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No. 1 in supply chain

Broad MBA students, staff talk LGBTQ+ History Month

By William Horton-Anderson
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The month of October is a time for the LGBTQ+ community to revisit and reflect on its history and honor the progress that has been made over the years. Although the observance runs the entire month, Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day, a day focused on the celebration of every LGBTQ+ person expressing their identity and true self with the world.

This year, students and staff from the Broad College’s Full-Time MBA program share what LGBTQ+ History Month means to them. Hear from two Reaching Out MBA fellows and the MBA program’s assistant director in the following Q&A.

Hannah Wilson headshot

Hannah Wilson (MBA Supply Chain Management ’24)

Hannah Wilson (she/her/hers)

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Career before Broad: Oregon Department of Transportation, State Government Transportation Systems and Logistics

Post-Graduate Career Interest: Working for a larger company in procurement, preferably in the transportation or tech industry, but I’m still exploring my options.

Broad News: What does being part of the LGBTQ+ community mean to you?

Wilson: It means being able to be your authentic self with those around you and also searching for a community that understands the importance of being yourself instead of who the world thinks you should be.

Broad News: How has the meaning of pride evolved over your journey?

Wilson: I think pride can be misconstrued as a negative trait sometimes synonymous with conceit, but when I think about pride in association with the LGBTQ+ community, it represents ownership of the fact that we are worthy of love, support and celebration.

Broad News: How can the business community be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals?

Wilson: I think the best action businesses can take are those that support queer businesses and queer issues; contract queer artists to design art for the company pride merch, support queer nonprofits like the Trevor Project or the National Center for Transgender Equality. Companies need to act to actually support and invest in the community, rather than slapping a rainbow on everything and saying you support the community.

Chloe Lester headshot

Chloe Lester (MBA Human Resources and Strategic Management ’24)

Chloe Lester (she/her/hers)

Hometown: Livonia, Michigan

Career before Broad: Inspired Concepts, Food Service Franchising and Management

Post-Graduate Career Interest: I’d like to work for a nonprofit, most likely in an HR role.

Broad News: What does being part of the LGBTQ+ community mean to you?

Lester: Being part of the LGBTQ+ community has provided me a great opportunity to grow personally as a result of camaraderie with others who share similar experiences.

Broad News: How has the meaning of pride evolved over your journey?

Lester: To me, pride is not just acceptance of yourself but being intrinsically proud and accepting of others and their identities and presentation. We often speak of how the LGBTQ+ community benefits an individual, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that you also have to be that person that’s benefiting others as well. A good community member or ally should be understanding and open to the experiences of other members and use their time and efforts to uplift others.

Broad News: How can the business community be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals?

Lester: Representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in business does not just mean hiring LGBTQ+ individuals. These individuals need to be welcomed and supported within the company so they can feel comfortable and healthy in the workplace. Specifically, members of the LGBTQ+ community may lack support from family or friends that have cut them off due to their gender or sexual identity, may have specific mental or physical health needs (requiring more inclusive health care that includes sexual health resources, mental health care, gender-affirming care, etc.), and they require their community members to be educated and proactive allies. Education to prevent misgendering, homophobia, transphobia is very important, as well as treating these issues seriously should they still arise.

William Horton-Anderson headshot

William Horton-Anderson, assistant director, Full-Time MBA program

William Horton-Anderson (he/him/his)

Highest Degree Obtained: M.S. in Mental Health Counseling

Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota

Broad News: What does being part of the LGBTQ+ community mean to you?

Horton-Anderson: Bringing a sense of identity, comfort and stability into what has been an interesting journey. In many instances, whether in the past or currently, members of our community are shunned, ridiculed, passed up on, left behind — you name it. What I’ve seen in my time is having the ability to create our own spaces and, more importantly, choose our own family that share our ideals and experiences.

Broad News: How has the meaning of pride evolved over your journey?

Horton-Anderson: The LGBTQ+ community has always been an accepting and welcoming community to those within it. However, we understand that our gender/sexual identities are just one part of us, that we hold multiple identities that interact with one another. This sense of intersectionality has really grown to always be accepting and supporting other identities and experiences that are underrepresented (women, POC, ability, etc.) and fight for equity and justice side to side.

Broad News: How can the business community be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals?

Horton-Anderson: A foundation start should always be looking at your initial business model and morals that you have established, and ask yourself: “Does this hinder or support members within my business?” (regardless of how small or big, or what position you hold within the organization). If, at the core of your business or company you are a member of, there is not an inclusive environment for various identities and experiences to grow and thrive, then you will not attract and retain top-tier talent.

Following the foundation is the overall culture and practices within the business and organization. Employee Resource Groups can create a great network and support for your members, but you cannot stop at that. Having these groups and company leadership, providing education and training on important issues within communities, lifting up individuals and supporting their voices when concerns arise and giving opportunities to individuals regardless of how they identify are easy ways to help improve your culture.

Overall, I believe understanding and meeting people where they are and listening to their story provides the business community a great starting point.

In Other News:

Broad Matters podcast hosted by the MSU Broad College of Business, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts
Hospitality business professor and chef Adam Roy offers tips and tricks for dealing with supermarket inflation.
The Broad College has shown a commitment to building an inclusive environment through recent initiatives like a school climate survey. Image shows close up of pen and notepad with Spartan helmet logo and text that reads: You belong here.
In this installment of the series, meet Semivan, marketing analyst on the college’s Marketing and Communications team.
Hear from two current students about what the month means to them and issues facing women in business today.