Columbia native Deborah Hazzard is the first African American academic in a leadership role in the 100-year history of the Darla Moore School of Business as the new associate dean for diversity and inclusion.
Hazzard came to the Moore School in 2016 as a clinical assistant professor in management.
When she expressed interest in expanding diversity and inclusion efforts within the Moore School, Hazzard said she had the full support of the management department and launched the first diversity and inclusion course in the Moore School's history.
Peter Brews, Darla Moore School of Business dean, hired Hazzard.
“Her academic background is phenomenal and very close to diversity and inclusion, and of course, being who she is and where she is from, I couldn’t have thought of a better person to take us to the next level than she,” Brews said.
Brews said Hazzard is a person who requires "excellence" and "doesn’t skirt around issues." However, while she expects much, Brews said she is "considerate of the challenges" people face.
“She is both socially sensitive and adept, as well as very smart,” Brews said.
Brews said he expects her balance of emotional and intelligence quotients will bid her well in the advancement of the school’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
“Diversity and inclusion is an important thing for all of us, and especially for business,” Brews said. “With the increase in diversity, you’ve got to know how to include others that are not the same as you."
Hazzard has not always been in academia. She comes from a background working in business and industry, which is, in part, where she developed her passion for diversity and inclusion.
“Many of the insights that I have gained have been because of my own story, because of my own journey,” Hazzard said. "This isn’t just stuff I say, this is stuff that I have lived."
Hazzard said she believes representation is an important factor in motivation. She said she wants to make a difference for underrepresented students with her presence and position, and intends to use her platform to ensure students feel valued, visible and respected. Hazzard said she wants to ensure students are aware of the assets and support systems that have been put into place to help them be successful.
Hazzard said she has learned many valuable lessons during her career and life journey, but she strongly believes the power of a voice is untouchable.
“I have learned that there is no power in silence," Hazzard said. "Victory starts with a single voice."
Hazzard said she is committed not only to changing worldly perspectives for her students, but also for her children.
“I'm a mom, so when you look at it from the perspective of wanting to model for your children, I want them to be motivated," Hazzard said. "I don’t want them to be limited by the color of their skin or the gender that they were born into."
Outside of her roles at the Moore School, she is the principal and chief executive officer of 2 Higher Heights, LLC., a global management consulting and training firm with a goal to deliver diversity, inclusion and other management development training to organizations.
Through the firm, Hazzard said she works to use her voice to impact individuals and organizations and get companies to understand the value of diverse perspectives and diverse voices.
“I truly believe you change the world one person, one program, one initiative at a time,” Hazzard said.