News at Smith

“Fearlessly Inclusive”: Spotlight on Smith’s Queer Leadership Accelerator

Apr 16, 2021


April is Pride Month at Smith!

The Diversity and Equity Council’s thought leadership task force spotlights affinity clubs and organizations to bring awareness to the social identities they represent and how these organizations foster societal change.

The Queer Leadership Accelerator (QLA) is a Smith undergraduate affinity organization that strives to create a fearlessly inclusive community for LGBTQ+ students in Smith and beyond, for the purpose of cultivating and equipping LGBTQ+ student leaders for professional excellence. The cohort-style organization founded in fall 2020 engages members of the Smith LGBTQ+ community through skill-building workshops, mentorship programs, guest speaker appearances, and community-building events.

QLA advocates for all members of the LGBTQ+ community through their mission to create an inclusive and educational community within Smith and beyond. The executive board ensures every event is accessible to all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Recently, the service & advocacy committee guided QLA members through the rise of anti-trans legislation and the ways that it can be combated on an individual and organizational level.

To those who are interested in being allies, QLA President Joey Ward says, “Anyone can start by asking us! Smith's commitment to inclusion can start by reinforcing our shared value of curiosity. There is a wealth of resources available for anyone curious about what it means to be queer and navigate a cis hetero-normative world, although they are often only found when sought out. All of our organization's members are committed to these values and are experts in their own lived experience.”

On April 20, 2021, QLA will be co-sponsoring a Drag Bingo event to celebrate Pride Month at Smith! This event is open to all Maryland Smith students, faculty, staff and alumni. We will celebrate and educate attendees on issues relating to queer, gender, and sexual identities in a fun and accessible way. You can RSVP online.

To learn more about the Queer Leadership Accelerator, email Joseph Ward at or Greg Rafal at LGBTQ+ students can also get involved with QLA by filling out this form.

Learn more about Smith's other undergraduate clubs & associations and Office of Diversity Initiatives.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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