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Out in the Workplace Panel

March 2, 2010

Columbia Pride kicked off 2010 with “Out in the Workplace,” a panel discussion about being an LGBT professional in the workplace, co-hosted with the Columbia Center for Career Education, on Feb. 18th.

Moderated by Columbia Pride’s own V.P. of Internal & External Affairs, Adam Nguyen, the panel hosted alumni from various sectors and industries: Non-Profit, Law, Medicine and Finance.

The evening began with a networking hour for alumni. The night then progressed into the panel moderated by Nguyen. Speaking on the panel were: Ahmet Altiner, SEAS ’02, Resident Physician, NYU Medical Center; Natalie Edwards, CC ’98 and CLS ’01, Associate, Linklaters; Chelsea Ricker, CC ’06, Program Assistant, International Women’s Health Coalition; and Chad Shampine, CC ’00, Vice President, Morgan Stanley. Some of the more interesting points made were by Shampine, who noted that just 6 or 7 years ago LGBT issues weren’t even on the diversity agenda in finance, while now, despite not being entirely accepting, there seem to be limitless funds for LGBT recruitment; and by Altiner, who opined that unless one has made rather noteworthy strides in LGBT concerns, it’s still recommended that a medical school applicant not “out” himself or herself during the admissions process. On the other side of the coin, Ricker observed that among non-profits, at least where sexual and reproductive rights are concerned, LGBT professionals have had a home for a long time–but that the nature of non-profit and direct services work may often mean working in environments or on behalf of clients who are very much not comfortable with LGBT individuals or who may not even accept the existence of anything other than heterosexuality.

After the panel, the evening transitioned into mixing and mingling between alumni and current students.

With a strong alumni turnout and an active discussion, the event was an excellent beginning to Columbia Pride’s activities and events for 2010. There were alumni from across the various schools of Columbia, undergraduate and graduate, and from graduating classes as far back as the late 60s. There were Professors and members of Columbia’s administration present as well. As the year moves forward, we plan to keep the energy up, holding career events that are sector specific, as well as social activities for all of our LGBT alumni, including events with the other alumni affinity groups for Columbia.

For more about the evening, read the article about the panel in the Columbia Spectator.

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