Second Annual Open for Business: Advancing LGBTQ Labor
Author: Melinda Crouchley
Posted: October 24, 2018

People are more than just numbers. And the October 11 Open for Business event organized by PSU’s School of Business and Queer Resource Center aimed to prove that by bringing LGTBQ community members to the forefront of conversations about labor, management, and the workplace.

The pivotal push behind the annual event was to generate solutions to humanizing labor across industries.

An audience nearing 100 people heard from a panel comprised of LGBTQ community members representing retail, consulting, unions, nonprofit, and communications. The panel included: Samantha Bakall, A.J. Mendoza, Rhodes Perry, Marcy Thorp, and Natalie Wood. Portland MBA alumni Jessica Ferrell ‘16, and MBA candidate Lukas Robuck ‘19, moderated the evening and were also crucial members of the event planning committee.

The event was hosted offsite at the Buckman Coffee Factory, chosen for Joey Gleason’s connection to the Portland State and LGBTQ communities, and her work as a panelist of the first annual Open for Business event.

LGBTQ Scholarship + Queer Business Association
Two major announcement for the night included unveiling a new Out in Business tuition remission scholarship of  $ 7,500 funded through Graduate Business Programs at The School of Business. Scholarship will be awarded through the standard admissions applications for new students coming into Graduate Business Programs and through PSU’s standard scholarship application process. Donations are strongly encouraged. Those interested in donating to the scholarship fund can do so at the following link:

“The Open for Business planning committee felt strongly that we needed to go beyond providing a space to have these conversations. While the space is important, we felt true investment needed to go further. We wanted to show our (and The School of Business’s) lasting dedication to advancing the lives and leadership development of our queer and trans community,” said Graduate Business Program Director Rachel Foxhoven.

Additionally, Lukas Robuck announced the formation of the Queer Business Association, inviting current undergraduate and graduate students to apply. The first meeting took place on October 18.

The impetus behind The Queer Business Association is to provide LGBTQ students and allies with the community support they need to excel both at PSU and in the workplace. Members are working on initiatives to make both PSU and outside workplaces more inclusive for the LGBTQ community.

For more information about the Queer Business Association, contact Lukas Robuck at