AACSB Blog

Pat Flynn Receives Distinguished Woman Leadership Award

WAME Affinity Group Honors Pat Flynn With Distinguished Woman Leader Award


Posted April 25, 2016 by Christine Apple - Coordinator, Member Engagement - AACSB International

On behalf of the Women Administrators in Management Education (WAME) Affinity Group, AACSB International is honored to highlight the recent installation of the Patricia M. Flynn Distinguished Woman Leader in Business Education Award. In conjunction with the 2016 AACSB International Conference and Annual Meeting, the WAME Affinity Group presented this inaugural award to its namesake, Patricia (Pat) M. Flynn. Pat was one of the first women to be named to a business school deanship and the champion of growing and developing a network of women administrators that now thrives via AACSB’s WAME Affinity Group. In response to receiving this award, Pat said, “I was totally surprised and truly honored to receive the first Distinguished Woman Leader in Business Education Award. Upon hearing the award would be named after me, I was speechless, literally speechless—which is not a term ever used to describe me!”

Pat Flynn was named dean at Bentley University in 1992, a post she served for the following decade. Her deanship began at a time when only five other women held deanships at AACSB member schools. In fact, female deans were so uncommon that Pat started referring to herself as Patricia during those years, as otherwise assumptions were made that she was “Mr. Flynn.” The rarity of a female dean even extended so far that her son, seven years old at the time, took her into his classroom for show-and-tell to explain to his classmates what a dean does.

Pat’s career that followed would transform such assumptions about business school leadership. In partnership with fellow female business school administrators, Pat led the charge to bring gender diversity to the forefront of the conversation among the AACSB membership. She served as an integral player in bringing gender diversity topics to event programming, and championed the need to develop a platform of professional development and networking in order to work toward greater representation and advancement of women in business school leadership positions. Pat was truly a pioneer in building a foundation for women administrators in the business school. Today, her work continues in her ongoing research agenda and her leadership role with the PRME Working Group on Gender Equality. Pat also remains active with AACSB, continuing to coach and mentor her peer women administrators, leading learning opportunities that encourage women to pursue leadership roles in business education, as well as serving as the highly regarded facilitator of the Advisory Council Seminar, a role she has held since 2003.


"WAME’s recognition of the profound contributions of Pat Flynn and those who follow provides the inspiration and direction to move us toward a future of gender equity in business education and the business professions." —Christine Clements


Pat’s hard work and spirit, and that of her fellow women b-school administrators, has been realized in AACSB, as gender diversity in leadership is an important charge for the organization. Female deanships at AACSB member schools are now at 25 percent, up from only 8 percent when the organization started collecting this data in 2000. Facilitating this growth is the key network of women administrators that Pat was instrumental in developing: the Women Administrators in Management Education (WAME) Affinity Group. The WAME Affinity Group serves women administrators in AACSB member schools, including deans, associate deans, assistant deans, program directors, center directors, and academic department chairs. The function of this group is to facilitate networking, communications, and relationship-building among women administrators and to the AACSB International membership. Further, the group facilitates professional and career development opportunities for current and future women administrators and cultivates the growing gender diversity of business school leaders.

AACSB is honored to continue our partnership with the WAME Affinity Group in their sustained efforts to bridge the gap of gender diversity in business schools. It is a timely topic for the organization as we embark on the larger diversity agenda in business and business education, as led by chief diversity and inclusion advocate, Christine Clements. Per Clements, “Diversity and inclusion are core values of AACSB, and the new strategic change agenda promotes initiatives to significantly increase opportunities for business schools to understand, identify, and model best practices in enhancing and sustaining diversity. WAME’s recognition of the profound contributions of Pat Flynn and those who follow provides the inspiration and direction to move us toward a future of gender equity in business education and the business professions.”

The Patricia M. Flynn Distinguished Woman Leader in Business Education Award will be an annual award given to an influential woman in business education. This award will honor a new recipient every spring at a dedicated award ceremony hosted by the WAME Affinity Group in conjunction with AACSB’s International Conference and Annual Meeting.

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