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Aug 2017

ROMBA Student Leader Profile: Elsa Rodriguez

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In addition to Reaching Out’s staff, each year the Reaching Out LGBTQ MBA & Graduate Conference’s content is developed and produced by MBA & graduate students from business schools across the world. These core group of the students working on the ROMBA Conference are known as the “Student Leadership Committee.”  The Leadership Committee comes up with the conference’s theme, ideates all breakout sessions, and is seen prominently on the ground at the conference!

Over the next few weeks we’ll highlight each of this year’s 11 organizers and share some of their tips for those planning to attend this year’s 20th ROMBA Conference in Boston (Oct 12-14), which this year will include an inaugural Professional Day for alumni and our 20th ROMBA Gala Celebration with Anderson Cooper!  

Not only will the leaders tell you what they are most excited about for this year’s conference, but they’ll also give inbound LGBTQ MBA students tips on the summer internship search & experience!

LGBTQ MBA & business graduate students, alumni and applicants can register
for the 20th ROMBA Conference in Boston (October 12-14) here.

Name: Elsa Rodriguez

School (Program/Concentration): University of Chicago Booth School of Business Full-Time Program (Concentrations in Entrepreneurship, Strategic Management and Managerial & Organizational Behavior)

Summer Internship: Senior Program Manager at Amazon, Seattle, WA

How did your first year in business school prepare you for your summer internship?
Through coursework based in cases, lab courses and real-world projects, I learned to identify key business challenges and create a structured approach. From there, I was able to apply knowledge in identifying the necessary information and building an analysis that could give me insight or further information about the problem at hand.What experience(s) do you hope to take away from your Internship this summer?

What experience(s) do you hope to take away from your Internship this summer?
I hope to take away the ability to not only present a pitch or a deck, but truly write out a business problem and approach in a more academic fashion. I also hope to keep the spirit of driving my own investigation, finding resources and continuing to ask for support and help when needed.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice going into summer internships you can offer the Class of 2019?
The summer is a great chance to both explore the company and the location. Identify a few things you want to try or departments you want to hear about, plan some weekend adventures and go to talks at work. I would also ask yourself, “what skillset or experience do you hope to gain from this summer” and communicate that to your team or find places where you can build that space for learning for yourself.

What are you most excited about for 2017 ROMBA Conference?
Going back to ROMBA this year feels like a reunion. Over the past year we have gotten to connect with LGBTQ students from other schools at a few events, work remotely on projects or even live in the same city over the summer. It will be amazing to see everyone again and meet the new class of 1Ys!

Any advice you have for people going into the ROMBA Conference for the first time?
A big chunk of the experience will feel very recruiting-based, which can get tiring, but you get to start that process in a welcoming setting. Outside of recruiting, meet people! The MBA community is small and you will most likely get to connect with these folks again. It is a great place to forge connections outside of your own program.

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May 2017

Out Women In Business NYC Conference 2017

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On Friday, March 31st, Reaching Out MBA hosted the 2017 Out Women In Business NYC Conference at the Skirball Performance Center for the Arts at New York University.  In it’s third iteration, the conference brings 300 LBT women and their allies together to ​foster a stronger network of visibility and workplace support. Driven by current issues, policies, and trends, the content educates and encourages strategic action for women at every step of their career.

During the one day conference, attendees participated in a variety of networking sessions, panels, presentations, and Q&A’s. Two longer-formatted sessions were scheduled for the morning, beginning with “Did They Really Just Say That”, a workshop about identifying and navigating workplace micro-aggressions.  Following was a presentation on diversity trends in modern culture which highlighted both positive and negative campaigns. The first keynote speech of the day was given by Geena Rocero, a Filipino transgender activist and model. She led the audience through her move from the Philippines to the U.S., her transition, and how those experiences brought her to working as an advocate for the LGBT community.

This year’s conference introduced a new four-part series known as OWIB Perspectives. These fast-paced presentations differed in topics but followed the aim to inspire through sharing experiences. Touching on military service, personal branding, government participation, and the work of rising leaders detailed what success looks like through individual experiences.

After a catered lunch, the afternoon panel delved into the observations of four LBT women being “out” at work. Reflecting on past experiences and the current culture of their workplace, attendees were given a personal history of the changes in policies and society through different generations.

Nneka Onuorah who formerly worked for Black Entertainment Television (BET) ended the event with a keynote speech about how the identities that society has deemed as disadvantaged led to her finding space to use them to her benefit. Based on her own experiences and observations she directed and produced “The Same Difference, a documentary about lesbians discriminating against other lesbians which has been gaining national attention.

The 2017 Out Women In Business Conference owes its success to the dedication of the volunteer steering committee. Comprised of both professionals and MBA candidates from as close as Manhattan and as far as Seattle, they planned content that aimed to be beneficial to conference attendees. More information about the conference can be found at www.outwomeninbusiness.com.

Check out some photos from the event below!


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Apr 2016

Out Women in Business 2016 Recap

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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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