I'm an assistant professor of business strategy at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M. The core of my research agenda addresses the question "How do founders, leaders, and employees work together to create and grow organizations?" I'm particularly interested in how new ventures can be a vehicle for emancipating underrepresented groups. I'm indebted to the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise and the group Responsible Research in Business Management for funding my dissertation.
One of my dissertation papers explores the emergence of organizational culture. While scholars and practitioners understand the criticality of culture, very little research observes organizations during the process of culture emergence. Without context-specific and empirically-based theories, leaders struggle to create a culture within their new venture that is equitable, aligned with the strategy, and valued by all employees. Drawing on in-depth proprietary field data, including 152 interviews over 22 months and four waves of data collection, I show that many cultural “best practices” can actually encourage cultures that are unwelcoming to underrepresented groups. Instead, I offer novel empirically-grounded insights about how founders can foster the emergence of a better culture.
A second dissertation chapter studies founders. I examine how Black women, one of the least represented groups in entrepreneurship, can become the group most prone to establish a company after working as startup employees. Beyond my dissertation, my research is informed by my experience in Tech and Retail where I became fascinated by strategic human capital. One of my papers, published in the Academy of Management Journal, builds theory related to firm-specific investments. Another paper, a recent Reject & Resubmit at Strategic Management Journal, investigates the composition of top leadership teams.
I received my PhD from UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School under the direction of my wonderful committee: Chris Bingham (chair), Sekou Bermiss, Mahka Moeen, and Tim Ott from UNC, plus Arianna Marchetti from the London Business School.
Prior to academia, I worked for Amazon (Books and Fashion), Walmart (International Real Estate), and Lands' End (Corporate FP&A), and studied at Brigham Young University (MBA, BS). When not working, I enjoy hiking with my family and playing basketball.