Jun 1, 2022
In honor of Pride Month, we’re celebrating LGBTQ+ financial role models who live authentically so others can do the same. These leaders are united by their collective push for inclusivity and acceptance in the workplace. Learn how they showed up — and excelled — in the world of money, proving that it pays to be true to yourself.
CEO and President of Land O’Lakes
Beth started her first job at the age of 12, earning $2 per hour to detassel corn. From there, she got a peek into the agricultural industry — and made her way up the career ladder. After graduating from Columbia Business School, Beth worked in supply chain management with brands like ExxonMobil, Pepsi and Scholastic. As CEO and President of Land O’ Lakes, Beth became the first openly gay female CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 2018. Throughout her career, she has led by example, encouraging other women in leadership to advocate for their peers. After blazing a trail in a male-dominated industry, she’s focused on improving agricultural technology and pushing for diversity, equality and inclusion at work.
“I made a decision long ago to live an authentic life. If my being named CEO helps others do the same, that’s a wonderful moment.” — Beth Ford
Director and Head of Global Markets Core Engineering Strategic Programs at Credit Suisse
Identifying as gender-fluid and non-binary, Pips Bunce — also known as Phil or Pippa — is a proud member of the trans community. Pips has always been open about her identity in her personal life, but being one of the first people to identify as fluid in corporate finance wasn’t easy. Now, she spends half of the week as Phil and the other half as Pippa. Throughout her career, Pips has held many roles in the financial world, including Goldman Sachs and the Bank of England. Pips now heads a global team driving IT initiatives at Credit Suisse, a financial services company. Diversity and inclusion are a key part of her day-to-day, as she co-leads the company’s LGBTQ+ and Ally program and mentors others on inclusive leadership.
Founder and President of the Center for Inclusive Growth and Executive Vice President of Sustainability at Mastercard
Shamina Singh understands that belonging = confidence. In her two roles at Mastercard, Shamina puts the $500 million Mastercard Impact Fund to work to advance inclusive growth. Other career highlights include: Nike, Citigroup, the White House and the House of Representatives. (Wow.) After coming out to her family at 21 and being open in the workplace, Shamina encourages others to be themselves at work too. As a result, she’s been named in the Financial Times’ Top 100 LGBT+ Executives not once… not twice… but three times.
“As out women, we’ve had to overcome challenges that our colleagues may not have had to deal with. We have a level of fearlessness, resilience and grit as a result. And those are attributes that add a lot of value to our workplaces.” — Shamina Singh
CEO of Apple
In 1998, Steve Jobs asked Tim Cook to leave his secure role at Compaq and join Apple as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations. Following intuition over logic, Tim accepted the offer. (Keep in mind: In the late 90s, Apple was not the billion-dollar biz we know today.) Fast forward to 2011, Tim stepped into the CEO role after Steve’s health sadly declined. Over the next decade, Tim doubled the company's revenue AND profit. Then, on October 30, 2014, Tim Cook made history when he came out as the first openly gay CEO on the Fortune 500 list. For an otherwise private man, it was a big moment for Tim to discuss his sexual orientation publicly. So, why did he? Tim had received letters from kids who were struggling with their own identities — and he recognized he could help future generations of the LGBTQ+ community.
“If hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy.” — Tim Cook
Former CEO of C1 Financial
Trevor Burgess always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He dabbled in a few self-started businesses, including greeting cards, making t-shirts and travel marketing. Trevor realized he was gay around his tweens, but didn’t have a role model to look up to. In his freshman year at Dartmouth, he came out and became the president of the DGALA, an LGBTQIA+ association. When it was time to apply for jobs after college, he put this on his resume for half of his applications and left it off the other half. He only got one interview from the applications that included his role on DGALA — and he took that job. After that, Trevor didn’t hold back. In 2014, he became the first openly gay CEO of a bank on the New York Stock Exchange after his company, C1 Financial, went public. A few years later, he left C1 when Bank of the Ozarks bought it in a $402.5 million deal (!!!). Trevor attributes his career success to his thick skin as an openly gay man in investment banking. Now, he’s determined to be the role model he was missing for future generations.
Over the last ten years in the U.S., the percent of adults who identify as LGBTQ+ has doubled and the support for same sex marriage is at 70%. While this progression is promising, being a member of the LGBTQ+ community still remains a challenge. So, how can we help create an inclusive future for the next generation? Start with convos at home — and keep learning together as a family with the resources below.
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