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A New MSU Initiative will Support Female Leadership Prospects in Business

Only 10% of CEOs are female, according to research released in 2023, and men are 2.5 times more likely than women to be executives in top leadership teams. To close the gender gap and advance female graduates into the C-suite, Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business has received a game-changing donation.

The gift from Priya Balasubramaniam (MBA ’01) creates the Dashedy Women’s Leadership Accelerator (DWLA), which aims to give dozens of students the skills and self-assurance they need to pursue careers in professional leadership every year. For a limited group of undergraduates, the DWLA offers a potent, immersive experience through long-term mentoring, coaching, workshops, and experiential learning opportunities.

Helen Dashney, a faculty member at Broad College, has been a mentor and friend to Balasubramaniam for more than 20 years; her present is in recognition of their enduring friendship. In her role as DWLA director, Dashney will provide accepted students, referred to as DWLA Scholars, with one-on-one mentoring. In addition, she will be responsible for creating individualized plans for the development of leadership skills and building a network of champions to support scholars beyond graduation and link them with upcoming DWLA cohorts.

“I have grown and derived joy from special relationships with students over the years, many of them still ongoing,” said Dashney, who has worked at the Broad College since 1996. “To have someone as accomplished and humble as Priya recognize my work at Broad with this gift is perhaps the pinnacle of my 50-plus-year career. I will strive to honor her by contributing to the confidence with which DWLA Scholars and their connected peers launch their professional careers.”

Vice president of operations at Apple Inc. Balasubramaniam claims that Dashney’s steadfast support served as her primary source of motivation to give back. She found Dashney’s mentorship to be quite beneficial, whether it was just knowing she had someone who genuinely cared or having a sounding board to offer insightful advice when encountering obstacles in her career.

“She is a prime example of the kind of advisor support that can transform hopelessness into optimism, and it is essential to the accelerator’s development.”

Balasubramaniam, who has supported MSU in numerous ways over the years, stated that the main goal of the DWLA initiative is to “ensure young women are equipped to be purposeful and intentional in their actions and activities.” illuminating the path and advancing matters.

On December 8, 2023, the first cohort of 14 DWLA Scholars was selected and welcomed to the accelerator. Programming for the group will start in January 2024.