Board Member Interviews

Take a moment to get to know our newest board members: Anita, Carrie, and Jackie!

Anita, Carrie, and Jackie's Interviews

Anita Cohen (she/her) Partner at Bain & Company, Inc.

Q: How did you become involved with Reaching Out MBA?

A: I first got involved with Reaching Out MBA in 2009, when I attended my first conference as a student from Kellogg. It was an amazing experience and oh so energizing – walking into the conference and being surrounded by hundreds of impressive and inspirational LGBTQ+ business professionals, I felt like I had finally found my home. As I transitioned from being an MBA student to a management consultant, I began to experience the ‘other side’ of the conference – acting as a recruiter for my firm and encouraging students to apply for internships and full-time roles at Bain & Company. As I became more senior, I expanded my role with Reaching Out MBA and ultimately served as the lead organizer for Bain’s presence at the conference. I did that for several years and really enjoyed acting as the liaison to such an awesome organization with which I had such a long and rewarding experience. When I was elected to the Reaching Out MBA Board of Directors this year, I felt like I had finally reached the pinnacle of my relationship with the organization.

Q: As a board member, how do you hope to contribute to Reaching Out MBA’s mission of increasing the influence of the LGBTQ+ community in business by educating, inspiring, and connecting MBA students and alumni?

A: I am thrilled to be a Board member of Reaching Out MBA and fully intend to contribute in whatever way I can to strengthen and grow this impressive organization. I am excited to represent the ‘corporate partner’ perspective  and I am particularly energized by finding new ways to increase the diversity and connectivity of the Reaching Out MBA base. As a Board member, I am also eager to help craft the strategy around how Reaching Out MBA can broaden its impact beyond the annual marquee conference. I think we would all agree that there are so many ways Reaching Out MBA can drive progress within the LGBTQ+ business world.

Q: What advice would you give to current MBA students and early alumni?

A: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of authenticity. As LGBTQ+ individuals, we often find ourselves in situations where we question how much of our identity we should reveal. Or, we struggle with the fact that there may be different (and at times, competing) facets of our identities that may not ‘make sense’ to someone else. While I fully acknowledge and respect the struggle associated with these moments, I encourage everyone to be bold and authentic – to live their true lives without regret or shame, and to embrace the power of authenticity. Many times in my career, I have been surprised by how accepting and supportive others really can be.

Q: Why do you think donating and supporting Reaching Out MBA is important?

A: LGBTQ+ MBA business talent is a targeted but mighty population – and Reaching Out MBA is the preeminent organization whose mission is to support this community. Personally, I love Reaching Out MBA’s focus on amplifying the influence of our community – and ensuring that MBA students and alumni are educated, inspired,   and connected. I donate to Reaching Out MBA and hope you will too! There is no better way to further the mission of putting LGBTQ+ individuals in every C-suite!

Carrie Flynn (she/her) Audit Managing Director at Deloitte

Q: How did you become involved with Reaching Out MBA?

A; I became involved in Reaching Out MBA through my network at Deloitte. Deloitte has been a Diamond-level Corporate Partner with Reaching Out for many years. The DEI Recruiting and Consulting teams send a cohort of professionals to the ROMBA and OWIB conferences each year to recruit MBA students for our Consulting practice. Through my role on the Steering Committee of Deloitte’s National LGBTQIA+ community, I connected with our Reaching Out team and attended my first ROMBA conference, where I was inspired by the diversity, programming, and networking opportunities for students and professionals. I am so grateful I connected with this outstanding group of leaders in the LGBTQIA+ Community. 

Q: As a board member, how do you hope to contribute to Reaching Out MBA’s mission of increasing the influence of the LGBTQ+ community in business by educating, inspiring, and connecting MBA students and alumni?

A: I hope to contribute by providing guidance and support to the Reaching Out Staff to increase the organization’s impact and reach into the LGBTQIA+ Community of business students, alumni, and professionals. I hope to connect those participating in Reaching Out events to opportunities not only to find employment but also to develop professionally and personally. I will promote Reaching Out’s mission through my professional and personal networks to connect people to this organization and each other. I hope to bring unique perspectives to increase the financial capabilities to expand Reaching Out through both Corporate Partnerships and personal donations. I am excited to see the continued growth of this organization!

Q: What advice would you give to current MBA students and early alumni?

A: Follow your dreams, be confident, and be your authentic self! Tell your story, take risks, and embrace opportunities. Keep connected to those you meet to build your network and actively cultivate those relationships.

Q: Why do you think donating and supporting Reaching Out MBA is important?

A: Members of our community have frequently been marginalized and overlooked.  Given the challenging political and legal battles our community is facing, students and young professionals need support from within our community and from our allies.  Reaching Out provides this necessary support by continuing to create and expand opportunities for young professionals to thrive, find their passion, and experience the success they deserve.  Support and funding allows Reaching Out to continue expanding its programming and access to services and events to enable members to experience all Reaching Out has to offer.  As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community that has experienced the lack of diversity in C-suites and board rooms, supporting Reaching Out MBA is one important way to ensure the next generation of leaders will be more diverse and representative of our community.  

Jackie Wong (he/him) Associate Partner and Senior Expert at McKinsey & Company

Q: How did you become involved with Reaching Out MBA?

A: I first learned about Reaching Out MBA in my first year in business school. I came to ROMBA 2013 and it was my first experience with business school recruiting. I knew nothing about nothing coming into the conference, and I left having met a number of new people who were instrumental in helping me better navigate the recruiting process and business school in general. In a lot of ways, I was forced to accelerate earlier than I thought I would – and thank goodness, because I had no idea it was a long road ahead.

Q: As a board member, how do you hope to contribute to Reaching Out MBA’s mission of increasing the influence of the LGBTQ+ community in business by educating, inspiring, and connecting MBA students and alumni?

A: After my first ROMBA experience in 2013, I have been back to the conference every year except for one, and that includes the pandemic years of virtual ROMBA. I have seen ROMBA from the perspective of a student, and then an employer, and I continue to be inspired by the network and relationships the conference creates year in and year out. It was a tremendous opportunity for me to become a board member, and I hope to help ROMBA continue to build and nurture the one-of-a-kind network that it has. There is so much potential to bring together decades’ worth of ROMBA alums, many of whom remember this conference and their experience fondly.

Q: What advice would you give to current MBA students and early alumni?

A: For MBA students, enjoy the experience; take classes you’re going get something real out of and find your family among your peers. It’s a rare opportunity to be able to meet new people who are in similar times in their lives. Some of my best friends now are from my two years in business school. For early alumni, continue to learn; there’s a momentum that you’ve built during the years in business school and there’s no better time than now to keep building on what you’ve learned in business school – both from your classes and, even more importantly, from your peers.

Q: Why do you think donating and supporting Reaching Out MBA is important?

A: Reaching Out MBA continues to evolve. What I love about the organization and the conference is the continued desire to reach new populations and new demographics within the LGBTQ+ community. The network has continued to diversify, and every year, Reaching Out builds new opportunities for new students. Supporting Reaching Out means supporting a community that has not always been visible or supported in the business community.