Bridging Communities: Out in Business club hosts roundtable of corporate LGBTQ+ leaders

Educational roundtable panelists: Danny Cords (Starbucks), Allie Foote (PwC), Chad Minnick (Concur), Richard Cross (Boeing), Jen Palmer (T-Mobile) and Out & Equal moderator Chris Brown.

Educational roundtable panelists: Danny Cords (Starbucks), Allie Foote (PwC), Chad Minnick (Concur), Richard Cross (Boeing), Jen Palmer (T-Mobile) and Out & Equal moderator Chris Brown.

The Foster School’s Out in Business club partnered with workplace advocate group Out & Equal Seattle for an educational roundtable event on April 6th at the Bank of America Executive Center. The event featured a dynamic panel of speakers from PwC, Starbucks, Concur, Boeing and T-Mobile.

Event organizers worked to create opportunities for students and professionals to engage in meaningful dialogue, and to explore topics such as leveraging employee resource groups, inclusive best practices, the importance of allyship and how to lead and manage LGBTQ+ talent.

Among those in attendance was the new President of Out in Business, Amy Franklin. “Seeing people in our community acknowledge and legitimize each other’s existence, work, and paths they’ve carved –regardless of age or experience– was incredibly uplifting. All our panelists work very hard in their respective companies to ensure the success and well-being of our members in those spaces, and that warrants a lot of credit and respect. I’m always in awe of the personal effort our community is willing to give in order to create safe spaces for themselves and others, and I feel like our event emphasized the importance of the long-term effects of these efforts and how crucial these spaces are to the sustainability of our community. Our community’s insistence of making these spaces where spaces don’t exist not only legitimizes our existence and our experiences but then provides a platform for more visibility to and for our community. I felt our event provided a platform for this message and that message was very well received by the Foster and larger LGBTQ+ community.”

Evening MBA student Kenneth Aphibal played a key role in the event partnership, as he was eager to foster connections and conversations across multiple communities. “Seeing the mixed community of industry folks with faculty and students from both the Foster School of Business and broader University of Washington community is what I consider success. Bridging different communities and sharing best practices is what I love about work in diversity and inclusion.”

Many thanks to Chris Brown from Out & Equal Seattle for co-hosting, Monisha Harrell (’09 MBA Alum) with Equal Rights Washington for their call to action, and the UW Foster MBAA for their support.