GSBA has always been a supportive place of people who were eager to know and support me. For instance, when in college I was exploring a career in medicine, I reached out to the Scholarship manager to find someone to meet and talk with about the field. Although there was no official mentorship program, I trusted that GSBA would call upon its extensive network to put someone in my corner. After I graduated in 2014, I ended up pursuing a career in financial advising. I reached out to Stephanie Dallas who had hosted my table for the 2013 GSBA Scholars Dinner and who happens to be experienced financial advisor. Since then I have benefited from the generosity of her mentorship in our quarterly get-togethers. I would encourage any GSBA scholar to take advantage of the network of professionals who are invested in their success. These connections are what make GSBA meaningful to me, and I hope to make more of them now that I have become an official member. GSBA supported me as a student, at a time when life felt more trying and more unclear, and it feels satisfying to be able to return to that same place now to meet new like-minded friends, business connections, and clients.
I think the intangible value of a GSBA scholarship is not so much in guiding young people to be engaged, since the scholarship committee is choosing from a pool of exceptionally engaged and highly motivated young students, but in providing a site of shared learning and a place to connect with members of the LGBTQ community who are different than you. For instance, many scholars grew up with greater struggles than I or many of my now-fellow GSBA members have overcome. GSBA encompasses a great diversity of disenfranchisement, so to speak, and I think there is a tremendous opportunity for sharing over that divide. Hopefully, it is a place where healthy and successful members of our community act as donors and mentors to the next generation, but also commit to learn from scholars with humility regarding the privileges many members enjoy.