Claire Elisan

Claire Elisan by Watermark Magazine

Entrepreneurship was going well for Claire Elisan. “I owned my own business and made pretty good money,” she says. However, despite her financial stability, she realized that the money she earned didn’t bring with it the happiness she thought it would. Instead, she tells GO, “I realized my true passion was to help people.” She traded the for-profit world for the nonprofit one, founding Project No Labels in 2015. Its mission: To unite the LGBTQ+ community with straight allies through positive activities and events while promoting volunteerism and activism. They also offer high-quality, affordable mental health therapy through Dear Self, You Are Worth It, a program which launched in January 2020. Project No Labels was the recipient of Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Business of Pride Award in 2018 and was named 3rd Most Effective Local Nonprofit by Watermark Magazine in 2020. In 2020, Elisan was named second Favorite Local Activist by Watermark and one of Business Equality’s 40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40. But her biggest accomplishment, she says, is helping establish the Trans Pride March with both St. Pete Pride and Equality Florida in 2017. In 2019, the March had over 2,000 participants pre-registered. This success is part of her privilege, which Elisan knows not everyone shares. “Being able to feel free to be who I am has been a privilege I don’t take lightly,” she says. “I know there are many countries around the world where it’s not legal to be LGBTQ+ and some places where you can still be killed. These are the places I would really like to see Project No Labels in, places where people can find community and feel safe to be who they are.” —RK

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