International MBA student, undergrad alumna emphasizes benefit of diversity and inclusion considerations
International MBA candidate Laura Guirau is leading her IMBA cohort to better understand diversity and inclusion ahead of their careers with multinational organizations.
In her second year of the IMBA, Guirau is serving as president for the Moore School’s Student Council for Diversity and Inclusion; she served as a member on the council in her first year.
Guirau, who also graduated from the Moore School in 2016 with degrees in management and marketing and a minor in Spanish, joined the council to better understand students from different backgrounds.
“As a Latina woman, I can only know so much about other communities. Being a part of the council allowed me to learn about others and share that sensitivity with everyone else in my life,” said Guirau, whose parents are originally from Puerto Rico.
She also appreciates her dual role on the council as a current student and undergraduate alumna.
“The council is small and going through a growing phase, so I am hoping to get the council connected with the student organizations dedicated to underrepresented student populations and make the council a safe space to raise concerns and foster a community of affinity groups so that everyone feels at home here,” Guirau said.
Before enrolling in the IMBA program, Guirau worked for multinational tool manufacturer Techtronic Industries in their Seattle market as a field sales and marketing representative and then their Greenville, South Carolina, office as a field sales operations coordinator.
She said she knew even when she was in high school that she would eventually get her MBA; she chose to attend the Moore School to get her International MBA so she could learn how to manage international teams and develop a solid networking relationship with each of her fellow cohort students.
With the IMBA as a two-year program, Guirau knew she could not only get to know and appreciate her classmates’ differing perspectives, but she could also find ways to engage with them on diversity and inclusion and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Companies with strong corporate social responsibility focuses make concentrated efforts to consider sustainability and environmental concerns as well as philanthropic endeavors; CSR initiatives can also include diversity and inclusion considerations.
“I think the biggest thing I tell others and have to remind myself of, is that diversity and inclusion as a concept is not new, even though it may feel like it is. It does take work to be intentionally inclusive and to have the right conversations,” Guirau said.
“Diversity and inclusion are just as much about our outward facing identity as it is about diversity of knowledge and backgrounds. Asking the right questions and being sensitive to others’ experiences is the easiest way to get started. But once we open those doors, it’s important to arm oneself with the right terminologies for sexual, gender, racial and socioeconomic identities to nurture safe spaces.”
Guirau also intends to take her awareness she’s gained about diversity and inclusion into her language immersion experience in Mexico during the spring 2022 semester.
While she minored in Spanish in college, Guirau hopes to enhance her Spanish-speaking skills and get to know Mexican culture while she’s abroad.
“Many aspects of our lives are automatic or habitual, and to be intentionally inclusive, it takes work. However, the more we work on it, and the more we prioritize it, the more we are able to expand our understandings of others and foster empathy,” Guirau said. “Having these conversations also ensures that we are taking everyone’s individual identities into account. Expanding our scope in this way helps us learn and think of creative solutions to life’s many questions.”