The Impact of Being a Female Dean at a Business School

March 2016

Christine Clements: How has your being a female impacted your experience as a business dean?

Sarah Gardial: It has and it hasn't, in a sense. I do feel like I've had incredible opportunities that have continued to open up to me throughout my career. I don't feel like I have hit those proverbial glass ceilings, so to speak.

The opportunities have been there, but I do think that it's been really important that the mentoring has occurred for me, that other women have reached out to me. Frankly, that I've reached out to other women and created the networking to tap into the wisdom of other women who are out there ahead of me. There's been an intentionality around moving forward, that maybe other people have had for me, that I've also had to have for myself as I move forward. The opportunities have been there, but definitely, I've had to learn how to position myself for them.

I don't get up in the morning and say, "Boy, I'm a woman dean. What do I do this morning?" I also do understand, because people tell me all the time, that it's very important for other people to see me being a dean.

To see me being a female dean is very important to students. It's important to faculty, it's important to other people on the campus, even people in industry. I hear that a lot. It makes me conscious of that role.

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