This editorial article is a part of Technical.ly's Technologists of Color Month of our editorial calendar.
Quinnie Lin comes from a social justice lawyering and community organizing background.
She’s been a part of the D.C. community for six years, originally moving here for law school at Georgetown University. After law school, she worked as an international anti-corruption attorney for a D.C. law firm on minority voter engagement and field organizing for a campaign, and was an organizer for the D.C.-area Planned Parenthood.
It sounds like she had it all figured out, right?
Well, everything that Lin knew changed when she was inspired by the Women’s March on Washington D.C. in 2017. The march prompted her to go back to public service, a journey that led her to start her own social impact consulting firm.
“The sense of hope and optimism I felt that day led me to recommit to working toward a world that is kinder than the one we live in now,” She said.
Based on this epiphany, Lin spent a year and a half exploring different career paths. Then she launched her first venture, QB Strategies. The public affairs firm for social justice has a mission to help organizations, candidates and companies that want to do good, but need guidance on how to do it in a thoughtful, people-centered and data-driven way, she told Technical.ly.
Since its launch a year ago, QB Strategies has provided large nonprofits with strategic direction, taught leadership classes to formerly incarcerated individuals and refugee students, given diversity and inclusion trainings, and provided insights on social media analytics. The bicoastal firm services clients in D.C. and Los Angeles.
Today, Sept. 24, Lin is officially celebrating one year in business with QB Strategies.
“The common thread in all of my work is my immigrant identity,” Lin said. “My mother came to America alone with literally $200 in her pocket as a visiting graduate student in 1991. I was raised by my grandparents in China and joined my family when I was 8 years old.”
When Lin started QB Strategies, she said the first person she thought of was her father, who started a small business fixing TVs and VCRs in the basement of an apartment building in Boston to support her family.
“Watching my parents struggle and having to take responsibility very early on led to my identity as a defender and advocate,” Lin said. “Although they do not understand what I do, their grit and drive laid the foundation for me to strike out on my own.”
The public affairs firm isn’t the only company Lin runs. After QB Strategies participated in the Georgetown Venture Lab, a local incubator program, earlier this year, Lin was inspired by the lab’s resources to develop an idea for a healthtech product. She plans to move to Los Angeles by the end of this month to build on that product, QB Health, which will curate a platform offering expecting mothers and family-based communities data, support and resources they don’t have access to.
“Our aim is to make it easier for mothers to not only survive, but to thrive during the pregnancy and the aftermath,” the founder said.
Lin said she’s launching this venture because America has the highest maternal death rate in the developed world, with Black mothers dying at three times the rate of white mothers. This high death rate comes from the fixed cost of hospitals with birthing units to the lack of high quality information on the different stages of pregnancy.
“We are on the cusp of another major technological revolution. It is incredibly important to infuse social impact into the products we are creating, but to resist using ‘social impact’ as a buzzword,” Lin said. “Our challenge for the future is to think deeply about how to harness technologies of the future to make this life on earth a little less difficult for people who are especially vulnerable to the effects of poverty, violence, discrimination and climate change.”
QB Health will be available as an app when it’s launched.
Lin said having a strong policy and law background has made her feel like she can hold her own in the tech startup world. Now, even though Lin doesn’t have a technological background, she said she is slowly starting to learn Python because of its versatility for analyzing data and building back-end. She said she is also interested in learning more front-end programming languages as well.
Some resources and connections Lin said has helped her on her entrepreneurial path include the Georgetown Venture Lab; her fellow Hoya entrepreneurs; Kelly O’Malley, a Vinetta Project leader who is transitioning to a management role at the Georgetown Venture Lab; Victoria Della Torre, Georgetown Venture Lab’s first manager; Halcyon Incubator; the D.C. Women’s Business Center; and a Georgetown professor, Marc Steren, who helped her bring the QB Health concept to fruition.
Knowledge is power!
Subscribe for free today and stay up to date with news and tips you need to grow your career and connect with our vibrant tech community.