Meet Lina Bell, Executive Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
What does Diversity and Inclusion mean to you?
It’s important to have diversity of thought and opinions. Research tells us diverse groups makes the best decisions. Diversity is, typically, the representation — it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a seat at the table; Inclusion is having a seat at the table, so to speak. Inclusion refers to feeling valued and respected.
What are some of your proudest moments at Rice Business and why?
There are numerous! There are the big wins — acing a class; getting fantastic job offers; graduation, of course; but what is most meaningful to me is seeing students support each other. It’s the characteristics of understanding, concern and empathy combined with their business acumen that will distinguish them as outstanding leaders.
What are some challenges you believe business schools face when recruiting Black, Latinx, and other underrepresented minorities?
From where I sit, it seems that a big challenge for recruiting “in-demand“ talent, including students of color, is the competition from other top-notch programs!
What is Rice doing to address that?
Generally, we try to communicate to prospects that Rice Business is a close-knit community where they will be welcomed and cared for in ways not duplicated in other programs. It’s really like family — real concern for their well-being; meaningful interactions with faculty; attentiveness to student concerns and issues.
What advice do you have for any prospective minority student that is looking to apply to Rice Business?
Consider the journey you are about to embark on and ask questions regarding the types of dedicated support in place to help you reach your goals.
Can you tell us a little bit about your career path and what brought you to work in diversity and inclusion at Rice?
I’m a native Houstonian but attended grad school in New York City at Columbia University (M.A. and M.Ed.). After a few years there, I accepted a position in student affairs/admissions at George Washington University in DC then ventured into the “MBA-world” at Duke University in North Carolina. You could say I slowly made my way down the East Coast back to Texas! At Rice, I led the EMBA program for a few years and began to take on responsibilities related to D&I efforts. With Dean Rodriguez’ support, I stepped fully into the D&I role after his appointment.
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