Erika James, named one of Linkedin’s Top Voices in 2020, began her training in organizational psychology. This award-winning educator, consultant, and researcher is the first African American Woman to be appointed dean in Wharton school history. Born in Bermuda, James would immigrate to the U.S. as a child, growing up in Missouri and Texas. James would be influenced by the work of her parents, an educator, and psychologist, as she began her studies at Pomona College. She would go on to receive her master’s and Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan. James would concentrate her research on workplace diversity and crisis management. While she did not expect to pursue a professional academic career, after graduation she would become an assistant professor for Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business and a visiting professor at Harvard Business School.
James would begin her next professional chapter as the owner and president of the Crisis Management Institute, which provides crisis management training and solutions for organizations. In 2001, James would begin her tenure with the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, where James was instrumental in the creation of groundbreaking executive education programs such as spearheading the Women’s Leadership program. In 2014, James would become the first African American woman to be selected as dean in Emory’s school history, as she joined John H. Harland Dean of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. During James’ tenure Goizueta’s faculty grew by 25% under her leadership, she would be featured on Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list of the ‘World’s Most Inspiring African Americans.’ For her leadership and expertise, James has been labeled an expert by the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, CNN.com, and numerous other media outlets. In addition to her academic career, James serves on the board of SurveyMonkey, the Graduate Management Admissions Council, and several organizations that align with her passion for education and the advancement of women. She also serves on the board for the Save the Children organization, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of children through education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. In 2019, she was honored with the Earl Hill Jr. Faculty Achievement and Diversity Leadership Award by the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management.