When we assumed our PRIDE co-president roles in the Spring of 2019, we could not have imagined the state of the world into which we would graduate. We imagined the halls of Aldrich bustling until the very last cold call, families gathering on Baker Lawn to celebrate Class Day, and students embracing each other tightly before a reluctant goodbye. And while our members in the Classes of 2020 and 2021 face a world of unknowns, and fear, uncertainty, and disappointment looms over many heads, much remains of which to be proud and hopeful. Our LGBTQ+ MBAs gather virtually each week to offer comfort and share joyful moments in their days; we join forces with student leaders across campus to financially support local relief efforts; and our community continues to find heroes in unexpected places—for example, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a doctor considered one of the heroes of the AIDS crisis.  

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So, rather than ruminate on what could have been, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate what has been—and how far we’ve come in a year. Over the last year, PRIDE, fueled by its members and supported by the broader HBS community, has achieved much. We... 

  • Rebranded from the LGBT Student Association to PRIDE, releasing a new visual identity and mission statement, to better represent the diverse gender identities and sexual orientations of our members. 
  • Created categories of membership to better protect member privacy and respect the individual journey of “coming out.’ 
  • Established a financial assistance fund to support members’ participation in key community-building events like our annual Fall Retreat and Spring Staycation. 
  • In collaboration with the HBS Senate and Program Technology Services, added pronouns to the school’s student directory to facilitate inclusion and empowerment among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming students, faculty, and staff. 
  • In partnership with HBS Operations, advised on a project to re-designate single use restrooms across campus as ‘All Gender’ (the first of which is updated in the student center of campus Spangler Hall). 
  • Broadcasted live webinars for LGBTQ+ prospective students which yielded a registration-to-attendance conversion rate 2x that of comparable programs. 
  • Hosted the first oversubscribed LGBTQ+ Student Visit Day. 
  • Hosted exclusive LGBTQ+ leader fireside chats with Barry’s CEO Joey Gonzalez and former Houston Mayor and current President of the Victory Fund, Annise Parker. 
  • Implemented a club Slack to better foster community and grassroots communications and organizing. 
  • Shared our stories through multiple MBA Voices blog posts, a “We Are HBS” podcast, and ongoing social media outreach through @hbsadmissions, @harvardhbs, and our very own @prideathbs accounts. 
  • Re-established a working relationship with the HBS LGBT Alumni Association to further club recruiting efforts. 
  • Attended the Reaching Out MBA Conference in Atlanta where several of our members landed internships and post-MBA jobs. 
  • Organized hallmark school-wide events like the Back to School 80s Party, National Coming Out Day MyTakes, World AIDS Day movie screening, and February’s Love at HBS Portrait Project. 
  • And continued our partnership with other under-represented minority (URM) clubs through the HBS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council and its advocacy efforts to make the HBS experience more accepting for URM MBAs. 

Together, for the second year in a row, our partnerships drove PRIDE’s ranking as one of the top five clubs at HBS for student satisfaction and number one for return on investment.  

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We acknowledge that much work remains, specifically around inclusion within our own club members and friends whose orientations are not represented by the “L” & “G”, and across gender, race, and socioeconomic backgrounds. While not a solution unto itself, our display of the many queer community flags at events throughout the year was a small, symbolic step to nudge behaviors and thoughts, and we hope that in years to come, our community will continue to take more tangible steps to bridge the internal divides we often face. 

Looking ahead, we are confident PRIDE is prepared to build on the success of this year and years past. The 2020-2021 academic year mark’s the club’s 40th Anniversary of our rebranding from the “‘Alternative Executive Lifestyles Club” to the “Harvard Business School Gay Students Association.”’ Our incoming co-presidents are brave, visionary leaders who will continue working to further PRIDE’s mission of building community, fostering professional development, and encouraging advocacy for LGBTQ+ representation at our school and in business. While many challenges lay ahead, we are confident in Christina, Soltan, and their team leading our community forward. 

It has been a privilege serving PRIDE this year and we will forever carry with us the lessons of leadership we have learned. 

Dan Hall & Natalia Ortega | Co-presidents, PRIDE 2020

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