University of Southern California

Marshall LGBT Organization Holds October Awareness Event
Marshall GALA organization advances understanding of the LGBT community
October 26, 2011 • by News at Marshall

In just two, 10-minute passing periods, GALA sold out of more than 150 shirts labeled with the words, "Gay? Fine by me." GALA—the Gay and Lesbian Association of the Marshall Graduate School of Business—strives to educate MBA students to improve the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) culture and build awareness. The organization also builds connections with recruiters to offer members site visits and job opportunities with large corporations.

On October 20th Gala launched the "Gay? Fine by me" t-shirt campaign to raise awareness of LGBT issues. The campaign is in conjunction with a number of LGBT-related events occurring in October, which is LGBT history month.

"I had an HR representative telling me that she was begging people to put LGBT on their resumes because they’re trying to get more diversity within their organizations," said Eric Bogin, the GALA first-year representative. "The big banks, the big consulting firms and the big tech firms recognize the need for diversity."

Doug Valentine, president of GALA and a second-year MBA student, has revived the organization under his leadership. The organization has seven board members and 20 members identifying themselves as LGBT. Membership is open to allies as well, and is being well-received by other students in Marshall.

"It's especially important to educate our allies who will be going off into the business world, a lot of them taking high leadership positions," said Valentine. "We’re hoping to make an impact on them so they go out and do things to improve corporate cultures for the LGBT community."

By providing the shirts, GALA hopes to create a physical demonstration of ally support within the Marshall community, fostering an accepting environment for those who are still in the closet or who are questioning their sexuality.

"LGBTs are recognizing that they want to work for a company that is open and accepting," said Bogin. "They want companies that will value them and their partners."

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.