The Root 100 – The Most Influential African Americans of 2020

I want the conversation around supporting women of color as entrepreneurs and founders to become the mainstream conversation.

The Root 100 is our annual list of the most influential African Americans, ages 25 to 45. It’s our way of honoring the innovators, the leaders, the public figures and the game changers whose work from the past year is breaking down barriers and paving the way for the next generation. This year’s list of honorees is a reminder of the beauty and brilliance of Blackness, at a time when the political and cultural landscape has grown even more hostile to the idea of Black achievement.”

A groundbreaking entrepreneur since launching Sugarleaf Vineyards at the age of 19, Lauren Maillian became the first Black woman to begin an early-stage venture capital fund, launching Gen Y Capital Partners in 2011. Nearly a decade later, the award-winning marketer and consumer-brand strategist prides herself on being a change agent committed to furthering diversity and inclusion efforts as the CEO of Digitalundivided, where she and her team focus on providing resources to promote economic growth for female Black and Latinx tech entrepreneurs. (Maillian took over as CEO from founder Kathryn Finney, a 2016 and 2017 The Root 100 honoree.) Maillian is no rookie when it comes to working with tech startups; to date, she has “advised and invested in over 40 startups, which have generated over $200 million in revenue,” according to her website. Outside of her business endeavors, Maillian is an in-demand speaker who has led conversations at higher education institutions and Fortune 500 companies. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Forbes, Fast Company and Entrepreneur.

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