Leisa: Hello, I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson and welcome to another edition of Women Mean Business where we’re going to take you up close and personal with extraordinary women doing extraordinary things. My guest today is Dean Latha Ramchand, the dean of The Bauer College of Business at The University of Houston and Professor of Finance; Latha, welcome to Women Mean Business.
Latha: Thank you, thank you so much.
Leisa: I am guessing when you were growing up you didn’t exactly imagine you’d grow up to be the Dean of The Bauer College of Business; how did you get here?
Latha: You are absolutely right. I don’t think I knew anything when I was growing up, but how did I get here? My parents didn’t go to college but the interesting thing was education was a big priority at home and my parents wanted me to get the best education possible. And to me growing up in India, in Bombay, the big dream was to come to the United States and get a degree; I just – that was just the ultimate dream. And that happened. That happened, I got my PhD in Finance, then I came to The University of Houston wanting to do research. I had some experience in banking, but I was fascinated by numbers and I was very interested in learning how finance works in the context of a large organization.
So I came here as a researcher, taught for many years, and then one day it was the dean at that time – who is deceased now – but who just called me to his office; he was a good friend of mine and he said I want you to be my Associate Dean. And I said are you crazy, I don’t know what that means. Long story short, he allowed me to grow and think about this place as not a place you go to work just to work at, but a place where you can make a difference. He taught me to see value in the biggest asset we have which is our human assets, which is the talent we have. And working with him what he never told me while he was telling me this – that he wanted me to learn this – I just got a very deep appreciation for the fact that we are so fortunate Leisa in education in that we make a difference; we impact minds, we change the way people think.
And when you change minds you allow people to grow in such a powerful way and that we can actually put in place structures that can incentivize people to grow and learn is just tremendously fascinating and really personally very satisfying to me.
So having served as an Associate Dean I just felt like there was a lot of potential in this university in the city of Houston where you can make a difference. You don’t need to have a last name that means anything, you don’t have to look like X, you don’t have to speak like Y; you can be like me, a total non-entity who came here and didn’t really know very much but if you get the job done the city rewards you. And I felt like it’s my time to give back and so when this Deanship, the opportunity arose, it wasn’t too big of a jump. It was certainly not a planned process but what I wanted to point out was that my mentors, my parents, there were several people along the way that facilitated that personal question about that.
Leisa: Thank you for sharing that story.
Latha: Thank you.
Leisa: That was wonderful. There you have it, another extraordinary woman doing extraordinary things. I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson, President and Co-founder of ContentActive, Houston’s leading web and mobile design and development company. You can find me at ContentActive.com or follow me on Twitter @LHNelson. We’ll be back again next week with another edition of Women Mean Business.
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