Each year Reaching Out's staff selects a team made up of 8-10 current LGBTQ MBA (and related degree) students to help craft the theme and content at the annual LGBTQ MBA & Graduate Conference (ROMBA Conference), the world's largest business conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer MBA students and alumni. These students, who are selected via a competitive application process in mid-October, spend 9 months setting the agenda for our community.
As we approach the 2018 ROMBA Conference in Minneapolis (Oct 4-6), we'd like to introduce you to this year's Student Leadership team. Each of them has worked hard to make this the best possible conference for our 1,600 student and alumni attendees. Each team member will tell you a bit about them, share what they are doing for their summer, and also offer advice to incoming LGBTQ graduate students at business schools around the world.
Jesus Amundarain (University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management, Class of 2019)
Originally hailing from Venezuela, Jesús is an MBA candidate at the Rotman School of Management in the University of Toronto, where he is pursuing a double major in consulting and in leadership and change management. Prior to business school, he worked as a chemical engineer in Oil and Gas operations for six years. During that time, he led multidisciplinary teams in the oil fields of northern Alberta, North Dakota and Siberia, Russia. Being LGBT in Russia drastically changed his perception about the importance of community among LGBT people. Thus, he returned to Canada determined to give back and prevent others from experiencing the same shame of being their true selves. In Edmonton, he led an awareness campaign around the prevalence of conversion therapy centers in Canada as a member of the Edmonton’s Men Health Collective. Recently, Jesús was elected Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Rotman Graduate Business Council, where he will execute a year-long D&I agenda to instill positive disruptions that will empower the student body. For recreation, Jesús enjoys attending performing arts, practicing his landscape photography, and trying out different fitness pursuits.
What is Your School (Program/ Concentrations)?
Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto - MBA with concentrations in Consulting, and Leadership and Change Management
What's the most valuable piece of advice going into summer internships you can offer the incoming Class of 2020?
Take your internship as an opportunity to constantly reflect on yourself. You will become that much stronger should you explore and identify your true motivations and aspirations. Also, understand that each organization is invested in your success. Do not refrain from asking for help and remember the value of personal connections. How you make people feel is just as important as your hard skills.
What are you most excited about for ROMBA 2018?
I am most excited about giving back to a community that has been extraordinary with me. As part of the leadership team, I have come to appreciate all the effort and care that goes behind making this a business conference with a distinct social pursuit, the advancement of the LGBT cause. I hope that attendees feel comfortable being their whole selves at ROMBA and that, in turn, they continue to not only be their whole selves throughout their careers but also facilitate the journey for those who come after them.
Any advice you have for people going into the ROMBA Conference for the first time?
Should you have unclear goals or expectations, you may easily find the experience overwhelming. Exercise good judgement and prioritize your time in accordance to your conference goals. There is a ROMBA effect that carries on after the conference ends. Hence, build genuine personal or professional relationships and do not be afraid to keep in touch. You will enjoy a wonderful, strong, and honest network of like-minded individuals who will make your professional path very enjoyable.