Blending his global perspective with LGBTQ advocacy
Blending his global perspective with LGBTQ advocacy
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Full-time MBA student Isaac Reynolds is busy. Not only is he applying his experience in international business and his interests in marketing management and business development strategy to make an impact on the Fisher community, but he’s also putting to use his education and previous career experience as an advocate for the LGBTQ business community — at Fisher and on the global stage.
Reynolds, a first-year MBA student who’s specializing in marketing and international business, earned a fellowship from Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA), an organization “dedicated to educating, inspiring, and connecting the LGBTQ MBA community to impact change in the workplace and create the next generation of out leaders,” according to the group’s website.
Each academic year, Fisher College of Business selects one student who identifies as LBGTQ to represent The Ohio State University as a ROMBA Fellow. As one of the 50 Fellows selected from top MBA programs across the United States for the 2018-2019 academic year, Reynolds received an additional accolade: He was chosen by the organization as one of two speakers to lead the opening keynote panel at the 2018 LGBTQ MBA & Graduate Conference, which was held in October 2018 in Minneapolis.
“ROMBA is an awesome organization that empowers the profiles of LGBTQ students who are selected by their schools,” he said. “ROMBA connects MBA students with mentorship opportunities in the business community through a national conference every year that empowers and connects us to a network grown to help us reach that next level of leadership in business.”
During the conference’s panel discussion, Reynolds co-interviewed Jeff Harmening, CEO of General Mills, about his role as an ally for the LGBTQ community and his work promoting issues related to diversity and inclusion at the Fortune 500 company.
“What made me so excited to be a part of ROMBA was the opportunity to become a leader in our student community and then interact with business leaders who are reaching a new stratosphere in their careers,” he said. “The amazing things they do as professionals is a positive example for me, seeing how the sky is the limit nowadays compared to what life was like 15 to 20 years ago for the LGBTQ community.”
“And then to have this be the world’s largest congregation of LGBTQ MBA students is incredible.”
Reynolds also had the opportunity to lead a breakout session panel discussion titled “Public Private Partnerships: Reaching Out Beyond Infrastructure,” which explored the changing landscape of public and private partnerships.
At Fisher, Reynolds works as a graduate associate in the Office of Global Business. It’s a role he was drawn to because he saw an opportunity to contribute to the college’s global programming by applying his unique combination of education and work experience. He earned his bachelor’s degree in diplomacy and foreign affairs from Miami University (Ohio) and spent his post-college years living and working in Europe and the Middle East, where he was based for more than eight years in the Sultanate of Oman, first working as a contractor with the U.S. State Department through a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. Most recently, he held a communications position at the Oman Oil Company.
In his graduate associate role, Reynolds has been working with the Office of Global Business to help source international projects for the Global Applied Projects program, which is an experiential learning course that prepares graduate students for international business through an immersive, hands-on business consulting experience in locations outside of the United States.
Learn more about Fisher's Global Applied Projects program
He credits the university’s name recognition and Fisher’s reputation with helping him foster connections within the international community.
“When I talk about global business and I reach out to people, I’m leveraging the name of Ohio State to help me make connections with those I want to bring to our community,” he said. “And, because of the academic reputation that we are increasingly building upon, having that name behind me has helped immensely in creating opportunities, not only for me but for others at the college, too.”
The opportunity to apply his education and work experience in a globally focused MBA program was a key selling point in the Berea, Ohio, native’s decision to return to his home state in February 2018 to pursue his master’s degree.
Prior to the start of the 2018-2019 academic year, Reynolds discovered an additional opportunity to apply his global perspective and share with his MBA cohorts the importance of an international business perspective. With help from Kristina Toliver, coordinator of graduate student engagement at Fisher, he began reactivating the Fisher Global Business Association.
“Within the span of about two and a half weeks, we reactivated the group, I formed the executive committee, our team registered with the university’s student activities office, we all did our training, and now as membership reaches 24 students, we’re building our community,” he said.
“In restarting the group, it was with the idea of connecting graduate students to members of the Columbus community who are in international business and interact with global issues, as well as bringing in guest speakers from the community and nationwide who can add to our emerging global perspective.”
For his involvement in the LGBTQ community at the college, Reynolds is already making an impact with the Out in Business student organization, which was created to increase the visibility of the LGBTQ and ally community on campus, to foster a sense of inclusivity within Fisher and to offer professional development opportunities.
He’s noticed positive momentum and is pleased with the encouraging environment he’s experienced at Fisher through the increasing role of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services, and with the numerous LGBTQ student groups that are emerging across the Columbus campus.
“It’s been awesome to have the opportunity to make an impact right from the start through Out in Business and through my ROMBA fellowship,” he said. “Things are in motion now where I think we’re trying to reach a new normal with how things are here at Fisher for the LGBTQ community. There’s a lot of work still to be done, but I’m optimistic about what we’ve been able to do.”
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