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Mar 2016

Class of 2017 Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellows Retreat Recap

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Reaching Out had the pleasure of spending last weekend in the City by the Bay with 22 of our incredible LGBT MBA Fellows, each of whom is a business student in this scholarship & leadership development program.

Representing 17 top MBA programs from across the United States and Canada, these Fellows brought their enthusiasm for business and LGBTQ leadership to San Francisco for a weekend retreat filled with learning, professional development, and bonding.

Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), spoke about her 20-year career working for equal civil rights for LGBT people. In conversation with ROMBA’s Executive Director Matt Kidd, Kate spoke frankly about the triumphs and setbacks she’s seen from the passage of California’s Proposition 8 to nationwide marriage equality and more. “Be more ferocious than you think you are,” Kate challenged the group. From her, the Fellows got the chance to think about the kind of leaders they can become.

After Kate, the Fellows learned about “Leading Out Loud” from Stanford Graduate School of Business Lecturer J.D. Schramm. J.D. spoke to the Fellows and encouraged them to find an authentic communication platform to share their their LGBTQ identities. As J.D. instructed them to engage levers, explore actions, and embrace their communication tools, each Fellow got strategic guidance on how they share stories. From Kate and J.D.’s lessons, our Fellows came together as a cohort, learning from and with each other.

But the weekend wasn’t all work, no play. In the afternoon, we set out to the Castro to learn about San Francisco’s storied LGBTQ history from Kathy Amendola at Cruisin’ the Castro Walking Tours. As we trekked through Harvey Milk’s old stomping grounds under a 20’ x 30’ rainbow flag, we listened to tales of triumph and sorrow that deepened our understanding of what it meant to be LGBTQ in the past, and how our community’s past can inform its future. From Pink Triangle Park to Twin Peaks — the first gay bar in the country to have windows after homosexuality was decriminalized — we learned about the Castro’s legacy.

People describe San Francisco as a foodie’s paradise, and our Fellows got to experience this first-hand. We ate at the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar on Friday, a truly one-of-a-kind tiki restaurant serving Asian cuisine and tropical drinks. On Saturday, we went to the movies…for dinner at Foreign Cinema. We feasted on food surrounded by the sights and sounds of film — a particularly fitting dinner the night before the Academy Awards. All in all, the Fellows came to San Francisco as individuals, but left as peers, colleagues, and friends. Reaching Out MBA’s Class of 2017 Fellows are an impressive cohort. We know that we’ll see more great things from them soon.

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Feb 2015

Queer Women in Business Panelist: Danielle Piergallini

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As we near the inaugural Queer Women in Business Summit (March 7th in NYC), we’re thrilled to unveil some of the amazing speakers and panelists that are participating in the day’s events.

One first panelists to unveil is Danielle Piergallini, who is an MBA alum of Vanderbilt University.  Danielle, who was recently featured in the New York Times’ article “For Transgender Students, Business Schools Are a Transition.”  Danielle will join three other panelists for our afternoon panel titled “Intersectionality” that explores the levels of diversity within our community of LBT Women.  Read more about Danielle below!

Content at the Queer Women in Business Summit will be applicable to lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women in all phases of their careers. Attendees can look forward to speeches from LBT business leaders like Christie Smith, panels exploring issues at specific career stages and issues around intersectionality within the LBT community, a series of inspirational TED-style talks, a workshop around building stronger communication skills, and structured interactive breakouts that designed to build personal networks and foster organic mentor/mentee relationships in their industries.

Register for QUIB ($99 for professionals and $49.50 for students using the code LBTstudent)


Danielle Piergallini, Sr. Analyst, Small & Medium Business Loyalty

After joining American Airlines in January 2013, Danielle spent 18 months helping plan the integration of their two multi-billion dollar websites (USAirways.com and AA.com) before moving into the Global Sales organization, where she’s responsible for growing small/medium business loyalty through partnership development. Prior to earning her MBA at Vanderbilt University, Danielle interned in employee engagement at Sprint and led campaign strategy for a boutique interactive agency. Within the LGBT space, she focuses on improving visibility around transgender-specific issues and spreads awareness through her ‘life is good, make it better’ social media campaign – which has reached more than 1.5 million viewers. She also has a BA in Political Science from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Liberty Mutual is the title sponsor for the inaugural QUIB Summit!

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Feb 2015

Transgender Inclusion in Business School

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UMass alumnus & HRC employee Beck Bailey at ROMBA 2014 in San Francisco

Today’s New York Times has a great article that focuses on transgender inclusion, its progress, challenges, and how ultimately business school and graduate degrees may be the key to more transgender inclusion in the workplace.

The article includes interviews with Reaching Out’s Executive Director Matt Kidd, MBA alumni including Beck Bailey (UMass Amherst alumnus now at The Human Rights Campaign) and Danielle Piergallini (Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management alumnus now at American Airlines).

Read the full article at the New York Times

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