Allie Fleder - MBA2019 and President of LBS Out in Business Club
Ahead of EUROUT, Europe's leading LGBTQ+ business conference, here's a chance to get to know Allie Fleder — MBA2019 student and President of LBS Out in Business (OiB) Club. Allie talks us through a business journey which started in her native USA, and explains more about her role in Out in Business and what the Club provides for members of the LBS community. Let's learn more!
Briefly describe your journey towards becoming a student at LBS
After graduating from Columbia University I became Chief of Staff to the President at a New York City-based NGO focused on Latin America, working with multinational and local companies to help them enter and operate in the region.
Helping a business enter a new market is like that first moment of fluency in a foreign language: a sudden connectivity that opens a new world and new abilities to translate culture and commerce. It was my work with some of the US tech companies eyeing Cuba (after President Obama updated regulations) that I knew I was ready for business school — ready to not just advise but actually be inside some of the companies creating direct change for citizens in the region and around the world.
What made you get involved with the Out in Business club?
I had never been involved with an LGBTQ organisation before coming to LBS, but in applying I saw that the Out in Business club (OiB) was one of the most active clubs on campus. I found the club members to be extremely welcoming as I made the decision to accept my offer and then when I moved to London. Despite the fact that there were few women involved in the club at the time, I felt at home with the group.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the EUROUT conference and its aims?
The EUROUT conference is Europe’s leading LGBTQ business conference, bringing together graduate students and alumni from top business schools to learn from thought leaders in the LGBTQ community and network with companies that prioritise diversity and inclusion. Speakers join from around the world sharing sometimes painful but always inspiring stories of being “out” at work and in the world.
Never having been to any kind of LGBT-focused recruiting event before EUROUT, many of my fellow classmates and I were struck by the strength of the global LGBTQ network and how being LGBTQ and “out” can be perfectly compatible with having a successful, impactful career.
What other events does Out in Business put on and support for members of the LBS community?
We organise a Welcome BBQ for new students together with Women in Business. We also host the best (I swear I am not biased) bash of the year — White Party — held at a gay club in Soho and featuring a dance contest between a number of clubs on campus, including the Men’s and Women’s Rugby Clubs.
We also host a big black-tie fundraiser for UNWomen in partnership with the Women in Business club, and programmes targeted at allies, including training on how to be an effective ally.
Perhaps my favourite OiB event is Coming Out Week which we hold in partnership with the School’s Football Club. Over the week, LGBTQ students and allies stand together in streams to share their own stories of why they are involved in OiB and how other students can help to create inclusive environments both at the School and when they are back at work. Across the week, students, staff and faculty around campus place “Ally” stickers on their nameplates, IDs, and door signs. The week then ends with a big celebration in a bar.
Away from LBS, you’ll find me…
At a drag show. London’s drag scene is off the charts!
Which five guests would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Madeleine Albright and Melinda Gates for world-changing conversation, Cleopatra to share hot tips on reigning a kingdom, Maya Angelou to keep things poetically feminist and Julia Louis-Dreyfus to keep us laughing!
Tell us a surprising fact about yourself
My fiancée and I are regulars at most of London’s car boot sales. Every wall and shelf and table-top of our apartment is completely covered in 'found' items. We like to think we are true collectors — although our friends tell us that we are hoarders!