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Leading with Purpose: My Journey in Inclusive Leadership at the Wisconsin School of Business

By Shanae Doerr

May 16, 2024

Shanae Doerr
Shanae Doerr

As my MBA journey at the Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the transformative experiences that have shaped my path. From moments of self-doubt to becoming a catalyst for change, my journey in inclusive leadership has been a testament to the power of authenticity and commitment. In this blog post, I invite you to join me as I recount the highs, lows, and pivotal moments that have defined my leadership journey at the WSB.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome:

When I first entered the MBA program, imposter syndrome loomed over me like a dark cloud. Doubts about my own worthiness plagued my thoughts, and I feared that my acceptance into the program was a fluke. My initial instinct was to blend into the background, avoiding any attention or disruption within the program. However, as the first year progressed, it became clear that our WSB full-time graduate community was facing challenges that needed to be addressed.

Founding the Graduate Inclusive Leadership Committee (ILC):

Despite my reservations, I knew I could not ignore the fire burning inside me to enact positive change. Teaming with our student services staff member, Nicole, and two full-time MBA classmates, Ibrahim, and Paige, we founded the Graduate Inclusive Leadership Committee with a clear mission: to champion equitable, diverse, and inclusive leadership within the WSB full-time graduate student community. Our goal was to contribute positively to the WSB’s reputation as an inclusive and forward-thinking institution, continuing to foster a supportive environment where all students feel valued and respected.

Key Initiatives and Impactful Moments:

The journey with the ILC has been filled with numerous initiatives aimed at fostering inclusivity and equity within the WSB. One particularly impactful moment was our successful advocacy for the integration of growth mindset and inclusive leadership principles into the MBA and Masters orientation programs. The initiative aligns seamlessly with WSB’s vision for an inclusive and equitable academic environment. By integrating growth mindset and inclusive leadership principles into orientation programs, we have not only set a positive tone for incoming students but also initiated crucial conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Another significant achievement was our push for increased representation among faculty members in MBA core courses. In the academic year 2022-2023, the absence of female professors in these crucial courses was disappointing. However, through our advocacy efforts, we saw a notable improvement in the subsequent academic year, with the integration of three accomplished female professors. This change not only promoted gender diversity but also signaled a commitment to fostering an inclusive educational environment.

Additionally, the Open Dialogue Sessions hosted by the ILC provided a safe space for graduate students to share their thoughts, concerns, and experiences related to inclusive leadership and social justice. These sessions facilitated meaningful dialogue and helped strengthen our sense of community.

Motivation and Values:

At the core of my leadership journey lies a deep-seated motivation to foster inclusive and equitable environments within academic and business settings. As the founder and leader of the ILC, I am driven by a genuine belief in the power of advocacy to create positive and lasting change. My commitment to championing equitable, diverse, and inclusive leadership stems from a desire to ensure that every individual feels valued and respected. I am proud to have embarked on this journey in inclusive leadership in partnership with the Wisconsin School of Business. Our collaborative efforts reflect WSB’s commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive community, and I am honored to have contributed to this shared goal.


Shanae speaking at graduation
Shanae speaking at the 2024 MBA graduation

Graduation has marked the culmination of an incredible journey at the Wisconsin School of Business. As I stood before my peers at the ceremony, speaking about the transformative power of authentic leadership, I was reminded of the many milestones we have achieved together. The moment was made even more special as I watched myself in the ceremony’s student video, recounting the impactful work of the Inclusive Leadership Committee (ILC) and its accomplishments.

Reflecting on my time at the Wisconsin School of Business, I am deeply grateful for the growth, the challenges, and the triumphs that have defined my MBA experience. From overcoming imposter syndrome to becoming a leader who advocates for equity and inclusion, this journey has been nothing short of transformative. The support and dedication of the WSB community—faculty, staff, and fellow students—have been instrumental in shaping my path and reinforcing the values I hold dear.

The initiatives led by the ILC, such as integrating inclusive leadership principles into orientation and increasing diverse representation among faculty, are just the beginning. These efforts have set a foundation for ongoing progress and have highlighted the importance of fostering a supportive and inclusive environment. The Open Dialogue Sessions we hosted have also played a crucial role in strengthening our community by providing a platform for open and meaningful conversations.

As I move forward in my career, I carry with me the lessons learned and the passion ignited at WSB. The commitment to advocacy, equity, and inclusion will continue to guide my professional endeavors. I am proud of what we have accomplished together and optimistic about the future we can build. As we all continue to strive for a more inclusive and equitable world, I invite you to join me in this ongoing mission. Remember, GO BUSINESS BADGERS!