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Allyship in Action: How One MBA Student Is Inspiring Allyship Through Awareness

Across member schools, Consortium MBAs are working to spark important conversations about diversity and inclusion with their peers to enact meaningful change. One such leader is Alexis Parker.

Now a Consortium alumna, Parker created a workshop during her time as an MBA student, as well as a Consortium liaison, at Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin–Madison. The workshop, titled Allyship in Action, was aimed at preparing her classmates to serve as effective allies in the classroom and beyond.

Parker was originally inspired by the Diversity Theatre session at The Consortium’s Orientation Program & Career Forum (the OP), as well as an Intro to Allyship Training from her summer internship at Microsoft. With a desire to create a similar learning opportunity for her classmates, she worked with her Consortium peers and Wisconsin’s MBA Program Office to develop and facilitate the workshop.

“It came from my desire to dig deeper,” Parker says. “DEI material during my first year was focused on the value proposition and, consequently, was high level. I thought if I were to suggest [a workshop], the topic should be something everyone can relate to and apply to their life. Allyship was a perfect fit.”

The Allyship in Action workshop took place in November 2022 with 40 students and several faculty members in attendance. In one activity, participants were encouraged to stand if they had ever experienced discrimination at school or work, as well as if they had ever been an ally or wished to be an ally.

“The biggest takeaway is that discrimination happens — even to people we see every day,” Parker says. “We then need to ask ourselves, ‘How can I get better at showing up for my classmates?’ Allyship to me is being informed and courageous enough to act on behalf of others.”

Acknowledging how difficult effective allyship can be, Parker says her workshop is focused on the first step of raising awareness. “The expectation isn’t to know everything about everyone,” she says, “but to prompt that first step of asking if someone needs support.”

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