Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Investing in women

UNC Kenan-Flagler’s new 100 Women initiative is accelerating the advancement of women in leadership positions in business and society.

Graphic of the 100 Women initiative with women's headshots in the background
(Image courtesy of UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School)

A spark ignited when Beth Struckell (MBA ’82) and Kit Bredrup (MBA ’93) met for the first time at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Centennial celebration at the 2019 Alumni Weekend. There they learned of the need for more women MBA students and started discussing how they could help.

From that meeting, the 100 Women movement was born.

They both had extraordinary experiences at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and decided to found a movement that harnesses the power of alumni to attract talented candidates to apply to the MBA Program and mentor them to become strong, ambitious and collaborative leaders.

“In framing the program, we set a goal to get 100 women supporters and, with their support, to ultimately enroll at least 100 women in the Full-Time MBA Program,” said Bredrup.

CWIB leaders and conference organizers at the 2018 conference

Carolina Women in Business leaders and conference organizers at the 2018 conference. (Photo courtesy of UNC Kenan-Flagler)

They connected with Sherry Wallace (MBA ’87), executive director of engagement and inclusion at UNC Kenan-Flagler, to develop the program. Under the larger umbrella of its diversity and inclusion programming, UNC Kenan-Flagler launched the initiative and developed a strategy in collaboration with the MBA admissions team and Carolina Women in Business.

Becca Jordan (MBA ’21 and CWIB president)

Becca Jordan, MBA ’21 and Carolina Women in Business president. (Photo courtesy of UNC Kenan-Flagler)

“As president of Carolina Women in Business, I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the 100 Women movement at UNC Kenan-Flagler,” says Becca Jordan (MBA ’21). “To me, this movement is a strategic consolidation and amplification of female accomplishment and connection in order to demonstrate the power of the Kenan-Flagler community to females interested in an MBA.”

Among their first steps were to enlist female grads to get involved by signing up as donors and mentors, and create a website and a LinkedIn presence that captures the passion women grads and students feel about their lives, careers and UNC Kenan-Flagler. Videos feature stories and perspectives from alumnae, students, faculty and staff about the unique School culture and why it is such a good fit for women. In conjunction with CWIB and the MBA admissions team, the 100 Women movement will help engage and mentor prospective students and invite them to two major events for women at UNC Kenan-Flagler: the annual CWIB Conference and Women’s Workshop.

“The movement will make an enduring impact on the University, the Business School and the state of North Carolina by increasing the number of women leaders in business and thereby making the working world a more kind, empathetic and authentic place to be,” says Wallace.

Measures of success for the 100 Women initiative will be more women applying to and studying at UNC Kenan-Flagler and more people engaged in the school’s women’s network of 12,000 UNC Kenan-Flagler alumnae.

“Having more women in leadership positions is good for business and for society,” says Doug Shackelford (BSBA ’80), dean at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “This is a movement that will have a lasting impact on the lives of future leaders and the UNC Kenan-Flagler community.”

Struckell agrees: “We are passionate about getting more women into our programs. Join us!”

Learn more and get involved with the 100 Women initiative: