Being Cluster Q co-president this past year was one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences at Columbia Business School. It was a great opportunity to flex my entrepreneurial muscles, get some hands-on experience managing teams, and grow tremendously as a leader.
Cluster Q is a small club with a big mission to fill—to educate over 1,400 full-time MBA students about the challenges faced by LGBTQ-identified individuals. This is not only to create a strong and inclusive community at CBS, but also to ensure future leaders are heading into the workforce as strong advocates for diversity.
I was fortunate to have a strong team and co-president who were just as passionate about our mission as I was. They trusted me as a leader to try new things and took the time and initiative to plan many incredible events and activities.
Over the course of the year we held our first LGBTQ leadership summit, hosted a discussion with Christine Quinn (former Speaker of the New York City Council and NYC mayoral candidate), signed-up over 750 LGBTQ student allies (60% of the study body), raised over $3,000 for LGBTQ-affiliated organizations, and ran our first Transgender Awareness Training (whew…busy year).
At CBS, this sparked a great conversation about diversity in our school community and resulted in the administration agreeing to put a gender-neutral bathroom in Uris Hall this summer—making CBS the first top business school to have one.
To top off a fantastic year, we won the Friend Factor MBA Ally Challenge, which is a friendly competition between the top U.S. MBA programs to engage the most LGBTQ allies at their schools. It felt great to see the efforts of Cluster Q and the CBS student body rewarded for all of their hard work on diversity issues over the past year.
For those in the next class, I urge you to take a leadership position in a club you are passionate about. It is an incredible opportunity to get some hands-on leadership experience and have a lasting impact on the CBS community. You may surprise yourself with what you and your peers can accomplish.