From tackling gender discrimination to addressing climate change, this new UBC Sauder researcher means business

Jun 6 2022, 4:00 pm

It’s safe to say that the world looks a whole lot different than it did 20 — or even two — years ago.

Society is changing, and businesses and individuals can no longer turn a blind eye to the global challenges of climate change, social and racial inequity, and the general uncertainty as to what the future holds. Suffice to say, it’s not business as usual — and many companies may need to change the way they do business to succeed in the new world.

This is a sentiment that has driven UBC Sauder School of Business to create its new Montalbano Centre for Responsible Leadership Development. The Centre’s core values include instilling responsible leadership values in future leaders — aka the ones who are going to make the big decisions that affect where both our society and planet are headed next.

The purpose of the Centre is to develop leaders who strive with intention to build a more just, sustainable, and prosperous world,” Academic Director at UBC Sauder, Dr. Daniel Skarlicki, tells Daily Hive. “We have never needed this more than we do today and that’s why we’re excited to welcome our newest academic fellow, Dr. Samantha Dodson to our Centre.”

Dodson is passionate about coaching the next generation of leaders. Fresh from Salt Lake City, Utah, Dodson is packing her bags, investing in some good quality rain gear, and moving to Vancouver to offer the Centre her expertise in responsible leadership.

Dodson’s research is focused on “making workplaces better and more compassionate.”

“I’m interested in how leaders can promote justice and equity for folks that are often overlooked or are on the margins within organizations. A responsible leader is not just focusing on the bottom line, but is also focusing on people and the planet,” Dodson tells Daily Hive. 

Beyond environmental considerations, Dodson’s current work takes into account the causes and consequences of interpersonal distress, such as women’s distress at work through sexual harassment and gender discrimination. 

“I want to make work a safer, more compassionate, and less painful place to be,” she says.

So, why Vancouver, and why UBC Sauder? “One of the things that really drew me to the Centre is that the goals closely [align] with my values and my research goals,” Dodson says. “I feel like everyone whom I’ve interacted with is kind and intelligent, and really passionate about seeking to make the world a better place through inspiring organizations and leaders to use their influence for good.”

And with the goal of responsible leadership being to empower individuals to make educated, ethical judgments and inspire positive change, Dodson sees her research lining up well with UBC Sauder.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to experience life on Canada’s beautiful West Coast (best coast)?

“I’m really excited to dive into the outdoor scene around Vancouver as well — hiking, skiing, and paddleboarding, all those good things,” adds Dodson.

When we think of a prestigious business school, a deep investment in responsible leadership isn’t always what first comes to mind.

“In business schools, we teach our students crucial skills to develop products, take those products to market, and turn a profit,” says Dodson. “I think in some ways that singular focus can negatively impact ethics and how we treat each other at work.”

Dodson’s research is part of a shift towards equity, diversity, and inclusion and the longevity and health of our planet that everyone (and every living thing) calls home. This is part of what makes UBC Sauder such a natural academic home for her.

“We believe that as leaders start seeing their environment and then the people living in it as key stakeholders and not just their investors and their consumers, then they’re going to promote a renewed hope and crucial changes that will protect the environment and in turn, protect vulnerable populations,” says Dodson.

Skarlicki believes Dodson will be a critical part of the new Centre’s team. “We are delighted to have Dr. Dodson join us,” he says. “Her passion for these important topics and her drive to conduct high-quality research is the perfect match for the Centre.”

Dr. Daniel Skarlicki, Academic Director UBC Sauder (UBC Sauder)

UBC Sauder is proving it sees the role that business has to play in building a better future through action. To this end, it will host various opportunities for students and business leaders who are passionate about building a more just, sustainable, and prosperous world.

A free online event on June 16, Getting Serious about Climate Change: How Businesses Must Step Up, will feature a panel of female UBC climate policy leaders and Vancouver Airport Authority CEO Tamara Vrooman discussing the role of business and the private sector in fighting climate change.

From June 24 to 25 at Hotel Vancouver, a Behavioural Insights into Social Good conference will see speakers discuss how insights from behavioural science research can be harnessed to facilitate greater social good.

A five-day, professional development program, Responsible Leadership for a Changing World will be available to business leaders starting in the fall exploring how they can tackle and address today’s biggest ethical, social, and environmental challenges and implement a plan of action for influencing cultural transformation.

To learn more about the Montalbano Centre for Responsible Leadership at the UBC Sauder School of Business, visit their website here.

Daily Hive

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