AGSM @ UNSW Business School's Pride @ AGSM Network recently hosted over 100 LGBTIQ+ people and allies in Sydney for the Pride Leadership Symposium on Negotiation and Networking.

“It was a great way to wrap up Sydney World Pride with a coming together of diverse members of the AGSM and LGBTIQ+ community,” says Emily Scott (she/her), Management Consultant, AGSM MBA 2022 and former Director of Pride @ AGSM.

“There was a sense of renewed confidence from participants, a confidence to be brave when negotiating and when reaching out to new connections and mentors.”

Ms Scott says the event was inspired by her visit to the Reaching out MBA (ROMBA) Conference in Washington D.C in October 2022, where she represented AGSM.

The audience included current AGSM @ UNSW Business School students, alumni, people interested in AGSM’s programs and representatives from corporate and community sectors, with representation from organisations such as Apple, Baxter Healthcare, CBA, Macquarie Group, NSW Government, Qantas, Sock Drawer Heroes and Westpac.

What did the Symposium aim to achieve?

The Symposium kicked off with a poetic Welcome to Country by LGBTIQ+ artist Daniel McDonald from the Sydney Local Aboriginal Land Council. The artist, who lives with a hearing impairment, was supported by interpreters, Linda and Bettina.

Todd Sears, CEO of Out Leadership, then shared his career journey from coming out as a teenager, to creating a LGBTIQ+ client-specific business at Merrill Lynch, to becoming Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Credit Suisse, to founding Out Leadership in 2011. Out Leadership seeks to harness the power of business to advance LGBTIQ+ equality worldwide.

A powerful role model for courage and giving back, Todd’s networking skills garnered him a lifetime of mentors and champions to advance his career and Out Leadership’s vision. He also emphasised the importance of resourcing Diversity and Inclusion teams with an appropriate budget, full-time equivalent and a direct reporting line to the CEO.

Next, Noa Sheer, AGSM Adjunct Faculty member and Founder of Sheer Negotiations, led participants through a negotiation masterclass, with a focus on interest-based approaches to negotiation.

The masterclass highlighted that successful negotiation requires:

  • Careful preparation, as negotiation strategy will change for every situation
  • Identifying the other party’s interests, including what they want (tangible and quantifiable), as well as what they need (intangible and unquantifiable)
  • Creative thinking, to expand the bargaining mix and maximise value for all parties involved
  • Active listening, to build trust and genuine connection
  • Regular practice, even starting with friends, partners and children
  • Better self-advocacy, by understanding the unique value you bring to the negotiating table and always identifying a good BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Deal) so that you don’t settle for less than you should
  • Providing agency and choice to the other parties, such as by providing three deal options for the recipient to choose between.

“The goal I have for myself this year is to improve presenting an idea and having it received well,” said Dinesh Mohan, Senior Product Manager at WYDA, current AGSM MBA (Executive) student, after the presentation.

"Noa's masterclass on the interest-based approach with strategies to improve the bargaining mix definitely resonated with me.”

Jarther Taylor, AGSM Adjunct Faculty member and Principal of Jarther+, guided a panel discussion with three LGBTIQ+ sector experts: Anna Brown, CEO, Equality Australia, Lucy Wark, Founder, NORMAL, and Kuan Chia, Head of FCR ANZ Central, Macquarie Group.

Panel members emphasised the importance of building connections in a genuine way, through active listening and taking an interest in the other person’s goals and priorities. They shared the importance of LGBTIQ+ networks and how they have leveraged their own networks throughout their careers.

As a practical takeaway, they identified the need to create a systemic approach to looping back with connections you don’t see often, such as by scheduling a catch-up or simply sharing career opportunities or sector news that they might be interested in.

Participants on the day were awarded a Digital Badge for their involvement, as well as one point towards the AGSM Certificate in Executive Management & Development (CEMD), if they also submitted a post-event reflection.

“The Symposium was a unique opportunity to drive AGSM’s purpose of equipping a new generation of diverse and inclusive leaders to make an impact in an accelerating world,” says Ms Scott.

“The school is a proud champion of LGBTIQ+ communities, with many of our alumni featuring in the Deloitte Outstanding 50 LGBTIQ+ Leader’s list, including Rania Awad, Jarther Taylor and Matt McCarron.”

“Many thanks to our MC Dinesh Mohan and AGSM leaders Claudia Crosariol, Head of Program Operations for AGSM, and Professor Nick Wailes, Senior Deputy Dean, UNSW Business School and Director AGSM, for their support.”

Want to learn more?

Pride@AGSM will continue to provide a range of professional development and networking events for our community. Follow Pride@AGSM LinkedIn page to stay up to date.

If you are interested in further learning opportunities in Negotiation, AGSM offers the following short courses:

AGSM also offers LGBTIQ+ specific Leadership Scholarships for their Full-Time MBA program. These scholarships are the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region.