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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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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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