Transpreneur: Tales of a FTM Transgender Entrepreneur

Short Form


The primary reason I was able to make career pivots at Intel was due to my connections to the Women at Intel network. Through this network I was referred to career counselors, business contacts, and the technical experts I needed to move my career ahead. As an FTM, my inbox is still filled with opportunities from women in tech groups, but now when I see these emails I wonder if I will be welcomed or not. A recent email I received said specifically "if you are female please attend." As a person who now identifies as male, I find that my connection to the community that supported me for the entirety of my career is now becoming tenuous.


This talk focuses on my experience as a female-to-male (FTM) transgender person learning the ropes as a business owner & entrepreneur in the tech industry, while also navigating a very personal and public gender transformation. I hope to bring awareness to the presence and work of FTMs in the tech industry, the challenges we face, and tips for other folks looking to move from technical contributor roles into business ownership and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Prior to my transpreneurial adventures I worked in tech for 17 years as a female technical contributor at small to medium sized startups, Lucent Technologies, Intel, and as a student researcher for the Semiconductor Research Corporation. Part of this talk will include advice from what I’ve learned over the last year moving from a cubicle dwelling individual contributor to a client facing business owner & startup founder.

The other part of the talk will focus on my experiences as a long time member of the women in tech community, the support I received to help my career grow, and the transitional space I now occupy as a FAAB (female assigned at birth) person physically transforming into a more cis-male reading body, and the impact it has on FTMs professionally and personally.

Currently, FTM voices are absent from the queer tech, WiT, and traditional tech spaces we operate in. Through speaking I hope to bring awareness to our existence, experiences, and need for support in the tech community.


transgender, women in tech, entrepreneur, ftm, startup, founders

Speaking experience

Video - Ignite Portland Semiconductor Physics as Explained by Irate Avians:

Demolicious, Feb 2016 - presented as part of PDX Startup Week
Intro to D3.js - 2015 Women who Code javascript study night
The Hitchikers Guide to Async Javascript - 2013 Intel Software Professionals Conference:

Upcoming - Pycon May 2016 - "The Fellowship of The Data" - a tutorial on data pipelining in Python

I have not given this talk before, but I have covered parts of it on the diversity panel as part of Startup Scene Spotlight at 2016 Portland Startup Week


  • Face

    Sev Leonard

    The Data Scout


    Partying in the tech industry since 1999. Prior lives include analog circuit design, app development, bike racing. Currently on an entrepreneurial vacation doing data science consulting, building, and investigating outdoor tech startups while transitioning as an FTM transgender humanoid. Cats, power tools, and preparing meat over open flames. Also puns.

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