This is the second post in a two-part series reflecting on the LGBTQ ally culture in the Berkeley MBA Program, following a #1 ranking this past quarter in the Friend Factor Ally Challenge. In the first post, we heard from one of the [email protected] club's VP of Allies Shadie Andraos.
This time, we hear from Rachel Park, MBA 16.
[email protected] Ally VPs Rachel Park, Emma Rothstein, and Shadie Andraos, all MBA 16
Why it’s important to be an ally: The statistic that surprised me most when I was doing research was this: Although 90% of Americans support equality in the workplace for LGBTQ, half of LGBTQ do not feel comfortable being out in the workplace. This finding suggests to me that good intentions are not enough. As allies, we need to speak up, show visible signs of our support, and question the policies and practices that do not fully include the needs of everyone in the community. And we need to do this even if we are not sure what to do or if we don't feel "ready" to be an ally.
Ways ally culture is visible at Berkeley-Haas: When we first get to Haas, each student receives a large plastic nametag to use in class. It's something we use on a daily basis and is a highly visible sign of our identity. During Coming Out Week, [email protected] handed out stickers with our logo. Some people wore the sticker for the day, but many placed the sticker on the back of their nametags. If you sit in the back of one of our tiered classrooms, you'll see a number of blue [email protected] stickers representing our community!
Favorite ally event from the past year: To kick off Coming Out Week in the fall, [email protected] hosted an event to share coming out stories from a number of members of our community. I felt humbled to be in a room with 80 classmates, listening to the diverse range of experiences with coming out—some challenging, some funny, all eye-opening. It was a great reminder that even as we group people into categories (like LGBTQ), there are a rich variety of perspectives within the group - and as allies, we need to actively seek them out.
Want to learn more about the LGBTQ-friendly culture here at Haas? Visit [email protected], read the perspective of Shadie Andraos, VP of Allies, in Part I of this series, and find outgoing VP of Allies Sandeep Pahuja's insights in this Haas Achieves post.
And if you'd like to learn more about how to be an ally yourself—there's a guide for that!