Bryan Blaise was 25 years old the first time he truly felt the sting of discrimination. Calling conservative and religious Central Florida home, he had largely survived years of bullying for his being different thanks to the inherent privileges of being a white, Christian male in the South. Yet out and serving as a volunteer at Chicago’s Willow Creek church, suddenly even those unearned privileges could not keep him from being marginalized to the back pews. While he had worked tirelessly since coming out to help his family, heterosexual communities and LGBTQ friends understand his reconciled faith and innate sexuality, this transformative event opened Bryan’s eyes to the urgent need for greater inclusivity and equality within all organizations. With a deeper understanding of what colleagues of different races, gender and gender expression had experienced for years, Bryan narrowed his career and civic efforts to building bridges between opposing communities – joining the us and the others. Bryan’s journey led him to expand the membership and mission of Urban Village Church and The Marin Foundation in Chicago.
Bryan studied global leadership and management at Columbia Business School, with a research concentration on organizational change and intersectional inclusivity models. He was an active leader of the school’s leadership and LGBTQ clubs, the latter of which boasts more than 400 straight allies. With his MBA and passion for social justice, Bryan plans to help organizations structure greater inclusivity and equity into their operations, while advancing the opportunities of all marginalized groups.