Recently the APH community welcomed Dr. Renée Richardson Gosline, a Senior Lecturer and Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management, to our Women in Leadership Speaker Series. Dr. Richardson Gosline has been named one of the World’s Top 40 Professors under 40 by Poets and Quants, an MIT “Iron Professor,” and a scholar at the MIT Center for Digital Business.

As Dr. Richardson Gosline related to her audience, she grew up in two worlds: her home life, whereas the daughter of immigrants, her parents were not all that keen on raising her in the “traditional” American way, and her school life at her private high school in Brooklyn, where she was the only student of color. Dr. Richardson Gosline recalled having to educate her parents on the “typical” American lifestyle even as she was figuring it out for herself. After graduating high school, Dr. Richardson Gosline went on to attend undergraduate and graduate school at Harvard University, where she was encouraged to pursue innovative projects, and ultimately won an award for writing the best senior thesis.

Now working at MIT, Dr. Richardson Gosline conducts her own research and experiments, and students had the privilege to hear about her fascinating work. She explained a number of her experiments in behavioral economics, describing how personal branding, heuristics, confidence, and bias all play into our perceptions of ourselves and others. She also spoke about how her work relates to authentic leadership, which she defines as understanding the role you play in your school and community, and how your personal identity impacts others.

The students and faculty were enthralled by Dr. Richardson Gosline’s work and the insights she offered. Kaysil G ‘22 “found Dr. Richardson Gosline’s background so interesting” and  “wanted to hear more about the challenges she faced.” Fleur N ‘22 felt that Dr. Richardson Gosline was “extremely inspiring.” For Fleur, “so many things [Dr. Gosline] said resonated” with her own experiences, “especially when she was talking about people’s personal bias. As a black girl, it makes me proud and hopeful to see a black woman like Dr. Gosline be so successful.” Similarly, Kayle W ‘22, was drawn to Dr. Gosline’s “passion for helping others” and magnetic way of speaking. Dr. Gosline’s story and passion for her work inspired Kayle, encouraging her to “pursue what [she] wants to, no matter your social standings and where you live.”

Dr. Richardson Gosline left us with the challenge, as both student and educational leaders, to use our privilege to create opportunities to speak out for those who do not share our privilege, as a method of creating the changes that we wish to see in the world, no matter how large or small.