#MakeYourMark: Q&A with Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s International Women’s Day Forum on March 5, we’re highlighting 10 inspiring leaders who have made their mark in advancing opportunities for women and girls. Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Howard University.

What’s the most important lesson you learned in your career?

I’ve been attracted to challenging academic and leadership roles, replete with steep hills to climb, learning curves to overcome and barriers to break. I’m no stranger to problem solving. In every situation, my mental fortitude and mindset have been just as critical to my success, as my aptitude. This experience is one of the primary reasons why I believe in the immense power of having a positive spirit. 

What is the biggest issue facing women today?  

There is a great deal of conversation around equity, and this has merit, but there is an additional challenge related to women advocating for opportunities in business, politics, and other arenas, beyond being the face of corporate attempts at equity. We have to look at cultures and systems to analyze whether organizations have taken necessary steps to prepare women for leadership and to prepare for women in leadership. 

Women are set up for failure when they are placed in environments where accountability and responsiveness have long been shaped by bad practices. It is not enough to simply demonstrate “equality” and “diversity” by placing the first woman in any given leadership position, but organizations must create a structure, presence and support that is backed by a comprehensive, accountable culture that welcomes diversity and inclusion.  

How can we best engage the next generation to continue the momentum?

The good news is that the next generation is already highly engaged in the important issues of our time. We are seeing an explosion in youth activism on issues like the environment, equal wages, racial equality, gun control, among others. Keeping them engaged will require their voices and perspectives to be heard, and acted upon now, and for previous generations to nurture their values and goals in the frame of future benefit, and not simply avoiding mistakes of the past. 

Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy spoke at the 9th Annual International Women's Day Forum in 2019. Join us at the 10th Annual International Women’s Day Forum: Marking a Milestone, Continuing the Momentum on March 5 in New York City. Explore the full agenda and register now to save your spot.