News at Smith

In New Role, MBA Student Keeps a Focus on Diversity, Inclusion

Sep 24, 2020

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Jasmine Snead holding Aurora Tights

Jasmine Snead understands that prioritizing diversity and inclusion can help people “feel more heard,” especially in times of anguish.

As vice president of Inclusion and Professional Development of the MBA Association (MBAA), Snead, an FTMBA/MPP student, is currently leading efforts within Maryland Smith’s MBA programs to promote diversity and inclusion in all aspects of business school life. “We are all going to encounter someone from a different background than us, and we want to facilitate healthy communication and discourse for when that happens,” Snead said.

The first to ever hold the position of VP of Inclusion and Professional Development for the MBAA, Snead hit the ground running by working with the MBAA and Victor Mullins, diversity officer and associate dean for undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, to plan a moment of silence to reflect on the death of George Floyd and to reflect on other recent events related to police brutality.

“We have such a diverse community [at Maryland Smith],” Snead said, “and it was a time to take a pause and reflect as a Smith community.”

During the Zoom event, Snead and about 50 other students shared their own experiences with police brutality. “I was optimistic to see so many people in the Smith community come together in such a short time frame,” Snead said.

Snead said she wanted to let new MBA students know how important diversity and inclusion are to the Maryland Smith community.

On the first day of the virtual FTMBA orientation, she and Mullins facilitated a diversity and inclusion virtual seminar. As part of the event, students were given an identity template, on which they were asked to list eight identities that are important to them. The students were then broken into smaller groups to further discuss these identities and the impact they’ve had on their lives. Finally, they came together to create a shared value statement for the class of 2022. “We wanted to start a conversation early on with new students, and foster a safe and inclusive environment at Maryland Smith,” Snead explained.

As it relates to the future of diversity and inclusion work at Maryland Smith, Snead is far from short on ideas.

“We have organized small student-led group reflection sessions to encourage discussion and reflection,” she explained. Topics range from imposter syndrome to privilege and allyship, and are open to all current MBA students. Additionally, Snead is currently on the Diversity and Empowerment Council (DEC), a committee of Smith student leaders that function as an engine for sustained growth of diversity within the Smith School of Business. Snead currently serves on the Voting Education and Awareness Committee. She serves on the Voting Education and Awareness Committee.

Over the summer, Snead co-led the Smith Speaks series, an initiative that is focused on encouraging the greater Smith community (faculty, staff, students and alumni) to share their personal experiences with power, privilege, microaggressions, systematic oppressions, among other topics related to diversity and empowerment. Stories are being collected on an ongoing basis and members of the Smith community wishing to share their stories can do so on the “Smith Speaks” Interest Form. “I’m [also] going to be incorporating DEI updates, resources, and articles that promote thought leadership in the weekly MBA newsletter as well,” Snead added.

With all of the diversity and inclusion initiatives at Maryland Smith, Snead said, the goal is to “make diversity and inclusion available to all,” and to create a safe space that allows all current and future Maryland Smith students to enjoy their experience and learn from each other.

For more about Snead, please read Skater Makes Her Mark in Full Color.

–By Laura Hayes. Hayes is a 2022 MBA candidate and a Forté and Smith Fellow. Originally from Gaithersburg, Md., Hayes worked in marketing roles for four years in the financial services industry before coming to Maryland Smith.

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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