In addition to throwing some of the best parties at Wharton, Out4Biz is actively working on initiatives to further promote the LGBT cause and enhance Wharton’s reputation as one of the most welcoming and open-minded business schools.
The new Ally Program is an effort to broaden the reach of the group, with one ally representative for each first-year cohort. The allies’ main responsibility is to be a resource for their peers and create a safe and comfortable environment for people to talk and learn more about the LGBT community. For some allies, such as Andriana Diez (WG’15), this endeavor presents a great way to formalize what she has been supporting in her personal and professional life. Others view this as an opportunity to be “a friend for the cause,” as Tisha Vaidya (WG’15) neatly described it. Regardless of the starting angle, they all believe strongly in equality, openness and the fundamental principle that everyone should feel appreciated by being true to him/herself.
As Trisha Chhaya (WG’14), VP of Allies, emphasized, it is about creating an open dialogue and promoting an educational platform where people will not be afraid to ask questions. The allies serve as a resource not just for other allies, but also for those who are questioning their own identity and want to have a friendly ear. The program recognizes that even within Wharton, where everyone appears so strong, accomplished and confident, insecurities still exist and people need a support structure. More importantly, it involves blurring the line between the gay and straight communities. By creating a stronger link now, Wharton’s Out4Biz strives for the day where the line is no longer noticed.
This program represents the energetic nature of Out4Biz and reflects positively on the open culture of the Wharton community as a whole. Not only does Wharton have the largest delegation to the annual LGBT MBA conference, but we also have one of the strongest ally presences among business schools. The club is heavily involved in the admissions process in making LGBT candidates feel welcome, successfully resulting in very high acceptance rates among LGBT applicants. Some future initiatives include being more connected with the alumni base, co-sponsoring events with other Wharton clubs, and inviting speakers from the LGBT community to share their personal experiences and serve as a source of inspiration. Other goals include developing strategies to attract more female members and influence the traditional non-supporters. For the Out4Biz presidents, Campbell Marshall (WG’14) and James Gott (WG’14), the next step is to be more engaged with politics, current events and leverage the Wharton brand to make a difference in the Philadelphia area and beyond.