Tuck School of Business Professor Dr. Ella Bell describes her latest book, “Career GPS,” as “an act of love.”
DIVERSITYINC What inspired
you to write this story?
Bell takes readers on an inspiring journey from
her working-class roots in the Bronx—she was
repeatedly told by teachers she would never excel
or go to college—to her role today as a professor
at Dartmouth College, consultant to Fortune
100 companies, and founder of ASCENT, a
management and leadership program committed
to the professional development and career
advancement of multicultural women.
BELL [The first book I wrote 10
years ago], “Our Separate Ways,”
did a very good job outlining the
obstacles, particularly for Black
women, entering and advancing in
corporate America. But the corporate landscape has changed over
the last 10 years. Women comprise
50 percent of the workforce. This
is the time for women to enter the
workforce with confidence and
with boldness. Today, women are
the backbone of corporate America,
and as the number of women grows
in the workplace, they need to be
prepared. And corporate America
needs to be prepared.
DIVERSITYINC You talk about the
importance of self-awareness as a
key leadership skill set. Could you
walk us through what you mean?
In her book, Bell, a respected expert in the management of race, gender and class in the workplace, offers women of all backgrounds basic
advice on how to excel and advance in the business world.
DiversityInc recently spoke to Bell, who lives in
Charlotte, N.C., and Hanover, N.H., with Belle, her
Jack Russell terrier, about her life, her career and
her new book for women in the corporate world.
BELL Success starts internally. And
one of the things that becomes very
clear when I work with women in
their 30s, late 20s, even into their
early 40s is they are not really clear
as to who they really are, or what
they bring to the table. It’s important to know who you are—the
good, the bad and ugly.
Those parts of yourself that you
have always received praise on since
you were a child—you’re so smart,
you’re so patient, you’re kind, you’re
happy, you’re so good at reading—all
those things you heard throughout
your life. Those skills enable us to
do good. Those are our comfort-zone areas. The bad, that’s your
New Year’s resolution list. Those
are the things you know you need
to work on. You’ve heard about the
bad. Your parents told you. Your