In Recognition of LGBTQ+ Pride Month
Buchbinder would like to recognize the accomplishments and continued growing influence of LGBTQ+ business trailblazers in American and Global commerce, economic trends, venture philanthropy, and market development. The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce estimates that LGBT business owners generate over $1.7 trillion annually in economic impact, including job creation and business innovation. These estimates only represent those businesses registered with the organization as LGBT-owned. Since people who identify as LGBTQ+ are often not public with their identities, these estimates are likely significantly understated.
This month, as we mark the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising during LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we’d like to feature a person in business and entrepreneurship who embodies the spirit of that moment in LGBTQ+ history: Leanne Pittsford. Ms. Pittsford is the CEO and Founder of Lesbians Who Tech, “the largest LGBTQ community of technologists in the world.” With membership of over 40,000 non-binary, LGBTQ women, and queer women of color, as well as allies, Lesbians Who Tech provides community, financial supports, and advocacy in the tech industry aimed at decisively changing industry practices and increasing inclusivity, especially at senior levels where there is a stark lack of diversity. As an innovator, Ms. Pittsford launched include.io in 2017, a mentoring and recruiting platform that includes an algorithm that connects hiring managers with diverse candidates. She also began TechJobsTour.com to connect the next generation of diverse workers with tech jobs, meeting the industry’s growing demand with a balanced supply of diverse workers. Ms. Pittsford’s work is critical in the tech industry and stands as a model for how to address bias in any industry.
Federal law prohibits employment discrimination for a variety of marginalized groups, but there is no explicit protection regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, and although many states have legislative protections on the books, there are still 27 states that do not. Like many marginalized groups, like immigrants and people of color, those who identify as LGBTQ+ have often turned to self-employment and entrepreneurship as an alternative to traditional employment, but discrimination abounds, as LGBTQ+ business-people are often passed over by investors, lenders, property owners, and suppliers. Pioneers like Leanne Pittsford are working to normalize diversity in business and establish an unobstructed path to inclusion. Buchbinder aims to embody these values and be a model in the public accounting industry for diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
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