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Apr 2016

Learning Together on Lake Michigan: 2016 Club Leadership Summit in Chicago

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We had a great time in Chicago with the incoming leaders from over 30 LGBT MBA student clubs from schools across the U.S., Canada, and Europe! What a jampacked day it was. On a beautiful, sunny day, we learned about the highlights and challenges across many of our clubs at this 10th annual event, which is made possible by a generous donation from Shorenstein Properties in memory of Richard Chicotel, one of their out LGBT leaders who died unexpectedly on January 10, 2012 .

Despite vast differences in size of membership, engagement with the administration, and number of events, all our clubs showcased their unique LGBT campus pride… in about 3 minutes each as we kicked off the morning.

Our student leadership gave us great lessons across the board. Meghana Raghavan (Booth School of Business, Class of 2017) moderated a fascinating panel on the unique experiences of international LGBT MBAs. Given the sizable population of international students in North American business schools, we’re glad that Meghana’s panel gave us insight into the intersection of being international, LGBT, and a business student in the U.S.

Over lunch, Kellogg School Professor Julie Hennessy taught our club leaders about how to market and brand their clubs to maximize appeal and to be as effective as possible on their campuses. We were proud to be joined by admissions officers from Kellogg and Booth in the afternoon, who offered professional guidance as our students dove into a mini-case discussion on how to incorporate more LGBTs into business school admissions.

Later on in the afternoon, some representatives of our 2016 ROMBA Conference planning committee introduced this year’s theme: Authentic Disruption, and got the energy up for the conference in Dallas! 162 days and counting…

Finally, before we all headed out for a delicious Italian dinner, our club leaders divided their energy between three stimulating afternoon breakout sessions on ally programming, how to bring greater equality for LGBTs into a business school’s recruiting process, and how to create a stronger space for bisexual and transgender people, as well as those who aren’t comfortable with being out yet.

All in all, this year’s Club Leadership Summit was filled with learning, laughter, and last connections for the upcoming year and beyond. We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2016 ROMBA Conference in Dallas and throughout the year across the country!

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Apr 2015

LGBTQ MBA Club Leadership Summit Recap

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Guest Blog by Reaching Out’s Executive Director, Matt Kidd.

This past weekend Reaching Out held it’s 9th annual LGBTQ MBA Club Leadership Summit. It’s no secret that this event is one of our staff’s favorite each year, as its an opportunity to bring together the rising on-campus lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender MBA and business graduate club leaders from our 50+ LGBTQ affiliate clubs to hear what is going on for student on-campus, share best practices, help create new clubs for schools that don’t have them.  For Reaching Out as an organization it’s also an opportunity to get feedback & ideas from our most important audience…lesbian, gay, bisexual, & trans MBA students!

This year we had attendees registered from over 30 schools.  Each club had the opportunity to present highlight, obstacles, and history (if a club exists) of their organization.  The group then had structured conversations about on-campus LGBT demographics, straight allies (both the pros of involving them in programming and some of the challenges), working with other on-campus diversity groups, and passing the torch among club leaders.

The students also heard from several outsiders: Kellogg professor Julie Hennessey, who ran a workshop on club branding and raising awareness and gave clubs ideas they could use on their own campus.  I had the opportunity to have sit-down interview with Gabrielle Novacek, who leads the Boston Consulting Group’s LGBT group, to hear about transferable practices that clubs can use.  Then to make sure we kept greater issues the LGBTQ community is facing in focus, we heard from Brad Sears who heads The Williams Institute, the national think tank dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.

The attendees capped off the event with a group dinner, where they were able to continue the conversations from earlier in the day. While the event is over, we reminded attendees that Reaching Out connects LGBTQ on-campus clubs throughout the year with monthly club calls, email updates and events beyond the annual ROMBA Conference.

I want to make sure to publicly thank the student volunteers from Kellogg (also our hosts for the weekend) and NYU Stern who help put together the content ideas for this weekend – we can’t do this event without student involvement.

We’d also like to make sure to recognize that this event is made possible every year by a generous donation from Shorenstein properties in memory of Richard Chicotel.  Rich 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 students involved with Reaching Out.



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