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Newest Members of the Women’s Student Association

“Because a man’s intuition is just as good [as a woman’s]” Thanks, Raamin Mostaghimi (OJ), for sharing why you’re a part of the new WSA Manbassadors Program. Christian Bjelland’s (OH) reason for joining is a bit more simple: “I like women.  My mum is one.”

 

During the recent inaugural meeting of the EC Manbassadors Committee, members shared reasons why they are volunteering to launch the program.  Barry Wohl (OH) is an expectant father who wants “to make sure [his daughter] grows up in an environment with equal opportunities and plenty of great female role models.” Ben Bullitt (OE) sees the business need for men’s involvement in gender discussions and has “bought into the premise that men have as much of a role in defining current and future gender dynamics as women do.” The diversity of their reasons demonstrated the need for a program where men and women jointly tackle gender issues.

 

It turns out that – contrary to what press and stereotypes may want us to believe – there are actually different types of men at HBS.  [Gasp]  And a lot of the men on campus are interested in promoting an inclusive culture at HBS and at their future workplaces. This summer EC WSA Reps helped put together this enthusiastic group of men to form the first EC Manbassador Committee.  EC Manbassadors Committee members include Santiago Ocejo (OA), Marcus Leonard (OB), Kunal Gullapalli (OC), Ananth Sridhar (OD), Adrian Ross (OD), Ben Bullitt (OE), Andrew Boston (OE), Danny Samit (OE), Eric Lonstein (OF), Brendan Hart (OF), Eric Sonnier (OF), Andrew Holmberg (OG), Barry Wohl (OH), Michael Poku (OI), David Wolfish (OJ), and Raamin Mostighini (OJ). The RC WSA reps will help find Manbassador Committee members from the RC sections in the next few weeks.

 

While the Manbassadors Committee members serve as formal representatives for the program, any and all RC and EC male students interested in participating in the gender discussion and partnering with the WSA are welcome to become members of the organization. The Committee has already started planning a variety of campus-wide events to support men and women talking about gender issues – from planning a panel of men speakers for the annual Dynamic Women in Business Conference to workshops giving tactical suggestions on how to manage a gender-diverse team.

 

Tara Hagan (OI), VP Male Involvement, offers another example of potential events, “We have women teach the technical WSA Review Sessions for Finance and TEM, why not have men teach a LEAD review session?  That congruence triangle/ladder/framework… I don’t remember it… wish I had a Manbassador teach it to me in a review session last year.”

 

This year’s WSA Co-Presidents, Amanda Burlison (OF) and Alexandra Daum (OC), acknowledge, “W50 brought about really positive results for gender equality on campus, but as recent press points out, it also had the unintended consequence of dividing the student body and making some men feel marginalized.” The Manbassador program is in some ways an effort to extend an olive branch, but on a higher level, the mission of the Manbassadors Program is to involve male students in the Women’s Student Association and actively engage men in a productive, ongoing conversation about gender issues. Daum and Burlison continue, “To be most impactful, we need to refocus the conversation to be a two-way dialogue and a joint effort. If we’re supposed to be the ‘future business leaders of tomorrow’, then we need to be able to talk about tough issues in an honest and straight-forward manner with each other.”

 

The WSA is excited to have this great group of men leading this Manbassadors Program.  For any students interested in being a part of the WSA Manbassadors Program or just looking to learn more, please contact Tara Hagan (thagan@mba2014.hbs.edu).

September 30, 2013
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