30 Mar 2021

Racial Equity Related Stories from Winter 2021


The Action Plan for Racial Equity, announced in the fall of 2020, outlines a series of steps Harvard Business School will take to advance racial equity within the School and to educate leaders who advance racial equity in other organizations. In the spirit of holding ourselves accountable to meaningful, measurable progress, we are writing—following an especially active and engaging calendar of activities to mark Black History Month—to share an update on recent research, course development, and other efforts across the School.

Here are selected activities.

  • The African-American Student Union (AASU) hosted its 48th annual conference, "Elevate: Uplifting Black Leadership for an Equitable Future," featuring a remarkable agenda of Black women leaders, the Black Tech Masters series, and the Black New Venture Competition. See the program here and read a summary article by Shona Simkin.
  • The Cold Call podcast series with Brian Kenny hosted faculty members discussing four cases—Bill Riddick and the Durham S.O.S. Charrette (Francesca Gino), Shellye Archambeau: Becoming a CEO (Tsedal Neeley), Rosalind Fox at John Deere (Tony Mayo), and Examining Race and Mass Incarceration in the United States (Reshma Hussam)— featuring Black business leaders and issues of racial equity and diversity.
  • On the centennial of the Tulsa Massacre, Professor Mihir Desai released a new case (including a widely available multimedia case), “The Tulsa Massacre and the Call for Reparations,” featuring Oklahoma State Representative Regina Goodwin—a descendant of massacre survivors—as the protagonist. The case asks students and business leaders to consider the arguments for and against reparations and the role of business in responding to racial injustice.
  • The Managing Diversity series featured Professor Desai discussing the Tulsa Massacre case and Professor Nancy Koehn sharing a case in process on the late Congressman John Lewis and the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s, “A Conversation about John Lewis and the Civil Rights Movement.”
  • Speaking of John Lewis, a team of MBA students took part in an inaugural case competition honoring the civil rights icon. The first case competition focusing on the intersection of business and racial inequality featured over 100 teams from more than 50 universities. Two HBS teams were named semi-finalists, with one—Team Jedi, made up of MBA 2022 students Angel Wang, Ashley McCray, William Fields, Bailey Wilton, and Olutosin (Tosin) Sonuyi—taking home the audience award.
  • Outgoing AASU Co-Presidents Bukie Adebo (MBA 2021) and Alexis Jackson (MBA 2021) looked back on a challenging year like no other, reflecting on how 2020 affected their term, highlights from their time as co-presidents, and their advice for the next AASU presidents and all of HBS.
  • HBSAAA in 2021: Revitalized, Restructured, and Making a Difference,” looked at how the HBS Black community and the African-American Alumni Association (HBSAAA) pivoted after last summer when the racial protests and unrest surrounding the murder of George Floyd unfolded across the world. A new community engagement task force was deployed to create a vision, resulting in a three-pronged approach to address the persistent barriers to Black wealth growth.

We've also created a new website, Advancing Racial Equity, that is the go-to resource for content and updates relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It includes news and commentary, data and resources, and the School's Action Plan for Racial Equity.

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