“Say my name & every colour illuminates. We are shining & we will never be afraid again”.

Florence Welch’s lyrics reverberated through me as I got on stage to speak at the 2019-2020 launch of Pride @ Cambridge Judge. As I stood in front of more than 80 people, I couldn’t have been more humbled or proud to be here.

As co-chair of Pride @ Cambridge Judge, it is my goal to foster a culture celebrating diversity and championing inclusivity. The path to get here wasn’t easy, however. Having grown up in a socially conservative family, coming out was really difficult. Building up the courage to tell them took years and once I finally did, it felt like the weight of a hundred elephants had been lifted off me. My fears of rejection and my unhappiness had weighed me down and now I was free to pursue my path.

After coming out, I made a promise to myself that I would do everything in my power to give back to my community and be active in promoting LGBTQ+ acceptance. Finding the right MBA programme to support me in my pursuits was imperative and the minute I came to CJBS I knew I had found it. As the LGBTQ+ scholarship recipient for Cambridge MBA Class of 2019-2020, I couldn’t be more grateful for the support of Cambridge in my professional and personal pursuits. Whether planning events on campus or attending conferences, I have learned invaluable lessons and met incredible people so far.

With 200+ classmates from 41 countries, I knew I would be amongst a very diverse cohort of people. And while the diversity was an exciting opportunity to expand my horizons, I was nervous that I may have classmates who wouldn’t accept me.

To quote Maya Angelou, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” My fears were unfounded, and I have found that the common threads among us are curiosity, worldliness and empathy.

As I stood surrounded by dozens of strangers ready to mark National Coming Out Day and inaugurate the 2019-2020 cohort of Pride@Cambridge Judge, I stood surrounded by allies and partners.

As co-chair of Pride and the LGBTQ+ Scholarship recipient, I plan to continue my work by highlighting the professional accomplishments and stories of LGBTQ+ people, developing a network of professional allies and promoting authenticity for all.

The Cambridge community has illuminated my colours and as we continue our journey together, I look forward to helping others shine as well.