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04

Apr 2016

Out Women in Business 2016 Recap

Posted by / in Blog, LGBTQ BUSINESS STUDENT BLOG / No comments yet

OWIB logo picLet us know what you thought by taking our quick survey!

Thank you for joining us for #OWiB2016 - Friday was a blast! 320 registrants spent the day learning from and connecting with one another at the Out Women in Business Conference in New York. We couldn’t have pulled off this great conference without our presenting sponsors: AccentureEYLiberty Mutual, our reception sponsor: Citi, and our airline sponsor: United Airlines.
As a recap, beginning around 9:00am, we heard from some incredible speakers and thinkers who broadened our minds and challenged what it means to be an out woman at work.
Arwa Mahdawi gave us a view into the complexities of diversity at work today. She spoke about how to avoid tokenism and combat institutional inequality. Taking on the adage of “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” Arwa uses humor to combat inequality. In fact, she created the satirical website Rent-A-Minority to shine a spotlight on systemic inequality!
global panel
After Arwa’s talk, we learned from five incredible people about being out women across the world. Representing Europe, Asia, and South America, Milena Otasevic (one of our steering committee members from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University) spoke withMaria Sjödin (OutRight Action International), Karen Potter (Citi), Maital Dar (EY), and Bachul Koul (A.T. Kearney) at length. They each talked about their experiences, particularly speaking to how difficult it can be to be out in regions of the world where homosexuality is either still a crime or not widely accepted in society.
design workshop
After a brief break, we dug into design thinking with Lotus Child from Arson Agency. Lotus led us in a workshop to push our boundaries and keep our creativity flowing when we approach problems and design solutions. Jacob Tobia, a genderqueer activist, taught us about how problematic the gender binary is for gender justice. They encouraged us to open our minds when we think about what an “out woman” is.
other industries panel
Jennifer Brown facilitated a discussion across industries between  Annise Parker,  Roberta Kaplan, and Nevin Caple. Each of them gave lessons from their own experiences — in politics, law and sports, respectively — about how being an LBT woman has affected their professional lives and where they think the moment for equality is headed. Finally, we learned from  Vivienne Ming‘s time in the tech industry and her research on the unexpected tax on LGBT people due to recruiting in the job market. She gave us great insights into how to combat the stigma from the work she’s doing. We closed off Friday with a networking reception at the end of the day, sponsored by Citi.
SCAN NYC photo
Then on Saturday a small group of OWiB attendees came together to meet with a dozen inner-city at-risk LBT youth for a mentor program with SCAN NY (facilitated by United).  Those who were able to attend walked away inspired by their experience.
Thanks to everyone who came to learn, speak, and support Out Women in Business! We hope to see all of you again at the conference next Spring.

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04

Nov 2015

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Zarrah Birdie

Posted by / in LGBTQ BUSINESS STUDENT BLOG / No comments yet

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.

MEET ZARRAH BIRDIE (UC BERKELEY, HAAS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS)

An ever-curious adventurer. Zarrah lived in three different continents in the last five years and has a passion for travel and discovering new cultures. She loves having her beliefs questioned and challenged. She is an extroverted-introvert, love riding bikes, black coffee, a good conversation, yoga and meditation. She’s left handed and favorite color is navy blue! She’s intellectually curious and vibrantly playful.

What made you consider business school?

After working for two years in investment banking and another two in international development, I sought a means to bridge my two distinct skill sets. This combined with my desire to develop a career in impact investing, with a particular emphasis on helping develop and grow social enterprises in developing countries, fueled my desire to gain an MBA degree. The MBA will give me the ideal tool set needed to be a trusted adviser for social enterprises in developing countries – helping them strategically grow, gain access to capital etc.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?

I am most excited about connecting with my classmates both at my business school and beyond. I’m excited about creating meaningful communities around them. I’m also excited to have my opinions and worldview challenged and broadened through these interactions.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?Tim Cook (Apple

CEO) and  Debbie Gupta (Nest Corporation)

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?

I’m a chocolate fiend, if you ever need anything for me, include chocolate and your wish is my command. I love trying new experiences and things, the more outlandish the better!

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