In June, we're excited to celebrate the strength, grit and determination of some successful, hard-working and awe-inspiring entrepreneurs who are part of the LGBT community. Through their companies, ranging from activism and retail to agencies and law firms — they are not only building successful brands, but also using their unique stories, struggles and experiences to be activists.
You may recognize Judge, Tanya Acker, from her political and legal commentary on different networks and shows like Good Morning America, The Talk, Wendy Williams, CNN Reports or The Insider. Acker is more than an experienced commentator. She is also a Judge on the fifth season of Emmy nominated CBS show, Hot Bench.
I've always been an introvert and a woman—two traits which aren't exactly relished by the business world. Yet I am also a long-time leader in my organiziaton. I am, therefore, writing this to argue in favor of the introverts and women out there and to help anyone become a better leader. It's as simple as this: communication.
They say when one door closes another one opens, and for me the reality of that is more than just a catchy phrase. When I moved to London I had nothing with me but my ambition for an exciting career and the desire to live out the dream of 19-year-old me, who hoped one day to become an international, successful businesswoman.
Her Secret? "Just fake it". Beatrice Fischel-Bock wholeheartedly believes that failure isn't the end—it's just the beginning. The 26-year-old CEO and co-founder of the home decor tool Hutch (it mixes 3D technology with online shopping to let you virtually decorate your space) took the company from a college side hustle to business venture with over $17 million in funding. All in just six short years. And the secret to her success? The failures along the way.
Melissa "MJ" Jacques is the Director of Human Resources at Mustache Agency, a Brooklyn-based full-service creative content agency. Since joining Mustache in 2019, MJ has spearheaded Mustache's first-ever intern program, "Content-oisseurs," and promoted various internal and external diversity, inclusion, and company culture events that have bonded Mustachers. More specifically, MJ created Lunch and Learns focused on embracing Black History Month and Pride, as well as supported black-owned businesses for event specific needs. Additionally, MJ has established relationships with various companies with aligned missions, partnered with Sparked for multiple agency networking events (with diversity at the forefront of recruiting), and worked with Cutter for women-driven screenwriting and networking events.
Dr. Mary Beth Wilkas Janke is a former United States Secret Service Agent and current consultant in the fields of forensic and clinical psychology and professor at George Washington University, where she teaches Abnormal Psychology and the Psychology of Crime and Violence. Mary Beth holds a Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology, a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She is also the author of " The Protector: A Woman's Journey from the Secret Service to Guarding VIPs and Working in Some of the World's Most Dangerous Places"
Aji Oliyide is a Senior Program Manager at Google who has worked on a number of projects related to product launches, and mergers and acquisitions. Aji sits on the board of directors for San Francisco CASA, a San Francisco non-profit devoted to supporting youth in the foster care system. In addition to board service, she enjoys volunteering and travelling. In 2011, she traveled to Nepal to participate in a charity trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp resulting in over $5,000 personally raised for a local Nepalese non-profit. In her spare time, Aji explores her creative side through her blog (Pivot Points) and her podcast Eat.Plank.Live. Her blog is focused on sharing insights from the decisions and events in people's lives that have influenced their path and how they interact with the world. Her podcast focuses on the role that food and fitness plays in our lives and is now live on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. Aji holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and an MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.