04 Mar 2020

Female Faculty Leading the Way on International Women's Day


In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, Harvard Business School presents Cold Call podcast episodes from the past year featuring female faculty members talking about ocean preservation in the face of climate change, investing in women and other underestimated founders, weighing growth against company culture, serving meals to millions with zero resources, instituting a policy of blameless reporting, the impact investing efforts of Japan’s government pension fund, how to tell a story with your Superbowl ad, and a social media platform allowing professionals to connect anonymously.

Following a successful career in finance, Torsten Thiele has devoted himself full-time to the challenging cause of ocean conservation and stewardship, which led him to start the Global Ocean Trust. Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter discusses themes from her new book, “Think Outside the Building,” as she and Thiele explore how changing the narrative is imperative when looking for ways to solve big problems. This episode is based off of the case “Torsten Thiele and the Global Ocean Trust."

Harvard Business School professor Laura Huang, whose new book “Edge” explores methods for turning adversity into professional advantage, is joined by Venture Capitalist Arlan Hamilton to discuss her strategy of backing entrepreneurs who have been ignored because of stereotypes, biases, and preconceptions. This episode is based off Huang and Sarah Mehta’s case, “Arlan Hamilton and Backstage Capital.”

Mexican convenience store chain OXXO dominated its market — until its chief rival doubled in size almost overnight. Harvard Business School professor Tatiana Sandino discusses how CEO Eduardo Padilla responded by creating an agile organization based on a team culture and strong management systems in her case, “OXXO’s Turf War Against Extra.”

In 2014, Neel Ghose (MBA 2019) created The Robin Hood Army, an organization entirely based on volunteer work that used food redistribution as a medium to bring out the best in humanity. By the end of 2018, the Robin Hood Army was present in twelve countries, was serving over 500,000 meals per month, and had helped more than 750 children enroll in public schools. All of it without raising a single rupee, in line with their “golden rule” of being a zero-funds organization. Harvard Business School’s Susanna Gallani and Ghose discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with fast growth and international expansion of a startup that operates with no monetary assets, including how to attract, retain, and motivate workers.

Children’s Hospital & Clinics COO Julie Morath sets out to change the culture there by instituting “Blameless Reporting,” a policy which mandates that employees report anything that goes wrong or seems substandard without fear of reprisal for the act of reporting. Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson discusses getting an organization into the “High Performance Zone” by creating an environment of psychological safety and high accountability in her case, “Children’s Hospital & Clinics.”

Harvard Business School professors Rebecca Henderson and George Serafeim discuss the efforts of Hiro Mizuno, CIO of GPIF, the Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund, one of the largest pools of capital in the world, to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues into every aspect of GPIF’s portfolio. Mizuno believed the only way to meet his responsibilities to his beneficiaries was to improve the performance of the entire economy by improving corporate governance, increasing inclusion and gender diversity, and reducing environmental damage from climate change. But, would it be enough to change the world? Should a pension fund even try to change the world? Henderson and Serafeim discuss these questions and more in their case, “Should a Pension Fund Try to Change the World? Inside GPIF’s Embrace of ESG.”

Much of the advertising purchased during the Super Bowl is about selling corporate brands rather than products. Harvard Business School professor Shelle Santana discusses her case, “Super Bowl Storytelling” (co-author: Jill Avery), regarding the art of storytelling on the world’s biggest television stage. Which stories win (or fumble) on game day?

Fishbowl’s founders have built a social media platform allowing professionals to connect anonymously and with candor within their companies and industry. But the app is still largely limited to the consulting industry. Can they extend the app into other sectors? What’s the winning business model? Will adding employers to the mix pay off or kill the value? Harvard Business School professor Leslie John discusses her case study exploring the boundaries of social media and personal privacy, entitled “Fishbowl.”

Listen to more Cold Call episodes with women leading the conversation.

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