Top News / October 1, 2014

Equity, Inclusion and Turbocharged Innovation

Dean Alex Triantis

Conversations about gender in the workplace often focus on equity, inclusion, dignity and justice. All are worthy goals fundamental to quality of life. But I would add another word to the mix: Innovation.

Something powerful happens when people step outside their comfort zones and confront new perspectives. Patterns get broken, risks get taken and problems get solved.

Women bring this creative tension to the workplace, especially as they climb the ranks in traditionally male-dominated industries.

On one level, the benefits come as a matter of simple math. The odds of unleashing genius double when economies include both women and men.

“Human potential is the only limitless resource we have,” says former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, MBA ’80 (see story). “If we do not fully tap human potential, then we do not solve our problems. And women are the most underutilized resource in the world.”

Beyond the force of numbers, Fiorina and others understand that the real driver of innovation comes from the added diversity that women bring to the workplace.

Women already have shown the impact they can have as they overcome barriers. In the coming years, when more women push through into senior leadership roles, we will see a transformation of companies, communities and corporate cultures.

Business schools can help drive the transformation. This is why we exist — to impact companies by developing talent and providing thought leadership.

The first step is to close the gender enrollment gap that persists at business schools. Then we must deliver the knowledge, experiences and connections that women need to succeed.

The Smith School takes these obligations seriously. With special events, networking and mentoring opportunities designed specifically for our women students, faculty, staff and alumni, we are providing the extra momentum for women to compete and contribute.

The result will be turbocharged innovation. I look forward to seeing you and continuing the conversation Oct. 9-11, 2014, at the MBA Women International Conference and Career Fair in Washington, D.C.



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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 flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business 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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