Commitment to diversity at Goizueta
In his 1988 Goizueta commencement address, Dean John Robson championed a “tolerance for diversity.” He noted the “ability to work effectively with people of different backgrounds,” as well as the “capacity to objectively integrate and assess the totality of a situation or experience,” as essential to business success.
Alicia E. Sierra, director of diversity and community initiatives for Goizueta, notes that the school has “embarked on an ambitious plan” to ensure a comprehensive approach to diversity, from development of educational programs to recruitment of students, to staff and faculty training, to alliances with outside organizations.
Sierra serves on the Goizueta Diversity Committee, which includes faculty, students, and staff, and she directs the school’s diversity initiatives in a number of key focus areas, including education, communication, recruitment, retention, research, partnership and outreach. Earl Hill, senior lecturer in organization and management, is chair.
Goizueta has alliances with many organizations that promote diversity initiatives, including the Forté Foundation, the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, the Toigo Foundation, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, the National Black MBA Association, and the PhD Project. Goizueta also supports numerous on-campus clubs and resources for leadership development, networking, and mentorship for diverse students and professionals.
Elissa Ellis-Sangster, executive director of the Forté Foundation, which supports women leadership in business, believes that “diversity initiatives are the most successful when schools, organizations, and businesses can work together to leverage their efforts.”
Sierra agrees, noting that the school’s commitment to diversity doesn’t end with recruitment. Courses in cross-cultural business communication, for example, help prepare future business leaders for working in diverse and global business environments.
Anthony J. Phillips 06MBA, global marketing manager-innovation for The Coca-Cola Company, found himself in just such an environment post-graduation. Phillips credits his Goizueta coursework and the school’s diverse student body with helping prepare him for his current role in an international conglomerate. He notes, “My colleagues are from Canada, India, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. It is amazing how culture is a factor in every aspect of our relationships and business practices. Being sensitive to people’s customs, history, and cultural norms gives you the opportunity to not only gain reputation, but to also uncover business opportunities.”
The president of Goizueta’s Graduate Business Association, Jeffrey Davis 10MBA, adds that “we live in a global economy, so it’s imperative to have a diverse perspective.” Davis and Phillips both applied and were selected by Goizueta to be Consortium Fellows. Sierra notes that it is through this type of affiliation with the Consortium, as well as the Forté Foundation, that Goizueta is able to identify the best and brightest diverse students. Davis concludes, “The intention on campus is to advance diverse thought and leadership.”
—Myra A. Thomas