This week we talk with Adriana Vázquez Ortiz, CEO and Co-founder of Lilu about launching a healthcare startup and creating a product that improves breastfeeding. Adriana talks about how and why she started the company, the research and development process, understanding your customers’ needs, pitching and getting funded. She also talks about the importance of building better technology to improve lives and in Lilu’s case, helping mothers thrive during the transition into parenthood.
In this episode, we talk with Leanne Pittsford founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech about how she has scaled her business from start up to over 25,000 queer women and allies strong. Lesbians Who Tech, which is increasing visibility and improving representation among LGBTQ women in the tech sector on a global scale. Leanne talks about how she has been able to make this all happen from a kernel of an idea to the White House and beyond. She shares all the steps she took along the way and offers valuable advice all fempreneurs should here.
Launching Lesbians Who Tech Episode Highlights
- Gay men and gay women are at the opposite ends of the equity spectrum at work
- Lesbians Who Tech was built through hustling, but starting at first using lean startup principles.
- When you are scaling talk to the individuals who use your product and solve their problems.
- Recruitment of mid-level professionals is an untapped space that Lesbians Who Tech has taken over in tech industry
- Each day remember what are your “non-negotiables” but be open to the fact that they might change.
- “Don’t wait for things to be perfect.”
- “Trust your gut and check in with yourself often.”
- It’s likely you’ll be happier if you fail on something you tried to build than something you are building for someone else.
Leanne Pittsford is the CEO and Founder of Lesbians Who Tech, the largest LGBTQ network of technologists in the world. Now over 25,000 queer women and allies strong, Lesbians Who Tech is increasing visibility and improving representation among LGBTQ women in the tech sector on a global scale through annual tech Summits in New York, San Francisco, Mexico City, Paris, Singapore and programs like the Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship, a coding scholarship fund for LGBTQ to learn how to code, and Bring a Lesbian to Work Day, a one day shadow career program. You can learn more here at lesianswhotech.org.
She recently launched include.io, a recruiting and retention platform that uses mini-mentoring sessions to validate diverse and non-traditional technical talent, allowing companies to be intentional about inclusion. On the platform companies can scale access to the direct referrals that matter most, their current employees, to build their best teams and hire individuals for who they really are. Check out the platform to learn more at include.io.
In 2017, Leanne is partnering with TechHire, an initiative created by the Obama Administration, to launch a 50 city Tech Jobs Tour in 2017 with advisor Megan Smith, 3rd Chief Technology Officer of the United States. The Tour will stop in 50 cities across America to connect diverse and non-traditional talent to over 500,000 open tech jobs. See where it’s stopping next at techjobstour.com.
Before her work with Lesbians Who Tech, Tech Jobs Tour and include.io, Leanne founded and led Start Somewhere, a design and technology agency focused on strengthening social good organizations. She built leanimpact.org, an organization that helped social good organizations and companies use lean startup principles to increase their impact, which officially became part of Lean Startup in 2016. From 2006 to 2010 Leanne served as the Senior Director at Equality California, the largest statewide LGBTQ organization behind the No on Prop 8 Campaign. She managed the data for the campaign and built online fundraising campaigns that raised millions to support No on Prop 8. Leanne lives San Francisco and Washington D.C with her partner Pia Carusone and their two dachshunds. You can find her on a plane or on Twitter at @lepitts.