Tag: DEI

Kate Hogan, MBA

Riley Hawkins and Kate Hogan, both MBA ’22, are co-presidents of Olin Women in Business and wrote this for the Olin Blog.

Transparency in the hiring process, publicly stated hiring goals, intentional mentoring efforts and externally reported accountability are key components to promoting a workplace that supports and promotes women, according to panelists in a recent event sponsored by Olin Women in Business and Anheuser Busch’s internal organization, Women in Beer.

The joint event, staged in honor of Women’s History Month, was entitled “What does it mean to be a feminist at work?” and hosted virtually on March 10.

The panel was moderated by Nidhi Kandari, MBA ’21, and included Karen Bedell, Center for Experiential Learning practicum and board fellows program director; Abbey Bethel, director, BSC Logistics–East Region IM, Anheuser-Busch; Ashley Macrander, associate dean and director of graduate student affairs; and Jennifer Logan, senior director, planning and performance management at Anheuser-Busch.

Clockwise from top left: Bedell, Bethel, Macrander, Logan, Kandari.

The event sparked interesting dialogues with emerging themes of accountability, inclusion and mentorship.

In regard to accountability, the panel discussed ways to ensure organizations are held to a high standard. For example, making hiring numbers publicly available helps to move the needle in terms of how quickly the candidate pool diversifies.

In addition, companies that make public commitments to hire more diverse candidates are more likely to end up doing so. Designating someone who challenges potential bias in interviewing—a “bias breaker”—is another way to ensure companies are held to their commitments of hiring more diverse candidates.

However, hiring diverse candidates isn’t enough. The panel shared valuable insights on the importance of inclusion. Without true inclusion, diverse candidates tend to have high turnover because they feel alienated. Companies and managers need to create an environment where people are comfortable and are able to be themselves once hired.

Finally, the panel spent time talking about a topic that’s especially important to emerging women business leaders: mentorship. Studies have shown that people with mentors are more likely to receive promotions, which makes mentorship a great tool to level the playing field for women. Panelists reminded attendees that mentorship is a two-way street, so mentees should think about how they can add value to their mentor and rise together.

One event participant asked how to find a mentor without conveying that she was needy or obnoxious.

“It’s an honor to be a mentor, so don’t feel like you’re burdening someone by asking them to start a mentorship chat,” Jennifer Logan said. “It means you like their work and it’s a compliment.”

Giving some final words of advice, Macrander said, “Strong teams are magnets for talent, so make sure you’re part of a team where there is trust and vulnerability and everybody knows your value.”

Stop Asian hate protest image. Photo via Shutterstock

This message to members of the WashU Olin community was sent by Dean Mark P. Taylor and the members of the SMP Council and the Olin East and Southeast Asia Club.

Dear Olin faculty, staff and students:

We write to you today from a place of both sadness and anger in response to continued acts of bigotry and hatred that have divided our nation over the past year. The violence committed in Atlanta this week, as well as all acts of discrimination and violence inflicted upon members of the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are unacceptable.

These acts stand in direct contradiction with Olin’s values of diversity, collaboration, integrity, excellence and leadership. We stand in solidarity with you, walking on the path forward together.

These events are another painful reminder that we must continue to work to create an inclusive community that values and respects our Asian community members.

Below, please find a list of a few campus spaces where you can begin or continue the work of crafting the inclusive community we all desire—one where we all can live, work, grow and thrive. To create that community, it is imperative that we each rise to the challenge of becoming allies in this work.

If you feel uneasy or worried about the recent uptick in violence against the Asian community, in addition to Olin’s undergraduate and graduate student affairs teams you can seek mental health resources at the Habif Wellness Center. Faculty and staff Mental Health Resources are also available.

This work isn’t abstract for us within the Olin community. As you can see from this story in The New York Times, the consequences of this hatred hit very close to home. Jason Wang is a 2009 BSBA from Olin. We are called to respond. This is who we are. These are our colleagues. These are our classmates, our friends, our family. This is Olin.

Photo above via Shutterstock.

Adrienne Davis

The WashU community is extremely fortunate to have in our midst a leading thinker, teacher, practitioner and scholar focused on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Now, that leader, Adrienne Davis, has joined the WashU Olin faculty as a professor of organizational behavior and leadership.

Adrienne’s joint appointment at Olin—in addition to her existing post as the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law—became effective on January 1. She will split her time between Olin and the law school, and she continues as co-director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity, which she founded last year. More on that in a moment.

“I’m excited to take my institutional work over the last decade and pursue research into how diversity can be best implemented across different sectors,” said Adrienne, whose appointment is one-third with Olin and two-thirds with the law school. “I’m especially interested in diagnosing the distinct challenges of diversity in higher education.”

While I also know Adrienne is eager to get back into the classroom, that will wait while she completes a one-year leave—and a book she’s been working on. She’ll begin to teach Olin classes in the 2022-23 academic year, but I expect we will see her around campus—virtually, these days—while she continues her research.

Hitting the ground running

Indeed, she has already contributed profoundly to the Olin community through her insight and guidance on the DEI strategic plan task force I appointed last summer.

I’m gratified by the reception she’s already received from the faculty.

“Adrienne brings a depth of experience in the leadership arena as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Hillary Anger Elfenbein, chair of the organizational behavior area among the faculty. “She complements the research areas within the organizational behavior group. We are delighted to welcome her.”

I feel a sense of anticipation for what fertile new areas of inquiry await Adrienne and our existing faculty.

“I’m so impressed with Olin and with the OB team,” she said. “This will be a really wonderful place to learn a new mode of sharing my research—and sharing it with a different domain and audience.”

This is an exciting next step for both Olin and Adrienne, as she transitions from the administrative role she’s held for a decade as vice provost for the university. Among her many accomplishments in that role, Adrienne helped increase the number of Black tenured and tenure-track faculty on the Danforth Campus, and the percentage of underrepresented faculty of color among tenured and tenure-track faculty. She also designed a series of faculty development and leadership programs that have been producing outstanding new leaders, not only here at Washington University, but nationally.

Returning to her first love

At former Chancellor Mark Wrighton’s behest, former Provost Ed Macias appointed her for a two-year term in that role—and she stayed eight years beyond the appointment. “I’m a legal scholar and lawyer at heart,” she said. “It was exciting to test my research in critical race theory and feminism in the real world to see if they could drive meaningful institutional change. Now I’m excited to get back to my research and teaching full-time.”

And speaking of research, as I mentioned earlier, Adrienne continues in her role as co-director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity, which she founded and launched last year. The center is a forum for research collaborations across campus to study how race and ethnicity are integral to the most complex and challenging issues of our time.

“The nation is at a turning point in rethinking racial justice,” she said. “Many firms and other organizations are on the front lines of this. I’m delighted that I’ll have a role at Olin to lead these new conversations—and I know the business school can be a leading laboratory and incubator for this work.”

On a personal level, I’m also grateful for Adrienne’s willingness to be my special advisor on these issues as Olin builds and implements a strategic plan that allows our community to fully live into its stated values.

As we begin the semester, I want to update you on the work of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, appointed in the summer of 2020 and charged with guiding us toward a DEI strategic plan for WashU Olin. The task force, comprised of staff, students and faculty within the business school as well as subject matter experts from other parts of the university, concluded its work recently.

The task force focused on developing Olin’s strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion and the relevant audiences, high-level strategies, and measurement requirements.

In the process, the task force identified a variety of short-term goals among these high-level initiatives—goals that the task force expects to be tackled in the first year. These include:

In relation to the student population

  • Infuse our commitment to diversity in what we teach, why we develop tomorrow’s business leaders, and how we facilitate the classroom experience (i.e., putting into practice Olin’s commitment to diversity as a core value by making it tangible).
  • Engage students to provide more input on DEI and create more feedback loops to gauge/track impact from their perspective.
  • Build greater access into the school by evaluating and revising our financial/scholarship criteria; enhancing the pipeline through expanded outreach; attracting more local/domestic students; providing more support for first-generation undergraduates and graduates.
  • Establish affinity groups at the undergraduate level (similar to our graduate level offerings).

In relation to faculty

  • Review and enhance hiring processes to recruit Black, Latinx and other underrepresented faculty of color.
  • Set clear expectations and develop DEI standards, policies and practices specific to faculty.
  • Develop incentives, consequences, and mechanisms to foster accountability.
    Strengthen retention of diverse faculty.

In relation to staff

  • Review and enhance hiring processes to recruit Black, Latinx and other underrepresented staff of color.
  • Set clear expectations and develop DEI standards, policies and practices specific to staff.
  • Develop incentives, consequences and mechanisms to foster accountability among staff.
  • Create a lifecycle for DEI (from hire to exit).

In relation to alumni and the business community

  • Get alumni DEI input (e.g., establish an advisory council).
  • Develop a database (or filter) of diverse alumni.
  • Develop ongoing communication (i.e., the why, the value of DEI, etc.) to our alumni.
  • Open CEL to small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color.
  • Open Small Business Initiative to graduate-level students.

For the school overall

  • Form the governance structure (responsibilities, funding/budget, etc.) to ensure accountability for this DEI strategic plan.
  • Conduct semi-annual climate survey of students/faculty/staff to assess impact and gather stakeholder input for annual planning.
  • Conduct ongoing DEI training and development (i.e., in diversity and inclusion, cultural competency, racial sensitivity, bias, etc.).
  • Develop a consistent and transparent communication plan.
  • Formalize annual DEI planning cycle, implementation and progress tracking.

The plan also includes several long-term initiatives and goals, which will be addressed with urgency. I have appointed champions in each goal area to develop action plans (with specific initiatives and tactics) that will move us toward fulfilling the priorities outlined by the task force. The plan champions are listed at the bottom of this note. I will continue to lead this process directly, and the work of our team begins immediately.

We intend to develop action plans by the end of the first quarter. However, I want to be clear that we are prioritizing the need for sustainable change. We want to allow time to get feedback on our plans and distill that feedback.

Finally, I also want you to know that the search process for a new associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion is underway. When I have more details, I will be certain to pass them along.

Thank you for your attention to this process. I appreciate the feedback our students, staff, faculty and alumni have shared with me. I am also deeply grateful for the work of each member of the task force. I take this process seriously, and I am determined to see it through toward a clear, tangible and actionable plan for improvement.

DEI strategic plan champions

Student initiatives

  • Ashley Macrander, associate dean and director of graduate programs student affairs
  • Paige LaRose, associate dean of undergraduate programs
  • Ohad Kadan, H. Frederick Hagemann Jr. Professor of Finance and vice dean for education and globalization
  • Jessica Hatch, associate director of doctoral admissions and student affairs

Faculty initiatives

  • Todd Milbourn, Hubert C. & Dorothy R. Moog Professor of Finance and vice dean of faculty and research 

Staff initiatives

  • Jacqueline Carter Slack, diversity and inclusion program manager
  • Jessica Roberts Martin, senior associate dean and chief of staff

Alumni/corporate relations initiatives

  • Paula Crews, associate dean and director of marketing and communications
  • Jen Whitten, associate dean and director of the Weston Career Center
  • Dorothy Kittner, associate dean and director of corporate relations

Bryanna Brown

Bryanna Brown, MBA ’22, wrote this blog post. At Olin’s Diversity and Women’s Weekend, she spoke as a fellow with the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management during the session “Infusing Your Story into the Application Process.”

For a prospective MBA candidate, interacting with the faculty, staff and students can be a pivotal opportunity when deciding if an MBA program is the right fit. In November 2019, I was a prospective student at Olin’s Diversity and Women’s Weekend, seeing the culture of Olin up close and personal. This experience truly gave me a window into what life at Olin would be like as an MBA candidate. 

In 2020, Olin was tasked with producing the same window for prospective students through a virtual experience. Where missteps could have been made, the Olin admissions staff went above and beyond to ensure each interaction, session and detail was rooted in excellence.

From sending personalized boxes to participants, to choosing a virtual conference platform that allowed for unique tags, to even starting the day with yoga, the Diversity and Women’s Weekend committee prioritized details that were specific to the tailored experience a prospective student would receive at Olin. 

As I reflect back on how it felt to be a part of Olin’s first virtual Diversity and Women’s Weekend in December, I recognized four key takeaways. It was apparent throughout the weekend that Olin does the following: 

Prepares MBAs for a truly global career.

The weekend started with second-year MBAs students Tyler Edwards, Kendra Kelly and Ellen Kenzora speaking to being a part of the first entire cohort to experience the Global Immersion in the “Globally Minded and Culturally Fluent in 39 Days” session. The session reiterated Olin’s commitment to global education. 

Champions intentional identity work.

The “Understanding Bias + How It Can Influence Your Perspective” session led by Tabari Coleman, director of professional development at the Anti-Defamation League, highlighted the nature of inherent bias and how to continuously use self-reflection as a point of growth professionally and personally.   

Supports prospective students holistically.

The “Infusing Your Story into the Application Process” session provided insight into how admission and membership decisions are made. Prospective students heard from a wide range of student representatives from Olin’s partnership organizations, like the Consortium at Olin and Olin Reaching Out MBA, who described first-hand experiences and gave helpful hints to craft the strongest story in an application.

Centers community at every stage of your MBA journey.

The strong Olin alumni voice from Brenna Humphries, Molly Goldstein, Cambrie Nelson, Gheremey Edwards and Oscar Vasco in “Stories from the Past that Inform Our Future” solidified that students at Olin are proud, active participants during and after their two years in the MBA program.