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May 2017

2017 LGBT MBA Club Leadership Summit

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This event is made possible thanks to Mr. Richard A. Chicotel and Shorenstein Properties. Mr. Richard A. Chicotel was the chief financial officer of Shorenstein Properties, one of the country’s oldest real estate organizations, and a past Reaching Out LGBT MBA attendee who died unexpectedly on January 10, 2012 at the age of 52. Mr. Chicotel was an active fundraiser and advocate for causes in the LGBT community and was particularly moved by the passion and energy of our attendees. Thanks to the generosity of his estate and Shorenstein Properties, Reaching Out MBA is able to continue to offer no-cost attendance for students and provide travel for speakers to the annual LGBTQ School Leadership Summit.

Reaching Out held its annual Leadership Summit this April in Chicago at the Booth School of Business. This one-day summit invited leaders of LGBTQ MBA clubs to build their network, share ideas, and raise visibility on their campus. Topics covered outreach on campus, building awareness, and growing LGBT MBA student club organizations. Club Leaders from over 35 business schools were in attendance, including representatives from Canada and Europe.

A brief summary of what the event looked like below:

Welcome Address
The event started off with a Welcome Address from Executive Director, Matt Kidd during which an overview of new plans for the 2017-2018 year and the history of the relationship with club leaders was presented. Afterwards, each club was given the floor to present their top priorities, challenges, and achievements. This serves the purpose of allowing staff to understand what types of resources the clubs need and also helps to match skill sets among the schools and allow them to share their best practices.

Engaging Allies through the Corporate Equality Index
A presentation on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index explained the statistics and criteria that make up the index survey. As the US doesn’t have uniformly protect LGBTQ rights, the CEI can help to be a measure of that for larger corporations. Attendants were walked through what they should examine in a CEI score for a potential employer. An interesting note was made that the index only determines what policies and measures are in place. It cannot measure the culture or day-to-day experience. This led to a discussion about corporate culture and the ways that it can be quantified.

Joint Ventures
Promoting allyship on campus can be much more effective when connected to other campus clubs. Club leaders with successful campaigns in co-sponsored events led this interactive workshop. Split into groups by geographic location, students brainstormed potential ideas, discussed procedures for cross-promotion, and set tentative schedules for the year.

Over lunch, three breakout sessions were held to cover specialized topics:
• Bridging The Gap Across LGBTQs addressed how to close the gap among race, social-economic background, and international students who tend to be left out within the main-stream LGBTQI movement.
• Spotlight on Effective Professional Development, Recruitment and Alumni Relations presented what current trends across LGBTQ+ recruiting and placement exist, and how to use that knowledge to build professional development training and resources.
• Impacting the Greater LGBT Community explored ways to leverage the LGBTQ Clubs and MBA community to have a positive impact on LGBTQ communities outside of business school.

Conference Introduction
The Steering Committee for the 20th Year ROMBA Conference and Gala provided updates for this year’s conference and discussed ways that clubs can engage alumni leading up to and at the event. They also had the honor of notifying the students that Anderson Cooper would be the keynote speaker this year.

Enhancing LGBTQ Admissions
The day ended with talking about how to recruit LGBTQ students to business schools. An Admissions representative from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business spoke on what these teams do to recruit and invited students to discuss ways that clubs can become involved in that process. Using prompts, groups were challenged to come up with ways to recruit LGBTQ talent. From being situated in the South, to being a small campus or having no LGBTQ presence, tactics were created to recruit different populations within the LGBTQ community.

The relationship between Reaching Out and its club affiliates is critical to the success of the organization. We thank all of you who were able to attend and look forward to next year’s summit!


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Feb 2017

LGBT MBA Event: Cluster Q’s Ally Week

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At Columbia Business School, November 14th-17th is known as Ally Week.  Hosted by the LGBTQ Club named Cluster Q, the week consists of themed events each day, aimed at creating an inclusive community within Columbia’s campus. Laura Kornhauser, a member of Cluster Q writes the following about Ally Week: 

Ally Week consists of one major event each day of the week (detailed below) in addition to daily tabling in the lobby of Uris Hall, the HQ of our business school. Cluster Q and Ally volunteers run the table, armed with a variety of rainbow gear to hand out to our classmates. The most popular item is our rubber rainbow bracelets that say “Proud to be an Ally” which have become an everyday accessory for many students.  The tables are also used to register students in our Ally Database and to get photos of students with their own personal statement about why they are an Ally (written on a small whiteboard we have them hold). We leverage well-loved CBS traditions such as supper club, CBS Matters, and Rugby Happy Hour to weave our discussions into the fabric of the Columbia community.

  • Cluster Q and Allies Supper Club – brings members of the community together for small and intimate discussions about the LGBTQ community
  • Cluster Q CBS Matters – presents personal stories members of our LGBTQ community and Allies as they discuss what matters most to them and why
  • Cluster Q Rainbow Rugby Happy Hour – A popular social gathering where students get decked out in Rainbow gear
  • Ally 101 Workshop: How to be an Ally – Partnered with Columbia Women in Business (CWiB), Black Business Student Association (BBSA), Muslim Business Student Association (MBSA), Asian Business Association (ABA) and Hispanic Business Association (HBA) to host a workshop discussing how members of our community can actively engage as an Ally for these organizations.  This event is open to students, faculty, and staff

Our goal for the Fall 2016 Ally Week was to reach out to members of the Columbia community to get them actively involved in the Cluster Q family. The overarching goal for our Ally community is to not only create an inclusive community within the campus, but to arm our classmates and future business leaders with skills that will allow them to actively create inclusive communities after graduation.  While it is easy to get other students to register in a database as an Ally or wear one of our rainbow “Ally” wristbands, Cluster Q as a whole has been making every effort to convert Allies from passive supporters to vocal advocates of their LGBTQ friends. Although we saw great attendance at each of our events throughout the week, there is definitely still work to be done in this arena!

With the Ally Week beginning less than a week after the election, we knew that it was more important than ever to bring our community together and remind everyone of the importance of being an Ally, especially in these challenging times. With that in mind, we made an adjustment to our “How to Be an Ally” event that ended the week’s major programming. We invited all interest groups on campus to participate, and by doing that the focus went beyond an LGBTQ discussion and became more about how Allies of any underrepresented group can proactively foster diversity and inclusion.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Cluster Q Club is now preparing to host another extended event, known as Love Is Love Week.


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Feb 2017

Reaching Out Launches San Francisco Regional Chapter

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Reaching Out MBA is launching a new initiative in 2017 which will focus on establishing regional chapters in six major cities; Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle.

The first event for the San Francisco Chapter is a mixer and cocktail event being held this February at Blackbird Bar. To find out details, check out our Facebook page.

These chapters will help create local Reaching Out communities and strengthen connections across types of members (current MBAs, alumni, professionals, etc). The Steering Committee – led by volunteers with leadership qualities and an interest in their community will work with Reaching Out Staff to create events that meet the needs of the chapter. Events may range from:

-Speaker/Company Presentations
-Roundtable Discussions

-Sporting Events
-Trivia/Game Night
-Community Service

-Food Tours
-Museum Tours
-Brewery Tours

If you are interested in joining a chapter or steering committee, email info@reachingoutmba.org for more information.

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