HBR Cold Call PODCAST: Making Diverse Leadership a Priority at Whittier College

Cold Call / Episode 166
February 01, 2022

Making Diverse Leadership a Priority at Whittier College


In 2018, Linda Oubré was selected as the president of Whittier College in Los Angeles County – the first Black woman to serve in that role. The student body had been slowly evolving to represent the growing diversity of the surrounding area, but the college’s leadership remained largely white and male.

Oubré set her sights on diversifying the college’s staff, administration, and board of trustees. Harvard Business School professor Debora Spar and Oubré discuss how she galvanized support among the college’s constituents, while making hard changes in the case, “Linda Oubré at Whittier College.”


BRIAN KENNY: If ever there was a person who lived by the credo that the pen is mightier than the sword, it was John Greenleaf Whittier. In the decades long struggle to abolish slavery, Greenleaf played an important role, not only as an abolitionist politician, but also as an acclaimed poet, along with the likes of Oliver Wendell Holmes and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Despite his success as a published author, he was said to have been prouder to see his signature on the anti-slavery declaration of 1833 than on the title page of a book. Whittier’s legacy of good deeds and hard work was affirmed in 1902 when the state of California chartered a college in his name. Whittier College like its namesake prices diversity as a mark of distinction. More than 50% of its undergraduates are from underrepresented ethnic and international groups. With those numbers, most organizations would declare success. But at Whittier, the hard work is just beginning. Today on Cold Call, we’ve invited Professor Debora Spar to discuss her case entitled, Linda Oubré at Whittier College. I’m your host, Brian Kenny, and you’re listening to Cold Call on the HBR Presents Network. Debora Spar’s research focuses on issues of gender and technology and the interplay between technological change and broader social structures. She was also the president of Barnard College from 2008 to 2017, which means that we are thrilled today to have not one but two college presidents on our podcast. We are thrilled to have our protagonist in the case, Linda Oubré, joining us. Before becoming president of Whittier College, she had a distinguished career as a business leader and entrepreneur, and she has an MBA from Harvard. Thank you both for joining me today.

DEBORA SPAR: Thank you.

LINDA OUBRÉ: It’s a pleasure.

BRIAN KENNY: But I’m thrilled to have you both here today. This will be fun to have this conversation. Deb, if you could maybe start, I know you haven’t taught the case yet, but you must be thinking about what your cold call would be when you come into the classroom. What are you thinking?

DEBORA SPAR: It’s really something I’ve been giving some thought to. But what I want to try and do with the cold call, is to prod students into seeing the urgency of diversity, even when it doesn’t feel urgent, because I think that’s one of the issues that has been a problem for so long, is that when you’re leading an organization, whether it’s a college or a corporation, there’s so many problems on your desk every morning. I think it’s too common for diversity to fall to the side as a nice to have, rather than being an urgent problem. So I want to phrase the question, something along the lines of gee, “Linda’s got an awful lot on her desk, how critical is the problem of diversity at Whittier?”, and hopefully get folks, as everybody knows, you want a cold call that gets a little bit of argument. I would like to have a room where some people say, come on, the college’s already so diverse. She’s got a million other things to worry about, and to try and use that to get the discussion going. But I’m open to suggestions.

BRIAN KENNY: No, I like that one. Your little tension going right at the very beginning. That’s good. So I teased a little bit in the beginning about your areas of research. This doesn’t seem to fall squarely in the description of your research focus. Tell me why you decided to write this case and how does it relate to the kinds of things that you’re thinking about as a scholar today?

DEBORA SPAR: I’m at this weird moment in my own career because I’ve had a long career as a scholar, but also a relatively long career as an administrator and college president. And I haven’t done research on diversity, but man, I lived those issues during my time at Barnard, and so it’s something that’s very much been on my radar. In the wake of the George Floyd murder, so many of us were thinking, from where I am, from who I am, what can I do? And it was actually our case writing group that brought this case to my attention. And I think Linda and I had met in passing years ago and so I found the situation so fascinating, and then I had a stroke of wonderful good luck, I have a fabulous a student who was also hoping to write a case as part of her second-year experience and she was really interested in diversity issues. And so the stars just aligned and it was a fabulous and important, I think, case to write.

BRIAN KENNY: What did you learn about the state of diversity in higher education when you started to dig into the research a little bit?

DEBORA SPAR: Well, I think I already knew a lot about that, because I had lived it at Barnard and diversity was something we really focused on at Barnard, although in very different ways from what Linda will describe at Whittier. Diversity in higher ed is a huge problem. Higher education and particularly elite higher education is not diverse. And even when it’s becoming more diverse, it’s much slower in becoming more inclusive. That we the higher ed sector have really not done as good a job as we’d like to do in terms of not only admitting a diverse body of students, but in making them feel included and part of the college community, and things get even worse when you look at the faculty ranks and when you look at the administrative ranks. And again, that’s something we’d really focused on at Barnard, so I knew the research, but I hadn’t had an opportunity to write about it, and that’s really, selfishly, what this case presented to me.

BRIAN KENNY: Linda, let’s turn to you for a second. First of all, tell our listeners, you’re a really good sport to be on with us at 7:30 in the morning where you are, so we appreciate you-

LINDA OUBRÉ: Of course.

BRIAN KENNY: … starting your week off here with us. Love to hear more about your background and your journey to this role. As President of Whittier College, you have a really interesting background. Can you describe that for us?

LINDA OUBRÉ: I like to say I’m a first generation college attendee, grew up in Los Angeles public schools and went to UCLA undergrad, and my sophomore year happened to show up at a Harvard Business School recruiting event at UCLA and said, maybe I should go there one day, and was blessed to be a deferred admit, I think they now call it the “2+2 program,” and work for a couple years, but I always had education in my blood and always had a lot of interest. HBS realized that they had to demystify the Harvard Business School experience, because a lot of people of color, and women, frankly, tend to screen themselves out and don’t even apply and try. And then my husband was here behind me, both UCLA, and Harvard and we came back to LA, and actually have a media–which is my second love–media, journalism, worked with LA Times, and Walt Disney, then did the startup that we took public. And I had the benefit of retiring the first time I started teaching in business school, and really loved it, but again, always kind of kept my foot in education because it changes lives. Tthat’s what I say to my students all the time, as I say, when you have someone like me, who gets an education, not only changes the life of that student, but it changes the lives of their family and their community, and it’s really transformational. So really stayed involved in HBS and with UCLA frankly in education. It’s kind of a lesson if you wait 30 years the world changes, and I happened to take an administrative spot at UC Davis’ business school and San Francisco State was looking for a business dean with business experience. And so I did that and kind of looked around and said, boy, all these people are college presidents, and I’m not because I don’t have a doctorate. And so as a business dean, with one of the largest business schools in the country actually went and got my doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania’s executive doctorate program.

BRIAN KENNY: You make that sound easy. I went and got my doctorate, like it’s an easy to do. It’s not. It’s not an easy thing to do at any point in your life.

LINDA OUBRÉ: Well, you know what, it’s so funny because people say, how do you do that? How did you do that? I said, I didn’t think about it. I just did. So about a year out of the program, the Whittier job came open and my name came up. And it was interesting because I found out later, the students had wanted a person of color. The faculty and staff said, “We want a person of color from Los Angeles, because there’s something about the diversity of LA where everyone kind of relate with everybody, despite what you see on television.” And then the board said, “We don’t care about that stuff. We want someone with a business background and higher ed background, and then I would love them to be students.” So the stars aligned on that. I like to say I picked Whittier as much as Whittier picked me. And because this is a third career for me, I wouldn’t just go to any institution. I didn’t even think that diversity, equity, and inclusion would be an issue. I did not even think about it. I had just naively assumed the student body is extremely diverse, that this is a great place for me to be and I don’t have to worry about those issues, and I figured out by the end of my first day that I had to take on those challenges.

BRIAN KENNY: So how would you describe Whittier College for people who aren’t familiar with it? Just to give us a quick overview of Whittier.

LINDA OUBRÉ: Small, traditional liberal arts, about 1,700 students we’re located halfway between downtown LA and downtown Disney, that’s one of our marketing taglines. But we’re in the southeast corner of Los Angeles County, and was founded by Quakers and the city of Whittier was founded by Quakers, haven’t been Quaker affiliated since 1940s, although we like to say we have the values of Quakers, which is social justice, every human being has value, and there’s always been a campus of access. As the demographic shifted in Los Angeles over the last 30 years, the campus has shifted dramatically. 70% of students of color, 50% Latinx students as the demographics of Los Angeles County shifted dramatically.

BRIAN KENNY: So I’m curious on, what’s the problem? You got there, you’ve got a really diverse student body, that’s what most of us are striving for in higher education is to bring in a more diverse student population. As you settled into the role, what did you start to see around you? And what were you learning, I guess, from the students in this case, because I think the students probably helped you to see what some of the issues were too from their perspective?

LINDA OUBRÉ: I think Debora touched on it earlier as well, is diversity is numbers, check the boxes, true equity and inclusion is about belonging and welcoming. And we were diverse by the numbers in the students. But a lot of the students did not feel that they were welcome or comfortable. Everyone struggles with faculty diversity, we all know about that, because of the pipeline, and so a little more diverse in terms of Latinx faculty than in a lot of institutions, but not as diverse as other institutions in California in terms of faculty. And I walked in with a cabinet, which is senior leadership, that was all men. My two predecessors have been women, but I’m the first person of color to be president, but all men, mostly white men, and a board that was not diverse hardly at all, about 20% women, and we like most small colleges, students were 60% women, and we only had about 20% of the board. None of our executive committee or board committee chairs were women, and we only had a handful of people of color. I mean with 50% Latinx students, we only had one Latino board member, two African Americans, no Asian Americans. So I just felt it did not reflect the students and the students felt it didn’t reflect them and what their concerns were.

BRIAN KENNY: Yeah. And Debora, I want to turn back to you for a second. First I’d like to hear how this compares with the situation that you were in at Barnard. But also if you could explain what the role of the board is and how important they are in the hierarchy of a college or a university?

DEBORA SPAR: So the board can often be invisible to the students. it’s largely invisible to the students, and I discovered even largely to the faculty, faculty have a million things to think about and the board is usually not on their top 10. And yet, as Linda indicated, the board is critical. It’s partly symbolic, because, I mean, the board runs the college, right? I mean, ultimately, the board hires and fires the president, they sign off on the budget. So they have a lot of fiduciary and legal power, but they also have a symbolic power. And if and as the students do start to look around them, and they see a board that doesn’t reflect who they want the college to be, it’s an issue. And more on a day-to-day basis, the board actually makes a lot of decisions, if they’re a good board, they’re not micromanaging, but they are making big decisions, they are, again, both legally and practically in charge of setting the strategy. And so, if the board doesn’t prioritize something, it’s probably not going to happen.  And so I think, if you want a college to change in a fundamental way, or even in an incremental way, the board has got to be not only on board, but they have to be fully supportive of any kind of a change. And I think just speaking personally, for me, this was the biggest difference in my life, when you’re a university administrator, like I had been at HBS, you don’t really interact with the board in a meaningful way, but once you become the college president, the board is probably the single most important institution in your life, and figuring out how you operate with a board is a really important piece of the president’s experience.

BRIAN KENNY: And figuring out how to change a board is probably a really intimidating thing to think about as a college president.

DEBORA SPAR: Yes, because as the president, you report to the board. And so at some level, if you want to do what Linda has undertaken to do, which is to change the board, pretty radically, you’re changing your bosses. That’s a tough thing to do.

BRIAN KENNY: Yes. Linda, I know that the case opens up actually on Martin Luther King Day in 2020, and there’s some real significance to that, just the fact that you were celebrating Martin Luther King Day.

LINDA OUBRÉ: Right. And you have to thank the students for this because this is one of those things, with all the stuff on your desk that Debora mentioned, I didn’t realize that we didn’t celebrate Martin Luther King Day, and that sounds horrible, but it’s true. I didn’t really realize it. One of the things we have to keep in mind when we ask, why do you need diverse leaders, it’s because we’ve lived the experience of the students, or the employees or whoever the stakeholders are, and it doesn’t mean that someone who’s not a person of color can’t relate and can’t do a great job, but there’s a little bit of difference when you have someone who looks like the students. When the student came to me and said, “We don’t celebrate Martin Luther King Day. I think that’s horrible, and I want to start a petition.” And I think someone who hadn’t lived my experience might have thought that was a threat. And I said, because I truly believe a big part of our job as educators is to teach young people to advocate for what they believe in. So I said, “I think you should. And me as a leader that will help me as I try to push some things through on campus, frankly.” And so she started a petition.  And we got a call from LA Times and said, “we saw the moveon.org petition and we did our research and we noticed that Whittier is only one of two institutions in the entire state that does not celebrate Martin Luther King Day, and we know that’s Richard Nixon’s alma mater. Is that because of racism? And then the reporter said, “and then I looked up and saw that you’re the new president, and I thought this is interesting.” And I think I love that story, the way it turned out for a lot of reasons, and that’s one of them, because I think they really highlighted why diverse leadership is important. We started celebrating Martin Luther King Day and Cesar Chavez Day, which is a state holiday in California that we had never celebrated before. Sometimes as leaders, we have to learn to be led, and in higher ed, what a beautiful thing when we as presidents can feel like students are leading us to the right path as well.

BRIAN KENNY: Yes, that is a great point. You started actually down this path, though, by getting your own house in order, so to speak, and bringing in a leadership team that was more reflective of the student body. Can you describe how that came together, and I guess, how was it received once you started to put those pieces in place?

LINDA OUBRÉ: Well, when I took the job, I was essentially told that I wouldn’t have to replace any of my senior leadership, and I didn’t. But my, I think it was my first or second cabinet meeting so it was within the first month, I walked in and I noticed that the conversations had nothing to do with what would move the college forward. I really believe in the fact that the case picks up the first quote, it really matters who’s in the room. And so by the next meeting, I redefined what cabinet means because I noticed that we had, again, a lot of white men at the top and a lot of brown and Black women at the lower levels of management running the college. And so I said, from now on, I think we need the head of HR in the room. How can we manage higher ed these days with all the challenges without having human resources have a seat at the table, who is a Black woman? Communications, with all the crisis communications going on, I said, I think our head of communications needs to be in the room who was Latina. They didn’t have any faculty members in the room, and the faculty chair at the time was a transgender man. And so I redefined the cabinet and the conversations changed. I really believe that diversity brings more diversity. So it wasn’t like I did anything other than being there. But having diverse leadership attracts a more diverse pool. And I think that’s especially true in higher ed. Now we’re about, I think, we’re just over 50% of my leadership team, are people of color. The transgender man is now my Vice President of Academic Affairs and we have a couple of other women as well. It helps. We need people with different viewpoints.

BRIAN KENNY: So Debora, listening to Linda talk about this, it’s making it sound easy again. It’s like I got my PhD. We know how hard this is, right? We know how hard … because we’ve been trying to do the same thing and I think every organization, whether it’s in higher ed, or outside of higher ed is struggling with this. And one thing that we hear a lot is that there just aren’t enough diverse candidates out there. But what you’ve just described Linda makes it sound like that’s not true. So Debora, I’m wondering, from where you sit today, how real is this struggle for organizations today?

DEBORA SPAR: It’s a struggle, but there’s lots of things that are struggles. I think Linda’s experience shows that you can conquer this challenge, like you can conquer many challenges by making it a priority. And yes, the pipeline’s thinner than we’d like and it’s bleaker than we’d like, but there’s lots of qualified people out there. You have to look hard and you have to hire them. And I think that is the responsibility that falls on the leader, especially in these early stages. Sometimes you have to go against what might feel like a consensus view and just say, look, I’m going to invest in this person, I’m going to hire this person, and then I’m going to support them. And I’m going to make sure that they have what they need to thrive in a role, even if it’s maybe a role that was different than what they’ve had. We really need to, as leaders, find these amazing people out there, hire them, and just make it happen. And I will say, one of the advantages that places like Whittier and Barnard and even HBS have is we’re actually in relatively diverse parts of the country. And I know I used that to my advantage at Barnard. I mean, we’re big partners, basically, in Harlem. So there’s a huge diverse talent pool, you just have to find people. And also, I mean, there’s also this argument or this implication, that if we just offer these jobs to diverse people, they will take them. Well, part of that’s not true, because some diverse superstars don’t want to be in an institution that they think of as white or elitist. And so I always saw it as … this was a line I stole from this amazing guy, Freeman Hrabowski, who has probably done more to diversify higher ed than any person in the country. And Freeman always talked about what he called the shrimp cocktail strategy, that it’s not just offering, particularly Black professionals a job, you’ve got to woo them, because they’ve got lots of job offers. And so I always try to adopt Freeman’s shrimp cocktail strategy of finding people and really convincing them.

BRIAN KENNY: Yes, and your point about helping them succeed, I think is a critically important one. If you’re going to bring somebody into your organization, it’s on you to make sure that they have the best chance of succeeding. So Linda, did you think about that as you brought in this new leadership team? And how did you address that to make sure that these new people that you were bringing in had every chance to thrive and do their best work?

LINDA OUBRÉ: I definitely thought about that. I think a key part, at least for me, but I think it’s true in every organization, I was able to look down on the organization and see the people who were ready there. And like I said, we had a lot of brown and Black women and white women who were managing the college, who had no opportunity to get past the director level at the college. And I really wanted to give some of them the opportunity. And so one of the other things I did, I created a new level of Associate Vice President in order to promote and put those people on the cabinet as well. So part of it is also, as Debora said, is not only looking outside and giving chances and wooing, but all of us have really strong people within our organizations who’ve been overlooked. We talk a lot about someone from outside always looks like a shiny new object, because all you see are the good things versus someone inside, you see both, you see the struggles and the challenges they’ll have and the good things. But you’ve got to give opportunity. And I also felt that that was an important symbolic move for other staff members, and for our students, and faculty to see that we were promoting from within as well in creating those opportunities.

BRIAN KENNY: So let’s turn to the board for a second because it seems to me and the case bears this out that this was probably the biggest challenge that you were facing, was how to reconstitute the board. How did you go at that and how did the board members receive what you were trying to do?

LINDA OUBRÉ: Shaun Harper, who does a lot of work in higher ed diversity and is quoted a lot, he probably has almost the full page in the case, he does a lot of work in this area. And he says you have to be intentional with diversity. You have to make intentional tactics and strategies. So I remember sitting down with my vice president of advancement who was a man of color who had been my chief development officer at San Francisco State and another Harvard MBA, and I remember the day I sat down and said, I got to change this board. We basically sat down and we, first of all, did a matrix which is in the case and looked at all the characteristics we could think of that we needed for board members, but then I also realized I had to change the criteria for being on the board. And I had to bring in experts. So I brought in another expert from my doctoral program, Peter Eckel, does a lot of work around the board, and I had him actually spend a retreat with our board to talk about the role of the board, because board roles are changing also. And in particular, at Whittier, I felt it was a little bit of a country club board and not a fully engaged board the way that Debora talks about the responsibilities. And so we laid it all out and part of it we said, there’s people that we need with skills we need, and it’s not all about writing a $40,000 check. So I was able to bring on a woman who’s Latina, who has been in enrollment management at MIT and Penn, and now at Rice, and what I said was, she can give us three strategies to try that could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars, in terms of enrollment, and that’s more valuable than a check. And brought on the head of the Los Angeles Community College District, the largest community college district in the country, he’s at nine campuses, Francisco Rodriguez, because we want to do more with transfer students. And again, his first act is we did a partnership with him, but he is a board member and a Latino. So started looking at different characteristics of a board. The bylaws like most boards, people turn over. And so as board members turned over, some honestly said, I don’t like the direction of the college and decided not to re-up, some we decided we didn’t want to re-up. But as people were leaving, we just had a more diverse pipeline in a lot of different ways. Not just ethnicity and gender, but backgrounds as well. One of the other key things that I wanted to do is I think colleges can get too much in groupthink with only having alumni on board, and only have an alumni of certain generations on boards. And so I really felt we needed different voices as well. So I’ve added some people who didn’t go to Whittier, because I think you need to have people who aren’t sitting there drinking the Kool Aid all the time.

BRIAN KENNY: Diverse in every way. Right? Diverse experiences, diverse perspectives. No, it makes great sense. Debora, I want to ask you, do you think that this finally has the stickiness that it needs to remain front and center to become part of the fabric of institutions? Or do you think it’ll eventually, if we don’t really work hard at that, it’ll recede into the background again?

DEBORA SPAR: I think that George Floyd murder, along with the increased prominence of other murders and other incidents that had been quiet for too long, I think it’s certainly pushed these issues to the forefront of people’s consciousness, but society moves on unless we build the institutions and the structures that will enable these things to become part of the fabric and part of the structural commitment. I think it’s the responsibility of all of us who have positions of power, for those of us who are in the educational sector, particularly those of us in the elite educational sector, to make sure that this doesn’t become a blip. And I know, I mean, Harvard Business School is a very idiosyncratic place, but I think some of the things that we’ve done here at HBS will have legs. We’ve written a lot more cases with diverse protagonists. We are, and just speak for myself here, I’m teaching about systemic racism in a way I’ve never taught before, I know many of my colleagues are doing likewise. And to go back to what Linda said a while ago, we have to listen to our students and our students are telling, not just our students of color, but our students of the generation in which they’re coming from, they’re telling us they care about this stuff and they don’t know what to do. They’re looking to us for guidance, and not that we necessarily have it, but I think there’s an urgency, again, to taking these issues seriously and to thinking about structural approaches, I won’t say solutions, because I don’t think we’re there yet. But unless we make this a constant priority, it will fall by the wayside again, until the next crisis moment.

BRIAN KENNY: Yes, Linda, do you agree with that?

LINDA OUBRÉ: Yes, I agree. I have the same hopes and fears that Debora laid out. I think a couple things feel different though. I think one is the entire context of the United States and what’s happening in terms of demographic shifts, and of course, we see it in California and we’re always at the forefront of demographic shifts. And I like to tell people, the numbers speak for themselves. I think a lot of leaders and individuals in the Black community are saying, I don’t care what these other groups think. We need to get what we deserve, because of how we helped build this country. Whereas I felt like earlier movements were more about bringing other people along, if that makes sense, and of course, the Black community wants other people to come along, but this feels more like no, we’re going to fight for this regardless. And the reason the numbers and the demographic shift matter, is because every institution wants to look like Whittier College to survive, especially at the undergraduate level, because the number of high school graduates is dropping and the proportion of students of color, particularly Latino students and first generation students is expected to be a larger and larger percent of that. So what’s happened at Whittier is, and I like to remind people, we’re blessed to have the student body that we have for survival, but what’s happening at Whittier is really the future of the United States, and we’ll see how long that takes. The other thing that’s interesting to me about this movement is, it wasn’t the Black students who pushed us hard. And the Black students … I know a smaller percent than I would like was about 5%, they have an open door with me, they told me from day one, some of the things happening on campus, they weren’t happy, but with the racial protests, it was the white and Latino and Asian students who were calling us to task. I mean, they were like, what are you doing for our Black classmates? We implemented a racial equity justice action plan, like a lot of institutions. We purposely wanted it to be actionable, not just words.

BRIAN KENNY: This has been a fabulous conversation about a really important topic. I have one question for each of you before we wrap it up. So I’ll start with you, Linda. You mentioned the action plan for racial equity. You’ve been at this for, what, a couple of years now, right? What does success look like when you look maybe 5, 6, 7 years down the road into your presidency? What do you hope to see at that point?

LINDA OUBRÉ: It comes down to results and data; I’m still a Harvard MBA at heart. If we can close the gap on retention and graduation rates. Right now our women of color are our best students, but we really struggle with men of color and in particularly African American men, like a lot of institutions, even though African American students come in stronger than a lot of other groups, in terms of their GPAs and SATs out of college, and that’s one of the key things. The other one, to be honest, which is in the background of the case, is fundraising. And that’s why I’ve gotten the most pushback, because there’s an assumption that people of color don’t have money. People of color have money, but they give to things where they feel that they’ve had a good experience as a student, and where it really resonates with what their passions are. And so our fundraising was increasing around diversity, equity, and inclusion, even before the MacKenzie Scott gift that we received. But if that continues, I think that that will be a real sign of success as well.

BRIAN KENNY: Yes. So still a lot of work to do, but you’re well on your way, which is great. Debora, as you think about this case, what’s one thing you’re hoping our listeners will take away from this discussion?

DEBORA SPAR: Well, I really hope our listeners, and particularly people who might imagine teaching this case in some context, can think about it as some kind of a how-to guide. I think a lot of the conversation about DEI is abstract, it’s values based, and that’s fine. But there’s a real practical piece and I think that’s why I find Linda as such a compelling leader, that she rolled her sleeves up and said, okay, we’re going to fix this, and she did in a remarkably short period of time, and I’m sure she’s not completely over the many hoops that these jobs bring. But it’s a wonderful story. It’s a wonderful management story of identifying a problem and fixing it, and that’s what I really hope folks will take away from this case.

BRIAN KENNY: Well, Presidents Linda Oubré and Debora Spar, first time we’ve had two presidents … even one president on the show actually. So this great. It’s been great having you both here, and thanks for coming and thanks for writing this case Debora.

DEBORA SPAR: Thank you.

LINDA OUBRÉ: Thank you.

BRIAN KENNY: We are excited to be celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the case method at Harvard Business School. If you want more on the history of the case method, visit our website: www.hbs.edu/casemethod100Cold Call is a great way to get a taste of the case method, after all each episode features a business case and its faculty author. You might also like our other podcasts: After HoursClimate RisingSkydeck, and Managing the Future of Work. Find them on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. If you enjoy Cold Call or if you have any suggestions, we want to hear from you. Write a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen or email us at coldcall@hbs.edu. Thanks again for joining us. I’m your host, Brian Kenny, and you’ve been listening to Cold Call, an official podcast of Harvard Business School, brought to you by the HBR Presents network.

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