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31

Mar 2018

ROMBA Fellow Awarded Sands Family Social Venturing Fellowship

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

In November of last year, ROMBA Fellow and 2018 ROMBA Conference Leadership Team member Kevin Deese (University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management MBA ’19) was awarded the Sands Family Social Venturing Fellowship which supports a select number of Carlson students to develop their ideas for improving local communities. The Fellowship was founded by Bill & Susan Sands, graduates of the university who dedicated their lives to making the Twin Cities a better community. To date, the Sands Fellows have launched more than a dozen businesses to support workforce training for disadvantaged groups, affordable housing, medical devices designed for youth market, and a broad range of social venture.

How did you first hear about the Fellowship? What made you decide to submit a proposal?
There was a presentation during orientation that discussed the Fellowship. I didn’t have any ideas for a project at the time, but the presentation from Bill and Susan Sands and the current Fellows was really eye-opening. It was easily the best day of orientation for me – at the time I was wondering if I had made the right choice in going to business school, wondering if I would find purpose in my career choice, etc. The Sandses’ presentation made me excited about my decision to pursue an MBA because I knew that there was tremendous support at Carlson for people who wanted to figure out how to use their MBA in service to communities who need it most. It was during that session during orientation that I began to think about theissues I care about and could work to address. It didn’t take long for me to decide that the community I most wanted to serve is one that is my own: the community of people living with HIV (PLWH).

The ROMBA Fellowship also really spurred me to take on this project. Being named a ROMBA Fellow meant that I was recognized for having leadership qualities that could be used to promote equality and fair treatment of the LGBT community, and as I think we all know, there is great overlap between the LGBT and HIV+ communities. The support from Carlson and Reaching Out MBA put at the forefront of my mind my ability and responsibility to advocate for myself and others, especially within groups to which I belong. This is about giving back to other members of my community who are not as fortunate or privileged as I have been. Between the ROMBA Fellowship and this opportunity with the Sands Fellowship, I felt called to action to address an issue of concern to the HIV+ community.

What issue does your venture seek to address?
My venture with the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) is called “People Working with HIV” and is aimed at increasing access to employment resources and opportunities among PLWH in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. HIV research and medicine has made a lot of progress since the AIDS Crisis: people are aware of what it is now, and treatments can positively impact the lives of those diagnosed – yet the epidemic persists nevertheless. Moreover,there is great disparity in HIV statistics; in addition to disparities in race/ethnicity and sexual orientation of PLWH, analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that HIV disproportionately impacts economically disadvantaged communities in the United States.

My thinking on this point led me to pursuing the idea of leveraging employment as a tool for upward mobility in the HIV+ community. Further research in the topic revealed another potential benefit of this approach, illustrated by the following two concepts that numerous studies have shown:
-People living with HIV are at a higher risk for low levels of physical and mental health, and
-Employment is positively correlated to higher levels of physical and mental health

By boosting employment in the HIV+ community, we hope to drive not just upward mobility, but improved physical and mental health. We’re currently working on what our exact methods will be by interviewing MAP’s case managers and clients to discover their needs, researching the successful approaches that other cities have taken, and connecting both with organizations who specialize in workforce development and job training as well as with potential corporate partners who could benefit from tapping into this underemployed community to address their own workforce shortages and concerns.

How will you utilize your LGBTQ MBA and local community?
I’m doing my best to leverage the connections that Carlson is helping me make. I’ve been connected with some incredible folks who work in both HIV/AIDS service organizations and in workforce development. Minnesota is not only the “Land of 10,000 Lakes;” it’s also referred to in jest as the “Land of 10,000 Nonprofits” – so there’s a plethora of helpful professionals who are only too willing to share with me their experiences and resources. I hope that thisproject will have a large impact on the state, since 81% of Minnesotans living with HIV as of 2016 reside in the Twin Cities metro area. With such a high concentration of the state’s HIV+ community in one place, I’m hoping for this work to make a major impact on what living and working with HIV looks like in Minnesota. Additionally, working directly with MAP’s staff allows me to better understand how the organization’s resources are used by the community – and tailor our program around how the organization already delivers other services successfully. I’m also connecting a great deal with other HIV advocates and pushing for our issues to be prioritized through our political system: I just returned from AIDSWatch, and annual conference and lobbying event in Washington, D.C., where HIV advocates gather to network and to lobby our representatives to more actively take up the fight to end HIV/AIDS.

I’ll also be intentional in connecting with local and national LGBTQ and allied business leaders at the 2018 ROMBA Conference – here in Minneapolis, October 4-6! – to gain their buy-in and partnership. At the end of the day, it’s my hope that this project will help to change the lives and outlooks of people living with HIV here in Minnesota, and perhaps beyond.

 

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19

Oct 2017

Meet the LGBTQ MBA Fellows: Alexandra Tapley

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, queer and active ally MBAs in full-time programs. Each Fellows receives at least $10,000 funding per academic year (or $20,000 total for his/her/their two years) in addition free access to all Reaching Out programming (including the ROMBA Conference), LGBTQ mentors, digital programming, and a leadership summit exclusively for the Fellows.  Since the inception of the ROMBA Fellowship 129 students have received over US$6.2M in scholarship support from participating schools.

This fall Reaching Out welcomed the third class of the ROMBA Fellows. These 56 fellows come from 35 top business schools and over the next month we’ll introduce each of them to you.

41 MBA programs will be part of the Fellowship for the 2017-2018 application cycle. To learn about the Fellowship and let schools know of your interest here.

MEET ALEXANDRA TAPLEY (BABSON COLLEGE, F.W. OLIN GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS)

Alexandra Tapley is an MBA candidate at Babson College in Massachusetts. Alexandra graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in International Relations with minors in marketing and conflict resolution studies. During her time at USC, Alexandra was an award-winning member of the women’s Varsity rowing team, winning a PAC-10 Championship and competing at NCAA Championships. Alexandra’s experience in international relations, social responsibility and working with street artists from local youth community centres and the surrounding neighbourhoods of South Central, Los Angeles led her to pursue a career in documentary filmmaking. Following her time at USC, Alexandra worked as an Associate Producer for the acclaimed documentary filmmaker and author, Jon Reiss and his company Hybrid Cinema. During her five years at Hybrid, Alexandra worked on the sequel to the internationally acclaimed film, “Bomb It”, which featured street-artists from 12 different countries. Alexandra also served as an outreach and distribution consultant for the film “Fambul Tok”, produced by Rory Kennedy. For the past three years, Alexandra has been based in Boston, streamlining her family’s business, The Children’s Spoon Inc. – an international social education program for children into an online platform and mobile app. In addition to The Children’s Spoon, Alexandra, with 25 years of equestrian experience, has been working in nonprofit development for equine therapy centres in addition to instructing children with special-needs and veterans. Alexandra was born and raised in London, England, and holds dual-citizenship with the United States.

What made you consider business school?
I first considered business school when I took on re-booting a family business, that focuses on social education for children, into an app/online program.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
Having worked with top gaming developers and child education specialists in both Boston and San Francisco over the last few years during pre-production of my app, I am excited to take the company and development to the next stage and complete production during my MBA. I can’t wait to work with and learn from people with vastly diverse backgrounds and experiences from myself and discover new areas and opportunities. Maybe in business school, there are more than just 24 hours in a day?

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
My inspirational leaders have a varied range. Growing up in England, I looked up to Winston Churchill, not because of his victories but because of his humility as a leader. He acknowledged his shortcomings as a leader, and always reminded people that we are all just human. But first and foremost his decree was never to give up – always persist! I find Richard Branson’s business and entrepreneurial spirit inspirational. I would be remiss not to include an athlete, being a former coach and DI college athlete For me, Chris Ernst, an Olympic rower, who along with her Yale teammates back in 1976 paved the way to create the opportunities that female athletes enjoy today. She is the Billie Jean King of rowers!

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I love a good adventure into the unknown.

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18

Oct 2017

Meet the LGBTQ MBA Fellows: Alex Masica

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, queer and active ally MBAs in full-time programs. Each Fellows receives at least $10,000 funding per academic year (or $20,000 total for his/her/their two years) in addition free access to all Reaching Out programming (including the ROMBA Conference), LGBTQ mentors, digital programming, and a leadership summit exclusively for the Fellows.  Since the inception of the ROMBA Fellowship 129 students have received over US$6.2M in scholarship support from participating schools.

This fall Reaching Out welcomed the third class of the ROMBA Fellows. These 56 fellows come from 35 top business schools and over the next month we’ll introduce each of them to you.

41 MBA programs will be part of the Fellowship for the 2017-2018 application cycle. To learn about the Fellowship and let schools know of your interest here.

MEET ALEX MASICA (THE OHIO STATE, FISHER COLLEGE OF BUSINESS)

I am passionate about solving problems for the modern consumer and want to create products and experiences that change peoples’ lives. I enjoy working at the intersection of technology, creativity, and communication. I believe design today is about solving problems and is a critical process to go through in order to make sense of complexity and help humanize technology. As a child, I was always interested in how things were made. As a professional, that has transcended into loving the product development lifecycle in its many forms. I appreciate and value how one-on-one market research mixed with the right data can be the catalyst for driving many new product decisions. I believe in the lean startup and product management models combined with human-centered design, and use them to nimbly learn, produce, fail, and iterate. Working on smaller marketing and product teams has given me the luxury of learning new skills at rapid pace and the chance to make many decisions that affect various channels. From reimagining email marketing programs to developing digital media strategies, my creativity and knowledge of digital marketing are always being put to the test. Outside of work, I enjoy staying active outside by cycling, running, and hiking. I also like to get together with friends for brunch, practice photography, and develop websites.

What made you consider business school?
I chose to attend business school because I wanted to elevate my career, learn the necessary skills for the next stage of my career, and to build a wider network of next-generation leaders.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
Honestly, I am most excited about being a full-time student again. I love being in the classroom and learning. Outside of that, I am ready to get involved with various student organizations and learn from my peers. What I think is great about business school is that there is a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, and career paths that lead everyone to this point—there is so much to learn from everyone.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
I’d like to share two. One is local to Minneapolis and one is globally recognized. The first is Nancy Lyons, who is the CEO of Clockwork, a digital interactive agency in Minneapolis. I admire Nancy because of how she runs her business. She begins with hiring smart people who are also really nice (one of the requirements on every job description), trains them well, and then lets them go create great work that clients love. She is also a huge advocate for treating employees well and how businesses can adapt their policies based on employee input. Based on the people I’ve talked with who work for her, this is a huge morale booster for them because they know their leader trusts and respects them. She’s built a people-first culture and I admire her for that. She also sits on a number of boards, including the Family Equality Counsel. If I can be half the leader that Nancy is, I’ll be happy. The global business leader I admire is Sheryl Sandberg. Before reading Lean In, I didn’t know a lot about her. After reading it, I sought out as much information about her as I could find and now try to keep up with speaking appearances on YouTube and other pieces she authors. I admire Sheryl for her compassion and ambition, two traits required to do well in the technology sector. Her compassion shows through all of the work she’s done to shed light on issues women face in the workplace and also in how much pride she has for her own employees. Her ambition has allowed her to chase and fulfill her goals while also empowering other people to chase after their own.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I’m a big advocate of giving back and helping mentor and mold the younger generation. I’ve spent nearly 10 years volunteering with a youth leadership camp in Wisconsin called Badger Boys State, where 17-year-old men learn about the US political system and what it means to be a servant leader among their peers and in their community. I started as a counselor and now lead their media production team.

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