2022 Tuck Executive Leadership Capstone at IBM
Tuck at Dartmouth was a learning experience I had not expected. There we were, ‘tucked in’ at the IBM Learning Center for the 2022 Tuck Executive Leadership Capstone. We had been selected by WBENC and the program was underwritten by IBM. The program immersed us in Finance, Marketing, and Supply Chain Logistics. I pinched myself. Hard.
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) selected 54 women business owners from across the country. We were invited to participate in the 2022 Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business Executive Leadership Capstone sponsored by IBM.
This program pulled together a perfectly-sized cohort of women with very different businesses, structures, processes, trajectories, histories, and strengths. All in all, we represented an extremely diverse cultural, regional, and socio-economic pool.
One of the most important facets of WBENC’s programs is how they facilitate building a workable and sustainable cohort. This particular program brought together women from different backgrounds industries, and regions. The professors and facilitators actively encouraged us to bring our real-world quandaries into discussions.
Tuck at Dartmouth
Although I had no business education before starting my company, that has not stopped me. However, it has incentivized me to learn. To learn more, better, and faster. The Dartmouth professors created an intense course of study that allowed us to understand and implement strategies immediately.
Even though it may seem trite, there is a palpable difference between working with women business owners and the typical business world. Typically, competition is the norm, but between WBE’s, the generosity, camaraderie, knowledge, and business environment are completely different.
Everything about the program was excellent–the hospitality at the IBM Learning Center, the campus–it was almost perfect. On the other hand, if only they had had coffee makers in the rooms! (I am prepared for that–I always take instant coffee with me.)
Meals and breaks were structured to give us plenty of time to learn about each other, our businesses, and even specific recommendations and strategies. The food was outstanding, the setting gorgeous!
Takeaways – big and small
One particular takeaway, casually shared over dinner by a business powerhouse: “A successful business needs four strong legs—sales or business development, operations or production, finance, and also a spiritual or community giving-back element.” This may seem obvious, but hearing it in that moment from that business owner put it in an entirely different framework.
Maybe it’s just women who believe that there is enough pie. It could be that I am totally naïve. Perhaps there are ways people can work together, develop trust and take risks, make mistakes, and still continue to grow, thrive, and survive.
In this age of brown-washing, black-washing, woman-washing, and DEI without substance, follow up, or support, I challenge you to find organizations that allow you to come as you are, to find your place at the table (I believe there is room at the table for everyone), and share something of value. I passionately believe that there truly is enough pie, and am willing to help cut and serve it.
Who’s bringing the coffee?
Special thanks to Christiane Buessard, Pamela Prince-Easton, Liana Frey, Andrew Gaeckle, Margaux Lohry, Lauren Lu, Leslie Robertson, Laura Taylor, Jennifer Turner, and Joanna Wright.