Leadership

Encouraging a More Representative Workforce

“Kenan-Flagler was a place willing and able to see beyond my background …”

MBA student making a presentation

“Kenan-Flagler was a place willing and able to see beyond my background …”

Khalil Smith ’13 (MBA) has made it his mission to encourage a more representative workforce and improve the inclusion of different ethnicities, genders and backgrounds in corporations.

“Just to be outraged is not enough,” said Smith, regarding the recent protests around racial injustice. “What we need to do is fundamentally change the systems in place that have led to this movement. Let’s go beyond the rhetoric and get to the details.”

Smith is setting the precedent for others by advising dozens of leading companies on how to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

“Being inclusive is about pulling apart unconscious bias, stimulating employee engagement and advocacy,” said Smith. “It can create opportunities for people that otherwise wouldn’t have them.”

With years of hard work under his belt but no bachelor’s degree, Smith sought out an MBA to raise his credibility.

“For a lot of schools, my background was a non-starter,” said Smith. “Kenan-Flagler was a place willing and able to see beyond my background. They saw the potential that I saw in myself.”

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