From working on a tobacco farm at age 11 to selling her co-owned executive search firm, Jan Greenwood’s DE&I path has been an unconventional one.
It wasn’t until she was a university faculty member that she witnessed her first cross burning by the KKK in New Jersey. That fortified her resolve to fight not only for women’s rights but for racial equality. She vowed to make a difference in the future makeup of higher education institutions.
And she did. She’s a pioneer in US higher education as the first woman president of a public four-year and graduate institution in Virginia. As vice provost of the University of Cincinnati, and later president of two universities, one private and one public, her DE&I efforts in the communities in and around campus paid off.
“It was critically important to work to bridge the gap between Caucasians and people of color, especially in the area we were in, and we had several novel ways to help develop that effort,” Greenwood says. This accomplishment set the pace and showed the country what could be done; other universities followed.
In 2004, she co-founded with Dr. Betty Turner Asher a women-owned executive search firm, Greenwood/Asher, specializing in higher education. “Diversity continues to be a core value,” Greenwood says. She has been a strong role model for university leaders, guiding search committees through difficult conversations, listening to both their concerns and that of the candidates, to make the right match.
Of all searches conducted by Greenwood/Asher, approximately 57% have led to clients choosing a diverse candidate. When she and Asher began to contemplate the next phase of Greenwood/Asher, it was important to them to join a company that also valued diversity in the workforce. Kelly acquired Greenwood/Asher & Associates in November 2020, and she is excited by the possibilities ahead.
2021 DE&I Influencers List