March 30, 2021
Presented by The New School Alumni community, a virtual panel of Global Executive MS in Strategic Design and Management (GEMS) alumnae discussed how GEMS concepts apply in the modern workplace, the unique challenges women face in their careers, and much more.
“Design is so well-suited to solve legal problems.” - Allison Silver '18, Global Head of Legal Operations, Zoom
Silver joined the online platform company Zoom in January. Before Zoom became a household name, Silver worked in both business and legal roles. She said her current role is a great blend of the two spheres. “It’s been a really exciting journey using design every day,” she said. Like many students, GEMS changed Silver’s perception of what “creative” and “design” meant. “I never would’ve called myself creative,” she said. She realized that much of the problem solving she was already doing was creative. “I’m a great facilitator and that means I’m creative.” Although she is the only GEMS alum working in law, Silver sees that creating people-centered solutions is necessary when the law touches every part of our lives.
“Lead with vulnerability.” - Felicia Henderson '22, Consultant in Tech, Fashion & Design
Henderson is a current student, but she has already seen how the concepts in GEMS can help her push for diversity in leadership. With her GEMS cohort, Henderson worked with the organization Planned Parenthood on a 90-minute workshop to encourage mindfulness and play at work. “Being able to insert creativity into business gives it vitality,” she said. Henderson said women should fight to create more space at work and be honest and real when voicing their opinions, instead of mirroring someone else’s style. “Either design or be designed for,” she said.
“There’s a growing awareness and desire for a different way of thinking.” - Anusha Sriram '18, Chief of Staff to the Head of Strategy and International, Blackrock
With a background in finance, Sriram is new to the technology field. She said GEMS has been useful in inspiring a “different way of problem solving.” “Technology has become such an integral part of our lives,” she said. She urges women to tap into their natural abilities as caretakers and nurturers to be more “people-centric” and “heart-centric” when solving problems in the workplace.
“You don’t need a job title to say you’re a leader.” - Melissa Rancourt, Academic Director of Global Executive MS in Strategic Design and Management (GEMS)
As the director of GEMS, Rancourt has led executives in Paris, NYC, and Shanghai. She said one goal of the program is “changing the status quo of our own thinking.” Rancourt said professional women should continue to come together to promote diversity in thought, which can only happen if we all remain true to our authentic selves.
View the full panel on The New School Alumni Vimeo page.