REACHING OUT FELLOWS, CLASS OF 2018

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Aaron So

London Business School

  • About Aaron

    Aaron is a MBA candidate in London Business Schools class of 2018. Before business school Aaron was a management consultant at Woolworths Ltd., Australias largest supermarket and liquor retailer. Previously he was a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company, working in Australia and New Zealand across a range of industries including health care, telecommunications, consumer goods and retail. Aarons experiences include corporate and business unit strategy, organisational design, cost transformation and commercial initiatives. Aaron holds a B.Com. majoring in Economics from the University of Sydney. Outside of work, Aaron is involved in non-profit initiatives focused on increasing LGBT diversity and inclusion in the private sector.

    What made you consider business school?
    I wanted to use the MBA as an opportunity to broaden my education and explore new areas of business. Attending business school was also a chance to live in London and engage with folks from around the world. 

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    I am definitely most excited about the people. I know that any experience is only as good as the company – it's a privilege to spend two years learning and working together with my classmates. I am looking forward to making new friendships at LBS as well as through ROMBA.

    Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?
    Susan Cain (the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts...͛) is a great, recent inspiration of mine. I admire her for eloquently challenging our cultural stereotypes of leadership and advocating for a workplace that is more inclusive and empathetic. Also, Marc Benioff at Salesforce. I believe the private sector can play a huge role in advancing social justice and Salesforce has made consistent, strong efforts to fight LGBT discrimination in the U.S. and abroad.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I'm studying Mandarin Chinese and Russian at the moment.

Adam Richman

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

  • About Adam

    Adam is a first-year MBA student at Boston Universitys Questrom School of Business where he is concentrating in Health Sector Management. A native New Englander, Adam grew up in Wilton, Connecticut before moving to Massachusettsto attend Brandeis University, where he majored in Economics and Health: Science, Society, and Policy. After graduating in 2011, Adam joined the National Institute for Childrens Health Quality in Boston, a public health non-profit focused on catalyzing systems change to improve child health. In 2014, Adam joined the DentaQuest Institute, an organization that facilitates adoption of preventive oral healthcare by assisting community health centers, hospitals, and private dental offices redesign processes in order to improve health outcomes. Adam is experienced in process improvement, performance measurement, and project management. Outside of work, Adam enjoys traveling to and exploring new places, relaxing at the beach, playing trivia with his weekly trivia team, and spending time with friends and family.

    What made you consider business school?
    After spending four years working directly with healthcare organizations on large-scale improvement initiatives, I realized that in order to create sustainable change, all areas of the organization need to work together from the clinical staff, to leadership, finance, and operations. I saw business school as an opportunity to strengthen my management, communication, and quantitative skills and learn what makes organizations successful so that I can be a more well-rounded leader in healthcare.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I'm most excited about building connections and friendships with my classmates—learning from their different backgrounds and perspectives to broaden my own. I also am looking forward to building my network in Boston, from professors to guest speakers and employers.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Tim Cook, Atul Gawande, Mark Zuckerberg, my parents

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I have a knack for remembering mundane and useless facts, which my trivia team often greatly appreciates! 

Alejandro Bolívar-Cervoni

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

  • About Alejandro

    Alejandro Bolívar-Cervoni is an MBA candidate for the Class of 2018 at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, he is a native Spanish speaker and a conversational French speaker. After completing his undergraduate studies at Duke University, he worked at the National Basketball Association as a Marketing Associate in its competitive rotational program (where he was one of eight hired from 3,000 applicants). At the NBA, he conducted competitive analysis and market research that helped quantify the NBA’s upcoming TV deal renewals valued at $24 billion (versus $930 million in 2007). Alejandro enjoys cooking and public speaking (in 2016 he completed the Toastmasters Competent Communicator Program).

    What made you consider business school?
    Following my graduation from Duke, I worked in marketing in New York, including at the NBA’s Associate Rotational Program. This opportunity solidified my desire to work in cross-functional teams and global matrixed organizations. Though I had a meaningful impact at the NBA conducting competitive analysis and market research, I desired a more holistic understanding of business. This included obtaining a stronger quantitative and analytical background by taking courses in finance, statistics, and economics. Additionally, in today’s increasingly globalized environment, I sought out deeper understanding of other cultures by working with international classmates. Taking advantage of travel opportunities—including spending a semester abroad—will also introduce me to best practices when working with diverse, multicultural teams. After completing my MBA I hope to work in brand & product management at a consumer packaged goods or technology company. My MBA experience will prepare me for these goals specifically by providing me with the analytical and management skills needed to enhance my background.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?I am most excited about opportunities to discover other international business cultures and customs and solidify my business network during my MBA journey. My ideal business school environment would include a small class size full of bright, diverse students, allowing me to strengthen my network. Identifying this environment early on in my search simplified the process; there are many great business schools, but each offers a different experience. I was extremely blessed to be accepted at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, a school that met both of these criteria for me where I am one of 132 members of the class of 2018. I was also honored to have been extended a merit-based full-tuition scholarship as a ROMBA Fellowship. I also wanted a great range of diversity, from cultural backgrounds and nationalities to industry experience. One of my classmates worked within the wine industry in the Midwest; another established an English-education company in China. Olin’s small size means I get to develop stronger ties with my colleagues and learn from their experiences. Olin offers specific experiential learning opportunities, allowing students to organize trips to countries like Japan and Peru, and to consult for local and international companies. I cannot wait to grow through these opportunities and connect with individuals that share a similar passion for business but have different cultural backgrounds.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    I am so proud of corporate leaders that have strived to make business more inclusive for LGBT consumers and have given visibility to the LGBT community. I am grateful to Apple CEO Tim Cook for being open about his own experiences in business, leveraging his high profile as the leader of one of the world’s most successful companies. While at the NBA, I had the unique honor of meeting Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the League. Sports has a truly global reach, and I’m honored that Jason and the NBA have used their exposure to advocate for diversity and acceptance.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    My hobbies include cooking and public speaking. I enjoy that they are very practical. Nurturing my cooking abilities has proved beneficial during business school, as not only an affordable way to sustain myself but also to connect with classmates. I have hosted several potlucks this year and have introduced new friends to family recipes such as Cuban picadillo (sautéed ground beef), arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), and salted caramel flan. Last year in New York I bought a homemade ice cream maker as an impulse purchase but had no space for it in my mini-fridge; now I have been crafting new recipes to satisfy my sweet tooth. My goal is to take a cooking class in every new country I travel to (I learned to make Korean short rib while traveling in Seoul last March).

Allie Esslinger

New York University, Stern School of Business

  • About Allie

    Allie Esslinger is a Southern transplant living in Brooklyn. She began working in entertainment as a joke writer during her time at the New School and freelanced for various magazines and blogs while transitioning into film. She grew from intern to associate producer on the feature length documentary Eat, Drink, Laugh: The Story of the Comic Strip and worked as a development producer for independent television projects and commercial agencies while completing an MFA in screenwriting. She opened Olive Juice Films in 2011, initially as a traditional production services company, creating projects for platforms like Above Average, Major League Gaming, Maker Studios, and VICE. Since then, Olive Juice has expanded to include content marketing and digital strategy for independent filmmakers, nonprofits, and startups. Most recently, the company co-created Live From Tomorrow, a monthly talk show and fundraising platform for New York’s startup scene. In 2013, Allie founded Section II, a streaming network showcasing Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LBTQ) content. Named for the clause in the Motion Picture Production Code that outlawed homosexuality on screen till 1968, Section II is now the destination platform connecting LBTQ stories and audiences with a library of over 500 features, shorts, and series. Allie loves television, big sunglasses, iced coffee, and Alabama football.

    What made you consider business school?
    Although I'm very proud of the work my team and I have accomplished at Section II, I think it's important for the filmmakers we are working for that we scale our operations and generate formidable partnerships outside of the niche and indie film worlds. Business school is a great opportunity to learn about different trajectories for a small/growing business and to pinpoint new strategies and ideas about what comes next.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    I am really looking forward to being employable!  I have worked for myself throughout my entire career, as a producer/director at Olive Juice Films and then as the founder of Section II. It's exciting to learn more about corporate life and begin to build the skills that will allow me to transfer into a larger-scale environment, as we continue to grow into the studio system.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Lara Spotts is the Head of Development at Bravo, and she has done an amazing job there promoting diversity and improving the quality of representation for LGBTQ characters and creators. Kelly Bush Novak is the founder of ID-PR, a publicity firm that works closely with many of the most interesting LBTQ celebrities in Hollywood. She herself is gay and worked closely with Ellen Page to strategize her coming out and her career as a newly-minted gay icon. Katherine Grainger at Civitas is someone who I really admire from my knowledge of her work at LPAC.  Lucy Mukerjee-Brown is the programmer of Outfest, the largest LGBT film festival in the world and does an amazing job leading that male-dominated industry niche.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you? 
    My top five favorite inventions are 1. television 2. libraries 3. gel pens 4. pocket scarves 5. right-on-red

Ana Testolini

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

  • About Ana

    Ana is a first year MBA candidate at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. Born and raised in a small town in the outskirts of São Paulo (Brazil), she moved to Chicago in 2009 to pursue an economics degree at the University of Chicago. Following her graduation, she worked at Discover Financial Services for 5 years in various roles in Credit Risk Management and Digital Marketing. In addition, she was the Events Chair of Discover's LGBTQ Employee Resource group and organized Discover's participation at the 2016 Chicago Pride Parade. On her spare time, Ana enjoys cycling in the summer, ice skating in the winter, and watching hockey (Go Blackhawks!).

    What made you consider business school?
    After working in Risk Management for four years, I realized that, while I enjoyed the work I was doing, I needed to broaden my horizons and look for something different. But more so than a career change to Consulting or Marketing, what I am truly looking forward to is challenging the status quo and opening myself to even more opportunities that I have not yet imagined, opportunities which will only come with the MBA experience.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    It's hard to pick one thing! But I am mostly excited about meeting new people and learning more about their stories and values. I believe that ultimately the diversity of people we meet helps to shape us as human beings, and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to learn from people with different backgrounds and life experiences than my own.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Tony Robbins for influencing so many people to improve themselves, and Sara Bareilles for not just writing inspiring songs, but mostly for being a kind and genuine person doing everything she can to make the world a better place.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I love watching and playing sports, even though I'm not particularly good at any. I used to dance ballet growing up but unfortunately had to stop when I got to college. I'm always up for watching a game, a ballet performance, or a musical!

Andrew Gilchrist

University of Rochester, Simon Business School

  • About Andrew

    Andrew is a first year MBA candidate at the Simon School of Business where he is pursuing concentrations in Finance, Accounting, and Marketing. After graduating with his doctorate in music, he spent time as a professor and professional opera singer, working with various arts organizations along the way. He has 4 years broadcasting experience from his time as an on-air host at WXXI Rochester, a public classical music radio station. His experience as a performer and broadcaster have culminated in a deep interest in music distribution and marketing. His free time has been spent administrating a public outreach organization to provide a venue for young singers to perform and give free concerts for rural Idaho communities. He has a passion for the arts, especially classical music. Andrew holds a Bachelors of Musical Arts from BYU-Idaho, Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Tennessee –Knoxville, and a Doctorate of Music Arts from the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester).

    What made you consider business school?
    After having worked in the music industry and higher education I felt I needed a change. My experience working with arts organizations as an administrator helped me develop leadership skills. I wanted to capitalize on that experience and decided business school was the best next step to further my abilities.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    I am most excited about my finance classes at business school. I love finance and ready to take formal classes to better understand financial principles and their practical application.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Steve Bezos, Tom Christoferson, Randall Thacker, and Sean Patrick Maloney.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I love to laugh and have fun and I am loud because I am an opera singer (too many years learning how to sing without a microphone). 

Andrew Jancaric

University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management

  • About Andrew

    Prior to starting his MBA at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, Andrew spent three years working for BASF, the worlds largest chemical company.  At BASF, Andrew completed the rotation-based professional development program and learned how large corporations evaluate and implement major capital investments.  Through roles in strategic planning and capital project execution, he built a functional skill set that has served him well throughout his MBA journey.  Andrews involvement with LGBT advocacy began when he was studying chemical engineering at Texas A&M University, a school widely ranked as one of the least LGBT-friendly campuses in the nation. In this environment, he recognized the need to effect positive change in the campus culture.  He became the Vice President of A&Ms largest LGBT student group and the only openly LGBT member of the student senate.  Working with transgender student advocates and his student senate colleagues, he successfully persuaded the university administration to add gender identity and expression to the universitys non-discrimination policy.  Andrew was raised near Dallas, TX and has a deep passion for the food of his home state, including tex-mex, BBQ, and fried chicken.  He enjoys making craft beer with his dad and watching HGTV with his mom. He lives with his boyfriend and two other Anderson students in West LA.

    What made you consider business school?
    I have always believed that the best kind of investment you can make is an investment in yourself.  I see business school as a fantastic opportunity to expand my skill set, broaden my way of thinking, learn from accomplished individuals, and boost my career.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    I am incredibly excited about the people that I am studying with. When I went to Andersons preview weekend, I got stuck on a crowded elevator with 13 other admits.  While we waited for the fire department to come rescue us, we all went around and introduced ourselves and what our pre-MBA stories were.  It was amazing to see how impressive and humble everyone in that elevator was. When we finally got rescued, we all agreed about two things: 1) one should never overload an elevator, and 2) if the rest of the class was as great as everyone in that elevator, the next two years would be amazing.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Harvey Milk (and more recently Annise Parker) for showing the world that the LGBT community could lead, Sheryl Sandberg for showing how to lean in (even in the face of great personal tragedy), and Martin Luther King for being unafraid to speak truth to power.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I love craft beer! My Dad and I are amateur home-brewers.

Andy Blevins

Willamette University, Atkinson Graduate School of Management

  • About Andy

    Andy Blevins is originally from Denver, CO. He enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served as a Cryptologic Technician, a few short weeks after graduating from high school. Serving under the archaic DADT policy, Andy had a successful career and was named his command’s “2010 Sailor of the Year”before being honorably discharged. He attended the University of Colorado for his undergraduate degree in English and Urban Education, and continued at the same university while studying for his Post-Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration. He is currently enrolled in the JD/MBA dual-degree program at Willamette University. Andy served as an intern in First Lady Michelle Obama’s office, through the White House Internship Program, and a Mission Continues Fellow with Junior Achievement, where he focused on project development/implementation and education policy. He is no stranger to the LGBT military community, and has served in various capacities with OutServe-SLDN, the Military Partners and Families Coalition, the American Military Partner Association, and the Military Family Advisory Network. Outside of the military community, Andy has worked as an advocate and adviser for LGBT youth through DeMolay International, OneColorado, and the Special Olympics; he co-founded Genders and Sexualities Alliances/Quorums through his cohort in the White House Internship Program and at several high schools and colleges around the state of Colorado; and he has delivered dozens of cultural competency sessions to help educators and school officials better support and represent their LGBT students. In his spare time he likes to read and cook.

    What made you consider business school?
    I have always been interested in serving my community through the Boards and commissions of nonprofit organizations; I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do so the last several years. I constantly find myself gravitating towards the inspiring leadership that many MBA community members exhibit. Participating in the JD/MBA program gives me the opportunity to develop those same leadership skills, broaden my own horizons, and accelerate my legal career.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    I am most excited to make new connections with my professors and peers! In law school, the majority of us have the same skill-sets and interests; I am excited to meet a diverse group of people and to learn from their strengths and perspectives.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Aisha Moodie-Mills, CEO of the Victory Fund, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Inc., Kathy Wolfe, CEO of Wolfe Video, Sean Patrick Maloney, U.S. Congressman (NY-18), Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Senator (WI).

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I am a total boss at Disney karaoke, and I am definitely not ashamed.

     

Angelo Carino

Harvard Business School

  • About Angelo

    Angelo Carino was born and raised in New Rochelle, NY before heading off to Dartmouth College where he majored in Economics, with a fictitious minor in campus leadership, as he likes to joke. Since graduation, Angelo joined Google’s business organization and in the past 5 years there has held a variety of roles across sales and marketing, and across the country. Currently Angelo works as a product marketing manager for Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in San Francisco where he is responsible for all digital brand and awareness campaigns for GCP globally. Angelo is most passionate about issues of social justice, equality, and diversity & inclusivity, including: women's rights, LGBT rights, empowering diverse and small businesses, mental health awareness, and socioeconomic status. Though his full-time role is in Product Marketing, Angelo’s aspiration in life is to empower the growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs, specifically minority- and LGBT -owned businesses, by eliminating obstacles to online entry. In his personal time, Angelo led the conception and development of the Accelerate with Google Academy, created to assist minority-, LGBT -, and women-owned businesses in establishing a web presence and growing their businesses online. He also helped launch Google’s first-ever Small Business Supplier Diversity Program, created to increase diversity in Google supplier base and purchasing. He is a passionate boxer, spoken word poet, proud Uncle, YouTube fanatic, fantasy reader, One Young World Coordinating Ambassador, and award-winning activist for justice and equality for all. He’ll be attending Harvard Business School in the Fall of 2016.

    What made you consider business school?
    For the past 5 years, I've worked only in the sales/advertising and marketing space for a large technology company. This road, though wonderful, has not lined up that well with my long-term goal to maximize organizational impact and success for socially-minded entrepreneurs and small-business owners. I plan to attend business school, gain a depth of knowledge both inside and outside of the classroom, and afterwards transition into generalist consulting to grow my business knowledge, across diverse industries. And subsequently join a leading social/public-sector consulting firm, thus realigning with my long-term plan.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?The people, the travel, the case method, the diversity of experiences and perspectives, and Harvard's Innovation Lab.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Tracy Chapman ... "Talkin' 'bout a Revolution".

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I'm an Aquarius, 'to a T'. Oh, and as the White Rabbit would say, "I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!"

Anna Kamerow

Yale School of Management

  • About Anna

    I am passionate about literacy and learning. I grew up in Washington, DC, and then went on to receive my bachelors degree in English from Harvard College. After college, I spent a year travelling around the world on a fellowship. I settled in the Bay Area and spent the next four years teaching middle school in Richmond, CA. My teaching experience began with two years at a traditional public middle school. Later, I joined a charter organization as a founding teacher of a new school. I'm attending business school to gain private sector expertise to help schools develop functioning systems, replicate working models, and scale at the pace necessary to serve more kids. I'd love to chat about educational equity and social and racial justice. In my free time, I enjoy lengthy novels, lifting, and live music.

    What made you consider business school?
    The day-to-day success wonderful teachers and students are experiencing in their classrooms will not be enough to guarantee success for all children. While there are pockets of great schools across the country, many students in high-need areas are not getting the support they need and deserve. It is my hope that the thoughtful meeting of business best practices and education experience can accelerate the closing of the opportunity gap. Additionally, women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals are incredibly underrepresented at the top levels of the education world. I hope to amplify underrepresented voices and help keep students at the forefront.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    I cannot wait to be in such a dynamic learning environment.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    This is a surprisingly hard question for me. The first answer that comes to mind is all of my former students. They are far more resilient, curious, and hilarious than a lot of the people I come across on my social media feeds.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    RuPaul is my queen.

Blake Bumpous

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

  • About Blake

    Blake is a first-year MBA candidate at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. Originally from Nashville, TN, Blake graduated with distinction from Lipscomb University with a B.A. in Political Science and German. He attended graduate school jointly at Universität Bremen and Jacobs University Bremen in Germany earning a M.A. in International Relations with research emphasis on international institutions. Blake was most recently a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy stationed in San Diego, CA. His assignments included serving as Combat Electronics Officer and Ordnance Officer aboard the amphibious transport dock USS GREEN BAY (LPD-20) and Public Affairs Officer at Naval Training Support Center San Diego. Outside of his professional life, Blakes interests include traveling (21 countries and counting), keeping up with current events and politics, studying world history, collecting coins, and playing board and video games. Blake lives in Houston with his husband Christian.

    What made you consider business school?
    With my background in the liberal arts and serving as a leader in the military, I knew I needed to expand my business skill-set before I could make a successful transition to the private sector. I'm eager to fill the knowledge gap and further develop my skills with the foundational business education and opportunities an MBA brings.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school
    I'm most excited about getting to know my new classmates and learning from their diverse perspectives and experiences.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    My greatest inspiration and role-model is definitely my great-grandfather, who rose up from a poor farming family in Kentucky to become a successful businessman and co-founder of Krispy Kreme. In today's business community, it has to be Tim Cook, the now-out CEO of Apple.  

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I love traveling and exploring. 

Brian Tsui

Cornell University, Johnson Graduate School of Management

  • About Brian

    I grew up on the West Coast in Torrance, CA. After high school, I enrolled in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to study Aeronautical Science and piloting. After earning a Private Pilots license, I changed career paths towards business and graduated from UC Santa Barbara in Business Economics and Accounting. I worked as a CPA at Andersen and as a consultant at Toyota before starting at the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University.  

    What made you consider business school?
    I knew that a MBA could help me change careers, meet influential people, and gain a useful skill set. I also wanted to experience living somewhere new.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    I am excited to surround myself with some of the worlds best professors and classmates to learn about topics that interest me – financial markets, strategy, leadership, sustainability, just to name a few. I look forward to being challenged academically and having discussions with people who have different points of view and leadership styles.  

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    I am inspired by Barack Obama. I admire his charisma and his positive impact on the LGBT community. Under his leadership, the LGBT community gained the right to marry and the first LGBT national monument was named.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I'm an ENTJ on the popular 16personalities.com test. I am an extrovert and enjoy being in social settings.

Britta Volz

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

  • About Britta

    Britta grew up in Washington, D.C. and has lived all over the United States through her service in several AmeriCorps programs and non-profit leadership positions. Most recently, she was helping run the operations of a small and rapidly growing SeriousFun camp in Colorado for children with serious illnesses. Personally, she has an interest in financial and investment management, and hopes to merge this interest in finance with her years of experience in leadership as she continues to build her career. To further her knowledge in this area, she is enrolled in the Ross MBA Fast Track in Finance program and applying to one of the school's student-run venture funds, while also continuing to manage some of her own personal investments. She is excited to translate  her passion for financial management, project management, team leadership, and problem solving to the Corporate world, where she is seeking positions in the realm of finance and financial services.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King - people who have made big changes while recognizing the humanity of all people, and especially of those who are oppressing. I think this is the only way to make change.

Bryan White

George Washington University School of Business

  • About Bryan

    Bryan begins his Global MBA at The George Washington University in the fall (Class of 2018) with aspirations to create social impact on an international level. He was born and raised in Newport Beach, CA and attended undergraduate at UCLA, getting his degree in Communication Studies and participating in UCLAs Marketing and Advertising Team. He studied abroad in the Italian cities of Siena and Padova where he first experienced the joy of global exploration. After graduation, he was accepted into the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program to teach English in a small, fishing village in southern Japan. He spent two years working with students, learning Japanese language and culture, and discovering Asias beauty. He was also selected to present a seminar to other JET Language Teachers on LGBT Living in Japan. Upon returning to the US, he moved to New York City where he supported Condé Nast Traveler Magazine's Top Destination Specialist for Croatia at VisitCroatia.com in Business/Product Development. He later moved back home to Orange County where he worked as a Marketing Coordinator for the travel management company, Worldview Travel. Finding he wanted to make more of an impact on the local community, he entered a position managing the Events and Patron Relations departments for Long Beach Symphony. While there, he worked to conceptualize and execute creative, large-scale cultivation and fundraising events with proceeds benefitting their artistic, educational, and community outreach programs. He is a music and theatre enthusiast, joining local theatre productions and attending concerts whenever possible. 

    What made you consider business school?
    While considering my professional goals before I applied to business school, I realized that an MBA would be an important step in gaining creative freedom in whichever career or industry I decide to pursue.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I'm most excited for our Consulting Abroad Project (CAP) project, along with the potential for other study abroad opportunities.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    I'm most inspired by people who arent afraid to break the status quo: Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, George Takei and Freddie Mercury come to mind. Tim Cook stepping in as Apple's CEO and then publicly coming out as the first Fortune 500 CEO was incredibly admirable. I look forward to living in a time, though, when minorities stepping into great leadership positions is not considered breaking the status quo.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I host game night with my friends at least once a week... we can get very competitive. 

Chelsea Jones

University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

  • About Chelsea

    I grew up in Sugar Land, Texas, but Austin has been home for about nine years. I was a Radio-Television-Film major at The University of Texas, and after spending a summer in Los Angeles as a production intern on CBS Paramount's since-cancelled Medium starring Patricia Arquette, I moved backed to Austin to work as a producer for the Austin-based creative content company Arts+Labor. Prior to starting business school, I spent almost five years managing internal and external communications, information management, and legal support for an energy management firm. I also run my own freelance editing and design business, creating and refining content for individual, small-business, and non-profit clients. Outside of work, I spend my time reading the news and books about psychology and linguistics, watching TV on Netflix, trying new restaurants with my parter Marty, and playing with our two giant dogs. Marty and I just finished fully remodeling a house a quarter-mile from Austin's Lady Bird Lake, so we are also enjoying fishing and relaxing on the water. I am an avid volunteer for the Austin affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), where I teach a free, 12-week, designated evidenced-based education course for family members of individuals with mental illness. I am an only child and a night-owl, and I love live music, storytelling, and technology.

    What made you consider business school?
    Given my creative and writing-intensive background, I am going back to business school in order to build a stronger foundation in finance, accounting, and economics to supplement my experience in communications. I hope to apply those skills, innate and acquired, to consumer-focused positions in marketing. 

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    I love academics, and a postgraduate education has always been an important ambition of mine, but I am most excited about joining a network of highly-accomplished and mission-driven individuals--like the other ROMBA Fellows and members--who are committed not only to personal achievement but to making business better at large.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Barack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, Cecile Richards, Lena Dunham, Rachel Maddow, Tim Cook, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Anita Sarkeesian.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I am an outgoing introvert. While I love meeting new people, deep discussions, and public speaking, group settings are tiring, and I need time alone to recharge.  

Derek Jackman

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

  • About Derek

    Originally from Brockton, MA, Derek headed south to Pittsburgh to study Civil Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Upon graduating in 2009, he pursued a career in financial services (bridges everywhere are safer as a result), taking a role at Freddie Mac in the companys Advanced Analytics group. A year later he left for a direct-investment role at Boston-based Eaton Vance Management as a bond analyst where he covered a variety of industries including REITs, homebuilders, and gaming. When not working, Derek can be found making a splash with LANES, Bostons LGBT swim team. He also enjoys running, yoga, trying new and strange restaurants, learning about architecture and design, and overfeeding people at dinner parties.

    What made you consider business school?
    Coming from a largely technical background, I always felt that something was missing in my skill set. As I progressed in my career I came to realize the something missing was a more global perspective. For me, getting an MBA is a transformative experience. Ill have the opportunity to not only learn about all the different business disciplines, Ill also be immersed into a mix of cultures and new ways of thinking that will prepare me to take on challenging leadership roles in the future.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?It's got to be the people, no question. There are very few opportunities in life where you get to surround yourself with so many driven people from all over the world with backgrounds and experiences so vastly different from your own. During the next two years, Im excited to learn from my classmates stories and hopefully travel and experience some of what Ive heard about first hand!

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Tim Cook, Harvey Milk, Laverne Cox.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    Kiwis are both my favorite fruit and my favorite animal.  

Fred Gehrig

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

  • About Fred

    Project management professional specializing in healthcare and operations. Attending the Owen School of Management at Vanderbilt in the fall, where I will be specializing in Strategy and Marketing.

    What made you consider business school?
    I knew what trajectory I wanted to take with my career.  I felt that the current path I was on would not lead to that however. I think that business school will allow for that pivot.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?Learning about many different industries that I have yet to experience in my career.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Steve Jobs is someone that continues inspire me, posthumously.  His drive for continual change and innovation was unprecedented.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I love to dance. 

Geoff Sokolowski

University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management

  • About Geoff

    Geoff is a first-year MBA candidate at UCLA Anderson originally from Shrewsbury, MA. Prior to enrolling at Anderson, Geoff graduated from the George Washington University with a degree in International Affairs and Economics. He also spent 4 years at Deloitte Consulting in Washington, DC and San Francisco where he supported clients with large scale business transformations, including business process redesign and software implementation. With this background, Geoff hopes to use his time at Anderson to transition into a product management role with a long-term goal of starting his own business. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, hiking, and exploring his new city of Los Angeles. 

    What made you consider business school?
    I wanted to gain a better understanding of core business functions in an academic environment in addition to building a robust network of professionals across industries and functions.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    I'm excited to meet my new classmates and learn from the experiences that they've had.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    I've always found Elon Musk's ability to bring his long-term vision for the future to reality inspirational. As the first openly gay man to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company, I also have looked up to Tim Cook.

    What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
    I love to travel and will rarely say no to a trip!

Jake Stallard

UNC, Kenan-Flagler Business School

  • About Jake

    Jake is a member of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Class of 2018. He received his BA from University of Florida in Elementary Education. He went on to receive his M.Ed. in Special Education with a focus on High-Incidence Disabilities from Vanderbilt University. Prior to enrolling in business school, Jake performed a variety of roles in the field of education. In the realm of behavior disorders, he worked as both an in-home therapist and as a teacher for students with severe behavioral deficits. In service of those with learning disabilities, Jake worked as a nonprofit program facilitator for adults lacking literacy skills, both native English speakers and adults for whom English is a second language. Finally, he worked as an SAT/ACT tutor for students struggling with test-taking skills and content deficits. His favorite pastimes are reading Car and Driver and getting out on the water, whether thats paddling a kayak or floating in the waves. 

    What made you consider business school?
    Business school presents an incredible opportunity to open new professional doors, increase my network, and to realign my passion with the work I will do.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school
    I am most excited about being back in the university setting and learning a whole new set of skills surrounded by so many smart, passionate professionals.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Anderson Cooper inspires me with the compassion he displays in his reporting. He seems to bring himself to his job, which is something I strive to do.  

    What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
    I'm with her.

Jenika Shannon

University of Rochester, Simon Business School

  • About Jenika

    I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida - the youngest to two older brothers. I attended FAMU and obtained my B.S. in Chemical Engineering. I then moved down the alphabet to TAMU, where I earned my Master's in Petroleum Engineering. Don't let my degrees fool you, though. I am highly creative, and a major goof. I started playing the saxophone when I was 11, and have been deeply interested in all things music, since. It is my dream to record and release an EP in this lifetime. I also happen to be an avid karaoke singer (read: addict). Speaking of addictions, I could eat chicken wings for every meal for the remainder of my life. Museums, live music, and beautiful scenery make life worth living. If I had to explain my entire existence through three actions, they would be: Experience. Learn. Create. I live by the words "do good, fear nothing."

    What made you consider business school?
    I have a fiery passion for people. I am interested in why we do the things that we do, as humans, and why we make the decisions we make. Connecting with people and learning about what drives them brings me joy. As an engineer, I would not be in a position to make choices that would directly influence the consumer's experience. As a businesswoman, I will be.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    For the first time in my life, I feel as if I am doing something that not only aligns with my abilities, but will also be fulfilling to me. I am excited to grow closer to my cohort, and build a foundation upon which I will change the world.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Believe it or not, my one and only role model in society is Chance the Rapper. He is an independent artist with the talent and wit of the most experienced musicians and lyricists. He believes in something, and nothing on this Earth will sway him from that.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I am genuinely interested when I ask how you are doing.  

     

     

Jeroune Rhodes

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

  • About Jeroune

    I was born and raised by my mom in Minden, Louisiana, a small town in northwest corner of the state. As an educator, my mom instilled upon me the importance of education and hard work at an early age. I excelled academically in high school and after graduation, I moved to Houston, Texas to attend Rice University and studied mechanical engineering. Growing up, I unintentionally broke almost everything I touched. I credit these misfortunes with igniting my curiosity with how things worked, which ultimately led me to pursue a degree in engineering.  After college, I took an engineering position with Shell Oil Company at the Motiva Port Arthur Refinery (PAR). In my role, I provided machinery technical support to my production facility and used my expertise to optimize maintenance spending, improve asset reliability, and eliminate failure mechanisms. After two years, I departed and took a similar position within The Dow Chemical Company. As a maintenance and reliability engineer at Dow, I had technical responsibility for all fixed and rotating equipment within two specialty chemical plants.  Outside of my professional career, I enjoy learning, traveling, and staying active physically and within the community. I grew up watching and playing competitive tennis and continue to play leisurely. I also play softball and use CrossFit for strength and conditioning training. As an active member of the community outreach committee in the Houston Area Urban League Young Professionals group, I have participated in countless volunteer events that have positively impacted the area.  

    What made you consider business school?
    As I continued to gain knowledge and experience in industry, I observed that my career options were becoming more and more confined within the technical realm. After five years as an engineer in the manufacturing sector, I realized that I did not want to pursue a purely technical career path. Business school was the perfect option for me because I knew that it would provide me with the tools, resources, and foundation to make a successful, fluid career switch.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I am most excited about meeting, learning from, and sharing experiences with my fellow classmates.  

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Barbara Jordan, Elon Musk, Bayard Rustin, Sheryl Sandberg, Barack Obama  

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    Coming from Louisiana, I live to eat good food. Cajun food is by far my most favorite, followed by Tex-Mex.

Jeremy Chua

John Hopkins University, Carey Business School

  • About Jeremy

    Jeremy is a serial founder and loves building new businesses and organizations. He was Senior Seeker at Singapore telco StarHub i3 and was responsible for designing and piloting its corporate ventureHyperincubation Market Access program for growth stage startups inAsia-Pacific. He was also the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at TechSociety, one of Asia’s first private coding academies for K-12 students that now spans operations across Singapore, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. To give back to the youth startup community, he served as Director ofPartnerships for Kairos Society ASEAN.  During the transboundary pollution crisis, he founded SGHazeRescue, a social and environmental enterprise that directed and allocated relief resources across Singapore. Jeremy volunteers his free time mentoring student startups, facilitating migrant worker education and empowerment workshops, and advocating for more inclusive LGBT corporate cultures. After which, he embarks on epic mileage runs. Despite being a high-school dropout, Jeremy received a scholarship to Vanderbilt University where he graduated with a triple major in English & History, Communication Studies, and Global Business Strategy. He is an alumnus of the Yale School of Management’s Global Leadership Pre-MBA program. His work and thought leadership in Entrepreneurship and STEM Education have also been recognized by President Barack Obama’s YSEALI, Education Without Borders, and St Gallen’s Symposium.

    What made you consider business school?
    Change the world mostly. Find new ways and new friends to do so together. Vague answers aside, I really wanted to take my career and businesses to the next level - break the glass ceiling with a newly-minted MBA scroll.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I finally get to write papers again! I want to put my rusty financial analytical skills to work again. Get to work closely with some of the most talented potential lifelong friends that I will meet.  

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Lee Kuan Yew, JK Rowling, William Shakespeare, Jack Ma, John Stuart Mill, Bismarck.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I live, breathe, and eat startups.

Johnny Lai

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

  • About Johnny

    Originally hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Johnny headed northwards towards Durham, North Carolina, to obtain his Bachelor's degree in International Studies at Duke University. While an undergraduate, he began working within the public policy and public health fields, traveling abroad to both Haiti and China to further his studies. After graduating from Duke both magna cum laude and phi beta kappa, Johnny moved to Washington, DC, to work as a procurement official for the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. During his tenure at these agencies, he was responsible for awarding and administering a myriad of multi-million dollar defense and security contracts. After spending six years in the mid-Atlantic, Johnny finally decided to move to Nashville, Tennessee, where he is now a member of Vanderbilt Owen's Class of 2018. Outside of his professional life, Johnny is an avid runner and outdoorsman, podcast enthusiast, and Game of Thrones junkie.

    What made you consider business school? 
    It's exceedingly rare to find a place as dynamic as business school; the students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and industries, and the classes are purposefully interactive and engaging. Business school is the best place to connect with others and explore my career options, and I'm thrilled to navigate through the challenge.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? It's exciting to be a student again, but with the extra bit of wisdom, maturity, and fiscal know-how that comes with having been a working professional for the past few years. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to business school because it's the perfect opportunity to safely branch out and explore different industries and roles that I may not have otherwise had the chance to consider. And, I can't wait to meet my classmates, who will not only challenge me professionally but also be friends for the years to come.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you? 
    Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors), Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), Barney Frank (Former Massachusetts State Representative), Annise Parker (Former Mayor of Houston), Laverne Cox (Actress).

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I've got a soft spot for big dogs and a weakness for deep fried foods

Lindsey Warren-Shriner

Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business

  • About Lindsey

    Lindsey Warren-Shriner is an MBA candidate at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Originally from Vermont, she graduated from Bowdoin College in 2010 with a degree in Government and Environmental Studies. While at Bowdoin, she was a member of the varsity swim team, and helped organize an initiative to create more inclusive environments for LGBT student-athletes. After graduating, she worked in legislative and policy advocacy in DC before joining the 2012 Obama campaign in Pennsylvania. She moved back to DC to work for a social enterprise in the energy efficiency and clean energy space and as a consultant for a corporate responsibility software company before joining ICF International, a management, technology, and policy consulting firm. At ICF, she served as a consultant to the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR products program, where she provided analytic, strategic, and operational support to maintain the integrity of and consumer confidence in the ENERGY STAR brand. Outside of work, Lindsey is a competitive swimmer and triathlete, and also enjoys hiking and exploring local farmers markets.

    What made you consider business school? 
    With an undergraduate liberal arts background in government and environmental studies, I initially intended to pursue a career in environmental policy and advocacy, and worked for the legislative team at an environmental nonprofit organization in DC. In 2012, I had the opportunity to work on the Obama campaign, and after the campaign I shifted toward working on environmental issues through a more tangible, results-oriented lens. As I made this transition and worked on programs that engage both the public and private sector, I realized the extent to which business can drive change, and I felt that the leadership and analytical skills that I would gain in business school would provide the best opportunity to accelerate my growth and to increase the impact of my work.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I’m excited about being a part of a diverse, close-knit community where I will be both challenged and supported by my peers.  

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    I have a lot of respect for President Obama’s ambitious, focused, and conciliatory leadership style, and the leaders I worked with on his campaign – from local volunteers to my coworkers to the state-level management team – continue to inspire me.  

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I’m a competitive swimmer – I swam in college, and have continued to practice and compete with an LGBT masters swim team in DC for the past 6 years. I’ve competed with my team at international meets in Hawaii, Seattle, and most recently in Stockholm, Sweden.


Lucas Vital

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

  • About Lucas

    I am a gay Brazilian who is passionate in traveling, learning and respecting other cultures. My bachelor in International Relations and my +5 years working in AIESEC, a non- profit global youth driven organization from which I had two working abroad experiences in Mexico for 6 months and in Ukraine for 1 year, corroborate that passion. Besides my international experiences in AIESEC I also founded one local chapter of that large organization in my university where I led it for almost 2 years as President, such experience developed my interest in leadership positions and the importance of developing others to achieve a team ́s vision. After school I worked for +5.5 years in financial sector - wealth management industry as international investments advisor in the largest Private Bank in Brazil; however, after many certifications, learning and success career path I realized I was getting deeply in a specialist role into investment management, which was not what I was really looking for my future. I also developed in this banking experience my interest for innovation and the importance of that for leading corporations to continue growing. In my free time I love traveling, running and other outdoor activities, doing volunteer work in the community and playing handball; I created a handball gay team which seeks to growth and compete nationally and globally in the future representing Brazil in the world gay games. 

    What made you consider business school?
    I realized a career shift was needed to achieve my future goals. I want to develop further my soft skills to become a global leader, learn more about business and strategy, and add to my background a personal and professional experience in a developed market after living and working in 3 different emerging markets where business and LGBTQ rights are some steps behind.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I am most excited to study and develop myself in a very diversity environment among people from all over the world with very different backgrounds and experiences.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Harvey Milk in the LGBT community. Although, Frida Kahlo's and Alan Turing’s stories do inspire me as well. Jorge Paulo Lemann and Walt Disney in business.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I have a very rough voice and usually people when meet me at first time ask whether I have ever wondered about working with it either as radio or dubber. I usually wonder: Yes, it is kind of my plan E if nothing works out.

Merritt Swain

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

  • About Merritt

    I was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. I attended Carleton College where I played soccer and ultimate frisbee and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. I have spent the past four and a half years in IT consulting. The majority of that time was spent leading teams of analysts in the implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs) at large-scale healthcare networks across the country. I also served as an IT project manager contractor at Target as part of their Security PMO. I will be attending the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

    What made you consider business school?
    I've spent most of my time in Healthcare IT implementing electronic medical records for large healthcare organizations. Healthcare IT and business work together hand in hand but the business drives the needs. Within IT I have been limited to one function and I wanted a broader, system-wide perspective. I want to have a hand in steering the business instead of responding to the direction a business has taken. In EMR implementations you begin to see the same technological challenges, which limits the need for creative problem solving.  

    What are you most excited about during your business school journey?
    I'm looking forward to the experiential learning opportunities that Carlson has to offer its students which provides real-life consulting projects for companies in the area.  

    Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?
    Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak - they started the first woman-owned brewery in Minnesota. They both worked in corporate America (Deb, a biomedical engineer in the medical device industry and Jill, a salesperson and entrepreneur) and decided together to leave those careers to start the Urban Growler Brewing Company in St. Paul. Their mission is to, "bring people together through beer."

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I love being active - I played soccer and ultimate frisbee in college and now I'm getting involved in triathlons. 

Mike Bernardi

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

  • About Mike

    Mike Bernardi, from Cleveland, Ohio, is a first-year MBA candidate at Carnegie Mellon Universitys Tepper School of Business.  Mike has six years of technical and managerial experience working for Hyland, creator of OnBase, a Cleveland-based digital information management software developer. At Hyland, Mike mobilized a team of software test analysts to improve the quality of the product suites email solutions and productivity tools. Mike was instrumental in evangelizing his products at end user conferences and established himself as one of Hylands top technical presenters. Mike was also an active participant in Hylands technical outreach initiative and community engagement projects.  Mike earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The Ohio State University. He was a member of the University Honors Program and graduated with a specialization in Information Systems. Outside of work, Mike plays recreational soccer and practices Olympic weightlifting. He also enjoys exploring new cities, cooking, listening to live music, and spending time outdoors.   

    What made you consider business school?
    At Hyland, I was able to identify opportunities for process improvement, but I didnt quite know how to develop solutions. I knew I needed stronger management and analytical skills to complement my technical expertise. I was also actively searching for a safe space to take risks and move outside my comfort zone.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I'm thrilled to have classmates with such diverse backgrounds. I cant wait to learn from their experiences and start building an incredible network of peers.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    An LGBT rights activist in the media whom I admire is Jenny Boylan. In business, Claudia Brind-Woodys work to expand diversity in the workplace is incredibly inspirational.  

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I'm an ambivert. I love being around people, but I also value my alone time. If I seem quiet, I'm likely just taking a moment to recharge.

Mike Milosevich

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

  • About Mike

     I grew up in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul and attended the University of St. Thomas where I received a B.A. in Finance. After graduating, I worked at Target HQ in various supply chain merchandising roles, ranging from perishable foods to pharmaceuticals. I've been involved in the Big Brother Big Sister organization for four years as a "Big Brother." In my spare time, I'm a huge foodie at heart, always have a travel bug and love to stay active through biking and running.

    What made you consider business school?
    Throughout undergrad, I frequently considered law school as possibility, but ultimately decided it wasn't the right fit.  The potential of business school really aligned with my future goals and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to build off of what I've learned throughout my four years of work experience and would help propel me into the future leader I aspire to be.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I'm most excited about the new network I'll build and all of the experiences I'll have with my new classmates to broaden my horizons.  I love hearing other people's stories and know there's a tremendous amount I can learn from my peers.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you? 
    I was extremely fortunate during my time at Target Corp. to be surrounded by many LGBT senior leaders. It was really motivating for me to see them thriving in their careers and demonstrating the future potential I'm able to achieve. In terms of the broader community, I hugely admire Tim Cook and Anderson Cooper.  

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I absolutely love to eat (probably too much!) and can never turn down a new restaurant recommendation. 

Nancy Abramowitz

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

  • About Nancy

    Nancy is originally from Wilkes-Barre, PA and attended Bentley University as an undergraduate, earning a Bachelor of Science in Management with minors in IT and Spanish. She has worked in operations and supply chain in various roles since 2009, including operations management, warehousing technology, and data analytics. She is a first-year student at The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Nancy is interested in consulting and technology while also continuing her involvement in supply chain strategy. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling, CrossFit, cooking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

    What made you consider business school? I was enjoying the spectrum of challenges at my most recent role but I was seeking additional responsibility for the overall strategy of the department and the corporation. I was also looking to refresh and build on my undergraduate business skills while discovering current trends and new career paths. A full-time MBA program will allow me to deepen my existing knowledge while broadening the scope of my exposure to various careers, functions, and industries.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I'm really looking forward to being the idiot in the room - in a good way! There are so many intelligent people there from backgrounds and careers I can't imagine, so I'm excited to learn from them while also sharing my passions and experiences.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    After reading Lean In as well as some of her more recent publications, I am inspired by Sheryl Sandberg. She has an interesting background and has been successful in a male-dominated field. Additionally, her candor and openness around the sudden death of her husband impressed me, given the immense difficulty of addressing personal crises in the midst of a demanding and high-profile role. I also have great respect for Robyn Ochs, a well-respected bisexual activist and writer.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    To quote the movie Elf, "I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite!" I find there's a lot of value in having a positive attitude, encouraging others, and making people smile. It's much harder to argue when you're laughing and enjoying someone’s company. 

Nate Micon

 Yale School of Management

  • About Nate

    Raised in Niagara Falls (NY), Nate moved to DC to study Finance and International Business at The George Washington University. Nate has been in management consulting since he graduated, first at IBM and then at Booz Allen Hamilton. Most recently, he worked as a Consultant at Greenwich Strategy where he advised corporate clients on growth strategies and performed due diligence for middle market private equity investor clients. Nate is a political news junkie and in his free time enjoys running, traveling, and (during summers, at least) exploring the beaches of New England with friends.

    What made you consider business school?
    When I started working, I realized the complexities of navigating large organizations as an LGBTQ individual and the difficulty of brining ones true self to the office. Ive been lucky to meet some inspirational mentors along my way and my time on the Board of Booz Allen Hamiltons LGBTQ employee diversity group enabled me to work with firm leaders who cultivated inclusive environments and empowered employees to be themselves. Ive seen how these strong leaders can positively shape organizational culture, and how that culture can be determinative of a range of things, from morale to creativity and innovation. Business school is a way for me to hone my leadership skills so I can develop into one of those effective leaders.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I can't wait to meet my classmates. I love hearing peoples stories. Each story helps you learn, empathize, and adds nuance to your reply to any question beginning with Why...?. I cant wait to absorb these stories and grow from the collective experiences of my classmates.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    There are so many activists and leaders who I could name—and who have done so much for our community. But on a personal level, one leader is my former co-worker and the President of Booz Allen Hamiltons LGBTQ employee diversity group (GLOBE) because he constantly pushed me to grow. He unashamedly brings his true self to work every day, and looks fierce doing it. He taught me about the power of advocacy in the workplace, he inspired me to get involved in GLOBE, and he showed me how to educate my colleagues and push an agenda of inclusivity. He understands the intersectionality of the issues facing many groups and broadened how I defined my community. He lives the mantra of were better together.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    Nothing inspires and energizes me more than being around my family and friends. Except coffee.

Nipun Sehgal

UNC, Kenan-Flagler Business School

  • About Nipun

    Born and brought up in New Delhi, India, Nipun graduated among the top ten in the Class of 2011 from GGSIP university, Delhi with a bachelors degree in Civil Engineering. He initiated his professional journey with a $15B company called Larsen and Toubro Ltd on an airport construction project in Salalah, Oman. His management skills in the role of a Procurement engineer trainee earned him a client facing role of Construction Planning, Execution and Management within a year at the project. He used this experience to understand business in the Gulf while learning a wonderful new culture. Nipun had always been inclined towards entrepreneurship and after gaining an expertise in the field of construction, he cofounded a design and construction solutions company in 2014 in New Delhi and has delivered many construction and architectural projects in the national capital region of India since then. Nipun is also passionate about helping others and this is reflected in the work that he put in at Teach for India as an intern, Commonwealth Games in 2010 as a volunteer and as a part time faculty for the verbal section on the GMAT at a study abroad institute in India. He also enjoys listening to Bollywood music while working on his sketching skills. 

    What made you consider business school?
    Business school is the hub of unadulterated experiential learning from peers, faculty and guests. I wish to observe a high paced growth in my career and I believe that business school can help achieve that.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? Apart from academia and business opportunities, I am most excited to be a part of Pride club at my school. I look forward to learning from likeminded people and contributing to the LGBTQ community.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    The first name that comes to my mind for a leader in business and in society is Ratan Tata. The way he blends ethical values with business is inspirational. I also look up to Ellen DeGeneres as a leader in the LGBT community. I find Be kind to one another powerful.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I crack jokes when I am nervous.

Paul Nierzwicki

Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

  • About Paul

    Paul Nierzwicki The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business Paul Nierzwicki, from Rockford, Illinois is a ROMBA Fellow attending The Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. Most recently, Paul finished a two-year commitment with Teach for America as a second grade teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. Prior, Paul sold pharmaceutical and medical consumable products across the country at Cardinal Health. Paul graduated from Kenyon College and studied political science and history, with a particular interest in political philosophy. As an undergraduate, Paul interned at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. There Paul assisted with fundraising operations, helping to ensure all LGBTQ Americans are treated equally. In his spare time, Paul enjoys to cook, go on long runs, as well as travel the country.

    What made you consider business school?
    My past academic and professional experiences have been deeply rewarding for me, but as I looked to make the pivot into business, I felt that continuing my education with an MBA would help ensure that I have a wide-range of skills and competencies to enter the business world with.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? Quite frankly, I am most excited for all aspects of business school: the academic curriculum, learning and networking with other passionate professionals, as well as gaining valuable skills through experiential experiences.  

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Harvey Milk is a leader I deeply admire. Harvey was able to channel his deep passion for LGBTQ equality into legislative action--no small feat. Harvey did this by changing hearts and minds one person at a time. His fearlessness to question the status quo and then to dispel the myths and lies surrounding the LGBTQ community is humbling to me.  

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I am a first-generation American; both of my parents were born in Poland. Wanting to learn more about my family (as well as brush up on my Polish!), I studied abroad in Krakow, Poland as a student at Kenyon. I got to meet grandparents, aunts, and cousins for the first time. It was so fascinating to connect the dots of my family and learn more about a place that shaped my parents so much!   

Ray Phua

Columbia Business School

  • About Ray

    Ray is excited to join Columbia Business School’s Class of 2018.  At CBS, he is interesting in pursuing a role in product management or product marketing at an innovative consumer technology company.  After moving every 3 years as an army brat, Ray settled in Seattle to study Finance at the University of Washington Foster School of Business.  Ray then joined Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) as a management consultant, and later as an operations manager, working on a variety of projects across the high-tech, retail, and social sector industries. Most recently, Ray was part of the FP&A team at Twitter, supporting its Networking Engineering & Infrastructure Operations teams.  Throughout his career, Ray has been actively involved in advancing programs around Learning & Development and Diversity & Inclusion.  He led diversity-focused undergraduate recruiting programs at two universities, developed a Data Analysis & Business Modeling course taught to analysts nationwide, and supported the planning of multiple events for TwitterOPEN (its LGBTQ group).  He enjoys tapping it back in a SoulCycle class, getting shaky legs muscles at CorePower Yoga, running, sailing, watching the Summer Olympics, and eating fried chicken (with a kale salad).

    What made you consider business school?
    Earning an MBA has been part of my 10-year plan since high school.  Both my parents and grandparents encouraged me early on to pursue an MBA as an experience to help me develop into a versatile and capable business leader. After working in consulting and in corporate finance across roles that focused heavily on quantitative analysis and process improvement, I wanted to bring more social, creative, and human elements into my work. As I aim to transition into product marketing, I know that gaining the leadership skills and global network through business school will be invaluable to me in progressing my career.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? People!  I am excited to be challenged and to grow from the diverse perspectives of a global community, including my classmates, professors, and professional network.    

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sheryl Sandberg.    

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    One of my favorite hobbies is to paint – with makeup, on my face! I have watched too many YouTube tutorials on how to get the best smokey eye to join friends for our brunches in drag.  My fascination with drag has allowed me to realize a creative outlet, appreciate the natural beauty of all humans regardless of gender expression, and value the positive impact the drag community has had on the LGBTQ+ community.  I like to paint abstract landscapes with acrylics, too.  

Rhett Chase

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

  • About Rhett

    Rhett Chase is a former Air Force officer, bringing more than 8 years of experience from the construction, commodities, services, space and chemical industries. She grew up in San Diego and is a Californian at heart. Rhett earned her BS in Management from the United States Air Force Academy, where she got to free fall parachute, fly in the back of an F-16 and serve as the Captain of her Division I soccer team. She also earned her MA in Economics from the University of Oklahoma. In the Air Force, she served as a contract negotiator, and was lucky enough to be stationed in Hawaii and Los Angeles. Rhett was also deployed to Afghanistan, where she led a team in support of combat operations, managing the largest logistics contract in the region. Rhett was most recently a Cost Estimating Engineer for BASF, the worlds leading chemical company. She loves doing anything active (playing soccer, competing in Crossfit, water sports), traveling the world, and conquering new challenges. Rhett lives in Houston, TX with her partner Melissa and their two fat cats. 

    What made you consider business school?
    Business school will give me the opportunity to explore new career possibilities and interests, build a quality network of friends, and be exposed to new ways of thinking and looking at things. My current role follows the same process over and over. I desire a position where Im on a team solving new problems daily, developing business and leading positive change in an organization.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I'm excited for the challenge of learning new concepts and skills, as well as having the chance to connect with others and learn from their unique perspectives and experiences. Im ready to get out of my comfort zone.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Women's soccer legend Abby Wambach who recently retired from the US National team has paved the way as a leader on and off the field. She advocates speaking up when there is something to say, whether its about equitable pay, equal opportunity for female athletes, or any issue about fairness and injustice. As an openly lesbian soccer player, she currently holds the international record for international goals for both female and male soccer players with 184 goals and is a role model for young girls coming out everywhere.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    When Im stressed out or need to decompress, I love to Crossfit. For those who don't know, this is competitive exercising involving weightlifting, gymnastic movements and cardio at high intensity. For the last 4 years, Ive competed at the Crossfit Games Regionals.

Ryan Duffy

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

  • About Ryan

    Ryan grew up in the Phoenix area, and began playing the viola at age 9. After receiving a music scholarship and graduating from the University of Southern California with both a Bachelor's and Master's in Music, he began freelancing around Southern California and teaching music privately, performing over the years with artists as diverse as cellist Yo Yo Ma, singer/songwriter Burt Bacharach, and the film composer John Williams.   In 2010, he started an internship with the CBS Television Network in Hollywood, which ultimately led to a full time position within Operations at the studio, where he has worked for the last 6 years now.   In Fall 2016, Ryan will be entering the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University to complete his MBA degree.  When not working, playing viola, or studying (come the fall), Ryan is also an avid swimmer with the US Masters Swimming program.

    What made you consider business school? 
    I have a wide range of experience as a classical musician and from working in the television business in Los Angeles, but a creative kind of existence is the only life I've ever known. By going back to business school, I wanted to transition out of my comfort zone and develop my leadership and analytical skills more thoroughly in a completely new environment.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I am most excited about learning where people come from, what motivates them personally and professionally, and seeing how their particular skill set can help us solve problems collectively and make a positive difference in the business world.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you? 
    Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of the LA Philharmonic, for helping make classical music more relevant and accessible to younger generations; Bill Gates for his business intellect and devotion to philanthropy on a global level; Eric Fanning, the first openly gay Secretary of the Army, for his courage and service to our country.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you? 
    In addition to my love of music, I am also a real estate and architecture enthusiast. I am always reaching for the real estate section with my morning coffee after I've seen the major headlines in my local paper, or in the paper of whatever city I may be visiting.   I also hope to invest someday in real estate, but as the old adage goes, "first things first" - business school and a new career path.

Sara Johnson

Cornell University, Johnson Graduate School of Management

  • About Sara

    Social Impact Entrepreneur. 

    What made you consider business school?
    I founded a non-profit social impact organization from scratch (now operating at half a million). It was a new business model in its market and it is still very successful. I know my ability to solve a problem and answer a business need for social good in a small market. I want the formal business management education and the backing of a powerful network to have an even greater impact.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
    I'm so excited to do case studies! I'm really looking forward to being empowered by data, confident in presentations, and learning from a cohort of brilliant people.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Nicole Sanchez, Vice President of Social Impact for GitHub, is the trailblazer in putting Corporate Social Responsibility leaders in the C-suite.  

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I love being an INFJ. A quiet leader with a strong internal compass and an extremely responsible and ethical way of doing business. My leadership style comes from my passion for genuinely living my values out loud. 

Saygin Yag
  • About Saygin

    Saygin joined Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto from Turkey. he completed his undergraduate studies in Industrial Engineering at Bilkent University and upon graduation, took on an operations role at ASELSAN Electronics and a brand management role at Philip Morris International. He realized he wanted to make greater impact and work in technology industry. He quit his job and joined Rotman MBA as Rotman's focus on design and integrative thinking promised a good fit for his career goals. He came out for the first time in Toronto and got involved with The Letters, Rotman's LGBTQ+ and Allies Club during MBA's first year. He interned at IBM as an Extreme Blue Product Manager in Summer 2017 and has accepted a full-time Product Manager role at IBM Toronto Labs. In his second year, he became the president of The Letters LGBTQ+ Club and has devoted himself to creating a safe space for LGBTQ+s at Rotman, especially for people li ke him, who need support from friends and allies to be themselves and bring their best self to work & school.

    What made you consider business school? 
    Saygin aims to become a thought leader in consumer-centric business designs and shape the future through innovation. Rotman's curated MBA program focusing on design and integrative thinking showed the most promise and he moved to Toronto to pursue his career goals.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? Every year, Rotman takes in 350 full-time MBA students. This means a direct network of 700 future leaders, most of them being international. I believe this is a tremendous, however often undervalued asset for an MBA. I value friendships at Rotman not only as an expanded network but also as a great source of learning.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you? 
    Elon Musk is not only a business leader but also a thought leader. He initiates discussions that all humanity should care and a visionary in setting new goals not only for him but all humankind. A combination of Bill Gates (as he is now more involved with the betterment of our world and people) and Elon Musk is kind of a leader I aspire to be.

Scott Shaefitz

New York University, Stern School of Business

  • About Scott

    Scott was born in NYC and raised in Weston, CT. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2011, where he studied theatre and psychology, he moved to NYC to pursue his dream of a career as a professional actor. Scott worked as an actor in NYC and around the country, in addition to multiple survival jobs, until he found his professional goals shifting. He then stepped away from the entertainment industry and pursued opportunities at smaller education and healthcare technology firms, where he worked in various roles across strategy/business development, operations, and marketing. Scott will be attending NYU Stern with the goal of pivoting his career back to the entertainment industry, ideally within the rapidly evolving television/streaming space, where he can contribute to the consumption of content that is as artful and influential as it is financially successful.

    What made you consider business school?
    I started to consider business school when I realized that I wanted to return to the entertainment industry in a corporate capacity. Business school will provide the resources and community I have been looking for to hone my technical skills, broaden my personal and professional networks, and allow me to effectively connect my lifelong passion with my professional experience.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I am most excited for the diversity I am going to encounter in business school. I am looking forward to learning from all of my classmatesexperiences and broadening the way I think about business, culture, and the world.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    I am inspired by leaders that embrace the aspects of their identity (sexuality and gender-based or otherwise) that have traditionally been seen as other or less than. In addition to performing at the top of their respective fields, they use their position to call attention to these issues and serve as advocates for their communities. Some examples include Tim Cook, Malala Yousafzai, Ellen DeGeneres, Sheryl Sandberg, and Laverne Cox. 

Shannon Chambers

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

  • About Shannon

    Born and raised in Monroe, NY, Shannon left the Hudson Valley to attend Bentley University in Waltham, MA, where she graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Information Design & Corporate Communications. After connecting with a leader of Nuance Communications while abroad in Budapest, she pursued an internship and eventually a full-time role in digital marketing at the companys headquarters in Burlington, MA. Now an MBA candidate at Boston Universitys Questrom School of Business, Shannon plans to use her digital marketing background and experience at Questrom to pursue a career in Product Management. She lives with her girlfriend Ingrid and her French Bulldog Stella in Bostons South End.

    What made you consider business school?
    After spending 3 years in corporate marketing at Nuance, I realized that I needed to push myself to find a new challenge. I wanted the opportunity to explore other business disciplines and potentially pivot to a career in product management.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? Someone once described their MBA program as a two-year journey where you gain the career experience of 50 lifetimes. Im most excited about meeting and learning from all of the incredibly bright members of my program - and MBA programs all around the country - and sharing my experience with them as well.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Nikki Weiss-Goldstein and my grandmother, who was a woman far ahead of her time.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I'm a total hobbyist. From writing music and playing the guitar to sewing and creating my own paper goods, Im pretty much interested in learning everything.

Shawn Goodin

MIT, Sloan School of Management

  • About Shawn

    I am a native of Panama City, Florida, but I graduated high school in Pampa, Texas. I recently moved from my adopted hometown of Austin, where I wrapped-up twelve years of service in the Army: four as a cadet at West Point followed by eight as an engineer officer. Since graduating, I have been stationed at Fort Lewis near Seattle and Fort Hood. I spent thirty months deployed in support of the War on Terror. My first deployment was to Iraq, where I was charged with leading thirty soldiers on missions to search for and destroy enemy-emplaced, explosive devices on coalition routes. My second was to Kandahar as the United States engineer charged with overseeing the planning and development of new construction in the city for the Afghanistan National Police. My third deployment was as an aide-de-camp for a general headquartered in Kabul, Afghanistan. I completed my Army career after the rewarding experience of commanding a company of 130 soldiers. As I look back on my career, I am amazed by the advancement our Defense Department has made in eroding the barriers to true team building that were erected by policies such as Don't Ask, Don't Tell. More importantly, I hope that as an effective leader, I contributed to efforts to increase empathy from other service members, for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation.

    What made you consider business school?
    The autonomy allowed to me in my most recent roles cemented that I enjoy influencing decisions or being the decision-maker, especially when the objective delivers some significant impact. I joined the Army because I wanted to serve others, and I hope to find my new niche that allows me to do this. I believe that business school would help to reinforce and refine my current skillset and better prepare me to pursue initiatives that will benefit others.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I am most excited about learning from the experiences of my classmates and others that I meet along the way. Obviously, I am very much the person that I am today because of my background in the military; I didn't truly appreciate this until starting school. I hope to benefit from some additional perspectives; especially given the opportunity to learn of alternative solutions to some of my very own experiences.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    When in a position of leadership, especially one in which you have nearly unparalleled power, I believe that it is very easy enclose yourself in solitary bubble of self-righteousness; your worse traits falsely reinforced by your own success. It lends it self all too easily to the routine tik-for-tak in the political arena. I am especially proud of the current presidential couple for continuing to carry themselves with dignity in spite of the heightened scrutiny and for giving America the imagery of a family that stands in contrast to the falsehoods that many of our diverse communities must face. Their example reminds me that as black, gay man, I have so much potential to use my abilities to bridge divides in the workplace, the local community, and potentially around the world.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I like to think of myself as a great listener. 

Stefan Kapelac

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

  • About Stefan

    Stefan is a first-generation immigrant that grew up in Portland, Oregon. His background is in strategic planning and he is looking to continue working in strategy post-MBA. Stefan has lived in five different countries and his most time consuming hobby is traveling (and using airline points to do it on a budget). His interests include economics, tennis, hiking, guilty-pleasure TV, exploring food scenes, and forcing his friends to go dancing with him.

    What made you consider business school?
    I was at the point in my career where I was fairly experienced technically but didn't have a lot of exposure to becoming a stronger manager. Business school seemed like the right path that would expand my skillset, increase my network, and give me the ability to explore other career fields.

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? It's hard for me to pick just one thing—I want to take my type at Ross as an opportunity to self-reflect, particularly in terms of my values and how I want my career to unfold. I am extremely humbled by both the alumni of Michigan Ross as well as my incoming classmates, and I cannot wait to work with and learn from them in the next two years and beyond.

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Peter Thiel for his entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropy, Sheryl Sandberg for always paying it forward and being the gold standard of a successful career, Greg Mankiw for his work in economics and making his studies accessible to a broad audience.  

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    Dad jokes are the best jokes (and the way to my heart). 

Tal Eidelman

University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business

  • About Tal

    Tal Eidelman is an MBA candidate (class of 2018) at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Prior to joining the Haas MBA program, Tal worked as a product manager at startup companies in Tokyo, Tel Aviv, and San Francisco. After finishing a five-year military service, Tal earned his bachelors degree in Psychology and East Asian Studies, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Alongside his professional career in technology Tal volunteers in organizations that support refugees from Africa and the Middle East, who were prosecuted because of their ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.  

    What made you consider business school?
    Having mostly technical professional background in software development, I want to improve my business skills and gain a well–rounded understanding of what it takes to make innovation a reality.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? Meeting students and faculty members with diverse backgrounds and learning how to see things from new points of view.  

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    My husband, Omer Rosen, is a leader in the LGBT family equality movement in Israel. As an attorney who specializes in family law, he promotes equal rights in marriage and adoption. I am mostly inspired by the way he manages to pull in traditional legal arguments along with postgender queer anarchism in his advocacy for equality.  

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    Wherever I go, I am usually followed by my pug, Frank.  

Tim Zachas

MIT, Sloan School of Management

  • About Tim

    Tim is an MBA Candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to MIT, Tim worked as a growth strategy consultant with The Cambridge Group - a boutique consulting firm focused on creating differentiated growth via a deep understanding of consumer demand. There, he primarily worked on innovation and retail strategy projects for consumer goods companies. In his free time, Tim is a huge fan of traveling, outdoor activities, and food exploration. You can catch him running around town (or a different country!), on a hike, or trying some new and exciting cuisine. His most notable travels to date have included an excursion to Chilean Patagonia!  A native of Chicagoland, Tim attended Northwestern University, where he studied economics and organizational behavior.  

    What made you consider business school?
    I've spent three years in growth strategy consulting for some of the world's most recognizable brands, but I still feel like I have huge blind spots. As we say at my firm, none of us actually "have real jobs". By that, I mean we see a certain angle of a business without truly understanding the nitty gritty details of our clients' operating environments. To be more well-rounded, I felt it crucial to attend business school! I look forward to getting hands on experience in other functional areas to round out my skill set.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? I'm really excited to get to know a fantastic, diverse group of people. I'm excited to work side by side these people, learning from them and building life-long friendships!  

    Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
    Laverne Cox and Tim Cook are at the top of my list. Though now I'd also add Ta-Nehisi Coates, as he's been a driving force behind our recent difficult, but entirely necessary, social conversations as a nation.  

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    For those I interact with day to day - I am far too energetic in the morning, so if you aren't a morning person be warned!   A general conundrum I face in life is that I love running but am actually quite clumsy, which makes for an unfortunate scenario.

Virgile Wu

University of Chicago, Kellogg School of Management

  • About Virgile

    I grew up in the northernmost part of China, where the ground is covered by snow for almost six months a year. I studied French language in China, then went to France for the grande école degree in business. I enjoyed the difference in culture as well as in temperature; my memory of big, green palm trees in sunny, dry French Riviera is still vivid after I left Nice - my favourite French city. I have been working in consulting since my graduation, focusing on providing People and Organization related solutions to the organizations in Europe, three years with Accenture Paris, then two years with PwC London, until I decided to come to Chicago Booth for my MBA. From London to Chicago, you might see that how much I obsessed with the bad weather.

    What made you consider business school?
    Business school is a platform, which provides tons of opportunities that nowhere else does - such as broadening my career horizons, learning from the smartest people, experiencing different culture and building long-lasting relationship and networks. It is an opportunity to redefine myself.  

    What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school? The student clubs and associations I will be joining, the ones I most excited about - OutReach and Dancing club. Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you? Christiane Taubira, the former Minister of Justice of France, her contribution to same sex marriage legalization in France was tremendous and her speech after the bill was passed in parliament was touching and powerful, bringing tears in my eyes every time I watch it.

    What's one thing everyone should know about you?
    I am a gym addict, trained 5 days a week. I am allergic to celery. Oh, two things.