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Apr 2016

Out Women in Business 2016 Recap

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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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Dec 2015

ROMBA 2016 is Moving to Dallas

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Last Tuesday we were informed that the Hyatt Century Plaza, which has been schedule to be our venue for both 2016 and 2020, would be closing in March. Unfortunately and unexpectedly the property is being converted into condos and has forced us to relocate the conference.

Generally speaking due to the size of the ROMBA Conference (over 80,000 sq ft of meeting space with over 1,400 guests) we book the sites for our annual conference 3-5 years out, so as you can imagine this put us into an “all hands on deck” mode.

How Did We Respond?
Over the past week I’ve been working with Conference Direct (our booking agency), the Los Angeles CVB and our national sales reps at the major hotel chains to identify options, ideally in Los Angeles or the west coast.

Unfortunately there is no availability in October 2016 for a conference our size in Los Angeles at either hotels or convention centers. In fact, nationwide at 10 months out, our options nationwide in major metro areas throughout the US were quite limited the entire month of October.

Fortunately the Hyatt Dallas Reunion comfortably fits the ROMBA conference, so the 2016 ROMBA Conference will now be in Dallas, TX on Oct 6-8 (the same dates we held in Los Angeles).

Why Did ROMBA Select Dallas & These Dates?
This property allows us to remain in an airline & business hub city that is easy for students and professionals, offered reasonable room rates for students and professionals in our block, and kept production costs flat so that we do not need to significantly increase any pricing.

Date-wise, with numerous mid-to-large size recruiting events happening in October, such as National Black MBA, NSHMBA and Grace Hopper, we had to do our best to keep conflicts for LGBT MBA & graduate students in particular to a minimum.

What Changes?
Hypothetically, nothing changes beyond the location! We will move forward exactly as we had planned to in Los Angeles and no major changes are needed. The ROMBA Conference & the LGBT MBA Admissions Summit will follow similar schedule patterns to the past 4-5 years’ conference.

Future ROMBA Conference
We strive to be as transparent as possible about future dates and locations, both with you as well as with other MBA and LGBT organizations. To that end, I want to provide date and location information for future ROMBA Conferences:

2016: Dallas, Oct 6-8
2017: 20th Anniversary Conference in Boston, Oct 12-14
2018: Minneapolis, Oct 4-6
2019: Atlanta, Oct 10-12
2020: West Coast, TBD

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Aug 2015

Don’t Miss Early Bird ROMBA Registration!

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Early Bird Registration Deadline: Prices will rise 25%
ROMBA 2015 (Chicago, Oct 8-10) is 6 weeks away and early bird pricing for current LGBT MBAs and related graduate students ends September 8th! LGBT & active ally students can get an access code through their on-campus club if it is a ROMBA affiliate or by completing this application
September 7th is Last Date to Book Host Hotel Room at Group Rates
Do you want to stay at the host hotel for ROMBA?  Act fast – the Hyatt Regency Chicago has a special student rate available, but only until September 7th or when the block sells out.  There are only 60 rooms left as of this morning!

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