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Meet the New President of Scheller Pride: Courtney Felinski Plans For Allyship Education, Intersectionality, and Growth

Courtney Felinski, Georgia Tech Scheller MBA student, is taking the reins as the new president of Scheller Pride, with plans to grow the club to its full potential.
Scheller Full-time MBA student Courtney Felinski is the new president of Scheller Pride.

Scheller Full-time MBA student Courtney Felinski is the new president of Scheller Pride.

Courtney Felinski was already a proud Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket when she enrolled in the Scheller College of Business MBA program in 2021. She played volleyball as an undergrad and earned her degree in liberal arts from Tech in 2015. After graduation, she traveled the world, fulfilling her lifelong dream of playing professional volleyball. She retired in 2020 and was faced with the pandemic and the uncertainty of her next career move. Influenced by her fiancée, who was applying to the Evening MBA program, Felinksi took the leap and applied to the Full-time MBA program.

“I think an MBA will fill in some of those gaps I think I need, and so far, it’s done that. It’s checked every single box I hoped it would,” she said.

Felinski is checking another box as she becomes the new president of the student club Scheller Pride. The club is near and dear to her heart, and as president, she’s bringing her leadership skills from volleyball and a strength for knowing what each person needs to be successful. Felinski said she’s the only known out queer person in her class, but she is happy to take on the responsibilities and challenges that come with being a president.

“I wouldn’t be as excited to become president if I hadn’t felt so appreciated throughout my experience at Scheller so far,” she said. “This would not be a role I would want if I felt like I wasn’t valued for being myself. I’m grateful for the support from my classmates, faculty members, and staff. I’m excited to bring more classmates into the circle and grow the club.”

We talked with Felinski to learn more about her plans and ideas for growth as the new president of the student club Scheller Pride.

As the new president of Scheller Pride, what are some of the goals you hope to accomplish?

There are a few goals and events I hope to accomplish. We want to host an allyship education panel. There are many pieces of legislation underway that are detrimental to women and LGBTQIA people. We want to bring in a professional with experience serving those communities (healthcare providers, lawyers, etc.) to educate our class on the importance of allyship.

I also want our club to host an intersectionality panel in conjunction with the Blacks in Business and Women in Business student clubs. There was an intersectionality panel in Spring 2022 that BiB and WiB hosted, and I would like to do that again and boost attendance because it was a strong and enriching event.

Other goals I hope to accomplish are Scheller Pride hosting a drag show fundraiser in the fall and a pre-ROMBA career development workshop before the Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Conference. ROMBA is an LGBTQ+ MBA conference held every fall that’s huge for recruiting, so we want to ensure our queer students in the Scheller MBA programs are prepared!

Did your predecessor share any advice on how to lead the Scheller Pride club?

Yes, Angel Daniels has been great. We met for a few transition meetings and she has so many great contacts that include people from Scheller, Georgia Tech, and the Atlanta community. She’s been helpful with putting me in contact with people at different organizations or different positions that can help move Scheller Pride forward.

You mentioned you’re the only out person in your MBA class that you know of. How does that feel as the new Scheller Pride president?

In the beginning, it felt surprising, but it’s a responsibility I take seriously and enjoy. Sometimes it can be a bit uncomfortable and I think, “Am I really the only one? That’s crazy.” But something I’ve told myself is, “Maybe I am the best person for this job.” I think if some of my classmates haven’t really been in groups, worked closely, or been close friends with a queer person, maybe I am the best one for them to be around in this circumstance. That thought process led me to wanting to be the new president of Scheller Pride.

Do you have any advice or have you received advice on how to navigate the corporate world as someone in the LGBTQIA community?

I received wonderful advice at ROMBA. It was someone who already had a full-time position at a consulting firm. They said, “I know this is easy for me to say because I’m where you want to be, but if you’re put in a position where you feel like you have to hide who you are or you feel like you won’t be appreciated and respected, it’s not worth it. It’s not a place you need to be, and it can be a hard line to draw.”

I held that advice close to me and took it with me throughout my recruiting process. I am at this point in my life where I am not willing to sacrifice showing up as my authentic self. Luckily, I’ve had a wonderful recruiting experience. I felt my identity was celebrated, and I was wanted in every space I was invited into. I am happy about that because I think things are changing in a positive way.

How can allies support the LGBTQIA community?

As a club, we think about that a lot because there are few LGBTQIA people in the MBA programs. Our ideas center around events that educate and promote allyship and help students be the best allies they can be. It’s important to celebrate and uplift stories with respect and dignity and highlight queer joy, happiness, and talent.

There’s so much joy in getting to be yourself and living authentically. I love when allies know there is a mission, such as creating space for people to live authentically in a safe and joyful way with respect.

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