LGBTQ+ allyship can look like a lot of things. Attending a Pride parade. Incorporating inclusive language in day-to-day conversation. Or, as Courtney Felinski, former Scheller Pride president and Full-time MBA ‘23, suggests: Simply begin with curiosity.
Courtney joins current Scheller Pride president Christian Redondo, Full-time MBA ‘24, to discuss their combined three years of service and the club’s bright future. Since its origin in 2016, they have seen Scheller Pride grow in numbers and reach. Today, Scheller Pride is a vibrant community of dedicated queer and ally members.
Learn more about Scheller’s LGBTQ+ club and discover the work that has been done and the hope its members hold for the years ahead.
About Courtney Felinski
Hometown: Houston, TX
Journey to Georgia Tech:
I first came to Georgia Tech in 2011. I had a great experience on the volleyball team. After graduating, I went to play professionally overseas. I played pro for five years from 2015 to 2020. After I retired, I was looking for the next thing and decided to get an MBA. I thought it would launch me into a good career after volleyball.
I interned at PwC as a consultant over the summer of 2022, and I will be heading back full- time after graduation.
The Scheller Pride Community:
Our community of LGBTQ+ identifying people is small, but something that Christian and I both feel strongly about pursuing is increasing the number of community members. Being the president of this club would have been so much harder if Scheller didn’t have the culture that it has of community and belonging. We have faculty and staff allies across every MBA program.
Because the number of queer individuals is small, our club is made up of a lot of allies. We were very clear about welcoming allies as club members, and people have continuously showed up in a really great way for us at every event we do. For every initiative that we try and undertake as a club I felt supported from every type of stakeholder in Scheller this year. We took on a wide variety of things, so it wasn't like people just showed up for the fun social events. People were supportive no matter what it was.
Scheller Pride Initiatives:
My number one goal as I moved into this role was having events that highlight queer joy and make that the center. I think struggle can most often become the centerpiece. I'm a proponent of educating people on how to support the LGBTQ+ community without making suffering the center of the conversation. We kept that as the North Star for the whole year.
In October of last year, we had a panel called “Vote Like an Ally.” It was right around midterm elections, and we tried to strip away the sensational headlines that were floating around and give space for people, especially allies, to ask questions they otherwise might not feel comfortable asking. The panelists worked in law, healthcare, and social work. Topics included answers to questions like: What does gender affirming care mean? What are the day-to-day effects of some of these laws in communities?
Teaming Up to Expand LGBTQ+ Recruiting:
Christian and I worked with our recruiting team to produce some programming specifically aimed at LGBTQ+ MBA candidates. This spring we made sure to have a presence at all of the recruiting events, including themed webinars and welcome weekend.
On the social side, I would say our biggest event was a drag show that we produced and put on in March. We rented out space and hired local Atlanta talent. That was one of the most attended social events this year. People showed up and showed out. I think a lot of people were there who had never been to a drag show before and didn't know what to expect. I told them, “Pure joy. That is literally it.”
At times this work felt difficult. The panel discussion, for example; it was a heavy conversation, and we talked about hard stuff. Even then, the goal was accomplished. I feel so proud of our cohort and classmates for just being committed members of this club, whether they are a queer individual or not. It makes me really happy.
Advice From One President to Another:
Enjoy your internship, Christian. Focus. Do well. That is a big part of why you’re here. Just be prepared to hit the ground running in the fall semester with a tentative plan. Don’t get too bogged down and try to plan too far ahead but know that time will fly quickly. One year is not very long.
About Christian Redondo
Hometown: Boynton Beach, FL
Journey to Georgia Tech:
I studied mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech for my undergraduate degree. I was the mascot briefly, but that was about as far as my campus activity went. After graduating, I worked at Southern Company Gas as an engineer. I realized over the pandemic that engineering wasn't what I wanted to continue pursuing. I wanted to go into consulting, and I realized that an MBA would be the best path for me.
This summer, I'll be interning at PwC.
A Journey to Advocacy:
I had never been really public in school or in my professional life about being gay. I wanted to do that at Scheller. I didn’t know how it would go. I have been really happy with how accepting the Scheller community has been. I lived in Atlanta before coming to Scheller, so I have my queer friends outside of school. But it is really nice to be accepted at school, even if there are not a lot of queer people at Scheller itself.
I have not worked a lot at being an activist. I never knew a lot about authenticity or how to educate others on how to be a good ally. I think one thing that Courtney has done a good job of is making that the focus of what Scheller Pride does. We educate people and show queer joy. That’s not something I ever knew a lot about. One of the biggest ways I’m trying to challenge myself in this role is to continue working and finding other ways we can spread queer joy.
Focused on the Future:
I want to spend my time being an active part of the recruiting process for queer people. I want to continue the queer webinars and add more recruiting events specific to the LGBTQ+ community.
I also want to do more Sunday brunches. That has been a huge part of my experience being a gay person in Atlanta. It's a very big thing to do Sunday fun day and have a good time beginning the day with brunch. That would be a great way to make our community approachable to different people. Everybody loves brunch!
Christian’s Favorite Scheller Pride Memory:
It was subtle, but my favorite moments happened at the drag show. There were a lot of people there that I didn't expect to see. The president of the Veterans club came. I didn’t expect that. They participated, and they had fun and were happy to be there. I thought it was beautiful to see how people's perspectives can change over time and become more accepting and spread that acceptance to their own communities.