When Tracey Reza took the podium for Babson Posse’s 15th anniversary celebration this past September, she could have pinched herself at her fortune at being in front of this special group.
Eight years prior, she attended her first Babson Posse Plus retreat. Held annually, the retreat is a chance for Babson Posse scholars to invite students, faculty, and staff—called “plussers”—to spend a weekend engaged in lively, deep conversations and activities.
“I remember how excited I was walking into the dining hall that Friday night,” she recalled. That excitement was matched by the retreat experience, centered on the topic, ‘Do we still need to talk about race?’ “The discussions were electrifying. That weekend was so full, and I came home exhausted but feeling so good about our conversations, our connections, and our community.”
Fast forward eight years and Reza, assistant dean for Babson’s Undergraduate School, became Babson’s Posse liaison, taking the reins from former director of Student Financial Services Melissa Shaak. To honor and celebrate the moment, she brought back one of her favorite Babson Posse traditions: the no talent/talent show. Reza led a group of students, alumni, plussers, and friends through a rendition of Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration,” customized for the Babson Posse family.
The song reflected the spirit of the day—there was a lot to celebrate. The continued success of Babson’s Posse Scholars (a 97 percent graduation rate), the renewal of Babson’s contract with the Posse Foundation for another five years, and the 15th anniversary of the Posse program at Babson.
Here, Reza shares why she’s excited to celebrate Babson’s Posse program, and looks ahead at what’s to come during the next five years.
How did you become involved with Babson Posse?
“I was asked to attend the Posse Plus Retreat in 2010, and I was blown away. The hugs, the warmth, the love—I was completely addicted. I had found my people.
“I told myself I never wanted to miss one of those retreats again. I begged and pleaded with Melissa (Shaak) to invite me back. And, I have gone to as many of the weekend retreats as I possibly can. They are so rewarding, inspiring, and hopeful. You come back to campus and have such a bond with everyone who attended. You’re part of a community; you’re a plusser.
“Now, it’s an honor to be the Posse liaison, to connect with our student scholars and the faculty mentors. It fills my cup and it soothes my soul.”
How have Posse scholars shaped Babson?
“Our Posse scholars do so much for our community, our diversity, and our success. They hold us all accountable for what we say and do around diversity and inclusion. They are passionate about helping this community in any way they can, and they make a big difference in everything they do through clubs and in the classroom. They do well and bring others along with them. And, they are our biggest champions.
“Their leadership makes a difference. Now more than ever, we need to be talking about the importance of understanding and respecting differences, of the tremendous value of diversity and inclusion. We need to work for what we value, for what we know is important, and on what we know needs to change.”
Any favorite Posse moments or memories?
“Planning the 15th anniversary celebration is one of them. The committee (including Posse alumnus Shatiek Gatlin ’16, and plusser Jamaal Eversley ’10] spoke every week beginning this spring to prepare the event. We would have planned a five-hour program if we could have—then we could have paid tribute to all the different voices that make Babson Posse so special.
“During the event, the No Talent/Talent show was a highlight. I’ve performed twice before for Posse events with Leo Loyola and Neal Harris. We were joined by Sandra Graham and Edwin Gadasu, an international student from Ghana. We were the band, and we sang ‘Celebration’ with posse-themed lyrics.” By the time the song was over, the entire Chapel audience was dancing and singing along with us. The “Celebration” we had hoped for was very much a reality and involved everyone. It was at that moment that I knew I was in a role that I loved and in which I felt completely supported by the Posse community. I am so excited to be the Posse Liaison and so thankful for the Scholars, the Faculty Mentors and for Babson’s continued commitment to this transformational program. It has truly changed Babson in all the right ways!”