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About the Lecture:
The American dream is often described as the belief that hard work and ambition are the keys to economic and social advancement. Popular culture celebrates the image of the self-made man. However, research shows that social capital is infinitely more important to success than either talent or drive. Robust networks and connections are critical to success. Historically, women were left out of power networks, but as larger numbers entered into career fields they learned to forge alternate networks. Rather than waiting for opportunity, many successful women have created their own opportunities and in doing so challenged the notion of business as usual.
About the Speakers:
Professor Pamela Laird, PhD is the Professor and Chair of History at University of Colorado Denver. She explores the history of American business cultures. Her current projects focus on the impacts of civil rights legislation on corporate practices, and the origins and effects of the illusion of self-made success. Her publications include Pull: Networking and Success Since Benjamin Franklin (Harvard University Press, 2006), which won the 2006 Hagley Prize for the best book in business history and is now available in Chinese; and Advertising Progress: American Business and the Rise of Consumer Marketing (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998). Dr. Laird has received many awards for her research and service. Her most recent honor is the University of Colorado Denver Faculty Mentor of the Year Award for 2013.
Deryl McKissack is President and Chief Executive Officer of McKissack & McKissack, an architecture, environmental engineering and program management firm. As an outgrowth of her family business, Ms. McKissack founded the company in 1990, as a sole entrepreneur working with very limited financial resources. Through her leadership and vision, McKissack & McKissack has grown to 150 employees, with offices in Washington, DC, Chicago, Miami and Baltimore. Moreover, the firm is ranked by Engineering News Record as one of the top Construction Management For-Fee firms in the nation and by the Washington Business Journal as one of the top 25 Design firms in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area.
A’Lelia Bundles (moderat0r) is at work on her fourth book, Joy Goddess: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance, a biography of her great-grandmother, whose parties helped define the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker—A’Lelia’s biography of her great-great-grandmother, an early twentieth century entrepreneur and philanthropist—was named a New York Times Notable Book. A’Lelia was a network television news executive and producer for thirty years, first at NBC News and then at ABC News, where she was Washington, DC deputy bureau chief and director of talent development. She has served on several nonprofit boards and currently is chairman of the board of the Foundation for the National Archives and a vice chair of Columbia University’s board of trustees. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Parade, Ms, O Magazine, Essence, TheRoot.com and several encyclopedias.