“If students know this is a space where they are free to be themselves, they will have the right to question everything, harness the power of innovation, and know they have our support to push them to their true potential,” said Boyd, VCU Business The new dean of the college.
Opened in 2008, the 145,000-square-foot, four-story building is an incredible space to nurture the next generation of innovative business leaders, Boyd said. “I love our buildings and I want to combine learning labs with industry-led projects with enterprise plugins that allow students to work where they study and immediately apply the knowledge they gain in the course.
“Our job is not only to impart knowledge to our students, but to prepare them to face the many challenges posed by the technologically advanced global business market. We can meet them where they are and provide opportunities to develop them into the world’s best A leader who can change our world. It’s really our mission to get them out of Snead Hall and into industry without missing a beat. In order for them to really be ready for what’s next, we have to put mindfulness on the ground. Leadership is integrated into our mission and curriculum and really creates a culture of caring. We need to create a curriculum that will allow our students to live the lives they want.”
“These are my people”
When Boyd first visited the university, she felt at home herself.
She is not looking for change. In fact, she enjoys her work as associate dean for innovation, outreach, and engagement at West Virginia University, as well as chair, professor and Fred T. Tattersall chair of the Department of Finance in the John Chambers School of Business and Economics.
But forces ranging from headhunters to her husband kept urging her to check out the VCU.
When Boyd came here, she realized “these are my people.”
“I immediately saw all this incredible opportunity for real impact and impact,” she said. “This is the real reason I came to VCU. The ability to work on the R1 city campus [R1 denotes a doctoral university with very high research activity] It has an incredible reputation, grounded in medicine and the arts, and being located in the heart of the industrially-surrounded Virginia capital makes me think the opportunities here are endless.
“Our student body is so rich and diverse, and if we take advantage of that, we have something very special. At VCU, we truly organically have the diversity that organisations are looking for to lead in corporate social responsibility, sustainability and innovation way of thinking.”
Boyd officially began work on July 1, but since VCU hired her eight months ago, she has been meeting with leaders from across the campus, community and within the school. Where traditional business schools can be very rigid, VCU has an opportunity to change that model, Boyd said. “There is really no end to where we can go as a school and VCU as an institution if we embrace our culture, our people and our potential. The new university brand says exactly: ‘We are different , that’s why we’re here.'”
A short leap from dance to finance
Boyd grew up in Dallas, where she attended a performing arts junior high school, primarily for music. Ultimately, her passion for dancing took over. She spent her high school years at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and was deeply involved in the Dallas arts community.
Boyd sympathized with first-generation students because she was the first in her immediate family to attend college as a traditional student. It was her first foray into dorm life, student loans and trying to figure out how to pay tuition.
“I ended up going to the University of Texas [at Austin] Because I’m very pragmatic,” she said. “It’s the cheapest option in the state, so from a financial standpoint, it’s feasible. “
Boyd earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from UT Austin while training with Dallas Blake, Dallas Ballet, and eventually Austin Ballet. When life took her young family to Lubbock, Texas, she decided, like her father, to hang up her pointe shoes and go to business school. The main reason for early retirement is back injuries, which are common among dancers and gymnasts. Using her analytical skills to find creative new ways, she pursued an MBA in Finance at Texas Tech University and eventually earned a Ph.D. Finance from George Washington University.
When people wondered how she made the jump from dancing to finance, Boyd wasn’t worried.
“Why don’t I?” she asked. “From an intellectual point of view, as a dance student I critically analyse different dance, art and theatre productions almost every day, thus entering a discipline so focused on analysis, looking for market trends and changes . . in a lot of ways naturally build that narrative.”
After eight years in the CFTC’s Office of the Chief Economist, Boyd became involved in understanding the innovations taking place in trading and capital markets. Her research focuses on investments and market microstructure, and she firmly believes that during a time of such dramatic change in financial markets, her work on the committee has helped her understand how technology can shift entire areas of business into new, uncharted territories.
“Coming to VCU to lead the business school, which has a top art school, was like a detour for me,” Boyd said. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to integrate business into the strong, rich cultural aspect of the University. It’s a place where really great things can happen. It’s a place where we don’t just talk about innovation, but we create innovation and bring it into industry. “
“My focus is on disruption,” Boyd said. “My request to our staff and students is to question everything: disrupt the way you work, learn and teach to make sure we’re not locked into the way we’ve always done things. Questioning things leads to innovation. Innovation enables us to be leader.”
Boyd said she has complete confidence in the VCU’s mission to provide high-quality education to the Commonwealth. To do this in a meaningful way, she hopes to develop industry-influenced programs that harness the power of diversity in schools and harness the power of renowned R1 institutions to break down silos and create interdisciplinary degrees.
And, most importantly, she said, supporting the school’s staff and students to change the world around them in impactful ways.
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