Oct 2015

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Jonathan Aronoff

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The Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship is a scholarship and leadership development program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and active ally MBAs in full-time programs.  Each Fellows receives at least $10,000 funding per academic year in addition free lifetime access to all Reaching Out programming (including the ROMBA Conference), LGBT mentors, and a leadership summit exclusively for the Fellows.  Over 25 MBA programs will be party of the Fellowship for the 2015-2016 application cycle.  To learn how you can express interest in the Fellowship, click here

This fall Reaching Out welcomed the first class of the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellows.  These 25 fellows come from 18 top business schools and over the next few weeks we’ll introduce each of them to you.


Jonathan is a member of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Class of 2017. He previously led the corporate and foundation fundraising team at the Council for Economic Education, where he also built the major gifts program and established the Vantage Point: Real World Perspectives on the Economy annual symposium. Prior, Jonathan held other positions in non-profit development, primarily in research and data management for the Women’s Refugee Commission. He began his career teaching Art History in Dallas Public Schools and managing an after-school college readiness program for elite track athletes in NYC. As a proud member of the Executive Committee for J Street NYC from 2013 to 2015, Jonathan engaged Senators and members of Congress to advocate for a strong U.S. role in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution. He graduated from The New School with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, Concentration in Economics. Jonathan and his partner Vincent Cheung enjoy cooking together, road trips, and competing for their dog Raffi’s affection.

What made you consider business school?

I’m eager to gain the foundational business education, strengthen my network, and further develop my leadership skills to transition to the private sector. I was inspired by some extraordinary MBAs who showed me that I could realize my passion for business while contributing to the community just as much as through a career in non-profit.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
I already know these are going to be two of the best and most intense years of my life, during which I’m going to build lifelong relationships. I’m very excited to take part in my school’s new Energy concentration, take on real-world projects in finance and strategy consulting, and work with the UNC Pride Club to leverage partnerships across student groups. 

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
Paul O’Neill, former Chairman of the RAND Corporation and Chairman & CEO of Alcoa – first learned from him about the value of transparency, how business expertise can be harnessed to contribute to the public sector in unique and powerful ways, and the importance of digging deeper and speaking up even when you’re expected to keep quiet.   Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States and former CEO of Planet Out – a visionary and inspiration who, among other things, taught me that I didn’t need to be wary of engaging the LGBT community in my professional life. That doing so wouldn’t distract from my achievements or talents, especially if I applied the same passion, skill, and leadership to everything I set out to do.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
If I look deadly serious, I’m probably joking.

What did you doing during the summer before you started business school?
My summer was business school and it was fantastic! Along with 150 of my classmates, I took early classes in Finance, Accounting, and Statistics and had an awesome time exploring North Carolina.

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