Being Out & Proud at Fisher (and Columbus)!


When searching for business schools, I was not only looking for top-notch academics, but also whether there was a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) presence on campus and in the surrounding community. It was important for me to feel safe, accepted, and share my MBA experience with other LGBT students. Fortunately, Ohio State and Columbus have one of the largest LGBT populations in the Midwest. In fact, Ohio State was ranked as one of the top 50 LGBT-friendly campuses by Campus Pride ( and Columbus earned a perfect score as a LGBT-friendly city by the Human Rights Campaign (, which is America’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.

On-campus: Although most LGBT organizations are undergrad-based, they all welcome LGBT graduate students and allies. Most of these organizations meet regularly and offer informative and fun events, ranging from socials to LGBT speakers. Laverne Cox, the transgender actress who appears on “Orange is the New Black,” even spoke at our school this semester. For business students, Out in Business is Fisher’s main LGBT business club. I also recently attended the Reaching Out MBA conference ( in San Francisco with several of my classmates. Definitely a fantastic conference that brought together LGBT business students from all over the country and included speakers, case competitions, recruiting fairs, and social events. Highly recommended!!!

Off-campus: Not surprisingly, the LGBT “scene” in Columbus pales in comparison to much larger cities, such as New York City and San Francisco. Even so, it is still very vibrant and active! There is something for everyone, ranging from nightlife in and around downtown Columbus to support and wellness organizations, such as Stonewall Columbus (, and musical groups, such as the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus ( If you are ever looking to experience LGBT outside of the area, Columbus is in close proximity to other major cities, including Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Cleveland.

So whomever you may be, Fisher and Columbus is definitely a welcoming LGBT environment! As a business student, now you just have to find the time to see all that it has to offer, but that’s for another post 😉

Out In Business

Sounds like a contradiction sometimes, doesn’t it?  The business environment hasn’t traditionally been known to be a wonderfully accepting and liberal sphere, but, to borrow a phrase from Dan Savage, it gets better.

When I first decided to join this program, I was worried that I would have to downplay certain aspects of my self that might not mesh with the traditionally conservative environment of business school and the business world.  A big decision for me when writing my personal statements regarded whether or not I share my sexuality.  I didn’t.  I regret that a little.  I was hiding an aspect of myself that has contributed so much to my personal growth and my personality.  Why?  I didn’t feel comfortable.

Doing some more research, I looked into the work the Human Rights Coalition has been doing with Fortune 500 companies and their rankings of these companies in regards to their LGBTQ-friendliness.  The HRC releases annually their Corporate Equality Index, where they score Fortune 500 companies on a variety of metrics such as diversity programs, domestic partner benefits, and so forth.  They also release an annual list of best places to work for the LGBTQ community.  Check out statements from companies that have scored 100 on the CEI here, and a list of the best places to work by industry here.  You will be surprised and impressed by who you see.  A Fortune 17 company in our own backyard is amongst the perfect score winners: Cardinal Health.

So what I have been doing on my part to make our Fisher College of Business more LGBTQ-friendly?  I am a member of OiB, Out In Business, an undergraduate and graduate organization specifically tailored for Fisher students, LGBTQ or otherwise.  Our mission statement is to to inform, involve, and inspire business students by connecting them with the resources and tools necessary to successfully advance social justice, equal rights, diversity, and inclusive initiatives at Fisher and in the community.

We’ve done great things like social mixers, invite speakers and throw events like fashion shows.  Were you at any of them?  I’m thinking not.  Our membership is down and the word is ironically in, not out, about our group.  So where do we go from here?

We have launched an aggressive social media campaign that spans Facebook (click hyperlink to see the group), Twitter and, you guessed it, my blog.  There are more events coming up like speaking events featuring LGBTQ leaders of local industry, more social events and awareness programs.  This group is open to everyone and I’d love to see some of you Fisher students at our events and our meetings.  Working together, applying our unique skills and the business acumen that makes us Fisher students, we can make our college a true reflection of the business world today, and build a vision of what we want the business world to look like tomorrow.