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Be True To Yourself And Take Pride In Who You are – Chelsea Reyes, Mendoza MBA Class of 2024

Photo by Peter Ringenberg/University of Notre Dame

To mark PRIDE month, we’re sharing the stories of inspirational business school students and alumni around the world who are using their business school experiences to make the world a more inclusive place.

  • Name: Chelsea Reyes 
  • Position: HR GLDP Intern, Talent Strategy – Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • School:  Duke University BA 2017, University of Notre Dame MBA 2024
  • President, Notre Dame’s Mendoza LGBTQ and Allies Club

What initiatives or programs does your business school have in place to support and empower LGBTQ+ students on campus? 

Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business has a broader diversity and inclusion strategy, and many of the initiatives include or consider the LGBTQ+ student population as well as the larger community. Notre Dame has many administrators as allies, who ensure to include club leaders in key discussions and support the club. 

How important do you feel it is for business schools to have such initiatives? 

It is just “good business”. It is an indicator of the business school’s understanding of the present and future. It requires acceptance and forward thinking. The business leaders of tomorrow are not the leaders we have seen in the past, so a business school should be incentivized to think “Who are we empowering in business, what will business look like, what will those leaders look like, what will those talent profiles look like?  

How have you seen attitudes and inclusivity towards LGBTQ+ individuals evolve within the business sector since you started your career?

The conversation around gender and sexuality has changed, there is more focus on intersectionality and representation of the LGBTQ+ community both in the talent pool and companies’ messaging. For instance, June is pride month and the imagery has moved toward capturing as inclusive of the community as possible. More specifically, depictions of queer women and trans folx have emerged, evident in companies celebrating things for lesbians and trans folx.

What more could be done to create a more inclusive environment in business generally for LGBTQ+?

Creating more mechanisms for individuals to exercise company benefits. In recent years, companies have addressed fertility issues with expanded insurance coverage and fertility options for their colleagues. I think some version of adaptive thinking about what that talent needs would benefit queer people and create a more inclusive environment. 

What advice would you give to other LGBTQ+ individuals who are considering pursuing a business education?

Be true to yourself, and take pride in who you are. The business landscape is changing on nearly every metric and we are all part of that change so by being authentic, one creates value.  Another piece of advice: there are allies everywhere and people care so embrace them by accepting offers of help, advice, and connection. 

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