People with powerful positions in business are often uniquely situated to impact the rest of society. With money can come publicity, power, and influence. When they put these tools to good use, business leaders can bring about real change in ways overt and subtle.
June is Pride Month, when the LBGTQ community and its allies celebrate their members' accomplishments and remember those who have worked for the advancement of LGBTQ issues. While there are thousands of LGBTQ leaders who are contributing in ways great and small to their communities and to the world, there are several in the business realm who are quietly playing important roles in improving acceptance, expanding rights, and building wealth!
Here are four business leaders who have made significant contributions to both their company and to the status of LGBTQ people everywhere:
1. Inga Beale
By nature of the 325+-year history of the company, the CEO of Lloyd's of London is one of the most influential business leaders anywhere in the world. Former CEO Inga Beale is that and so much more. She was the first female CEO of Lloyd's, and is openly bisexual. She worked for change in her own company, helping launch LGBTQ employee resource group Pride@Lloyd's. She also played a critical role in modernizing Lloyd's business practices and improving internal culture. For her accomplishments, the Queen named her Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2017.
2. Sylvia Ng
Sylvia Ng is the Managing Director and Head of Business Development in Greater China for HSBC. She is a powerbroker in Chinese finance, and was involved in the first bond issuance by a foreign bank in mainland China. An open and visible lesbian, she's been instrumental in her company's efforts to reach out to LGBTQ employees, and has been a mentor to LGBTQ employees and allies in other companies as well. Ng has also worked to tackle the issue of cultural acceptance of LGBTQ people in Asia. She was named an Out-Standing LGBT+ Role Model for 2019.
3. Martine Rothblatt
Martine Rothblatt is most famous for founding Sirius Satellite Radio, but what she's doing right now is just as impressive and important. Today's, she's the founder and CEO of United Theraputics, a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company. In addition to her powerful business reputation, she's also an openly trans woman, and the highest-paid female CEO in America. She is breaking glass ceilings all over the place!
4. Tim Cook
No list on LGBTQ business leaders would be complete without a mention of Tim Cook. Cook, the CEO of Apple, became the first head of a Fortune 500 company to come out as gay. While other business leaders had already come out by the time Cook officially did in 2014, his announcement was still an important moment for LGBTQ acceptance. He called being gay, "God's greatest gift to me," and decided to officially come out because of a desire to help those members of the LGBTQ community who were struggling with acceptance. Don't underestimate the subtle power of his visibility, likeability, and business acumen.