Feb 10, 2023

Many Voices, One Tuck: Meet Leah Jack T’21 and Professor Stacy Blake-Beard

By Tuck Communications

Black Legacy Month (BLM) is a time in which the entire Dartmouth community comes together to celebrate and recognize the triumphs, struggles, and excellence of Blackness at Dartmouth.

Throughout the month of February, the Tuck and Dartmouth communities offer a number of events and programs to celebrate BLM. The purpose is to recognize the Black experience, explore topical issues in the Black community while giving context to a vision of what the Black future could be, and engage the Dartmouth community in an appreciation for all that Black people have contributed to the campus and the world at large.

Leah Jack T’21

What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean for you today, and in your words, why is it so critical?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are words to describe the hard work of building a team or community that seeks out and elevates voices and experiences not typically centered. DEI provides the individuals on that team or in that community with their specific needs and avoids a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s vital if we want to create a society in which everyone can thrive.

Leah Jack

How do you define “success”?
I often cave into societal pressures but am constantly trying to build my own definition of success. Here’s what I have so far: take at least one bucket list trip every five years, limit my work week to 50 hours max (40 hours would be a dream), move to solar energy and get an electric car, retire with no debt and a long list of books to read, raise a thoughtful and productive human being, and have a positive impact on society.

What is your vision for the future?
I hope to see a future where everyone has access to decent housing, universal basic income, education that promotes critical thinking and constructive dissent, a healthy environment, and a justice system based on human decency and restorative practices. Our world would be so much better off if we shifted away from extractive, self-interested individualism and towards a truly democratic society.

Leah Jack T’21 is a Trinidadian-American Navy brat who spent most of her formative years in Jacksonville, Florida. She now lives near Amherst, Massachusetts with her husband. At Tuck, she was an associate and board fellow with the Center for Business, Government & Society as well as a co-chair for the Black Student Association at Tuck. She is currently pursuing a career in education as a school business administrator in Massachusetts.

Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the Fulbright award that I received. Through that award, I was able to interview professional Indian women to delve into their mentoring experiences as they managed their careers. That research allowed me to confirm that there are some issues and realities regarding mentoring that women around the world face. This research also allowed me to tap into some of the unique, culturally-bound issues that our sisters across the world must deal with as they are managing their careers.

Who do you most admire and look up to? Who inspires you and why?
Two of my “sheroes” are Dr. Ella L.J. Bell Smith and her research partner Dr. Stella Nkomo. Their scholarship has illuminated the experiences of Black women. I met Ella and Stella during the first year of my doctoral program at the University of Michigan. All of the messages that I was receiving as a young scholar were that you better not do your work on women, especially women of color. The consequences would be too dire. You would not be able to publish that work. You would not be able to get a job. You would not be respected as a scholar.

So, Ella and Stella were stepping out on a ledge when they led the research project resulting in Our Separate Ways. For over 30 years, Ella and Stella’s wisdom has inspired my research on the mentoring experiences of Black women (and subsequently on women of color across the globe). Thank you to these two extraordinary women who were willing to push the envelope, to say without hesitation that Black women’s experiences are significant, that they merit attention and care. Shukriya.

Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard standing in front of pyramids

What’s something about you only few people know?
Few people know that I have an outdoor athletic persona. I hiked a 14er, Mt. Elbert in Colorado. I completed the B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association) Distance Medley with my husband Vince Beard. This medley consists of a 5K, 10K, and half-marathon. And as a teenager, I participated in Outward Bound. Each one of these activities has a mental component. The opportunity to marry physical strength with mental capacity is always a treat.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to travel. But many people don’t know that I have journeyed to six continents. One more to go—Antarctica, here I come.

What have you recently, read, watched, or listened to that you enjoyed and would highly recommend to others?
I have the pleasure and fortune of belonging to a book club of Black women—who have supported me since my arrival in Boston in 1996. We are reading Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry. I appreciate the messages and insights that she proffers because they are so real and so necessary.

But there is a book that I keep by my bedside—Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson. Even though I read this book years ago, I am still blown away by the depth and brilliance of Wilkerson’s commentary.

In terms of watching, I recently revisited Hidden Figures. Being reminded of the bravery and tenacity of Mary Jackson and her career at NASA never gets old. Finally, my favorite musician is Pat Metheny—it doesn’t matter what mood I am in. Metheny’s masterpieces always speak to my soul. And sometimes I just get in a good salsa when his Latin grooves play.

Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard, clinical professor of business administration at Tuck, is a renowned scholar, consultant, speaker, mentor, and coach. Prior to Dartmouth, Dr. Blake-Beard was a member of the faculty of Simmons College School of Business and Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Blake-Beard is the author of two books, Mentoring Diverse Leaders: Creating Change for People, Processes, and Paradigms and Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers. Dr. Blake-Beard’s academic research focuses on the issues women face as they develop mentoring relationships. She also studies the dynamics of formal mentoring programs in both corporate and educational settings. Dr. Blake-Beard researches and practices in international contexts, drawing from her global experiences. She received a 2010-2011 Fulbright Award to support her project, “Systems of Sustenance and Support: Exploring the Impact of Mentoring on the Career Experiences of Indian Women,” in partnership with the Center for Leadership, Innovation, and Change at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India.

Dr. Blake-Beard sits on the advisory boards of a number of organizations, including MentorNet, Teen Voices, the Harvard Project on Tenure and the Harvard Medical School Center for the Study of Diversity in Science, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Dr. Blake-Beard has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including awards from the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Robert Toigo Foundation.

Many Voices, One Tuck celebrates the stories of our vibrant and diverse community. What’s your story? Email DEI at Tuck if you’d like to contribute to the MVOT project.

Note: MVOT is open to members of the Tuck community, including students, alumni, faculty, staff, TEE and Tuck Bridge participants, and MHCDS graduates.