September 18, 2019

Inclusive Leadership Summit

Isenberg School of Management asks students what it means to be an inclusive leader
True to its aspirational spirit, the summit will take place in the brilliant new Isenberg Business Innovation Hub.

In October, the Isenberg School of Management will host a two-day summit for students on how they can be effective in integrating diversity and inclusion practices into business cultures. The summit is the first of its kind at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the first in the Pioneer Valley.

“There are groups that are historically underrepresented in the workplace, inclusion-policy-wise and physical-space-wise,” says Nefertiti Walker, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. “We wanted to address that head-on.”

Two days hold a host of activities. Corporate sponsors such as Wayfair, Dell, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte will have representatives present to interview and conduct group speed-networking sessions with students. A case study competition will challenge participants as to how they would handle a diversity and inclusion issue. The keynote address will be given by Ken Bouyer, director of inclusiveness recruiting in the Americas for Ernst & Young.

Breakout panels will address topics like diversity in technology, the urgency of diversity at all stages of product development, allyship, and creating safe spaces. Panels will be composed of working professionals who are Isenberg School of Management and other UMass Amherst alumni, and moderated by Isenberg faculty who can provide a conceptual framework for how these real problems are worked through in real time, in the real world.

In its first year, the summit is launching with a 350 participant capacity, and will take place in the aspirational new Isenberg Business Innovation Hub. “To do it well the first year, we wanted something that we could wrap our arms around,” comments Walker. “Students who are wowed by some of these things that are happening can take those insights back to their dorms and then into their workplaces.” Diverse work teams with inclusive practices are more likely to be innovative and agile, and achieve better business outcomes, because they can create from multiple points of view that would be invisible otherwise. Sometimes it is a matter, says Walker, of a person asking themselves “How am I aware that I am not seeing things?”

The summit is not just for Isenberg—students from all schools and colleges are invited to register and attend. Students from the School of Engineering and the College of Information and Computer Sciences are especially welcome. All students will receive a certificate of completion they can add to the credentials on their résumé.

“As a leader in business education, Isenberg takes responsibility to act as a catalyst for change that organizations need to be successful,” says Anne P. Massey, Dean of the Isenberg School of Management. “As a demonstration of our values, the Inclusive Leadership Summit will contribute to the success of our students and the organizations that hire them.”