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11

Nov 2015

LGBTQ VETERANS AS MBAS: DEREK BAILEY – UCLA ANDERSON ’16

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Derek Bailey is a second year MBA at UCLA Anderson School of Management and is President of its LGBT on-campus group Out@Anderson.

Tell us a bit about your background, work experience outside of service and future career interests. 

I grew up in a military family, so I knew very early on in my childhood that I wanted to serve in the armed forces.  I attended the University of Notre Dame on an ROTC scholarship, and after graduation, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.  Although I felt compelled to join the military, I never saw it as a long-term career decision.  Rather, I saw it as an opportunity to give back to a country that has provided so much for me in terms of opportunity, security, and education.  Once my active duty tour was complete, I was ready for a new challenge  business school was it for me.

While at Anderson, I’ve focused my studies on strategy and operations, specifically within the travel and hospitality space.  This summer I worked at Delta Air Lines apart of the company’s commercial strategy group, and I’m happy to say that I’ll be returning full-time next year! 

Were you out as you went through the business school application process?  If so, in what ways?  If not, at what point upon entering did you decide to come out?

Yes, I was completely out on my application.  I had never been out in an academic/professional setting before the b-school application process, so it was a new and exciting experience for me.  For the first time ever, I could be my authentic self without having to worry about how people would react.  

Can you tell us a bit about your experience as being a member of the LGBTQ community while serving your country.  How did DADT impact you (if at all) during your experience?  How did culture change after it’s repeal?

I regrettably had very little interaction with the LGBTQ community when I served in the military.  I was out to my family and close friends, and I had been dating my now-husband for three years, but none of my coworkers in the military knew that I was gay.  I think me not being out in the workplace (even post-repeal) was a result of what I call the ‘unseen consequences of DADT’.  What that law essentially did was force service members who identified as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual to lie about their sexual orientation and create a façade for when they interacted with other service members.  When the law was eventually repealed, it was difficult for me to reconcile who I actually was as a person with who everyone saw me as at work.  Because of this I made the decision to remain in the closet through the remainder of my active duty tour.  

Although there was some push-back from high ranking military officials during the repeal of DADT, I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly and positively the military (specifically the younger ranks) reacted to this new reality.  At least in my experiences in the military, I found that your worth and reputation are solely based on your ability to complete the mission at hand.  Nobody cares about the color of your skin, your socioeconomic class, or even your sexual orientation – all they care about is whether or not you can maintain the military standard.  

With all this said, the military is by no means a perfect organization, nor has it been perfect in its acceptance of the LGBTQ community.  Just like with other parts of our society, the military deals with incidences of discrimination and marginalization almost on a daily basis.  But given the maturity and professionalism of the young men and women who wear the uniform today, I am optimistic about the future of the LGBTQ community in the armed forces.  

The comment has been made that as the US Armed Forces go [in terms of policy] so goes the rest of the nation.  Do you think the repeal of DADT set us up for a lot of the progress we’ve been seeing in terms of national LGBTQ issues over the past 3 years?

I think to say that the repeal of DADT served as a catalyst for the recent progress of the LGBTQ community in the U.S. would discredit the hard work and dedication of the thousands of people in the private sector who worked for things like marriage equality.  I believe that the repeal of DADT, along with other significant wins for the LGBTQ community, signal a shift in larger society – a shift towards acceptance and unity among people of differing backgrounds.  It really is an exciting time to be apart of the LGBTQ community! 

What advice do you have for LGBTQs currently serving their country that might one day consider going to graduate school of an MBA or business masters degree?  

I would encourage them to apply to business school (admissions officers will love you)!  Not only do they bring with them a unique perspective on life, but they also bring skills that are highly sought after in the recruiting process.  I would also encourage them to leverage their diversity networks throughout their business school careers.  Some of my closest friends are those that come from my LGBTQ and veteran networks.

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27

Oct 2015

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Ned Mitchell

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 and active ally MBAs in full-time programs.  Each Fellows receives at least $10,000 funding per academic year in addition free lifetime access to all Reaching Out programming (including the ROMBA Conference), LGBT mentors, and a leadership summit exclusively for the Fellows.  Over 25 MBA programs will be party of the Fellowship for the 2015-2016 application cycle.  To learn how you can express interest in the Fellowship, click here

This fall Reaching Out welcomed the first class of the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellows.  These 25 fellows come from 18 top business schools and over the next few weeks we’ll introduce each of them to you.

MEET NED MITCHELL (UCLA, ANDERSON SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT)

Ned Mitchell is a first-year MBA candidate at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. Ned was previously an associate in the mezzanine private equity investment team at Crescent Capital Group in Los Angeles, where he evaluated new investment opportunities and helped manage Crescent’s investment portfolio across multiple industries. Prior to Crescent, Ned worked in the investment banking division of Credit Suisse in New York, where he focused on conducting strategic reviews, mergers and acquisitions, and raising capital for financial institution clients. Ned has also served on the board of directors of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, a non-profit organization that is a national leader in working to end all forms of violence against the LGBTQ community. Ned holds a BA in history with distinction from Yale University.

What made you consider business school?
Business school made so much sense to me because it offered the opportunity to press the “Pause” button for two years on my career to take stock of what I have learned from my past experiences and, most importantly, to set myself up to continue to learn by aligning my passions with my talents.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
To stop saying “I wish I could…” and just do it. 

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
When Tim Cook came out, not only as a gay man who happens to run the most valuable company in the world, but as a multi-dimensioned, full-fledged, actual person, I was overcome with the sense that the world had just changed in a big way. Bringing your true, authentic self to all aspects of your life without question brings the very best out in you. Also, this might be very LA of me to say, but I am excited by everything Caitlyn Jenner has said and expressed this year about her journey for authenticity. You can be an icon or gold medal holder, but if you’re not your true self, it’s all for naught.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I love to cook and experiment with new ingredients from the farmers market, but I take far too long to get dinner on the table. A friend once assured me, facetiously, “If it doesn’t take at least an hour and a half to make, it’s not worth eating.” In an ideal world without competing demands for time, maybe I’m onto something!

What are you doing during the summer before you start business school?In July, I went up to San Francisco and participated in the Reaching Out Tech Trek. I had a phenomenal time meeting with some amazing companies and getting to know other awesome LGBTQ people about to start their MBAs.

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13

Oct 2015

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Ben Fichera

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 and active ally MBAs in full-time programs.  Each Fellows receives at least $10,000 funding per academic year in addition free lifetime access to all Reaching Out programming (including the ROMBA Conference), LGBT mentors, and a leadership summit exclusively for the Fellows.  Over 25 MBA programs will be party of the Fellowship for the 2015-2016 application cycle.  To learn how you can express interest in the Fellowship, click here

This fall Reaching Out welcomed the first class of the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellows.  These 25 fellows come from 18 top business schools and over the next few weeks we’ll introduce each of them to you.

MEET BEN FICHERA (UCLA, ANDERSON SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT)

Ben started his career at Accenture working with clients to realize business process and technology changes. His roles focused on project management and delivery of business intelligence technologies. He was an active member of the Accenture LGBT Network, leading the group in Boston for over three years. In the fall, Ben will start his MBA journey at UCLA Anderson, with the goal of using both his engineering and consulting experience to switch into a product management role. In making this switch, Ben hopes to expand his sphere of influence from thousands of business users to millions of consumers.

What made you consider business school?

To successfully transition from consulting to product management, I know that I’ll need a diverse network of colleagues and a strong foundation of business knowledge. I see an MBA as the perfect bridge to both of these things.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?

I’m truly excited to tap into the collective wisdom of my peers and professors, and to contribute what I’ve learned in my career as a consultant and as a LGBT leader.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?

Elon Musk and the team at Tesla took a number of large risks for the sake of a product they knew the world couldn’t continue without, and I admire their tenacity and technical acumen. It’s also really cool that a company that started by making a luxury sports car could eventually be a leading provider of distributed energy storage.  I’m also inspired by Tim Cook’s leadership at Apple. Taking over for one of the most beloved and revered figures in the technology industry left some pretty big shoes to fill. Yet since he took over, Apple’s market capitalization has doubled and shows few signs of weakness. And, as the first Fortune 500 CEO to come out, he will no doubt inspire many LGBT professionals to reveal their authentic selves in the workplace.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?

I’m an avid fan of independent music, and I can’t wait to take advantage of LA’s vibrant music scene.

What are you doing during the summer before you start business school?

I’m moving from Boston to Los Angeles, so any time I can get away from packing and apartment hunting will be spent hiking, sailing, and biking around my favorite spots in New England.

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