StartOut News & Press

Welcoming StartOut’s Newest Team Members

April 24, 2024 StartOut welcomes four new hires to their national team, furthering the nonprofit organization’s ability to champion LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship and to build a more inclusive economy for all. 

“At StartOut, we’re not just building a team,” said CEO Brian Richardson (he/him). “We’re building a movement that will foster innovation and progress for LGBTQ+ people across the nation. With the addition of these incredible leaders to our movement, our impact will only grow – creating more opportunities for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and our entire community.” 

Phillip Ozaki (he/him) – Chief Development Officer
With a distinguished background in civil rights advocacy and a passion for empowering marginalized communities, Phillip joins StartOut as our first Chief Development Officer where he will develop and lead the organization’s fundraising strategy, including corporate partnerships and donor engagement. Based in San Francisco and Atlanta, Phillip’s journey is deeply rooted in a legacy of resilience and activism, and has shaped his dedication to fighting for justice and equity.

“My family has a long history of both entrepreneurship and fighting for social justice,” Phillip shared. “It is an honor to combine those two parts of myself and work at StartOut.  I look forward to getting to know our members, partners and friends so we can ensure StartOut has the resources necessary to advance queer entrepreneurship.”

Phillip most recently served as the Development Director at the Japanese American Citizens League. Previous roles included Lambda Legal and Infosys. He holds an MBA from Esade Business School in Spain, where he founded the school’s first LGBTQ Business Club. 

Bethany B.  (they/she) – Digital Marketing Associate
Residing in Texas, Bethany’s expertise in digital communications and strategy, combined with their passion for fostering connected and collaborative communities, makes them an invaluable addition to our team. Through their previous nonprofit experience at organizations like ConnectUp! Institute, CloseKnit and OutFront Minnesota, Bethany brings a creative and innovative approach to our marketing efforts. 

Ben Haberman (he/they) – Development Associate
A recent graduate from UC Berkeley, Ben Haberman provides a fresh perspective and a strong commitment to community development. He has interned at a variety of nonprofit organizations in development and communications roles, and at Chasing Rainbows, the LGBTQ+ focused venture capital firm. In his new role at StartOut, he will support development and fundraising. Ben lives in Berkeley, California. 

Erica Lee (she/her) – Data & Insights Fellow
Erica is a Senior Associate Consultant at Bain & Company based in Houston, Texas. She joins StartOut with a mix of corporate consulting and nonprofit experience, and will be serving as the Data & Insights Fellow as part of an externship program with Bain & Company. Erica has led many women and LGBTQ+ advocacy initiatives in her professional career which include Pride at Bain Houston. Following her fellowship at StartOut, Erica will join the MBA program at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Danielle Wiggins (she/her) – Access to Capital Manager
In addition to the new team members, Danielle has been promoted to Access to Capital Program Manager, where she will oversee the growth of StartOut’s program connecting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs directly to potential investors. Danielle first joined StartOut as a Program Associate. 

“In just one year with the StartOut team, Danielle has proven what a thoughtful, dynamic, and talented team member she is,” Richardson continued. “I am thrilled that she has agreed to take on this new role and look forward to working with her – and the entire team – to grow our impact.”

Prior to joining StartOut, Danielle joined a fellowship for entrepreneurs with Future Founders and worked in consulting at trepwise. Originally from Newark, New Jersey, Danielle currently lives in New Orleans.

We look forward to the incredible contributions our newest team members will make to StartOut and the communities we serve. Welcome aboard!

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