On Pleasure and Group – MBA

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Nicolle Richards (MBA 2023) serves as one of many two co-presidents of PRIDE, the LGBTQ+ membership at HBS. She grew up in Vienna, Austria and lived in San Francisco and Nairobi, Kenya earlier than coming to enterprise college. Nicolle is enthusiastic about racial justice and creating extra equitable financial programs.

How did you get entangled within the PRIDE neighborhood at HBS?

As quickly as I obtained to campus, assembly different queer girls was the primary precedence on my record. I had plenty of open questions on whether or not HBS could be a spot I’d really feel at house, however was hopeful that I’d discover of us inside the PRIDE neighborhood that I’d genuinely join with. The earlier PRIDE membership management crew had created a WhatsApp group for us to speak in, and we organized a pizza evening throughout the first week of sophistication for “WTGNC” (the ladies, trans, and gender-non-conforming subset) of us in PRIDE. Two weeks later, I went on a PRIDE retreat with over 100 of my fellow college students and their companions. I met most of my closest HBS buddies – each college students and companions – at these two occasions (companions of all genders and sexual orientations are a giant a part of PRIDE!).

What does neighborhood appear like for you at HBS?

I really feel extremely grateful for the individuals I obtained to know throughout the entire teams I engaged in final yr: my part, PRIDE, and SECON (the Social Enterprise convention). I prioritized constructing neighborhood inside PRIDE, and particularly with others within the WTGNC contingent. I obtained to expertise a lot pleasure and lightness with this group – celebrating birthdays with funfetti cake, mountaineering at Brooklyn Boulders, and dancing the evening away at Membership Cafe. These had been additionally the individuals I turned to when being queer at HBS felt onerous, resulting from emotionally draining case discussions on LGBTQ+ points, or the way in which straightness typically served because the default throughout the college. People within the LGBTQ+ neighborhood typically describe their queer neighborhood as “chosen household” – my chosen household at HBS has been the most effective a part of enterprise college.

How are you celebrating Pleasure Month this June?

I wakened on June 1st to a textual content from certainly one of my PRIDE buddies that mentioned, “I really feel like each month of HBS has been my very own private Pleasure Month,” so I’m fortunate to have gotten to have a good time all yr! That mentioned, I like having the reminder in June to mirror extra deeply on the historical past of Pleasure and the work performed by activists (typically Black girls and different girls of coloration) all through historical past that made it potential for me to even be right here, out, scripting this weblog publish publicly as we speak. As one of many co-presidents of the HBS PRIDE membership, I’m additionally reminded of the membership’s personal historical past, having began within the mid-70s underneath the pseudonym “Various Government Life” – it wasn’t till 1985 that the membership was listed as a part of the HBS pupil neighborhood and allowed to freely meet on campus. PRIDE alums have additionally shared tales of the numerous members who died of AIDS, highlighting the very actual methods crises within the LGBTQ+ neighborhood at massive have additionally hit the HBS PRIDE neighborhood.

June additionally factors us to the basis of Pleasure Month, the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, the place a bunch of activists led by trans Black girls demanded justice for the LGBTQ+ neighborhood. I’m studying The Stonewall Reader, a set of writings from the years surrounding the rebellion, as my reflection this yr. I’m additionally so excited to have a good time by going to certainly one of Denver’s Pleasure parades (I’m right here for my summer time internship). I got here out as bi in 2020, when Pleasure parades had been canceled, and lived in Kenya throughout 2021, the place homosexuality is unlawful. So this will probably be my first time collaborating in a Pleasure parade totally out as queer!

What recommendation do you have got for potential LGBTQ+ college students?

At a current PRIDE occasion, a 2000 HBS alum mentioned it finest, “Generally enterprise college felt like two years at a straight cocktail occasion.” It may be quite a bit! My recommendation could be to look into the LGBTQ+ pupil communities on the faculties you’re contemplating to know what LGBTQ+ illustration throughout the coed physique, school, and case protagonists appears like. It may also be useful to assume by way of absolute numbers. For instance, I’m glad I made a decision to come back to HBS as a result of, whereas LGBTQ+ college students stay a minority, my class has round 25 different openly-identifying queer girls who assist me really feel like I belong. And at last, simply bear in mind, wherever you land, you should be there, to take up area, and to have your voice heard.

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