Workin' It

Dawn Ackerman
Co-founder, OutSmart Office Solutions

For Dawn Ackerman, a jill-of-all-trades who once worked as a hardware store manager, a bar manager and a caseworker for heroin addicts, starting EcoToner in 1997 united two of her loves: working for LGBT equality and saving the environment. EcoToner helps offices recycle and dispose of ink toner and printing equipment, and in 2005, Ackerman created the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (LAGLCC) to connect and advise LGBT business owners.

Ackerman was awarded PlanetOut’s 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year award, and in 2007 she co-founded OutSmart Office Solutions. “Our goal is to work with LGBT businesses, professionals and nonprofits so that we may move toward equality,” she says, and she’s planning another startup, CandidateFive, an LGBT recruitment firm for corporations in the U.S. -LF