Accidental CEO: Through the Higher Education Looking Glass

Available for Interviews: Dr. Hope Umansky

Dr. Hope Umansky is an American Culture College Professor with a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She is also an author on educational reform, equity, inclusion, and social justice.

What Dr. Hope can say in an interview on
Women in Higher Education C-Suite Roles:

    • Coming off the heels of the recent story in the World Economic Forum  that reports that only 22% of the leadership positions of America’s top research universities are filled by women, even though women have acquired more degrees than men over the last 40 years, according to a new report by the Eos Foundation.*
    • Dr. Hope considers herself an “accidental CEO”—who rose through the ranks of a private graduate school—only to then become disenfranchised. Learn why!

    • The C-Suite toxic culture. It’s not just that women aren’t getting promoted to those positions, maybe it’s about those positions being so binary, hierarchal, and outdated in nature and how people view those roles. 
    • The C-Suite model is set up on an old paradigm of toxic work ethic/masculinity (goes beyond masculinity though, and is just a toxic “all or nothing” environment).
    • High demands and low flexibility in the C-Suite workplace prevail. Women can rise up to higher ranks but perhaps the higher leadership roles are not friendly to women who want to live a wholly authentic life (full-time roles of mom, daughter, etc.) and be a CEO.
    • The C-Suite is decidedly cutthroat and 24/7 60–80-hour work weeks and is not compatible with other personal demands. There are a lot of women educators so it is not for lack of attraction for the field, so there is more going on than systematic discrimination.
      • Maya Angelou writes about the why the caged birds sings as a way of expressing hope and freedom. But perhaps it should not be a question of why but rather why does she have to sing at all—especially when she’s in the cage?
      • The glass ceiling can be seen as sort of a one-way-looking glass. Imagine Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz who gets so far from home—the heart—and taps her ruby red shoes to get back there—when the solution was really just to crack the ceiling or the mirror altogether. It’s not about getting through the ceiling it’s about smashing it.

In the news . . .

World Economic Forum article:

* Gender gap persists at all levels of leadership in universities, report rinds

Read Dr. Hope’s Full Essay here:

The Accidental CEO


Interview: Dr. Hope Umansky

Dr. Hope Umansky, a.k.a. Dr. Hope, is an American Culture College Professor and an author on educational reform, equity, inclusion, social justice & American culture. Her column, Dr. Hope On Point represents the intersection of historical context and popular culture, with an emphasis on the complex human experience.

Hope Umansky, PhD, offers a unique psychology-based perspective on the questions and events that weigh heavy on our hearts and minds.

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.

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