Alliant Strategy Professor, Dr. Louise Kelly, striving to empower psychologists and women

Dr. Louise Kelly is a professor of strategy at Alliant International University’s School of Management, specializing in international strategic entrepreneurship. She has consulted for firms in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Kenya and Vietnam and is co-founder of Global Mind Center for Strategic Consulting at Alliant. Her areas of interest and research include: strategic and business management, leadership and sustainable leadership, family business, entrepreneurship, environmental entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship in developing countries, including, Kenya, Mexico, Vietnam, Guatemala and others, and, last but not least, women entrepreneurs.

In her most recently published book, The Psychologist Manager: Success Models for Psychologists in Executive Positions (Hogrefe, 2012), co-authored with Dr. Jay Finkelman, formerly  associate dean and program director at Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology, and in her upcoming book, Women Entrepreneurship: New Management and Leadership Models (Praegar, 2013), Kelly, coaches two traditionally underserved groups in the business world, psychologists and women, respectively.

Kelly points out that while approximately 40% of psychologists end up working in business or sales, most never receive any education or training in business practices, which limits their managerial effectiveness. On the other hand, women in the corporate world who do have the business education, experience and leadership potential, often become stifled and isolated by the continuing corporate “glass ceiling.” Each group lacks certain essential skills to overcome its particular challenge to succeed in the business world.

The Psychologist Manager advances the view that psychologists need to learn how to talk about and frame strategy, make hard business decisions, drive innovation and sustainability and deal with the politics that are part of any organization. It illustrates how an interdisciplinary approach toward management can be a vital resource in the 21st century. “I think business and strategic management is poised to have the same influential impact on the world in the 21st century that psychology had in the 20th century,” said Kelly. Now, psychologists in managerial positions need to develop their business skills to thrive in their careers.

Women Entrepreneurship takes the stance that women’s incredible power as leaders and strategists is not being used by society because the corporate “glass ceiling” is still in effect. Moreover, this “glass ceiling” causes women to compete against each other, often for the few top positions available to them, in a phenomenon Kelly calls, “women on women violence.” Kelly goes on to say that in the entrepreneurial world, women entrepreneurs tend to support rather than undermine each other. “Perhaps this cooperation of women entrepreneurs is a structural and economic phenomenon because they are typically not competing for the same client base,” adds Kelly. The book features advice from women contributors around the globe including Botswana, China, Jamaica and other countries

Inspiration for her research comes from Alliant’s PhD in Leadership, an interdisciplinary program that combines key elements from organizational psychology, business and management. The goal of the program is to cross-train psychologists and women so they are better prepared to be managers in the real world.

Dr. Kelly continues to conduct relevant research that broadens business perspectives. “This is really a global movement that has the potential to radically change the world,” says Kelly with a smile. “I want to be a small part of that movement.”