How Lauren built her expertise in brand strategy, innovation, marketing, media and tech.

As a global CEO, entrepreneur, investor, advisor, influencer, and award-winning marketer, Lauren Maillian advises on building and scaling consumer-facing startups, elevating iconic legacy brands, and creating new approaches to VC investing. She brings 15+ years of discovering and seizing hidden, profitable value across retail, CPG, lifestyle brands, luxury goods, and finance/FinTech companies via growth, marketing, brand innovation, ESG, digital transformation and partnerships. Lauren’s powerful storytelling has increased brand and product awareness and loyalty for high-growth tech startups to Fortune 500s. She adds value to companies seeking to penetrate new markets, target new population groups, or turn around underperforming brands. Lauren currently serves as President, Digital Innovation at Hero Media, the next generation Black owned media and ad tech company where culture meets performance. At Hero Media, Lauren oversees all lines of business, with an emphasis on driving partnerships and growth to the company’s first party platforms and proprietary technologies. She brings a culturally relevant approach to inclusive content and representation in mainstream media using insightful storytelling to shift perception and gain untapped market share. Lauren is also the founder of LMB Group, a boutique marketing and strategic advisory firm that partners with innovative and high-growth consumer brands, helping founders and executives meet their strategic goals. She previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of digitalundivided, the leading nonprofit leveraging data, programs, and advocacy to catalyze economic growth for Black and Latina women entrepreneurs.


Pivoting from leading as the organization’s Board Chair to CEO in 2020, Lauren guided the organization’s 5X revenue growth from $1M to $5M, elevated its brand, and built 60+ Fortune 500 partnerships including catalytic funding from LinkedIn, American Express, Nasdaq, Tiger Global, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, MetLife Foundation, Pivotal Ventures, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and many more. She significantly expanded digitalundivided’s world-renowned research capabilities, guided by the legacy of ProjectDiane, the first study and data report reflecting on the state of Black and Latina women founders and their businesses. Lauren also created and successfully launched founder grant programs like Breakthrough in partnership with JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways and the Do You Fellowship mobilizing hundreds of diverse entrepreneurs nationally.


A pioneering voice and advocate for women in business, leadership, and investing, Lauren’s vision inspired the creation of The New C-Suite with Cosmopolitan Magazine, a recognition list dedicated to trailblazing women of color entrepreneurs. She advised and partnered with the Nasdaq Foundation to launch the InvestHER Power Series, an inclusive investing event focused on convening women of color investors across the United States. In 2022, she was named a jury member for the Cartier Women’s Initiative, an annual international entrepreneurship program that drives change by empowering impact-driven women founders. 


Lauren’s investing experience spans angel investing, growth and private equity, middle market, buy-outs, and public capital markets. She has advised and invested in over 50 startups and her current investment portfolio represents over $5 billion in market capitalization. A vanguard in the tech, venture capital, & public capital markets space, Lauren was the first Black woman to start an early-stage venture capital fund, as the Founding Partner and Managing Director at Gen Y Capital Partners. She is one of the youngest women to invest in and advise a SPAC, Athena Consumer Acquisition Corp (NYSE: ACAQ). Lauren is on the Board of Advisors for OptimizeRx Corporation (NASDAQ: OPRX). Lauren is also an advisor for Pipeline Angels, The Folklore, Diem, The Labz, and is a member of the Fashion Institute of Technology Alumni Council. She has invested in companies such as Kroma Wellness, Ephemeral Tattoo, Partake Foods and Ruggable. She served as a Board Member for Walmart’s Innovation Council, LIQS (acquired by E&J Gallo), The Apollo Theater’s Young Patrons, and the Advisory Committee on Cultural Engagement for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Women in Innovation. A sought-after advisor and social impact expert, Lauren speaks in global forums including The SPAC Conference, WSJ Women In Series, and World Expo Dubai. 


Lauren’s entrepreneurial journey started at 19, co-founding Sugarleaf Vineyards, making her the youngest self-made winery owner in the country. She became a best-selling author in 2014 after publishing her memoir, The Path Redefined: Getting To the Top On Your Own Terms. As an influential voice in media, Lauren was the Master Marketer and Co-Star on Oxygen’s Quit Your Day Job, co-host of CNBC’s The Unstoppables and was the first Lifestyle Expert on the Emmy award winning Tamron Hall Show. Lauren’s work has been recognized by the Kauffman Foundation, New York Urban League, and Walker’s Legacy, and she was named to the 2022 Create & Cultivate 100 List, 2021 Worth Magazine’s Worthy 100, and The Root 100 Most Influential African-Americans in Business list in 2020. She was also named a LinkedIn Top Voice in Entrepreneurship in 2022. Lauren has been featured in various publications and media outlets such as Forbes, Vogue Business, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, TechCrunch, Cosmopolitan Magazine and AdAge. She was named a Tech Catalyst by the Council Of Urban Professionals in 2021 and JPMorgan Chase & Co honored her commitment to advancing business growth and entrepreneurship in the Black community in 2022. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Science magna cum laude in International Trade and Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology.