I'm a coach for LGBTQ entrepreneurs. I specialize in self care and creating a plan for being out (or not) in your business. Ask me anything.

Veronica Kirin
Jun 15, 2018

I'm an LGBTQ entrepreneur who has been developing businesses since 2010.  I started coaching two years ago because I noticed entrepreneurs in the Queer community were running themselves ragged.  There wasn't anyone coaching our community so I outed myself to my family and community to become that needed support.  Find me here.

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veronicakirin.com

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What have you done personally as a leader to help solve the issue of LGBTQ issues at the workplace?
Jun 22, 8:45AM EDT0

Most of my work takes place outside Corporate America.  I advocate for LGBTQ entrepreneurs in their work acceptance.  However, I do lean on my representatives when there is a bill in the House or Senate that is going to effect LGBTQ rights.  We were pretty up in arms a few years ago when they turned down the non-discrimination law a city over.  LGBTQ people can still be fired for their oritentation.  I also partner with my local Chamber which has a LGBTQ branch that advocates at the State level.  Finally, I am the only member of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce in my city.  It's a Fortune 500 designation that also does a good deal of advocacy, and their updates are helpful in supporting better laws. 

Jun 22, 10:52AM EDT0
Do you think gender diversity at a senior management level, and across the organisation is important?
Jun 21, 11:53PM EDT0

Yes.  Diversity at all levels is critical, not just for internal culture, but it also ensures the company creates sustainable and long lasting products that are useful for more than one demographic.  It's not just humanitarian, it's also smart business.  Sadly, many corporations don't realize this, and continue to dig their heels in to discriminatory policies.

Jun 22, 10:55AM EDT0
What kind of measurable results have you helped your clients achieve?
Jun 21, 5:27PM EDT0

Hard results look like going from no clients initially to two new clients every week after two months of coaching, putting together a solid speaker kit to pitch events and closing that first keynote, and creating a stellar job description, interview process, and training process to find that key person that will allow a business to begin scaling.  Soft results look like helping a client who had a transphobic run-in with someone and working with them to process so their work isn't hindered, working through a difficult family situation, and diminished stress levels because they're no longer hunting in the dark and hoping they got it right.

Jun 22, 10:59AM EDT0
What do you think the biggest challenge is for LGBTQ community currently sitting in a minority at corporate level?
Jun 21, 3:10PM EDT0

I think I understand your question - what is the biggest challenge for someone who identifies as LGBTQ at a high level corporate position and are a minority in that position?

Everyone's work environment is different, but one might have the challenge of explaining their life and partnership, dealing with cliché, and probably some jokes that are not appropriate.

Jun 22, 12:46PM EDT0
What is something you would want foreign policy thinkers and practitioners to change about how they think about LGBT issues?
Jun 20, 10:16PM EDT0

I'm personally more concerned about domestic affairs at this time.  Regardless, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations states that discrimination against someone because of their sexual orientation is a violation of human rights, and it is the right of everyone world-wide to love whomever they choose.  It saddens me to see so many governments blatantly violate the rights of our community in a multitude of ways.

Jun 21, 10:24AM EDT0
What do you do best? What someone does best is not the same as that in which they specialize.
Jun 20, 2:36PM EDT0

You are very right.  What I call my 'zone of expertise' is entrepreneurship.  But my 'zone of genius' (ie. what I'm made for) is teaching people self care.

Outside of work, I am very good with people.  I'm good at speaking to strangers, making them feel relaxed, cutting to the quick if it's welcome (ie. noting an issue and bringing it to light to them).  Because of my love for people I host brunches and salons often, travel to see new people and places, and friends know to stop by unannounced whenever they're in the area.

To sum, I am best at making people feel seen and heard as their unique selves.

Jun 20, 3:00PM EDT0
How different is it to coach LGBTQ entrepreneurs as opposed to coach heterosexuals or other groups?
Jun 17, 3:48AM EDT0

I actually end up coaching both.  However, I market directly to LGBTQ Entrepreneurs as my niche because I am especially equipped for their needs.  Outside of making a plan for being out (or not), the only other major difference I note is that LGBTQ Entreprneurs sometimes bring a little extra gumption to their work because they've faced adversity at some point in life.  Adversity sucks, but those that get through it are galvanized in a way they weren't, before.  More than anything else, that's what I look for when choosing my clients.  That drive, whether it came from their identiy or something else.

Jun 18, 10:54AM EDT0
Would you say that outed LGBTQ individuals have a harder time looking for jobs?
Jun 16, 5:33PM EDT0

They shouldn't.

However, I live right next to a city that still can fire someone if they are LGBTQ.

So yes, it can be harder.  It absolutely depends on where you live.  Personally, I wouldn't want to work at a business where I was fearful of being outed (and fired) every day.  That invites some bad juju.  But that's just me.

Jun 18, 10:50AM EDT0
What’s the end goal you have when you teach LGBTQ entrepreneurs?
Jun 16, 11:29AM EDT0

I don't like to set a hard and fast goal, since everyone is different.  However, I do keep a close eye on self care and work / life balance.  People tend to become entrepreneurs because they have a passion for something, and then they follow the idea that they must 'hustle' in order to succeed.  This results in burnout which, if bad enough, could completely destroy the joy they once had for their work.  (I'm sure you've heard someone say they don't want to make a business of their hobbies because they don't want to get sick of it - this is what I mean.)

I was able to earn six figures last year while only working 10 hours a week because I scaled my business.  I had an amazing team that rocked the work.  Not only did we grow faster because I got out of the way, I was able to keep my work / life balance on point.  This is what I try to do for my clients, but, as I said, everyone is different and their needs depend on where they are in business (and in life).

Jun 18, 10:49AM EDT0
What inspired you to write a book how technology has changed the Greatest Generation? What were the challenges involved in interviewing 100 elders?
Jun 16, 1:44AM EDT0

To clarify:  The book uses interviews with the Greatest Generation to determine how WE have changed as a country.

Some of the elders I drove to meet ended up not being useful.  In once sad case the man had just fallen a few weeks before I arrived (I had been on the road for five weeks at this point) and he had lost the ability to shape thought.  He had to be prompted by his family in conversation, which is not something I could use.  It was a shame.  He was a former FBI agent.  

Some people I interviewed were hard of hearing which made it a bit challenging.  Others were shocked that a single woman would drive across the country alone, which took a portion of our time to explain.  

I will be doing a book tour, so if you are interested in attending to watch the Documentary and ask questions during the Q&A after, you can sign up for tour dates on the website:  http://storiesofelders.com

Jun 18, 10:43AM EDT0
Do you make it a point to hire employees also from the LGBTQ community or does it even matter?
Jun 15, 3:41PM EDT0

At this time I do not.  However, inclusivity is one of the first clauses in my employee handbook.  Though it should go without saying, I absolutely will not employ someone who is hateful or predjudice toward anyone, even if they do identify as LGBTQ.

Jun 18, 10:40AM EDT0

Is it harder to come out as bi-sexual? I am with a man so I pass as straight, I have a hard time telling people, yet if asked I am totally open to it

Jun 15, 2:24PM EDT0

I would say yes, and here's why.  Up until the 90s, both the straight and gay communities would pressure a bisexual identified person to "choose a side".  That still happens a lot today.  I identify bisexual queer, and I try to be as transparent as possible so others know it is safe to identify as any letter in the LGBTQ+ continuum.  

It's also difficult if you are bisexual but appear to be married to someone of the opposite gender.  People may feel like you are no longer LGBTQ+, even though you still are.  I hope that changes as time goes on.

By the way, Happy Pride Month!

Jun 15, 2:30PM EDT0
If you didn’t become an entrepreneur, what do you think your career would be like today?
Jun 15, 10:22AM EDT0

Great question!!!  That one hit homes.  I had originally intended to remain in Disaster Relief and Humanitarian aid.  I was considering the Peace Corps, but I have PTSD and was unable to continue my service.  I instead got a corporate job as Director of SEO which led to my first business, GreenCup Website Services, after being laid off.  My career as an entrepreneur started by accident, but I never want to go back.

Jun 15, 2:06PM EDT0
How do you manage your time to look after your various businesses and also keep a balance with your personal life?
Jun 15, 6:22AM EDT0

I love this question.  As you know I specialize in Self Care in business, and I help others do this.  Does that mean I'm perfect?  Nope.  But I do have some systems in place to help.

First, I make sure my work hours are not the entire day.  Everyone has their own preferences, but I work a maximum 8am - 6pm.  Typically that's more like 9am-3pm, but it depends on the day.  Sometimes I have clients later, sometimes I have an event to attend.  

I also make sure I take a lunch break.  I found I was working through lunch and then getting really angry at my computer because I hadn't eaten.  It also lets my mind take a break and I come back with better afternoon energy and ideas.

Weekends are precious to me, but I may work an hour or two but not more.

This all allows me to spend time with family and friends as I need and want.

Jun 15, 2:10PM EDT0
What do you enjoy writing about the most?
Jun 15, 2:42AM EDT0

My favorite genres to write in are postapocalyptic and distopian.  I am a trained anthropologist and I love to poke at what society might become if X or Y were to happen.

My upcoming book, however, is nonfiction.  I interviewed the Greatest Generation about how tech changed America over the past 100 years, which is another way I am curious about society and poking "the monster" a bit.  I will be doing an AMA when we get closer to the book launch in September.  

Jun 15, 2:12PM EDT0
What are the businesses you currently run today?
Jun 15, 2:24AM EDT0

Currently I am I coaching other Entrepreneurs, Speaking about entreprneeurship and self care, and promoting my book.  I just sold my tech company, GreenCup Website Services, in March, and that was a relief on my schedule.  

Jun 15, 2:14PM EDT0
Are there times when it’s best to remain in the closet as a businessperson?
Jun 14, 2:12PM EDT0

Let me preface this by saying that everyone makes a decision for their own situation.  Some people feel safe and comfortable in their region, some don't.  That is a deeply individual choice and I help entrepreneurs in either situation make a plan for managing the decision (either for their marketing and what to do if they are outed).

Other than saying it's a case-by-case basis, I really can't give an answer. There are some careers with higher 'in the closet rates', but everyone is different and that must be respected.

Jun 15, 2:18PM EDT0

What was your first business and how and why did you start it?

Jun 14, 9:11AM EDT0

My first business was actually a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  I started it in order to continue doing the service work that I love (humanitarianism) but on my terms.  I had PTSD after my last government deployment, and so couldn't continue in that way.  Unfortunately, it carried over into my own work, and I had to ultimately abandon the project.

I learned a lot, however, especially about size of scope, government regulations, and hiring.  That empowered my first for-profit business, GreenCup.

Jun 15, 2:22PM EDT0

How do you keep yourself organized within business and with your clients?

Jun 14, 9:10AM EDT0

I keep notes for each client in their own individual notebook.  However, I am changing to the ReMarkable Tablet shortly.  It will still allow me to write with the feeling of paper and pencil, but automatically creates PDFs.  Each client has a separate digital folder on my locked computer so I stay organized that way, too.

My file structure for all my businesses loosely follows as such:

  • business
  • branding
  • clients
  • marketing
  • website images
  • goverment docs
  • speaking
  • photos

Each folder may also have subfoders, but this keeps me organized and ensures I don't lose anything.

Jun 15, 2:26PM EDT0
Did you have to get formal education to be a better coach?
Jun 14, 8:10AM EDT0

The short answer is maybe.

Currently there are no regulations on coaches.  That is rapidly changing.  It is recommended to get an ICF approved certification as they are the main overseeing body for coaches.

Some just have the knack for coaching and may do well as a coach without cetifiying, but as I said, it is not recommended.

There are methods and mores in coaching and they are important to learn so you can guide clients and not "tell them what to do".  This way they remain their full selves instead of parts of you.

Jun 15, 2:33PM EDT0