In a world where business school students constantly share stylized versions of their nights at the bar, their Iceland trip, or any version of face-painted school-spirit-on-steroids revelry, we are asking Wharton students to keep sharing. In a world where we affirm our peers’ experiences with “likes” and “loves,” we are asking Wharton students to keep engaging.
We want you to share and we want you to engage what about the experiences in the business world that made you feel uneasy, unsure, or unwelcome. Those experiences could be the time you heard your boss mockingly refer to his peer for taking paternity leave leaving you unsure how tell him your wife was expecting and you would need to take leave in a few months. The experience you share could be the 20th time the men in your investment banking group neglected to invite you as they walked out to get some wings and beers, or the time the hiring manager told you they were relieved to find an accomplished candidate who is also a minority since the company has been getting some weird pushback about hiring practices. Maybe it was the time a woman asked you to grab a drink because she wanted to pick your brain about an investing idea and you couldn’t shake all the headlines running through your head about the downfall of men who made sexual advances towards their female colleagues. You bring these experiences with you to Wharton. There are no stylized versions of those moments. There are just 1700 perspectives and versions of reality. For so many of us, these realities mean we want to and need to talk about diversity and inclusion in the business world.
At Return on Equality (ROE), we believe that we each define what diversity and inclusion means to us because its meaning and need are influenced by our personal life experiences and our understanding of others’ life experiences. We envision a Wharton community that allows people to share these life experiences, that encourages showing empathy towards one another, and ultimately, discussing the tangible things we can do to be more supportive and inclusive, enacting change now and in the future. We will not always want to hear about our peer’s life experience because it is uncomfortable or awkward, or maybe it hit too close to home. We will disagree about implementable solutions and what constitutes realistic expectations. But we came to this school learn from each other. That learning has encompassed consulting case interview tips, investing ideas, and entrepreneurial ventures. We believe diversity and inclusion in the workplace is as important and our peers are great resources.
This Wednesday, October 18, ROE and Storytellers invite you to lunch in JMHH 250 for our first event of the year: Ask Me Anything, I want to talk about Diversity and Inclusion. We are thrilled to have six incredible student leaders and accomplished professionals, Charnice Barbour, Ada Lio, Chris Merriewether, Tom Magnuson, Kate Parker, and Neal Sengupta, who will share with the crowd what diversity and inclusion means to them based on their varied life experiences. Check out our event on Facebook and engage through our Google form to ask our panelists questions anything, and come for lunch to listen, learn, empathize, and discuss.