Six ways LGBTQ+ founders and CEOs can bring their unique perspective in building a business culture and community that is both diverse and inclusive.
Establish inclusive policies and practices: Leaders can implement policies that support LGBTQ+ employees and foster an inclusive workplace. This may include non-discrimination policies, equal opportunity policies, and inclusive benefits such as partner benefits, gender-neutral restrooms, and inclusive parental leave policies.
Promote access to resources: Provide equal access to resources such as funding, mentorship, networking opportunities, and business support services. This can involve establishing inclusive incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces that are accessible to entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.
Enhanced innovation and creativity: A diverse and inclusive business ecosystem brings together individuals with different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. This diversity of thought and ideas fosters innovation and creativity. When people from various backgrounds collaborate, they bring unique insights and approaches to problem-solving, leading to the development of innovative products, services, and solutions. This, in turn, drives economic growth and competitiveness.
Offer targeted support programs: Develop programs specifically designed to support underrepresented groups in entrepreneurship, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and individuals with disabilities. These programs can provide tailored resources, mentorship, and training to address the unique challenges faced by these communities.
Build a supportive network: Surround yourself with a supportive network of mentors, advisors, peers, and allies who understand and champion your journey. Seek out LGBTQ+ entrepreneurial communities, industry groups, and networks that can provide guidance, support, and connections. Having a strong support system can help you navigate challenges and find opportunities. If you live in a small town where there are little resources and support groups available, join online communities and support groups. You can also pave the way for more diversity and create your own local community for networking, advising, and mentoring fellow LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship.
Lead by example: Founders and CEOs can demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion by showcasing inclusive behaviors and practices in their own leadership style. This can involve actively seeking diverse perspectives, promoting open communication, and addressing any instances of bias or discrimination.
With over 18 years of experience in Client Success, Layton has enhanced their leadership and communication skills with some of the nation's most successful technology companies. As one of the first 38 employees hired by Bazaarvoice in 2006, a company that went IPO in 2011 with more than 800 employees, they learned early in their career how to successfully grow and scale fast-growing startups while putting customers at the heart of the business. Layton has developed their own methods of success for leading small and large teams and created unique strategies that differentiate products and brands while increasing client satisfaction and ROI.