February is Black History Month, and at Goizueta we celebrate our trailblazers who have made and continue to make a huge impact on our community. A trailblazer is a pioneer, an innovator. It is someone who makes a new track and leaves a more manageable path for others. We honor Goizueta trailblazers who have left their mark, pushing for growth and opportunity in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“Our history is illuminating,” says Jill Perry-Smith, senior associate dean of strategic initiatives. Perry-Smith is charged with leading the school’s DEI strategies and notes, “It is important to recognize trailblazers and have an opportunity to think through the events of the country and world as they collide with our local history.”
In recognition of our journey, Goizueta created Black History at Goizueta, a timeline of significant milestones throughout our institution’s history. In 2020, Goizueta launched the Common Read program, providing a forum for self-education and a safe space for honest dialogue for those seeking to be allies. Last fall, Goizueta launched the Peachtree Minority Venture Fund through The Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation—a million-dollar venture capital fund focused on underrepresented minority founders. In December, Goizueta announced the addition of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion concentration for Full-Time MBA programs. And earlier this year, Goizueta announced the winners of the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case competition, engaging leading students to examine how companies can address racial injustice within their organizations.
As Trailblazer Nsombi Ricketts 06MBA has said, “I’m impressed by how the school has embraced diversity in a way we were fighting for when we were students. It’s rewarding to see DEI being prioritized.” Ricketts came to Goizueta through the Consortium, a partner organization that awards merit-based, full-tuition fellowships to top MBA candidates to reduce the underrepresentation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans at member schools and institutions.
Meet Some of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Trailblazers
Late last year, Goizueta spoke with influential individuals for whom advancing equity and inclusion is paramount.
- Erika H. James was not only Goizueta Business School’s first African American dean, but she was also the first female African American to serve as dean of a top-25 business school.
- Shan Cooper 95MBA, Fortune 500 executive and the first student to be named as an Emory Board of Trustees Member.
- Bill Carr 94MBA, former Amazon executive and donor for the Michael H. Lee Scholarship.
- W. Curt Hunter, Goizueta’s first African American faculty member, a finance professor who served from 1980-1995.
- Willie Sullivan 21MBA, founder of the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition.
- Nsombi Ricketts 06MBA, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion executive and founder of the student-run Diverse Leadership Conference.
Wesley Longhofer, Goizueta Foundation Term Associate Professor of Organization & Management and executive academic director of The Roberto C. Goizueta Business & Society Institute, noted, “As an institute, we do not claim to have all the answers facing business and society; rather we want to be a catalyst for asking the right kinds of questions.”
Through strategic, structural, and sustainable action, we commit to expanding cultural knowledge, reflecting the broader society, and improving equity in business. At Goizueta, diversity is a commitment to nurture and challenge the unique perspectives that will shape the future of business. It’s a commitment to innovate in traditional fields and embrace emerging insights. It is the foundation of our intentions and actions. It is one of the core values by which we lead. Learn more.