Time is running out! Have you reserved your tickets to our annual awards night yet?
Did you think you'd be where you are today, 20 years ago?
I am in my “dream job” that I thought I would never get because I don’t have a PhD! Twenty years ago I was launching new ventures for the Los Angeles Times. I had always been interested in academia; I had been recruited by Harvard to enter their doctoral program upon getting my MBA, but with a mountain of debt, I turned to a corporate career instead. You never know! The business school world changed dramatically in 20 years; many schools are now looking to hire “Corporate Deans.” Ironically, it is my corporate and start-up background that got me the job as Dean!
How do you feel you uphold the three Watermark pillars: Connect, Develop and Advocate?
I first became aware of the work of Watermark as Executive Director of Corporate Relations at UC Davis' Graduate School of Management. I subsequently became a member, and have also written a blog for Watermark entitled "Binders Full of…..Black Women" about my experiences in corporate America and academia as a woman of color. I have a particular interest in getting more women involved in Watermark, and have recommended the organization to many women, who have since become members.
My mission is to develop all women in their own careers. As one of just a handful of women business school deans in the U.S., I see my role as being an attainable example for what is possible for women. I spend time developing many women, including my students, junior faculty, women in my alumni network and even international women in my work with Hillary Clinton's Women in Public Service Project. And, yes, Watermark women as well.
As the dean of the largest business school in the region (6,000 students and over 130 faculty) where 55 percent of the graduate students are women, the development of future women leaders is not just a side goal, but is inherent in what we do every day. My job is to develop leaders who look like the population of the region, the state and the world. I have also made it my mission to develop female faculty members by appointing them to key College and Campus leadership committees, offering them opportunities for visibility, supporting their research and scholarly activities and even in my Associate Dean appointments. I also advocate for women's leadership development in the community by serving on the board of Solomon Leadership Foundation (Launching Women's Leadership program) and teaching leadership annually for Leadership San Ramon Valley.
Linda has a long and accomplished history as a business executive and academic leader. She has developed more than 30 business ventures from the ground up, most recently as co-founder of BriteSmile, a system of teeth whitening spas that reached a market capitalization of $150 million in just four years. She led the monetization of LATimes.com and managed acquisitions and startups for the Walt Disney Company, including Discover Magazine and The Disney Stores.
Linda previously worked at the Davis Graduate School of Management, where she directed corporate relations and business development for the Bay Area and served as Chief Diversity Officer. At UC Davis, Linda increased enrollment in the Bay Area Working Professional MBA program and developed a diversity initiative that led to a dramatic increase in African-American student enrollment in one year.
Linda has also been a business instructor and lecturer at San Diego State University, UC Davis, Northwestern and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She received her undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and her MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.