Chicago’s newest LGBTQ+ RSO, Out For Business, is becoming a special home not only for LGBTQ+ students in the business world, but also for LGBTQ+ student-athletes. Of the nine current board members, four are athletes, including junior Cami Cox, a member of the girls' volleyball team and president.
OFB was founded by Erin Khoo, who majored in business economics and minored in data science. He will graduate this fall and work in the Mergers and Acquisitions Group of RBC Capital Markets' Investment Banking Division.
Ku is familiar with the University of Chicago business community and has been active within the business community for many years. She served as co-founder and co-president of Paragon National Group, an intercollegiate investment organization, and was an active member of the business fraternity Delta Sigma She Pie.
Although Ku is not an athlete, sports and staying fit are a big part of her life. She grew up playing lacrosse, lifting weights, and hiking, and said, “I played lacrosse, lifted weights and hiked. maroon Many of her closest friends at the University of Chicago are student-athletes, as most of her friends are people she does some type of outdoor activity with. She also said the sport taught her a lot about time management and leadership, and she has a deep appreciation for the activity.
Mr. Cox agreed with this opinion. “I would say that playing sports all my life has shaped the way I approach issues in my own life and ultimately led me to the best I can be. Both our management and team. There are so many athletes in the. [among our] Our membership means our club strives to do the same,” she said.
Ku’s inspiration for OFB came from attending the Out For Undergrad Business Conference (O4UB) in March 2022. There, for the first time, she made connections with other her LGBTQ+ students in the business world and learned that many top universities have pre-professional business organizations for her LGBTQ+ students. . Officially, Chicago had an organization named LGBT Business Alliance, but it was never revived after the pandemic. Ku wanted to restart her organization while revamping her operations, marketing, and outreach. Thus, Out For Business was founded.
To establish OFB's presence on campus, Ku partnered with the sports community. “The athlete community in Chicago is very close-knit. A lot of them are interested in pursuing careers in business, and a lot of them are queer,” Koo said. “I've been friends with a lot of the athletes I'm currently involved with and they're all friends with each other. I think that's why we've been able to establish such a close-knit group as OFB.”
“I would say the other athletes are go-getters. It's very impressive to be surrounded by people who have pushed themselves athletically, academically and in their careers,” Cox added.
Sophomore Rex Clark, a member of the women's basketball team and OFB's associate director of social affairs, said she joined the organization because she wanted to connect more with the LGBTQ+ community on campus. “What makes OFB special to me is the supportive community within it. In an industry as siled and private as business, this organization has guided me through a plethora of applications and helped me navigate the “The friendships I built within OFB greatly contributed to my personal growth,” she said.
Clark echoed Koo's sentiments about the close-knit community of athletes within the club. “There is a strong sense of community between us, driven by a common goal of success for OFB and all of its members. This feeling extends not only to the athletes, but to everyone associated with the club. It's one of my favorite groups and everyone is truly invested in each other's success. The presence of athletes contributes to the team-like atmosphere and shapes the whole OFB atmosphere into one big family and team.” she said.
Clark will also attend the same conference that led Koo to found the organization O4UB in March. Mr. Ku will also participate as a sponsor with RBC Capital Markets.
“Being around like-minded people with things in common has created a great community in my life,” Cox said. “The whole club is working as a team. [the executive board] The 3rd and 4th year students serve as mentors for the younger students. ”
OFB revolves around a committee that Koo organized from many of his queer friends. The RSO hosts general meetings and events every two weeks. Examples of past events include resume workshops, career-specific fireside chats, and holiday parties.
Regarding the club's balance between career advancement and community building, Koo said: “While we prioritize career success for our members and help them find internships, our main goal is to make this group feel like a group of friends and provide space for our members. ” Gay students in a profession that may not have been very welcoming in the past. ”
Clark points to her new friendship with Koo as an example of OFB helping to build community. “My favorite memory of OFB is the growth of friendships within the club, especially the new connections I made with former co-president Erin Khoo. Her dedication and hard work to strengthen OFB is truly commendable. My time with her has been special and I have great respect for her contribution to the club.”
Clarke continued: “Erin deserves huge credit for everything she has done, not just for me but for everyone within the club. It also helped me grow.”
Koo thought she would have to let go of her LGBTQ+ identity if she wanted to pursue a career in investment banking, but the communities she has been a part of and the people she has met have changed her perspective. She continues her passion for making the world of business and finance a more queer-friendly space. “Whether it's an affinity group within a company or a university organization that can help with that, I think it starts from scratch in terms of who you hire and the culture you promote to make sure business is not just a career path. 'Queer people will no longer be stopped,' she said.
After graduating, Koo passed the club's torch to Cox. Cox shares the same passion as Koo and has big goals for OFB. “My vision for OFB is to be a resource for all LGBT students on campus, including choosing the right classes, networking, interview practice, and resume workshops,” she said. “When I was in first grade, [the] volleyball [team]I'm very grateful to my senior teammates who helped me in Chicago. [and with getting] internship. I want to bring that same team energy to this community. ”