By Lacie Blankenship
Kendall Park, Assistant Professor of Organization Studies, is one of 6 additions to the Vanderbilt Business faculty this academic year, but it isn’t the first time that the Vanderbilt community has been impacted by Park’s persistent curious nature and enthusiasm for learning.
Park obtained her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology at Vanderbilt in 2011. She went on to earn her master’s and doctorate degrees in Sociology at Princeton, where she defended her dissertation “B The change: Social companies, B corps, and benefit corporations,” before returning to Vanderbilt as a Pathways Postdoctoral Fellow in 2018.
Park credits her mom, an investigative journalist, for instilling her with a sense of curiosity and the desire for a deeper understanding.
“I’ve always been intellectually curious; my mom taught me really early on to always ask why and to probe deeper,” she says. “I have applied that curiosity about how the world works indiscriminately, from my undergrad neuroscience focus to sociology at higher levels and now looking at social problems through a business lens.”
Park’s research interests include social issues in management, specifically social and sustainability leadership and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Her work has examined how companies set social and environmental goals and measure progress toward them.
She is currently researching sustainability and diversity leadership, with an aim to better understand how new leadership positions shape corporate performance.
In her new role, Park is excited to continue working with María Triana to investigate diversity and inclusion in corporations and “is looking forward to joining forces with Gabby Lopiano,” another new faculty member with shared interests in diversity and inclusion.
Park notes that the Vanderbilt Business faculty “is always really excited about the kind of work [she] does and is willing to engage in [her] work in a way that folks in other places aren’t.”
Park is also excited to be teaching again. She taught Vanderbilt MBA candidates as a Pathways Fellow and is teaching Organizational Behavior for Vanderbilt undergraduates this year.
“It’s my first time teaching undergrads, and as a former VU undergrad myself, I’m looking forward to teaching them and getting to know them. I’m teaching mostly freshmen, and I find that they tend to be especially open to new ideas,” she says. “I’m really excited about that; quite honestly, it’s the thing that I’ve looked forward to the most for the new year.”