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Giving Back and Empowering Their Peers: Meet This Year’s Talented ROMBA Fellows

ROMBA Fellows Stephanie and Yasin in a collage, smiling

As inspiring leaders, dedicated LGBTQIA2S+ rights advocates, and rising forces in the business world, Stephanie Chan, MBA ’25, and Yasin Taghvaee, MBA ’25, have been named the 2023 recipients of the Reaching Out MBA LGBTQIA2S+ Fellowship at the Ross School of Business.

The ROMBA Fellowship is a collaboration between Reaching Out MBA and business schools across the country to empower the LGBTQIA2S+ business leaders of tomorrow. Since 2016, Michigan Ross has worked alongside ROMBA to select two promising incoming MBA students from each new cohort to receive a scholarship and access to exclusive leadership programming, including a retreat to kick off the fellowship.

ROMBA fellows are a crucial piece of the larger Michigan Ross community and help advocate for the influence of the LGBTQIA2S+ community in business, a place where the community has been historically underrepresented.

Below, meet this year’s ROMBA fellows and learn what brought them to Michigan Ross, what they’re excited to work on during their MBA studies, and how they hope to make a positive impact on the Ross community.

Stephanie Chan, ROMBA Fellow

Stephanie Chan

As a first-generation student, Stephanie has had a long personal journey to reach where she is today. Despite a lack of formal community and resources throughout her academics, she has found opportunities to give back and support her LGBTQIA2S+ peers independently.

Stephanie is looking forward to engaging the Ross LGBTQIA2S+ students who feel excluded in their career journeys and encouraging them to show their authentic selves in their future careers.

Why were you interested in the ROMBA Fellowship?
As a bisexual woman in Asia, I felt lucky to work in a diversity-friendly company where I could be my whole self and was surrounded by people who truly understood me and showed support. I was interested in the ROMBA Fellowship because I wanted to give back, support our LGBTQIA2S+ students who feel excluded, and encourage them to show their authentic selves in their future careers. I am looking forward to working with ROMBA and all the ROMBA fellows to increase LGBTQIA2S+ awareness in the business world.

What aspect of being a ROMBA fellow at Michigan Ross are you most excited about?
Having an opportunity to include and engage more international LGBTQIA2S+ students at Ross is what I am most excited about. As an MBA student, I value diversity because it can broaden my horizons and help me to build an inspiring vision in the global business world. I believe that Ross is an excellent place where our LGBTQIA2S+ members from all over the world can freely exchange views, ideas, challenges, and topics related to the community and where we can make an impact together as well. Therefore, I am excited to help shape a more inclusive community and interact with its members.

How did the ROMBA Fellowship and other ways to get involved at Ross, as well as the Ross community, impact your decision to pursue your MBA here?
I did not notice this ROMBA Fellowship opportunity when I initially chose Ross, but I have always wanted to study in a supportive community. Through connecting with Ross students and alumni, I found that Ross has the most welcoming community, and I could see myself fitting in. In the end, people are what matters, and I appreciate all the amazing people who impacted my decision to pursue my MBA at Ross.

Anything else you’d like to share with us about yourself, this opportunity, or anything else you can think of?
When I studied in Hong Kong and Macao, there was no such association at those schools. I am so glad that I have this opportunity while I study for my MBA at Michigan Ross. I hope to leverage this fellowship to promote the LGBQTIA2S+ community, not only in Ann Arbor but also in Hong Kong and Macao. Since we do not even have a club or an association for the community there, I am working with my LGBQTIA2S+ friends to first set up a social media account and gather our community.

The next step will be to organize some activities, share positive messages, and increase our impact. I also met another fellow from Hong Kong at the fellowship retreat! We are both amazed by the LGBTQ+ community here and want to help build our community back home.

Yasin Taghvaee poses for a headshot in a dark colored shirt

Yasin Taghvaee

Yasin has been an active advocate for the LGBTQIA2S+ community since his involvement in leading programming and organizations in Tehran, Iran. Though homosexuality is a crime in Iran, Yasin has defied regulations in order to support his underground circle by writing articles to help raise awareness of the political situation in the Middle East. Yasin is excited to leverage his voice and newfound platform at Ross to ensure the community knows homosexuality is not a limitation, and the capacity for the talents and abilities of LGBTQIA2S+ students is limitless.

Why were you interested in the ROMBA Fellowship?
Throughout my life, I have been deeply passionate about positively impacting the world around me. By actively engaging in various communities and organizations, I have strived to create lasting changes. While I have been an active participant in student groups and professional communities, I have yet to seize the opportunity to work in the LGBTQIA2S+ rights field, which holds immense importance to me personally. As an MBA student and future business leader, the ROMBA Fellowship provides me with the chance to
contribute to this cause and, in doing so, potentially create a more beautiful world to live in.

What aspect of being a ROMBA Fellow at Michigan Ross are you most excited about?
Engaging and collaborating with accomplished and talented individuals who share a common passion for LGBTQIA2S+ rights and opportunities within the community is highly enticing to me. Building meaningful connections with such individuals and drawing inspiration from them fills me with excitement.

How did the ROMBA Fellowship and other ways to get involved at Ross, as well as the Ross community, impact your decision to pursue your MBA here?
During my application process to Ross, I had the opportunity to talk to various students and alums. Among them, two members of Out for Business stood out for their exceptional warmth and kindness in assisting me. This initial encounter sparked my curiosity to delve deeper into the Out for Business and ROMBA Fellowship community at Ross. As a result, I became highly motivated to join and actively participate in it.

Anything else you’d like to share with us about yourself, this opportunity, or anything else you can think of?
Learning, growing, helping, improving, and leaving a lasting impact are the driving forces that can lead me to increase my inner satisfaction. Becoming an active ROMBA Fellow at Ross is an incredibly thrilling journey for me, and I hope to navigate it successfully by making the most of this opportunity.

Documents & Links
Learn more about the ROMBA Fellowship Learn more about Out for Business