It’s hard to imagine Lauren Maillian ever sitting still—she exudes an energy and a drive that’s infectious and at times hard to keep up with. Maillian is the CEO of digitalundivided, an incubator for Black and Latinx female entrepreneurs. It’s a perfect fit for Maillian, who’s both founded her own businesses and been an active investor in startups for years. An astute, candid observer of the business landscape, Maillian celebrates the achievements of female founders of color, while acknowledging that progress is achingly slow and that many barriers remain.
Q: Tell me broadly where you think America stands today in terms of diversity and inclusion, compared to five or 10 years ago.
A: I think that we have not come very far in five or 10 years. And you’re speaking to someone raised in New York City at a time when there was no conversation around diversity. So that means you’re also speaking to someone who is a little numb to the conversation. And I’m now a parent in this conversation as well, seeing how far we haven’t come. I think that in these last 12 months, the conversation on inclusion and diversity has become a very black and white conversation where I think there are still so many scales and hues in between that need to be acknowledged and nurtured, discussed and appreciated before we can ever get to real diversity.