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StartOut Awards to honor Top LGBTQ Business Leaders and Innovators
From a StartOut press release
2017-09-26

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San Francisco, CA ( September 26, 2017 ) - StartOut, the leading national nonprofit dedicated to empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer ( LGBTQ ) entrepreneurs and business leaders, announced the winners for its upcoming 6th Annual StartOut Awards, which will take place on Friday, October 6th at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco, in a ceremony presented by LGBTQ trailblazer, comedian, actor and singer Lea DeLaria ( 'Big Boo" on "Orange Is The New Black" ). By recognizing and honoring business leaders for outstanding representation of the LGBTQ community, The StartOut Awards embody StartOut's mission to bring visibility and prominence to the dynamic, innovative, and exceptionally diverse field of LGBTQ entrepreneurs.

This year's winners are:

Arlan Hamilton, receiving The 2017 Contempo Leadership Award, recognizing an entrepreneur whose career and accomplishments have had a profound effect on the LGBTQ entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Arlan is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a boutique venture capital fund based in Los Angeles that invests in exceptional women, people of color and LGBTQ tech founders. Started from scratch in 2015, Backstage has now invested in more than 50 companies. Her Limited Partners include Marc Andreessen, Stewart Butterfield, Ellen Pao, Heather Hiles and Startout Board member Chris Fraley. Having founded and published the internationally distributed indie magazine, Interlude, and toured extensively as a live music production professional, Arlan enters the venture investing world from an unconventional path. She is dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech. Before launching Backstage Capital, Arlan was the author of the groundbreaking blog for lesbians—"and the lesbian-adjacent"—Your Daily Lesbian Moment, which from 2006 - 2011 was read by an average of 50,000 people worldwide each month. In 2014, she created the popular fanfic Twitter profile @ModernLWord, which is often referenced by L Word creator Ilene Chaiken, director Angela Robinson, and cast member Rachel Shelley, among others.

Meg Columbia-Walsh receiving The 2017 Ogilvy Innovator Award, recognizing an entrepreneur who through innovation has shaped, changed, or revolutionized a sector or industry.

Meg is recognized as one of the most successful women tech entrepreneurs and CEOs. She recently received the NJBIZ Top 50 Women in Business. Meg is currently the CEO of Wylei, an Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning company where the cloud-based machine uses advanced predictive algorithms to take the guesswork out of digital web, email, mobile, and video campaigns. This is Meg's fifth startup with all previous businesses being sold to the Fortune 100 and one as an IPO. During her twenty plus year career in healthcare, CPG and Technology, Meg has successfully founded, run and exited companies including Inverse Mobile sold to EY, Oncology.com sold to Pharmacia and Upjohn, CBS Healthwatch in IPO and then sold to WebMD, and HealthTech Digital Communications sold to Interpublic Group. Meg is a proven entrepreneur recognized as a leading visionary in marketing, digital, social, mobile, pharma business process and consumer marketing.

Natalia Oberti Noguera receiving The 2017 Nixon Peabody Trailblazer Award, recognizing an entrepreneur whose pioneering approach or vision has set a trend for an entire industry.

Dubbed "The Coach" by Marie Claire, Natalia is Founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels, a network of women investors that's changing the face of angel investing and creating capital for women and non-binary femme social entrepreneurs. Natalia is also Creator & Host of Pitch Makeover, a podcast on startups, pitching, investing, and #morevoices ( women, non-binary people, and men of color ). She holds a BA in Comparative Literature & Economics from Yale and she serves on the boards of Walker's Legacy, Women 2.0, and iRelaunch. Inc. Magazine selected Natalia as one of "The Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs of 2016," Latina.com included her in their list of "25 Latinas Who Shine in Tech," and Women's eNews recognized her as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century for 2012. Natalia was named to the Forbes list "Top 20 Women for Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter" and Fortune's "55 most influential women on Twitter."

Intel Capital receiving The 2017 Orrick Advocate Award recognizing a business who through work, advocacy, philanthropy and investment has contributed to advance StartOut's mission.

Intel Capital has been selected as this year's StartOut Company of The Year. Intel Capital was chosen as it demonstrated unique leadership and vision in promoting diversity, equality and visibility for LGBT entrepreneurs and business leaders. With the introduction of its Diversity Fund in 2017, Intel Capital has demonstrated inspirational advocacy at the highest level by recognizing and including the LGBT community as a priority focus.

"Equal access if everything. Declining civility and further polarization all over our great country put our more recent accomplishments at risk," said Andres Wydler, StartOut's executive director. "This year's group of amazing honorees has proven that a focus on equal access is not only the right thing to do, but also leads to great success! Diversity and inclusion are profitable. Let us all be inspired by our awardees' example and fight for economic empowerment for our whole community."

The 2017 StartOut Awards will be held in San Francisco on Friday, October 6, 2017 at The St. Regis Hotel. LGBTQ trailblazer, comedian, actor and singer Lea DeLaria will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

To receive the latest updates on the StartOut Awards, follow @StartOut on Twitter and use the hashtag #StartOutAwards.

These annual awards recognize outstanding LGBTQ entrepreneurship as well as those heroes who help promote visibility and success of the entire community. Over 300 entrepreneurs, community leaders, members of the media, and local officials gather in San Francisco for this truly exciting celebration of the LGBTQ business community. The evening's festivities include a cocktail reception, the awards ceremony, highlights from several entrepreneurs in the community, and dinner. All event net proceeds benefit StartOut's ongoing programs, professional tools and events that educate, connect and empower LGBTQ entrepreneurs everywhere.

The 2017 StartOut Awards partners include: Nixon Peabody, Orrick, Contempo, Ogilvy, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Silicon Valley Bank Foundation, Wells Fargo, KPMG, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Disney ABC Television Group, California Community Foundation, Eco Terreno Wines, misterb&b, Edge Media Network, Here Media, and Revry.

For a full list of corporate partners and information on how to become a corporate partner and be a part of the Awards, please contact info@startout.org . To purchase tickets, please visit The 6th StartOut Annual Awards on Eventbrite at the link: www.eventbrite.com/e/the-6th-annual-startout-awards-ga-still-available-vip-sold-out-tickets-34014494268 .

About StartOut:

Founded in 2009, StartOut is a national non-profit 501( c )( 3 ) organization fostering and developing entrepreneurship in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( "LGBTQ" ) community. StartOut helps aspiring LGBTQ entrepreneurs start new companies; supports current LGBTQ entrepreneurs as they grow and expand their existing businesses; and engages successful LGBTQ entrepreneurs as role models and mentors. StartOut's goals are to support, educate, inspire and connect members of the LGBTQ community around entrepreneurship and business leadership. For more information, please visit startout.org .


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