Out in Business: A community that celebrates you, for who you truly are

By Devon Chen, MBA2024

The term “Diversity and Inclusion” has lost the meaning it once had. It’s now mostly just a corporate buzzword. I’ve only come to truly appreciate what D&I really meant after I have tried to embody it myself, as the Co-President of Out in Business Club (OiB), London Business School’s LGBTQ+ Student Club.

Coming to LBS, I knew being involved with OiB was something I wanted to do. Back in my undergraduate days, there were exactly zero LGBTQ+ related student clubs/associations. Most if not all of my peers were all in the closet. Compared to now, the contrast in societal acceptance and tolerance is like night and day. So, I wanted to take advantage of this privilege and do something meaningful for our community.

While I wanted to get involved, I didn’t expect to become the person that leads the entire club. However, leading OiB along with my Co-President, Alistair Adams, was by far the most rewarding experience I had at LBS.

Building on the rich history that OiB had, Alistair and I got to shape it exactly how we envisioned what true Diversity and Inclusion can be – a community that celebrates you, for who you truly are. From recruiting executive committee members, to sketching out our organisational goals and objectives, we embedded the values of inclusion, support, and empowerment everywhere. We wanted to make sure our diverse identities were a source of strength rather than weakness. This meant that we needed to find ways to help our community come together and support one another. And that is exactly why EUROUT exists, founded in 2010, Europe’s largest LGBTQ+ student/business conference – every year we bring together LGBTQ+ students and professionals from all over the world, to harness collaboration, foster connections, and celebrate who we truly are.

For EUROUT 2023, we managed to pull off a record year of attendance, sponsorships, and speaker line-ups. With the theme “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges”, we discussed a wide-ranging number of topics, from how we can leverage the strength of being our authentic selves, to the relationship between societal polarization and profits, to the tension between faith/religion and the LGBTQ+ community.

Having interesting and provocative content was one thing, but the meaningful encounters that we got to experience were another. I got to connect with like-minded driven individuals from all over the world. Knowing that we all collectively have had a past of living in shame and rejection, simply for being who we are, but despite that, we were able to come together and champion our uniqueness and celebrate our authentic identities, was nothing short of a spectacular experience. 

Our community is only as strong as what we each contribute to it. If you ask anyone from our year, OiB was genuinely a family that people turned to. We went on a team weekend retreat in the English countryside in a massive mansion, partied like animals renting out the entire iconic Heaven Nightclub in London, celebrated in style during our unforgettable EUROUT Ball, headlined by the one and only Lawrence Chaney, and jetted off to Malta for our cross-school pan-European Rainbow Trek. Along with many other impactful programs such as our LGBTQ+ Mentorship Programme and Pro-Bono Consulting for LGBTQ+ Charities/Non-Profits, I am beyond proud of what our team has managed to achieve this year.  

OiB was, is, and will continue to be an incredible community. It was a place where motivated and like-minded individuals poured our hearts and souls into, for free no less (!), to contribute towards a cause that we all believed in. And that is the magic of OiB: A community that celebrates you, for who you truly are.  

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