Former United States Senator from Maryland Barbara Mikulski spoke at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School on Nov. 13, addressing a host of topics ranging from women’s leadership to the economy in a lively one-on-one discussion with Carey Dean Bernard T. Ferrari.
Mikulski, now a Homewood Professor of Public Policy, and Ferrari sat for a fireside-style Q&A at Carey’s Harbor East Campus attended by approximately 100 Johns Hopkins University students, staff, faculty, and guests. In her trademark matter-of-fact and animated style, Mikulski spoke on a wide range of issues, weaving in anecdotes and insights from her political career. Below is a video of the event.
The topics included the barriers to entry for women in leadership, the interplay between business and government, and her view of the threats facing the U.S. economy
Business as Change Catalyst: When asked to critique the strengths and opportunities of business that future leaders should examine, Mikulski said business was good at creating and adapting technological change but slow on the uptake for social progress.
“For business to really succeed, it has to look at the new democracy – that more women are coming to work, the fact that we have a very diverse society and are moving toward a majority black, brown country. … the welcoming of LGBT people – it’s a changing democracy,” she said. “I think business has to look at it and be a force for society. Society is open, so should opportunity be.”
Later on this topic, Mikulski said the strongest push should come from within an organization – not from the government– and that reforming the tone for corporate culture is set at the top.
“Culture trumps rules, regulations and so on. How does [your business] create a positive culture that is welcoming, inclusive, and that looks at talent?” she said. “That is going to be driven by the board of directors and shareholders.”