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Photo courtesy Business Pride Club

The Business Pride Club to host their fourth annual National Pride in Business Conference

By Reyam Jamaleddine, March 30 2024—

The Business Pride Club (BPC) is a student-run organization that operates within the Haskayne School of Business. They focus on creating a safe, inclusive environment through social networking and networking events which aim to connect and educate the 2SLGBTQ+ and ally community in both personal and professional contexts. 

The BPC is hosting its fourth annual National Pride in Business Conference that runs through Apr. 27 to 28. The conference will host over 100 students from across Canada to bring 2SLGBTQIA+ students together for personal and professional development as well as catering a space for them find their authentic selves. In an interview with the Gauntlet, Christopher Stevens, the president of the BPC provides some insights about the event. 

“What inspired it was really a need to connect LGBTQ+ students to inclusive firms across Canada. I think it was also the need to further the discussion about inclusion, and the need to amplify the voices, a little bit more of LGBTQ+ business students,” said Stevens.

Each year the conference chooses a theme to embody and the theme for this year’s conference is “Success Through Authenticity”.

“The theme of Success Through Authenticity is kind of a new wave and represents a new era for how people identify or how they express identity in the corporate world. I think that represents a transition from ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and hiding your identity in the corporate world. And a transition from having to hide your identity, and how it’s not relevant to the corporate world to understanding how your identity as a queer person can really benefit you in the corporate world… to  leverage it for your own personal professional success,” said Stevens. 

Stevens highlighted the need to maintain an inclusive, diverse and empowering environment for all attendees of the conference. 

“I think diversity is ever-changing, diversity is really not black and white, and diversity encompasses so much. Yes, we do focus on LGBTQ+ diversity. But really, there’s diversity in experience, diversity in race [and] diversity in gender.”

“I think, as the definition of diversity changes quite frequently we have to change our conference quite frequently, to be able to adapt to new measures of diversity, new inputs of diversity, and how diversity is represented in the corporate world,” Stevens continued.

The conference hosts a series of events which include keynote speakers, mentorship sessions, personal development workshops, rainbow roundtable discussions and industry panels. These events within the conference are catered to the 2SLGBTQ+ community in post-secondary education. Stevens explains what students will gain from attending the conference and what impacts these events have.

“Students through the mentorships and through the workshops get hands-on experience, and they get a very relevant kind of ideas, and they get really relevant information about how they can transition, especially from the transition from university to the workforce. I think they get the opportunity to see how their identity is something that can be an advantage to them and how they can really leverage that advantage for success in the professional world,” said Stevens. 

The conference also hosts a Queer Gala that features a night of socializing and drag shows. 

“I think the gala really emphasizes our sense of community, and how there really is power in numbers. I think one of the biggest leverages and biggest advantages in diversity is the community that you can form from it. I think the gala really represents that community working together as a whole, to embrace our topic of Success Through Authenticity,” said Stevens. 

Stevens emphasizes the impact that the BPC as well as the National Pride in Business Conference have on the community. He points out the main features being power in identity and having a safe community to leverage professional skills. 

“I want people to understand the power that you really have in your identity to really leverage professional experience in the corporate world. It can be really terrifying, it can be really scary, but we’re definitely a safe place, and we’re really happy to help you along that way,”said Stevens. 

More information about the Business Pride Club and the National Pride in Business Conference can be found on their website.

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