10010


We are pleased to announce StartOut Demo Day + Networking 2015 in association with NY Tech Meetup (NYTM). Demo Day is a forum for the most innovative startups from the StartOut community to connect with angel investors, venture capitalists and corporate VC’s. Our first Demo Day brought together amazing LGBT entrepreneurs from across the country who presented their startups to a panel of 15 active investors and an audience of over 200 members of the StartOut community.

We have an exciting lineup of investors and startups that will be announced soon!

Join us for an evening of collaboration among some of the brightest entrepreneurs and investors in our community. There will be ample time for you to make new connections, share ideas with other like-minded individuals and build your network.



6:00-6:45 PM: Check In + Meet & Greet
6:45-8:00 PM: Program and Company Demos
8:00-9:00 PM: Networking + Reception



Jessica Lawrence, Executive Director of NY Tech Meetup





Tom Gerace – The Storyteller

TomG_high res headshotTom Gerace loves to tell stories. While storytelling has traditionally belonged to the worlds of publishing, journalism, and entertainment, as Founder and CEO of content production powerhouse Skyword, Gerace is making storytellers of major corporations and organizations — from IBM to MasterCard, from AutoTrader to United Way Worldwide.

After graduating from Harvard in 1993, he spent three years as a research associate for the Harvard Business School. “I was hired as their first internet-focused researcher, and I became fascinated by questions of how the global connectivity of the web would disrupt traditional businesses including advertising, journalism, and publishing.”

Gerace’s experience of coming out as a gay man had a major impact on both his personal and professional life. A good friend of his father’s, who taught at Harvard Law School, coached the college sophomore on how to successfully come out to his parents during his 1991 winter break.

“A lot of what drove me through my early career was to prove myself worthy and lovable, which was rooted in my self-doubt from being in the closet,” he says. “It pushed me to work hard. Then I hit a moment when I started my company and I didn’t want to lie anymore.”

At age 25, Gerace and his brother Samuel co-founded Be Free, an online marketing services company. Ahead of the curve at the right time, he was awarded patents for developing systems for profiling computer users, and targeting advertising to them. After raising more than $200 million, a successful IPO, and launching U.S. and European operations, Be Free was acquired by ValueClick in 2002.

Gerace spent eight years exploring the intersections of marketing, advertising, and social media at SVP Marketing, while founding the Social Media Ad Consortium, and Gather, Inc. before launching Skyword in 2010. As a leading content marketing platform and services company, Skyword helps its major brand clients to plan, create, and manage content to connect and engage with their customers.

The Skyword team is responsible for one of the many StartOut success stories in recent memory. During a recent “Demo Day”—a huge gathering of emerging entrepreneurs pitching their businesses to perspective investors and business partners – they met, and soon acquired, Vidaao, a company that changes the way enterprises purchase and manage custom video.

Gerace’s advice to young LGBT people who are starting out in business is to always be true to yourself. “Don’t compromise yourself for work. Life is too short. People will like you more for being authentic.”

“Find a mentor who can help counsel you through this. I’ve had mentors, both gay and straight, who have really helped me grow. When I succeeded, it was largely due to them. When I failed, it was largely due to me.”

He also advises entrepreneurs to consider starting a business in a culture that’s supportive of the LGBT community, such as his home base of Boston, where he’s active in the StartOut community. “I’m exceptionally proud that Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage,” he says. “We can draw upon LGBT talent from non-sympathetic states, and let them know how much they, and their skills, are valued.”

Valued skills are at the heart of Skyword’s mission. With companies creating digital content for marketing purposes, many ask what impact will that have on traditional journalism and the journalists behind it? “Traditional news sources like The New York Times or The New Yorker are brands as well, and their goal is to sell a product,” says Gerace. “A third of Americans now use Facebook as their primary news source, so we always have to critically evaluate sources and who shared them.”

For examples: when Skyword client IBM alerts CEOs to network vulnerabilities via their security intelligence blog, they’re considered a trusted source, providing useful information, as opposed to just advertising in security magazines.

“The pendulum is swinging back to where it was during the advent of television,” says Gerace. “When sponsors created the shows, like Proctor and Gamble creating soap operas to sell their products, the brands were generating the content.”

At its home base in Boston, along with offices in Pittsburgh, New York and Palo Alto, Skyword currently employs a staff of 104. In addition to creating both live action and animated video content, they will soon go international, creating content in Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Russian.

Learn more at

Powered by StartOut | Written by Adam Sandel

MSNBC – “The Victories and Obstacles for LGBT Business”

Watch the full video here.

December Announcements + 2014 Year in Review



-Upcoming Programs-

Keep checking for new programs added weekly.

Programs for January and February will be announced soon!


with StartOut Today 

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What can StartOut do for YOU?



Happy Holidays from StartOut! 

Because of your gifts, StartOut continues to produce over 60 programs annually to empower a network 12,000 strong and growing.

Here’s some of what YOU have helped StartOut achieve in 2014:

  • StartOut produced over 60 programs nationwide, attended by over 5,000 active members just like you
  • New StartOut memberships have increased 89% in 2014 because of your support in expanding our reach
  • New partnerships with LGBT funding sources, including VentureOut, Gaingels, with more on the way, are providing greater access to capital than ever before
  • LEMP (Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program) is celebrating its largest class yet, having received double the applicants of 2013
  • The 2014 StartOut Awards were the most attended, most inspiring, and most star-studded yet. Planning for 2015 is already underway

You can make a difference today by becoming a new, or renewing, member or donor. Help us bring the high quality programming you have enjoyed from StartOut to an even larger audience.

Your tax-deductible, print/website-listed donation will level the playing field and ensure success for the entire LGBT business community.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Team StartOut!

Success of the Month

“My mentor joined our Board of Directors, helped us recruit a CEO and also introduced us to industry-leading talent in our space. Sevident would not be where it is today without my mentor, Kim Frank; and it was all due to StartOut.” 

-Emily Stein, President & Co-Founder of Sevident

Click HERE for more inspiring Success Stories.


2015 Women’s Economic Empowerment Series

Click HERE to watch the announcement of StartOut + NYC LGBT Community Center’s grounbreaking program.

Too often women attending LGBT events ask, “Why am I the only one here?” After this series you’ll be asking, “Who knew I had such a powerful network of peers in my city?” Stay tuned to both the and for announcements.


Coming Soon to StartOut in 2015

-A complete overhaul of our website and online platform to provide greater access for you
-Expanding mentorship programs to serve even more of you
-Even more inspirational, advocacy, and educational programs that support youth, college students, and the economically disadvantaged
-So much more!

A Great Holiday Season Read for You:

Featuring StartOut Supported Company, Hip Chick Farms

“I could spout all sorts of number crunching data about how I see the company skyrocketing in the next few years due to their increasing distribution outlets – which is very useful when I’m talking to other investors. But for me, this is only compelling when it’s part of the strong belief I have in the integrity of the product (and all the ways that you can prepare chicken!)”

StartOut Spotight: Highlighting Successful LGBT Entrepreneurs

Through the StartOut Spotlight profile series, we highlight successful business leaders and up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the LGBT community.

StartOut helps build equality through promoting the economic empowerment of the LGBT community, and combats discrimination by promoting the visibility of LGBT entrepreneurs. The StartOut Spotlight program produces profiles to inspire entrepreneurship in the LGBT community. 

We also feature community stories and business issues related to diversity in entrepreneurship. Relatable profiles offer readers insight into up-and-coming entrepreneurs that they can identify with, whereas aspirational profiles offer readers a glimpse into the entrepreneurial and life journey of some of the most highly successful LGBT entrepreneurs.

Check Out Our current StartOut Spotlight Profiles HERE.

Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program (LEMP)

Meet our 2014 LEMP Class HERE.

Our mentors and mentees have begun their active relationships for the season ahead. We encourage you to get involved in our various mentoring programs and pay it forward to those who could benefit from your business expertise.

Because StartOut is committed to creating success and opportunity in the LGBT community through entrepreneurship, we developed the Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program to offer unique learning experiences to our female members.


Calling all Active Investors:
StartOut is looking for active investors of all stages to participate in opportunities including speaking on panels, judging competitions and representing StartOut.

Share YOUR Success Story:
Help us promote your business story and inspire others. From connections to mentors, to finding co-founders, to getting funded, we want to hear about it.


Join our national network of over 12,000 LGBT entrepreneurs, investors and professionals by making a tax-deductible investment in our community today.

                         Thank You to Our Sponsors


StartOut OCTOBER News & Events



Upcoming Programs:

  • Oct 1 – Chicago – Founder & CEO Panel -Chicago’s most dynamic CEO/Founders converge for a panel discussion to they share lessons learned, how they are managing growth, and how being out has played a role in the way they lead and manage their companies – among many other inspiring topics.
  • Oct 4 – SF - StartOut / ROMBA Pitch Competition- Students with “pitch ready” new venture ideas will present to a panel of serial entrepreneurs and leading investors.The most promising idea will earn up to $5,000 in cash prizes.
  • Oct 6 – SF – Q&A With Chip Conley -Chip Conley, hotel entrepreneur, AirBnB executive, author, and Burning Man board member, has covered a lot of ground in his career since arriving in San Francisco in the mid-80′s. Come hear him talk about his wide-ranging history and interests in a Q+A format that is guaranteed to inspire entrepreneurs at every stage of their career.
  • Oct 8 - AUSTIN – Meet My Mentor: Social Mentoring -Whether you’ve got an idea, a plan, a startup, or a pending IPO, having someone to talk through it, network with, and boost your effectiveness is great. And when you’ve done all that stuff, or helped others achieve dreams, nothing’s better than helping someone along.
  • Oct 28 - NYC – Designtrepreneurs NYC -Chip Conley, hotel entrepreneur, AirBnB executive, author, and Burning Man board member, has covered a lot of ground in his career since arriving in San Francisco in the mid-80′s. Come hear him talk about his wide-ranging history and interests in a Q+A format that is guaranteed to inspire entrepreneurs at every stage of their career.
  • Nov 5 – SF - Silicon Valley Idea Night -You’ll get the chance to talk to members of the LGBT/StartOut community about your idea, practice your pitch, and start getting valuable feedback and advice. This is a pressure-free, fully-supportive environment to share your ideas and learn from brilliant LGBT entrepreneurs, like yourself!

More events being announced soon!

See more about StartOut and what it can do for YOU in our new video: 


A Note from our CEO

Dear StartOut Community,

As we enter the fourth quarter, many of you are looking back on your last year of growth and looking toward an even brighter year ahead. I hope that StartOut continues to play an active role in your success as an entrepreneur, allowing you to network, ideate, and grow through our shared connections and opportunities.

Our 2014 StartOut Awards in September were a breathtaking reminder to me and to those who attended that the power of the LGBT and ally entrepreneur cannot be overstated. The inspiring business leaders that are the backbone of this organization are actively changing the face of American commerce, finally leveling the playing field for all of us. 

To quote our Board of Directors Chair, Chris Sinton, “That’s StartOut’s dream, and that’s my dream. Thank you.”

We have so many events coming up this fall, so keep checking-in for programs in your area. Stay tuned for our biggest year yet! 

Entrepreneurially Yours,

   Gene Falk, CEO of StartOut

Engage with StartOut Today! 



StartOut in the News:



StartOut has teamed with Amazon Smile to allow you to shop for your favorite goods while donating to your favorite LGBT nonprofit: us! 


StartOut Celebrate LGBT & Ally Leaders

at Record-Breaking 2014 StartOut Awards


A truly inspiring evening of celebration was held at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco on September 11th, recognizing business and community leaders for their accomplishments in both the entrepreneurial and LGBT communities.

The evening was energetic and inspiring as the community came together to recognize its shared interests and fearless leaders. The compelling stories from the night’s honorees provided invaluable insight into our community’s champions, innovators, and trailblazers.

Videos and photos of the event will be available on and on

Attendance, sponsorship, and donations vastly exceeded prior years, proving that the momentum toward a level playing field in business continues to inspire and motivate the community to stay involved in the cause.

The recipients of the 2014 StartOut Awards were:

  • George Takei, legendary LGBT advocate, actor, and spokesman, receiving The Leadership Award, recognizing someone who has demonstrated the entrepreneurial spirit in service of the community
  • Dave McClure, venture capitalist, founder of 500Startups, and community ally, receiving The Pilsburry Winthrop Advocate Award, recognizing a champion for LGBT business leadership
  • Amy Errett, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and social-mission visionary, receiving the Trailblazer Award, recognizing an innovator who is revolutionizing an industry
  • Li Han Chan, engineer, entrepreneur, and nature-lover, receiving the Kevin J. Mossier Next Generation Award, recognizing an emerging entrepreneur of great accomplishment.

 Following George Takei’s remarks, Dan Savage, famed LGBT pundit and co-creator of the “It Gets Better” campaign, was invited on stage to moderate an exclusive interview with Mr. Takei. 

The sponsors of the 2014 StartOut Awards were: Pillsburry Winthrop, The Social Edge, Bank of America / Merryll Lynch, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan Chase, Lowenstein Sandler, Marriott, Morrison Foerster, Perkins Coie, Pandora, ROI Genius, and Silicon Valley Bank.


StartOut Spotight: Highlighting Successful LGBT Entrepreneurs


Ryan McNally – Investing in Authenticity

The impact of being out and gay in business is something that he describes as being a neutral to a positive factor. “All of the people I deal with don’t really care, and I talk openly about my husband. People respect honesty and openness, and they respect authenticity.” 

Ty Walrod: Service, Community, and Impact

“We’re using technology to make giving easier,” he says, admitting that his career has now come full circle: from finance, to giving, to a happy combination of the two.



Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program (LEMP)

Meet our 2014 LEMP Class HERE.

Our mentors and mentees have begun their active relationships for the season ahead. We encourage you to get involved in our various mentoring programs and pay it forward to those who could benefit from your business expertise.

Because StartOut is committed to creating success and opportunity in the LGBT community through entrepreneurship, we developed the Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program to offer unique learning experiences to our female members

Calling all Active Investors!

StartOut is looking for active investors to participate in opportunities including speaking on panels, judging competitions and representing StartOut on international delegations.

We want to hear about your StartOut success!

StartOut actively promotes members who achieve success through participating in events or programs. From connections to mentors, to finding co-founders, to getting funded…we want to hear your story.


Thank You to Our Sponsors

Copyright © 2014, StartOut, All rights reserved. |

StartOut is Hiring! Administrative Assistant (Part Time)

StartOut is Hiring!

Administrative Assistant – Part Time 

Looking to hire Part Time Administrative Assistant to join StartOut in San Francisco. – Apply to

 General description of ideal candidate: very smart, very competent, extremely well-organized, tech/internet savvy person who can adapt  to working in the unstructured environment that accompanies a very small nonprofit without becoming frustrated or overwhelmed; a good writer; very flexible;  enjoys multi-tasking to accommodate a variety of work functions and priorities. This is the perfect experience for someone wanting to learn the ins and outs of a professional nonprofit operation. Job functions:

  • Support the CEO, as well as supporting the Board Chair for specific needs.
  • Admin functions:
    • Scheduling meetings, and conference calls for CEO and Board Chair.
    • Managing CEO’s schedule.
    • Occasional travel arrangements.
    • Take minutes from conf. calls and meeting
  • Event support:
    • Overseeing logistics, and acting as lead on “day of” activities for events (rsvps, contacting key participants, overseeing set up, registration, event breakdown)
    • Follow up (thank you’s, other follow-up). There are typical 2-3 evening events per month with attendance of 50-150 people
    • Work with CRM database to ensure accuracy and efficiency of workflow (does not requires specific database experience, but requires some facility learning new programs)
    • Must be adept at searching and posting information via broad range of social media
    • Must be able to write well and clearly enough to handle basic correspondence on his/her own. (Prefer someone who is an excellent writer and, with some direction, could write emails to go out over Board Chair’s/CEO’s signature.)
    • Communicating with and answering questions via phone and email from Board members and other stakeholders
    • Make and return scheduling phone calls on behalf of CEO
    • Excellent skills on Word, Excel (generating charts from data preferred), PowerPoint, and other common office, internet and social media programs/apps


  • Must be available to work 3-5 evenings/ per month, when we have scheduled events, and to increase her/his hours at times of heavy activity (e.g. 2014 Sept)
  • Needs to have a flexible schedule.  Roughly 50% of the  time can be consistently scheduled, but 50% needs to be flexible to accommodate ad hoc timing for late-breaking calls, meetings, events and fire drills.
  • Must be very comfortable working in a primarily lgbt environment.  Ideally someone who knows the landscape of the Bay Area LGBT community.
  • Very organized and very flexible –  we’re in effect a start-up ourselves, with all that accompanies it
  • For the time being, will work from home or similar (e.g. local coffee shop) until office space is finalized
  • Needs driver’s license

Job features:

  • Pay range, depending on depth of experience, seniority, quality of work is $15-20/hour


StartOut Attends White House LGBT Innovation Summit with Community and Administration Leaders

Washington, DC –  Technology and LGBT advocacy came together at a White House meeting on Monday, July 7th, to discuss how innovation can help deliver change and resolve issues in the community.

The StartOut delegation of sixteen, including several members of StartOut’s boards of directors and governors, as well as senior StartOut leadership, major donors, and entrepreneurs were in attendance.

The President’s offices of Public Engagement and Science & Technology Policy, with the leadership of Leanne Pittsford (Lesbians Who Tech) and Taryn Miller-Stevens (Get / Out), hosted nearly 200 entrepreneurs, tech experts, and leaders from the LGBT community at the first White House LGBT Innovation Summit.

“To have the White House hold a summit on LGBT innovation and technology is truly remarkable,” said Thomas McAfee, president of gay social network and a StartOut member.

548481_TILE_574029Speakers included Meghan Smith, VP GoogleX;  Tim Gill, founder of Quark publishing software and a prominent gay rights activist; Geena Rocero, founder of transgender rights group Gender Proud; and Leanne Pittsford, founder of Lesbians Who Tech. Participating groups included LGBT Tech Partnership, Maven, NGLCC, oSTEM, Out for Undergrad, Out in Tech, Out Leadership, Reaching Out MBA, StartOut, and Trans*H4CK.

“Everyone is collecting data for their populations, but in most spaces LGBT questions are absent. And data is required for the advancement of any population,” said one attendee. Collecting and quantifying the much-needed data on the segments of the LGBT communities was among the many topics covered.

During the summit there were multiple networking sessions and opportunities to deliver ‘elevator pitches’ introducing the organizations present, and allowing them to connect with resources and advice from fellow business leaders and innovators.

Many organizations and entrepreneurs present saw the tremendous value in StartOut’s ability to connect LGBT leaders to mentoring, education, and access to capital.  Several exciting potential partnerships are already in discussion thanks to the White House LGBT Innovation Summit.


KQED radio in San Francisco highlighted StartOut’s participation in the summit, which you can click to hear below.

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Meet the 2014 Class of Lesbian Entrepreneurs & Their Mentors

We’re excited to announce the 2014 cohort for StartOut’s Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program – the first-ever program of its kind.

We received over 80 applications from around the country, from which we selected promising entrepreneurs and businesses. We then paired them with seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and senior level executives to provide support and guidance.

We’re happy to share our second class of mentors and new entrepreneurs in the 2014 Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program.

Over the course of this program, we’ve seen some incredible successes. Some of our new entrepreneurs have received funding as a result of the program; others have identified potential partnerships. More importantly, we’ve made steps towards fulfilling StartOut’s commitment to create wealth and opportunity in the LGBT community by supporting entrepreneurs and serving the immediate and long-term needs of growing businesses.

The New Entrepreneurs

Lynn Casper - LynnCasperLynn Casper is a media activist and artist who uses various forms of creative media to promote equality. Growing up in North Carolina and realizing at a young age that there weren’t many representations of herself in mainstream media, she started creating her own DIY-style. From learning HTML to build music fansites to “hosting” radio shows from her duel cassette boombox in her bedroom, she kept up with the evolutions of technology to find new ways to create and distribute media.

Since those childhood days, she has organized DIY collectives, music and film festivals, exhibited in art galleries, performed in various bands and much more. A wearer of many hats, Lynn founded, produces and hosts a radio and TV show for Homoground, a media group that raises visibility for LGBTQ musicians and artists.

seraSerafina Palandech is the President and Co-Founder of Hip Chick Farms. Hip Chick Farms brings healthy great-tasting poultry products to time challenged families seeking convenient real food based on trusted ingredients. As a veteran non-profit executive, project manager, strategic planner, and event organizer, Serafina spent more than fifteen years helping nonprofit organizations access private funding streams through event production and management, donor cultivation, corporate support, and in-kind partnerships.

Just prior to launching Hip Chicks, she founded and ran Tugboat Events, a boutique event production company which produced charity events for organizations in the Bay Area.

Serafina Palandech earned a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Genny LaMorgan - Genny_LaMorgan_Green_Woman_StoreGenny LaMorgan, Owner of, has worked with international environment and development NGOs. In the course of her international work, she became aware of women’s call for “Market Access.” Green Woman Store is the answer to that call. It is her goal to provide fair trade, sustainable, and woman made products to conscious consumers, while supporting women entrepreneurs at all stages of their business development. Sliding scale fees are the cornerstone of her work with women’s cooperatives and sole proprietorships, with 50% to 80% of all sales being paid directly to the women artisans and manufacturers. Studies show that when the resources are returned to the women, everyone benefits!

unnamedEmily Schu - Emily Schu is co-founder and Product Director of Propagate, a literacy and language learning company that seamlessly integrates word learning and adaptive literacy supports directly into what students are already reading online. Propagate is built on key principles from leading literacy and cognitive science studies, and is supported by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Harvard Innovation Lab, and the Education Design Studio at the University of Pennsylvania. Emily holds an Ed.M in Technology and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she studied product design for education.

UntitledRachel Wolan - Rachel Wolan is the founder and CEO of YadaZing, a leading online education platform for English students. YadaZing helps English students become fluent in real, conversational English by adapting real videos, like movie clips and TED Talks, into entertaining grammar and vocabulary lessons. Founded in 2013, YadaZing is already used by 3 of the top 5 domestic English school chains, and is poised to revolutionize English learning, teaching, and assessment both domestically and internationally.

Before founding YadaZing, Rachel worked as a software developer in Edtech (Pearson-owned startup) and in business roles at consumer Internet giants (Facebook and Say Media). She holds a B.S. in Education from Northwestern and an M.B.A. from UC Berkeley.

B. Cole - Cole Headshot 10.10Cole is the force behind Brioxy, a life design platform for young people of color bringing life hacking, social capital, and membership services to one central place for the country’s fastest growing demographic. A graduate of the London School of Economics, Cole is a BMA Echoing Green Fellow, Coro Fellow, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, and Spirit of Dolores Huerta Award recipient, she has worked across the US and internationally on issues of leadership development and social capital. She is also the Founder of the Brown Boi Project, the largest leadership development organization for young LGBT people of color in the US.

Teresa Tuan - TeresaTuan-18squareTeresa Tuan is a physician, award-winning filmmaker, musician, and digital health entrepreneur in the San Francisco Bay Area. She started college at 12, went to medical school at 16, and became a board-certified, practicing pediatrician at age 23. Her passion for innovating a better healthcare system inspired her to launch DoctoRec, a digital media company that delivers short and highly engaging online health education videos in both the clinical setting and on a patient’s computer, tablet or phone. She believes that by giving patients an accessible, physician-vetted tool to understand their health better, they’ll have more meaningful relationships with their doctors and enjoy the health they deserve.

LLouise Sloan headshot 6_13ouise Sloan - Louise Sloan is founder of, a content, social networking and dating site for single moms and dads. She’s part of this large, under-served market herself: “Knock Yourself Up,” Louise’s 2007 book on becoming a single mom by choice, garnered international media attention. As an editor-in-chief, Louise has produced magazines for clients like Target, Nordstrom, GlaxoSmithKline and Dr. Phil. She’s written and edited for numerous mass-market publications including Glamour, Out, Ms., and Ladies’ Home Journal. Of the national awards she’s won, she’s perhaps proudest of the one from the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association for her 1994 Glamour article, “Do Ask, Do Tell: Lesbians Come Out at Work,” and of the GLAAD award nomination for a 2010 Ladies’ Home Journal feature on gay teens and bullying.

unnamedKate Atkinson Kate Atkinson is co-founder and Head of Product, at a measurement and reporting platform that delivers insight into proximity triggered engagement. datasnap’s core focus is on the emerging iBeacon space, but will draw upon other location signal as well as contextual data so that marketers, developers and business users can make sense of how people interact with real, brick and mortar spaces and why. Prior to starting datasnap Kate was VP of product and design at Metaresolver before it was acquired by Millennial Media where she headed up reporting and UX.

unnamedDarla Hollander Darla Hollander is CEO, Co-founder, and Power Engineer at Everywhere Energy. She founded the company on the idea that energy you exert yourself can be used to power your devices. Everywhere Energy has developed an external battery pack that is charged by walking and the company sees this as the first step to designing products that gather energy from many other aspects of life. For the past 7 years, Darla has gained a plethora of experience in the field of power, engineering many sections of the power grid. Her background includes wind and natural gas-sourced power generation, substations, power distribution, and power electronics. Darla is currently in her sixth year of school at the University of Texas and will earn a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in May 2015. After graduation, she plans to continue to fulfill a passionate life growing Everywhere Energy full time.


Dedra Chamberlin - dchamberlin_prof_photoDedra Chamberlin is CEO and Co-founder of Cirrus Identity, a cloud-hosted digital identity company that enables quick and easy access to university services through the use of social identities (Google, Twitter, Facebook). Dedra has led digital identity strategy at leading universities, including UC Berkeley and UCSF, and chaired the workgroup which sets identity strategy for the University of California system. She has participated in numerous nation-wide identity strategy workgroups and speaks regularly at higher ed IT conferences. Dedra knows the pain points of identity in higher ed because she’s lived them, and as leader of Cirrus Identity, she is bringing innovative, easy-to-integrate solutions to educational institutions around the globe.

unnamedSandra Elliott Sandra Elliott is the Director of Consumer Technology and Service Development with Meridian Health.  Her role is to develop new technology based services and business ventures targeting population segments such as the boomer and aging populations.  While aggressively employing new approaches to understanding the health and wellness needs of consumers, technological applications are aggressively evaluated as a new method to meet those needs.  As a result, Meridian Health is creating innovative connections with individuals in the market.  She has been instrumental in defining opportunities to work with innovative companies and begin to understand how home or person-based technology can be integrated into a health delivery system.  Her most recent role as the Executive Director of a new startup company, iMPak Health, is a good example of how she and the team at Meridian Health are translating new understanding into new business opportunities.  Sandra is a national speaker and published many articles in developing opportunities for growing business in publications such as Trustee Magazine, Journal of Healthcare Financial Management, FutureAge, Hospitals and Health Networks, and the Health Strategist.

unnamedBonny Lai Bon is CTO & Co-Founder of Roost, a trusted marketplace for people to list and rent storage or parking space in their homes. Bon started a career in product management and is a driving force behind Roost’s product vision and technical strategy. When not behind a computer, Bon enjoys the outdoors with her Klee Kai.

The Mentors

unnamedMáire Walsh - Máire P. Walsh is a Partner and VP, Sales & Marketing at Next Steps Marketing, a company that specializes in building and monetizing audiences for media and tech companies. In this role, she helps guide content strategy, develops audience and monetization models, and oversees marketing efforts across multiple platforms (desktop, mobile, and tablet) for clients and their partners.

Prior to Next Steps, Máire went from managing circulation for Curve magazine to leading a team that helped build retail sales and partnerships for over 70 national magazines at the Independent Press Association. She has been featured in Folio, Audience Marketing, Media Shepherd, The Irish Times, and Yahoo Finance and is a regular speaker at media industry conferences.


Máire is the former two-term President of Exceptional Women in Publishing (EWIP), a national organization dedicated to mentoring, educating and supporting women in media. Each year, EWIP hosts an annual Women’s Leadership Conference that brings together leading women executives in media and tech to share insights and best practices on new content and business models in publishing. Máire is a native of Ireland, loves squash and soccer, and has an MBS from National University of Ireland, Galway.


Steph Smith - Untitled“Looking back on my career path, I really am amazed and very fortunate. I was able to connect and teach History and Civics to high school students struggling with behavioral and emotional obstacles. The Anthropologist in me was fascinated by how my students learned best and identified with various historical icons. Joan of Arc, Sitting Bull, Sandra Day O’Connor to name a few. Teaching taught me a lot about myself and my potential.

After a few years of teaching I decided to explore the massive nonprofit sector of Washington, DC. Still very much interested in education, I started working with a large trade association with the focus on education and development. From there I helped one of the nation’s largest capacity building organizations with marketing and membership campaigns. It was there at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement that I was given two golden nuggets of advice by my boss, an openly gay woman and the longest standing Executive Director at the organization. First, “work smarter not harder” and second, “remember that what makes each of us different is what makes each of us valuable.”

When I relocated to Austin in 2009 and started working with the State Bar of Texas this advice was just as helpful. I was tasked with educating folks of all walks of life, backgrounds, and socio-economic levels on the importance of having access to the legal system. From there I went to Project Transitions and was afforded the opportunity of creating more visibility for the organization and more awareness for HIV/AIDS.

Now with L Style G Style, I feel like Goldielocks and the Three Bears because finally things are just right. I look forward to helping Alisa and Lynn make more connections for L Style G Style and for our community…and beyond. I am also looking forward to getting to know our readers and our supporters.”

UntitledEilish McCaffrey - Eilish McCaffrey is an accomplished startup CEO/cofounder and active mentor to International and U.S incubators with an expertise in all Software and Infrastructure technologies. She has over 30 years in business development, sales/marketing, commercial product development; and venture/incubation.  She has raised well over $50M in the course of being senior management in startups, consultants to early stage startups and as a Venture Partner.  Her focus today is doing what she enjoys, which is leveraging her experience in helping other early stage companies with whatever might be their next growth objectives.

Eilish is also active as a non profit board member and currently sits on the board of that helps children.  She began her non profit work over 15 years ago as advisor and mentor to ASTIA companies, an international women lead business incubator.  She supports other non profits that focus on areas such as healthcare, women/children, education and her local community.

Eilish holds a Masters of Science Degree, Summa Cum Laude, Software Engineering, and a Bachelors of Science, Mathematics\Computer Science and Chemistry, from Manhattan College of NYC also Summa Cum Laude.

On a more personal side, Eilish is certified, through the American College of Sports Medicine, and provides coaching to colleagues and friends on wellness and nutrition.  She enjoys integrating the technology of emerging Healthcare models of application, delivery and support with her wellness focus where possible.

Anne Moellering - unnamedAnne Moellering of WaveWorks Coaching is an Executive Leadership & Career Coach with a 20-year background in the business world of Silicon Valley.  Having begun her career as a management consultant for Bain and Company, Anne moved into consumer marketing after receiving an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.  Within the marketing world, her posts ranged from being the Director of marketing for video game giant Sega and Account Director for Electronic Arts to being VP of Marketing for Planet Out & and Chief Marketing Officer for TaskRabbit.

As a coach, Anne specializes in Executive leadership development, team effectiveness and career transition coaching.  Her clients range from rising stars with rapidly expanding scopes of responsibility to executive team members, start-up founders and CEOs.  Anne works with individuals and teams across a wide range of organizations including eBay, Facebook, Google, Evernote, Intel, Nerd Wallet, Bain & Company, McKinsey & Company, Stryker, Genentech, Sift Science and Prospect Sierra School.  In addition, Anne is a talented and energizing speaker and workshop leader.

Anne graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College with a degree in Economics and then earned her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  She holds certifications from both the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and Team Coaching International.

Anne is based in San Francisco and, when not coaching, can often be found happily surfing somewhere off the coast of Northern California.

unnamedDonna Bonifield Donna is a visionary technology entrepreneur and 20+year software industry veteran. In 1994 Donna co-founded GENUUS, a social software studio to bring A.I. to life.  Her role as Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) is to provide leadership in all aspects of company operations, including production, business development, strategy, and executive management. Prior to GENUUS Donna joined Broderbund’s Living Books division in 1990 when it was less than 5 people; she spent four year
s there in production roles culminating in Technical Creative Director. From her Disney background she created the Living Books production methodology that led to a $15 million Random House / Broderbund Software joint venture.

Anne Dorman Anne has served as Consulting CFO to venture backed companies since 1986. Early in her career, Anne founded three successful companies before joining Arthur & Young (predecessor to Ernst & Young) and was a member of the founding team for the firm’s Entrepreneurial Services Group. In addition to advising high growth companies, Anne runs a small business tax and consulting practice.


HH-headshot-1Heather Hiles Heather Hiles is the founder and CEO of Pathbrite, the world’s leading Portfolio Learning Platform. Launched in 2012, the company currently supports more than 500 schools, colleges, universities, and organizations in the United States. Headquartered in San Francisco, with an increasingly global footprint, Pathbrite’s portfolio platform is poised to reshape learning, teaching and assessment across the globe.

Kim Frank Consummate advisor to entrepreneurs, startups and technology companies ranging in size from the garage to Fortune 100. Kim has built businesses from the ground up and through a mix of internal innovation, mergers & acquisitions, strategic alliances and fundraising. With her broad executive and technology expertise, Kim has identified and negotiated more than 60 acquisitions and alliances ranging from $2M to $5B.

unnamedKathy Hutton Kathy’s diverse background includes roles in operations, strategy, sales, and client services. She knows how to get things done and build trusted relationships. Her start-up experience ranges from launching San Francisco’s award winning Residential Recycling program to building a tech business – twice. One was acquired by Cardinal Health, the other is rapidly expanding in the hot Internet of Things market. Kathy also led an environmental non-profit as Executive Director, successfully restructuring the organization and securing a $9M service contract. Today, she is focused on helping women grow their businesses and recently joined DoubleShot Creative, a boutique marketing agency, as VP of Strategy. She’s also helping a friend abandon her corporate gig as a Financial Planner to hang out her own shingle. Kathy has a B.S. in Business from Ithaca College and lives in Sausalito. She works hard so she can play hard and twice left it all behind to sail across the Pacific, summit Kilimanjaro, trek Tibet, snorkel in the Maldives and Seychelles, and catch waves in Bali and Australia. Her next start-up will most likely involve adventure travel.

unnamedCarol Nast - Carol Nast is the founder and President of Enterprise Catalyst Group, Inc, a consultancy serving the medical products and life science industries. Previously Carol was Chief Operating Officer of NuGen technologies, Vice President of Manufacturing for Inhale Therapeutics and has held other executive level positions at Syntex, BioRad and Pfizer. Carol has broad experience with biologics, drug delivery, medical diagnostics and devices and has extensive and diverse insight into developing and commercializing new medical products and technologies. Throughout her career, Carol has worked with large global multinational companies and venture backed early stage companies with emerging technologies.

Jennifer Vogel

Lisa Henderson 

Kathy Wiley 






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