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Women Who Rule the (Gay) World: Randy Malmud

Women Who Rule the (Gay) World: Randy Malmud

Suze Orman isn’t the only money-minded lesbian out there. You probably haven’t heard of her yet, but Randy Malmud is working every day to figure out ways to make the “gay dollar” strong. Malmud joined the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and within weeks she became the Chair of their Membership Committee, then one year later was voted in as President of the organization.

Suze Orman isn’t the only money-minded lesbian out there. You probably haven’t heard of her yet, but Randy Malmud is working every day to figure out ways to make the “gay dollar” strong.

After spending the first thirty years of her career in corporate business during the dot-com boom, Malmud hit what she likes to call a “mid-life enlightenment” (not to be confused, of course, with the dreaded “mid-life crisis”) and picked up and moved across the country all the way from the big city of New York to the smaller city of West Hollywood. Ready to be an entrepreneur and give back to the LGBT community, Malmud knew that WeHo would be the place for her.

“It has a charming, quaint feel,” says Malmud of her new home, “but it’s also a place where I can be surrounded by my gay peers. It’s a good balance of small town community and diverse city life.”

Fortunately, Malmud had already begun living bi-coastally during the final years of her previous position at IBM, frequenting the Silicon Valley and Los Angeles for sales opportunities, which put her in a position to hit the ground running when she made the west coast her permanent home.

While attending business networking meetings during her first few months in town, Malmud came across the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which she immediately joined and became actively involved in. Little did Malmud know, within weeks she would become the Chair of their Membership Committee and just one year later would be voted in as President of the organization.

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Today, Malmud and her wife Amanda say they are “living a dream” in West Hollywood. Surrounded by palm trees, an energized local community, and their eight (yes, eight) rescued animals, the two couldn’t be happier with life they have created in Los Angeles. As the current President of the LAGLCC, Malmud has dedicated herself  full-time to organizing the Chamber and its eight branches into the one of the most effective LGBT networking centers in the nation. With teams dedicated to Corporate Sponsorship, Women’s business issues, Events, and Business Education, to name a few, Malmud has made it her goal to connect LGBT members of the community not only with each other, but with “straight” or traditionally more mainstream businesses and organizations as well.

As Malmud explains, “There is huge spending power within the LGBT community – we want to make sure that corporations are conducting themselves ethically and responsibly. Prudential, Raytheon and Bud Light, for example, are just a few of the corporations looking to expand their diversity outreach. As an LGBT Chamber of Commerce, we are in a position to help such corporations reach their diversity goals. And, as a result, both the Chamber and the community benefit from corporate support.”

While the Chamber run by Malmud is based in Los Angeles, LGBT Chambers across the country, which all fall under the umbrella of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, are working toward a similar goal.

What Malmud has grasped that perhaps few others have managed to, is that the LGBT community, when woven into a tight-knit web of connections, has the potential to be one of the most politically, economically and socially powerful forces of our time. Inspired by people’s newfound desire to get involved in the community after the passage of Proposition 8, Malmud has made it her mission to not only help people get involved, but to help them with their individual business advancement as well. The LAGLCC’s website posts industry mixers, community events and even LGBT-related job postings for members to access.

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Malmud also understands that following the complete collapse of the economy, some of the people being hit the hardest may be students and young professionals who have not yet established themselves in the workforce. So, unlike other organizations that favor seniority above all else, the LAGLCC has put an emphasis on the involvement of young professionals and LGBT students as well with their newest council called the Young Business Professionals (YPP). It is a more well-rounded approach that primes the organization to help mentor and nurture the next generation of leaders.

“We are in an LGBT revolution right now,” says Malmud. “We are fighting for our rights, fighting to be respected as professionals, and we, as a Chamber, want to mentor younger, LGBT members of the community.”

By recruiting a broad range of demographic groups and organizations to get involved, Malmud has managed to shape a diverse network of individual professionals, non-profit organizations, event promoters, and corporate businesses who are all now in contact with one another. The stronger the connections between groups, the more influential we will be as a community.

Looking back on her own experiences moving up the ranks in the corporate world and now in the non-profit sector, Malmud can empathize with those struggling to make a name for themselves. She has confidence though, that as a community, we have never been more ready or able to work together, create lasting bonds, and accomplish our goals both financially and politically. 

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Shannon Connolly