By Jordan Summers
Reaching Out MBA’s 2019 ROMBA Conference took place this year in sunny and warm Atlanta from October 10-12th, coincidentally during Atlanta Pride, the city-wide celebration of the LGBTQ community which led to a great turnout for both events. For two and a half days over 1800 LGBTQ MBAs and alumni gathered from around the world to network, learn, and improve, with the goal of emerging stronger and more confident in the business world.
Close to 100 corporate partners also joined the conference to show support for the LGBTQ community and to recruit top level talent. The content incorporated a range of industries and roles with the goal of educating and inspiring attendees to use their business acumen and identities to solve for issues within the community.
One notable session was the Friday Lunch Plenary which brought three women up on stage to talk about their experiences of being in leadership positions at large companies: Amy E. Taylor (Red Bull), Keisha Bell (DTCC) and Romaine Seguin (UPS). Their talk discussed the growth and importance of hiring women in top-level positions, diversity in the workforce, and the difficulties that they face being in positions of power.
Friday afternoon saw the attendees all converge on the East Hall of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta for the three-hour Career Expo. During that time, students and alumni were able to talk with employees from over 90 corporate partners about job and internship opportunities. They were able to get some insight as to what it was like to work for different industries and at the individual companies.
Saturday night’s keynote speaker was Hollywood actor, writer, and producer, Lena Waithe. During the interview, several questions were asked about why her work focused on telling the stories of marginalized people and communities. She responded with that it was important to uplift their trials, tribulations, and successes to show others what is possible with determination and strength through adversity. She then talked about her own upbringing of being raised by a single mother in Chicago and how that informed her life experience.
Lena spoke about the now-famous Thanksgiving episode from Master of None which she wrote and starred in. She talked about on the surface, it is a story about coming out to your family. On a deeper level, it is more about two women trying to understand each other, while also portraying how black families relate to each other. She left the audience with a few words of wisdom, including “Be a wolf”.
Reaching Out is a non-profit organization with over a dozen unique programs dedicated to educating, inspiring, and connecting the LGBTQ MBA community to impact change in the workplace and create the next generation of out leaders.
Our next ROMBA conference will take place in Los Angeles from October 8-10, 2020. For additional information on our organization and how to get involved, please visit reachingoutmba.org.