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Fridays from the Frontline: A Glimpse at Lean In at Berkeley Haas

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Fridays from the Frontline

The University of California at Berkeley has long had a reputation as a hotbed of activism, from the Vietnam Day Committee’s march toward Oakland Base in the 1960s to its divestment campaign from South Africa during the 1980s apartheid era to the most recent protests against ultra-conservative commentator Milo Yiannopolous’ appearance on campus last year.

The commitment to social justice present on Berkeley’s campus has also been infused into the curriculum of many of its schools, inspiring students to engage in direct action to shape the world they want to live. This is certainly true at the Haas School of Business, where Evening & Weekend MBA student Eileen Jacob has launched a Lean In circle in an effort to address how to make “diversity actionable through allyship.”

Lean In circles are extensions of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 book and nonprofit of the same name, which “offer compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.” The circles are “small, coordinated peer groups that meet to share their experiences and learn together.”

The following post has been republished in its entirety from its original source, the Berkeley MBA Blog.

A Glimpse at Lean In at Berkeley Haas

by Eileen Jacob

We’ve previously introduced you to Nancy Hoque, a student in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program with a passion for gender equity. She has extended that passion to launching Lean In circles at various organizations, including at Berkeley Haas.

Recently, Nancy shared insights on Medium gleaned from a Lean In session she led with fellow evening and weekend MBA student Tess Peppers. Joining in were Haas Director of Diversity and Inclusion Élida Bautista, Dean Rich Lyons, Haas Lecturer and film producer Adam Leipzig, and students from the full-time and part-time MBA programs.

The group discussed making diversity actionable through allyship and, says Nancy, shared “an incredible hour full of candid conversations, powerful stories, and plenty of ‘A-ha!’ moments.”

Nancy shared some of those “A-ha!” moments in a post on Medium, in this list of five approaches to making diversity actionable through allyship:

  1. Allyship isn’t only about speaking for others; sometimes it’s about knowing when it’s your job to take up less space.
  2. Naming your intention can strengthen it. One example? the Manbassadors connected to Women in Leadership at Berkeley Haas.
  3. Remember that power is not so much given as taken. That means a moment of genuine presence can shift the power dynamic.
  4. Focus when working in intersectional causes can enhance impact, as with the Gender Equity Initiative at Berkeley Haas.
  5. It’s important to recognize when you have a podium—and can be a voice for those that do not.

I invite you to read Nancy’s post on Medium.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.