Outgoing Bentley University President Gloria Larson says she believes a gender hiring quota could help propel qualified women into positions of leadership in sectors traditionally dominated by men.
“Here’s what changes everything: when a CEO and chairman of a board say the next three slots are going to women,” Larson told Greater Boston host Jim Braude Wednesday when he asked about gender equity in hiring practices in the state’s public and private sectors.
Pressed if she supported a hiring quota, Larson said “absolutely.”
“Yeah, because the prior six went to guys. But here’s the deal, it has to be equal qualifications,” Larson explained.
An attorney and business leader, Larson took the helm as president of then-Bentley College in Waltham in 2007. As the first-ever woman president, she led the transition of the school from a college to a university, added new courses and launched the school’s Center for Women in Business. Larson is also the author of a “PreparedU: How Innovative Colleges Drive Student Success.”
“For me, it’s been all about how do we build a workforce of the future that matches workforce needs but also matches what millennials believe in and care about,” she said, reflecting on her leadership philosophy.
Larson said there was a “steep” learning curve when she first started at the business school, but that being an outsider helped her see the changes needed in what she called the “bubble world” of higher ed.
“I have to say that, in my case, bringing that outside world thinking in, turned out to be a good thing. It helped us rethink our majors, helped us rethink how we’re going to combine the skills set and the knowledge that kids need by bringing industry to the table,” she said.
Asked about what she plans to do next, Larson said, “actually, I do know. I can’t tell you — even a white lie. I do know — watch this space.”
For more of Bentley University President Gloria Larson’s interview with Jim Braude, click on the link above.