Cold Call: Black Business Leaders Series
Updated weekly, this special series features faculty discussing cases with Black business leaders and issues of racial equity and diversity at the forefront.
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29 Jan 2021  

February 2: Using Empathy and Curiosity to Overcome Differences

Bill Riddick, an African-American community leader and counselor, must find a way to bridge the divide between Black and white community leaders, who are on opposing sides of school integration in Durham, North Carolina, in 1971. Harvard Business School professors Francesca Gino and Jeffrey Huizinga explain how empathy and curiosity can foster understanding in divisive situations in their case, “Bill Riddick and the Durham S.O.S. Charrette.”

February 9: Developing Resilience on the Path to Becoming a CEO

As a Black female CEO, Shellye Archambeau is no stranger to adversity. Now she faces her most critical leadership decision. The software company she leads, MetricStream, is losing customers, hemorrhaging cash, and struggling to make payroll. Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley discusses Archambeau’s leadership style and the importance of developing resilience, particularly when managing through a crisis, in her case, “Shellye Archambeau: Becoming a CEO.”

February 16: Fostering Authenticity and Employee Engagement at John Deere

As the first Black female factory manager to lead a John Deere plant, Rosalind Fox must figure out how to build relationships with her staff, who are mostly white men. Harvard Business School senior lecturer Tony Mayo discusses the pressure on Fox to assimilate into the dominant culture, her decision to lean into her authentic self, and the deep connection between employee engagement and authenticity in his case, “Rosalind Fox at John Deere.”

February 23: Examining Race and Mass Incarceration in the United States

The late 20th century saw dramatic growth in incarceration rates in the United States. Of the more than 2.3 million people in US prisons, jails, and detention centers in 2020, 60 percent were Black or Latinx. Harvard Business School assistant professor Reshmaan Hussam probes the assumptions underlying the current prison system, with its huge racial disparities, and considers what could be done to address the crisis of the American criminal justice system in her case, “Race and Mass Incarceration in the United States.”

March 2: Can Historic Social Injustices be Addressed Through Reparations?

Survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre and their descendants believe historic social injustices should be addressed through reparations. Professor Mihir Desai discusses the arguments for and against reparations in response to the Tulsa Massacre and, more broadly, to the effects of slavery and racist government policies in the U.S. in his case, “The Tulsa Massacre and the Call for Reparations.”

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