Natalie Egan is an openly transgender technology entrepreneur. Her newest company is Translator. She and her team are on a mission to solve one of the world’s biggest problems – inequality. Translator is building digital solutions to help businesses promote open and inclusive cultures where all employees can be themselves and thrive. Natalie started Translator in 2016 to answer the demand from companies, schools and government institutions to create more empathy and equality in the workplace. After the election of Donald Trump in 2016, Natalie and her team almost abandoned their idea, thinking there wouldn’t be a demand for it in the new political reality. They were wrong. People told them instead of shutting it down, to build it faster and bigger!
This is her story, in her own words (edited for space and flow).
I am an openly transgender technology entrepreneur. Translator is my second major company. I’ve dedicated the rest of my life to building technology that can scale empathy.
I spent 40 years of my life as a cisgender white man with access, resources and privilege. When I came out as a transgender woman, I experienced bias, discrimination and hatred for the first time.
I had this really nasty altercation with another customer at Starbucks. It was like a dagger in my chest.
I remember thinking to myself, “If that person could just walk in my shoes for one day, if they could just understand my lived experience, they wouldn’t judge me this way.”
I became obsessed with solving the problem of inequality.
We launched Translator in 2016.
We actually almost shut the whole thing down when the new administration was announced.
We didn’t think there would be a market for it.
It was the exact opposite. Literally everyone we talked to was like, “Remember that thing you were talking about? Do it! Do it bigger, do it faster. It’s got to be broader.”
There’s never a time that I’m not working. Even my experience with my kids is informing the business.
Their experience of their parent coming out as transgender is interesting. There’s a lot to be learned there.
The idea of creating representation as a transgender CEO is an incredible honor. It’s an opportunity to protect so many people so they don’t need to be answering questions.
The question I get a lot is, “Are you happy now?” The answer is not necessarily all the time. It’s not like a happiness pill.
But I truly feel satisfied now. I am at one. I’ve got peace. I am not in search anymore. That’s a really big deal for me.