StartOut Adds More Role Models To 2018 Board of Directors

March 6, 2018 4:57 pm
Written by: StartOut

StartOut, the leading national non-profit organization that supports, educates and connects LGBTQ entrepreneurs, is proud to announce the election of its newest board members for 2018. These additions continue to strengthen the organization’s commitment to inclusion, diversity and impact across the United States and beyond.  StartOut’s national study showed that LGBTQ entrepreneurs create jobs throughout the country, even in difficult environments.  A new study measuring the current impact of LGBTQ entrepreneurs is slated for 2018.

Meg Columbia-Walsh is recognized as one of the most successful women tech entrepreneurs and CEOs in the country. Meg is currently the CEO of Wylei, an Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning company where the cloud based machine uses advanced predictive algorithms to take the guesswork out of digital web, email, mobile, and video campaigns. This is Walsh’s fifth startup and the previous all were sold to the Fortune 100 and one in an IPO. During her twenty plus year career in healthcare, CPG and Technology, Meg has successfully founded, run and exited companies including Inverse Mobile sold to EY, sold to Pharmacia and Upjohn, CBS Healthwatch in IPO and then sold to WebMD, and HealthTech Digital Communications sold to Interpublic Group.

Chicago-based Jody Michael was one of the first female traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and has always been a trailblazer, breaking through gender barriers and advocating for equality. After 15 years in trading and leadership roles in the finance industry, she became the CEO and founder of Jody Michael Associates, a boutique executive, career and wellness coaching company with offices in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. One of the first executive coaches in the country, Jody is passionate about driving deep, transformational change for individuals, teams and organizations. She is a University of Chicago trained psychotherapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Founding Fellow of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Affiliate. She earned her Master Certified Coach (MCC) designation from the International Coach Federation and is also a Board Certified Coach (BCC).

JT Batson has an impressive array of tech startup experience. JT is the Co-Founder/CEO of Hudson MX, a New York City-based technology company, and a founding Partner of LUMA Capital Partners, an investment firm focused on the intersection of media, marketing and technology. JT began his career as an early employee of Mozilla focused on international growth of the then nascent Firefox browser. Following Mozilla, JT joined the Rubicon Project pre-revenue where he helped scale the company to 6 countries as Executive Vice-President, Revenue and Global Development. This experience, as one of the pioneers of the programmatic advertising era, led to Donovan Data Systems to appoint JT as President of DDS Digital – where he spearheaded the deal with Mediabank to create Mediaocean, a powerhouse player in ad tech serving the largest advertising holding companies. Building on his success leveraging technology to make the buying and selling of advertising more efficient, JT joined Cumulus Media as their Chief Revenue Officer, with a specific focus on applying technology to bolster the $1.3 billion revenue and 1,400 person sales team strong media company. JT was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Greylock Partners and Accel Partners.

Adding financial strength to the StartOut Board in 2018 is Sayan Gomel. Sayan is currently the Head of Corporate Development at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), supporting SVB’s corporate strategy and growth initiatives, including global expansion, investments, acquisitions, partnerships, and joint ventures. Sayan also performs research and analysis in connection with new business initiatives working in collaboration with leaders from Commercial Bank, Private Bank, and Wealth Management business units. Prior to SVB, Sayan served as an Associate Director of Corporate Development at CB Richard Ellis, overseeing M&A transactions involving business services companies. Earlier in his career, Sayan was an investment banker at Wedbush, covering technology and life sciences industries and a Senior Valuation Consultant at E&Y in LA.

“Impact starts from the top. Having the dedication, expertise, and passion of these outstanding role models join the StartOut leadership is a terrific win for our community. We are most grateful for their willingness to give back and further strengthen our entrepreneurs’ contributions to society,” shares StartOut Executive Director, Andres Wydler.


StartOut is proud to welcome these four outstanding role models from the LGBTQ Community.