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2021 Diversity & Inclusion Symposium Spotlights Faculty, Student Leadership, and Alumni

Nov 18, 2021
Event designed to creates space for prospective students to discuss the business case for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

By Lacie Blankenship

In the report “Diversity in Graduate Management Education 2020,” the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) offers a clear explanation of the importance Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) plays now and will play in the future of business education. 

“As companies’ awareness of the strong business case for diversity and inclusion in business leadership continues to expand,” the report notes, “global organizations will look to business schools with increased urgency to deliver greater numbers of business school trained talent to unlock the competitive advantage of diverse and inclusive leadership teams.”

Vanderbilt’s Diversity and Inclusion Symposium, held in early November, recognizes that connection between D&I and business, offering prospective students a variety of programming designed to educate attendees while spotlighting the role that D&I plays at Vanderbilt. 

This year’s symposium consisted of virtual sessions on topics ranging from imposter syndrome to allyship, advocacy, cultural competence, and more. 

Ashley Lomax, Assistant Director of MBA Recruiting and Admissions and Lead Diversity Recruiter

“We want to showcase that it’s a business case to be intentional about belonging, inclusion, and equity by creating space for these discussions,” says Ashley Lomax, Assistant Director of MBA Recruiting and Admissions and Lead Diversity Recruiter.

Attendees were greeted by Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer André Churchwell (BE‘75), Associate Dean of MBA Operations, Sue Oldham (MBA‘93), and Keri Floyd Kelly (EMBA‘13), Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Nissan Motor Corporation.

Session leaders consisted mostly of Vanderbilt Business alumni: Daniel Cortez (MBA‘21), Senior Consultant at Deloitte, Rick Ewing (MBA‘92), Director of Customer Success (Health Sciences) at Oracle Corporation, Carolyn Adkerson (MBA‘14), Vice President at Ellavate Solutions, Danielle Piergallini (MBA‘12) Principal of Global Sales Compensation at LinkedIn. 

Other session leaders include Ann Gillespie (BA‘96), Partner at Culture Shift Team, Adrianna Flax, Senior Director at Culture Shift Team, Rangaraj Ramanujam, Richard M. and Betty Ruth Miller Professor of Management and Professor of Health Policy, and Tim Vogus, Faculty Director of the Leadership Development Program, Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Professor of Management, and Deputy Director of the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation.

“I hope attendees walked away with an understanding that Vanderbilt Business is an inclusive space,” says Lomax. “No matter who you are, what you believe, what you think, you are going to see that we embody an appreciation of differences and that Vanderbilt Business is also a good place to learn about diversity too.” 

The recording of the Diversity and Inclusion Symposium can be accessed here

Prospective students should look for the Vanderbilt Business Women’s Symposium on February 4, 2022.  This event is for prospective MBA students and is especially targeted at individuals interested in learning about the challenges and opportunities facing women in business. Hear firsthand from students and alumni on what life is like as a woman in the Vanderbilt MBA program and in post-MBA careers.  For more information, follow along at Discover Vanderbilt Business.  

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