In life, if you find yourself not in the right place, make that decision to leave.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME LAUGH: A good dirty joke. FAVORITE DISH: Manicotti or Meatballs (my own). FAVORITE AUTHOR OR BOOK: Execution by Larry Bossidy. HOBBIES: I enjoy traveling and I am a foodie, whether it is eating in or out.

Orlando Zayas

Knowing what matters to grow on one’s path

FIX AND GROW. Orlando Zayas successfully ran businesses under the General Electric umbrella for over ten years. Wanting a new challenge and to see if he could lead and grow a business without the financial backing and support of a large corporation, Orlando decided to join fintech start-up, Tempoe. “I wanted to explore the challenge of building a company from the early start-up stages and see if I could lead it to success.”

Tempoe brought many challenges and learning experiences. The start-up environment is very different from the environment he was used to in a large corporation. However, in just three short years, Orlando took the company from almost bankrupt to profitable, proving he had the leadership abilities to row a company at any stage.

After a long career at GE and working successfully with two fintech companies, Orlando took on a new role in 2017 as the CEO of Katapult, the leading eCommerce point-of-sale lease purchase platform that serves the non-prime consumer. Orlando has led the company from $17M in revenue to $247M at the end of 2020. Even during the uncertain times of the pandemic, Katapult continued to see revenue growth, partly due to Orlando’s decision not to tighten up on loan approvals when most other lenders immediately rolled back. Today, Orlando has led the company through an IPO via a SPAC merger, one of his career’s most significant and most fulfilling experiences.

GROWING INTO BEING A LEADER. Today, despite all the success he has experienced in his career, Orlando considers his most significant accomplishment to be his thirty-two-year relationship with his partner. “Being successful knows no bounds. You have to create opportunities for yourself and push through adversity to realize your dreams, both in your personal and professional life.”

Looking at Orlando’s background, you would think he would be lucky to have a blue-collar job, yet he is now the CEO behind a publicly traded company. Orlando came from a blue-collar family and grew up as an army brat, working a paper route from eight years old. “If I wanted something, I had to work for it. I have never had anything handed to me.” Orlando’s upbringing and determination have catapulted his growth throughout his career and ultimately led to his successful relationship with his partner. “I have never allowed any adversity or difficulties to limit me in how I live my life, and I am very proud of my success.”

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.