When Lauren Maillian co-founded her first company, Sugarleaf Vineyards, she became the youngest winery owner in America, even before she was of legal drinking age.
Now, 17 years later, Maillian has defied all stereotypes in entrepreneurship.
The young entrepreneur of color defines herself as a change agent committed to diversity, innovation, and inclusion. She is the CEO of digitalundivided, the social startup that leverages data and advocacy to catalyze economic growth and success for Black and Latina entrepreneurs.
Maillian is also the founder and CEO of LMB Group, a strategic marketing and brand advisory firm that drives consumer connection and innovation. A pioneer in the technology space, Lauren was the first black woman to create an early-stage venture capital fund as a founding partner and managing director of Gen Y Capital Partners.
She is an advisor to Pipeline Angels and the founder of Straight Up and Successful, a personal and professional development community. She is the author of the best-selling The Path Redefined: Getting To the Top On Your Own Terms.
“My personal mission is to break cycles to allow people to be seen, valued, appreciated, and respected for who they are and not what someone might think they should be, or stereotypes associated with some kind of further disenfranchisement of our people,” Maillian told the magazine.
“This job that I have right now gives me this opportunity to be the change agent who also has the license to sound off the alarm [for change] with an entire team behind me that is putting the data behind my request,” Maillian said.
However, her success has transcended national borders.
Lauren Maillian has maintained and deepened her international presence through speaking engagements on marketing, branding, business development, venture capital, women’s leadership, innovation, and technology.
She has spoken at prestigious institutions such as Harvard University, Columbia University, and Cornell University; Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Shell, Dell, Ernst, and Young (EY), Prudential, Ogilvy, Weber Shandwick, L’Oréal, and Bloomberg; and industry-leading conferences and events such as Social Media Week, ColorComm and AdWeek.
She also drove the development of digitalundivided’s latest program, the Do You Fellowship. The program is a 12-month fellowship that provides participants with access to a $5,000 investment and mentorship from a board of investors, CEOs, and industry leaders, valued at more than $75,000. The 12-month fellowship gives founders access to resources they can put to use and benefit from as they run their companies.
“The Do You Fellowship program is everything I wish I knew and had 17 years ago when I started my first business. In less than a year, I mobilized our existing foundation supporters and our new corporate partners and brand sponsors around our mission to launch the Do You Fellowship intended to accelerate business and give leaders lifetime connections to thrive…because these are things that women of color don’t get,” Maillian said.