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Mar 2016

Class of 2017 Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellows Retreat Recap

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Reaching Out had the pleasure of spending last weekend in the City by the Bay with 22 of our incredible LGBT MBA Fellows, each of whom is a business student in this scholarship & leadership development program.

Representing 17 top MBA programs from across the United States and Canada, these Fellows brought their enthusiasm for business and LGBTQ leadership to San Francisco for a weekend retreat filled with learning, professional development, and bonding.

Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), spoke about her 20-year career working for equal civil rights for LGBT people. In conversation with ROMBA’s Executive Director Matt Kidd, Kate spoke frankly about the triumphs and setbacks she’s seen from the passage of California’s Proposition 8 to nationwide marriage equality and more. “Be more ferocious than you think you are,” Kate challenged the group. From her, the Fellows got the chance to think about the kind of leaders they can become.

After Kate, the Fellows learned about “Leading Out Loud” from Stanford Graduate School of Business Lecturer J.D. Schramm. J.D. spoke to the Fellows and encouraged them to find an authentic communication platform to share their their LGBTQ identities. As J.D. instructed them to engage levers, explore actions, and embrace their communication tools, each Fellow got strategic guidance on how they share stories. From Kate and J.D.’s lessons, our Fellows came together as a cohort, learning from and with each other.

But the weekend wasn’t all work, no play. In the afternoon, we set out to the Castro to learn about San Francisco’s storied LGBTQ history from Kathy Amendola at Cruisin’ the Castro Walking Tours. As we trekked through Harvey Milk’s old stomping grounds under a 20’ x 30’ rainbow flag, we listened to tales of triumph and sorrow that deepened our understanding of what it meant to be LGBTQ in the past, and how our community’s past can inform its future. From Pink Triangle Park to Twin Peaks — the first gay bar in the country to have windows after homosexuality was decriminalized — we learned about the Castro’s legacy.

People describe San Francisco as a foodie’s paradise, and our Fellows got to experience this first-hand. We ate at the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar on Friday, a truly one-of-a-kind tiki restaurant serving Asian cuisine and tropical drinks. On Saturday, we went to the movies…for dinner at Foreign Cinema. We feasted on food surrounded by the sights and sounds of film — a particularly fitting dinner the night before the Academy Awards. All in all, the Fellows came to San Francisco as individuals, but left as peers, colleagues, and friends. Reaching Out MBA’s Class of 2017 Fellows are an impressive cohort. We know that we’ll see more great things from them soon.

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Feb 2016

State of the LGBT MBA 2015-2016: Admissions

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As we lead up to the announcement of the current leader(s) for the Friendfactor competition, we’re going to take a moment to look at a different aspect of LGBT equality for students in business schools throughout the global.

Today we’re looking at how business schools allow LGBT applicants to identify themselves during the admissions process and also highlight the 28 schools currently offering the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship, a scholarship and leadership development program for top lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender MBA students.

Today’s information was collected directly from schools’ admissions officers who attended the LGBT MBA Admissions Summit (next year’s will be Saturday, October 8th in Dallas).

Of the 39 schools surveys, 28 MBA programs participate in the LGBT MBA Fellowship.  20 schools (51.3%) have a box that allows applicants to self-identify as LGBT.  Of those schools that do not have a self-identification box, many of them allow students to express interest in the on-campus LGBT club and many note that identification can be done on a resume, essay or in an interview.  View the full results below.

The full State of LGBT Equality in Business School Report will be available online Friday.

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Oct 2015

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Phil Gazaleh

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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.


Phil Gazaleh is in the second year of a three year combined Master of Global Affairs and MBA program at the University of Toronto. Born in Ottawa, Canada, he spent a year working as a mountain guide in the Swiss Alps before majoring in Economics and Political Science at the University of Ottawa and on exchange at VU Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Phil worked in marketing and business development prior to his graduate studies where he rebranded an executive search firm and expanded it into the Toronto market. He spent the first summer of graduate studies interning with the World Bank Group’s External and Corporate Relations vice-presidency. Phil volunteers his time on several boards and organizing committees, most recently organizing an all-candidates’ federal election debate for local candidates in Toronto, a career week for students in his graduate program, and a national LGBTQA professional leadership awards program and related scholarship program with Out On Bay Street. He also contributes as a Compliance Director to the G20 Research Group, auditing members’ compliance with their macroeconomic and fiscal commitments.

What made you consider business school?
The most interesting and challenging projects I have worked on in my professional and volunteer experiences involved sophisticated management and governance. I chose to study global affairs and management together in order to equip myself with both a deep knowledge of the actors and drivers at the core of the world’s most complex issues and with skills that enable me to use data, models, and innovative thinking to address those issues.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
Two aspects of the Rotman school of Management that I am more excited about are the diversity of its cohort and the models-based decision making at the core of its curriculum.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
My parents met in theatre school and they both work in performing arts, so I have a soft spot for theatre, dance, and live music.

What are you doing during the summer before you start business school?
I spent the summer before business school completing an internship as part of my global affairs degree at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

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