“If students know this is a space where they are free to be who they are, they will be empowered to question everything, harness the power of innovation and know they have our support to push them towards the real their potential,” said Boyd, the new dean of the VCU Business School.
The four-story, 145,000-square-foot building, which opened in 2008, is an incredible space capable of educating the next generation of innovative business leaders, Boyd said. “I love our building and want to include learning labs for industry-led projects, internships with corporate adjuncts that will allow students to work where they study and immediately apply the knowledge they gain in their courses.
“Our job is not only to impart knowledge to our students, but also to make them ready to face the many challenges that a technologically advanced global business market imposes.” We can meet them where they are, provide opportunities to develop them into the next world leaders capable of changing our world. It’s really our mission to get them out of Snead Hall and into the industry without missing a beat. To truly prepare them for what lies ahead, we must build mindful leadership into our mission and curriculum and truly create a culture of caring. We need to create a curriculum that allows our students to live the lives they want to live.”
“These are my people”
Boyd herself felt at home when she first visited the university.
She wasn’t looking for change. In fact, she loved her work as associate dean for innovation, outreach and engagement at West Virginia University and as chair, professor, and Fred T. Tattersall Chair in Finance in the John Chambers College of Business and Economics.
But forces — from bounty hunters to her husband — kept pushing her to check out VCU.
When Boyd came here, she realized “these are my people.”
“I immediately saw all these amazing opportunities to really impact and influence,” she said. “And that’s really why I came to VCU. Opportunity to work in an R1 urban campus [R1 denotes a doctoral university with very high research activity] which has an incredible reputation, based in medicine and the arts, in the heart of Virginia’s capital city, surrounded by industry, gave me the feeling that the possibilities here are endless.
“Our student population is so rich and diverse, and if we harness it, we have something really special. At VCU, we really organically have what organizations are looking for in terms of diverse thinking capable of driving corporate social responsibility, sustainability and innovation.”
Boyd officially started on July 1, but has been meeting with leaders across campus, the community and at the school since VCU hired her eight months ago. Where traditional business schools can be very rigid, Boyd said, VCU has an opportunity to change that model. “If we embrace our culture, our people and our potential, there really is no end to how far we will go as a school and VCU as an institution. The university’s new brand says just that: “We’re different, and that’s why we’re here.”
A short jump from dance to finance
Boyd grew up in Dallas, where he attended a performing arts junior high school primarily for music. In the end, her passion for dance won out. She spent her high school years deeply embedded in the Dallas artistic community at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Boyd empathizes with first-generation students because she is the first in her immediate family to go to college as a traditional student. It was her first foray into dorm life, student loans, and trying to figure out how to pay for tuition.
“I ended up going to the University of Texas [at Austin] because I was very pragmatic,” she said. “It was the cheapest option in the state, so it was financially feasible.”
Boyd earned a BA in dance from UT Austin while also training at Dallas Black, Ballet Dallas, and eventually Ballet Austin. When life took her young family to Lubbock, Texas, she decided to hang up her sneakers and go to business school like her father did. The early retirement was mainly due to a back injury common among dancers and gymnasts. She found new ways to be creative, using her analytical abilities to pursue an MBA in finance from Texas Tech University and eventually a Ph.D. in Finance from George Washington University.
When people wonder how she made the leap from dancing to finance, Boyd isn’t fazed.
“Why wouldn’t I want to?” she asked. “Intellectually, as a dance major, I wrote critical analyzes of various works of dance, art, and theater almost every day, so moving into a discipline that is so analytically focused, looking for trends and changes in terms of the market. .. building this narrative came naturally in many ways.
After spending eight years in the Office of the Chief Economist at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Boyd became involved in the work of understanding the innovations occurring in trading and capital markets. Her research focuses on investments and market microstructure, and she firmly believes that her work on the commission during such an incredible change in financial markets has helped her see how technology is moving the entire business realm into new, uncharted areas.
“Coming to VCU, which is home to a top art school, to lead a business school is like coming full circle for me,” Boyd said. “I am really excited to have the opportunity to integrate business into the strong, rich cultural aspects of the university. This is a place where really great things can happen. It’s a place where we don’t just talk about innovation, but create that innovation and bring it to the industry.”
“My big focus is on disruption,” Boyd said. “My duty to our faculty, staff and students is to question everything: to disrupt the way you work, learn and teach to ensure we are not locked into the way we have always done things. Questioning things leads to innovation. And innovation allows us to emerge as leaders.”
Boyd said he believes fully in VCU’s mission to provide access to a high-quality education for the community. To do this in a meaningful way, she hopes to develop programs that are industry-informed, leverage the strength of the school’s diversity, and capture the power of a renowned R1 institution to break down silos and create interdisciplinary degrees.
And most importantly, she said, to help the school’s faculty, staff and students change the world around them in impactful ways.
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