Areas of Expertise (8)
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Value-creating Strategies of Diversity and Inclusion
Equity Fluent Leadership
The Gender Wage Gap
Corporate Social Responsibility
Women in Leadership
Kellie McElhaney is on the Berkeley Haas faculty as a Distinguished Teaching Fellow and the Founding Director of the Center for Equity, Gender and Leadership (EGAL).
Launched in November 2017, EGAL's mission is to educate equity fluent leaders to ignite and accelerate change. Equity fluent leaders understand the value of different lived experiences and courageously use their power to address barriers, increase access, and drive change for positive impact. McElhaney helped develop the equity fluent leadership concept and teaches it across the country and around the world.
In 2003, McElhaney founded the Center for Responsible Business, solidifying corporate responsibility as a core competency and competitive advantage for the Haas School. Haas was rated #1 in the world for corporate responsibility by The Financial Times. She received the Founder and Visionary Award at Haas in 2013 for this work.
McElhaney wrote a book entitled "Just Good Business: The Strategic Guide to Aligning Corporate Responsibility and Brand." She writes case studies of companies who are investing in women and equity-fluent leadership (Wal-Mart, Gap, Inc., Boston Consulting Group, Zendesk), and conducts research in the area of equal, pay, conscious inclusion, equity fluent leadership, and value-creating strategies of diversity and inclusion.
McElhaney consults and keynotes for Global 1000 companies and organizations all over the world on her areas of expertise, and has a TED talk. She is the mother of two incredibly strong teenage daughters.
University of Michigan: PhD, Higher Education (Business Cognate)
Ohio University: MA, Organizational Behavior/Management
University of North Carolina: BA, Political Science, English
Honors & Awards (9)
Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business 2019
Honored by the San Francisco Business Times May 2019
California Management Review Case of the Year
"Eliminating the Gender Pay Gap: Gap Inc. Leads the Way" 2017
Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching
Founder & Visionary Award
Center for Responsible Business 2013
Aspen Institute and the World Resources Institute’s Faculty Pioneer Award
“40 Under 40” leaders racing ahead of their time by the East Bay Business Times
Finalist in Fast Company‘s Fast 50 list
MBA Teaching Excellence Award, UMBS
Nominated 2001, 2002, 2003
Outstanding GSI Teaching Award
The University of Michigan 1997
Selected External Service & Affiliations (11)
- 2018 – present Empower Her, Advisory Board
- 2018 – present, Gender Equity Diversity Subcommittee of the University of California Athletics Board
- 2017 – present, Closed Loop Fund, Advisor
- 2016 – 2018, Orrick, Women's Leadership Council, Chair
- 2014 – 2017, Outotec, Sustainability Advisory Board, Finland
- 2014 – 2018, Sedgwick Women’s Forum Advisory Board
- 2014 – 2017, Pacific Community Ventures, Board
- 2013-2017, Dow Chemical Company, Sustainability Advisory Council
- 2013 – present, Sierra Global Management Board
- Advisory Board, Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund, Atalanta Capital, SustainAbility
- Sustainability Advisory Council, The Dow Chemical Company
Positions Held (2)
At Haas since 2002
2017 – present, Founding Director, Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership, Haas School of Business 2008 – present, Faculty, Institute for Business and Social Impact, Haas School of Business 2002 – 2017, Adjunct Associate Professor, Haas School of Business 2008 – 2012, Margo N. Alexander Faculty Fellow in Corporate Responsibility, Haas School of Business 2002 – 2008, John C. Whitehead Faculty Fellow in Corporate Responsibility, Haas School of Business 2002 – 2009, Executive Director & Founder, Center for Responsible Business, Haas School of Business 1994 – 2002, Managing Director, Corporate Environmental Management Program, University of Michigan Business School 1993 – 2002, Adjunct Professor, University of Michigan Business School 1992 – 1993, Visiting Professor, Sichuan International Studies University 1991 – 1992, Adjunct Instructor, University of Cincinnati 1989 – 1992, Fifth Third Bancorp
2013 – 2014, Management Institute of Finland 2010 – 2014, Visiting Professor, EADA, Barcelona, Spain 2006 – 2014, Visiting Professor, Kenan-Flagler School of Business, UNC Chapel Hill 2007, Visiting Professor, Institut d’Administration des Enterprises, University of Poitiers, Poitiers, France 1992 – 1993, Visiting Professor, Sichuan International Studies University, Sichuan, China
Media Appearances (15)
Innovation and Impact at ICAM
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business online
Berkeley Haas has made an effort to diversify case studies by creating a compendium to discover how many business cases are discussing DEI, no matter what the primary topic. Researchers at the school found that, of the 236 cases that were categorized as focusing on diverse protagonists, 84 percent were about gender, 29 percent about ethnicity, and 5 percent about age. Furthermore, the cases that featured nonwhite protagonists frequently reinforced racial stereotypes by presenting these businesspeople as “rare unicorns,” said Lecturer Kellie McElhaney, founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership.
Meet Ankur Jain, The Under 30 Founder Tackling Some Of The Biggest Challenges Facing The Millennial Generation—Like Rent Relief Amid The Pandemic
The founder of real estate startup Rhino has a plan to raise $16 billion for rent relief by freeing up tenants security deposits and allowing them to instead pay a monthly insurance fee. Kellie McElhaney, founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender & Leadership, commented on whether the plan is too good to be true. "Too many times, strategies to serve low-income communities are designed by high-income individuals in a vacuum, without a clear sense of actual needs and desired solutions from the community members," she said.
How to Identify — and Fix — Pay Inequality at Your Company
Harvard Business Review online
A pay equity audit is the best way for companies to make sure they're paying their employees fairly. But some companies are afraid to collect the data, said Kellie McElhaney, founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender & Leadership at Haas. "It’s the fear that they are going to find a problem and have to fix it. But isn’t that how you manage a business effectively?"
At Berkeley Haas, The Hard Work To Balance B-School Cases Is Underway
Poets & Quants online
Founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership, Distinguished Teaching Fellow Kellie McElhaney, along with associate director Genevieve Smith, has taken on the important task of making sure that business school case studies reflect the diversity of real life. They’re building a library of diverse cases—but it's not easy, said McElhaney. “You think you’re going to do a little job and then you realize it’s huge," she said.
Solid8's CEO Michael Lofthouse resigns after racist video
San Francisco Business Times online
Michael Lofthouse, CEO of consulting business Solid8, is stepping down after being caught on camera making racist remarks to an Asian family celebrating a birthday at a Carmel restaurant. "I think it will be extraordinarly difficult for him to recover in the U.S. He may want to go back to England where he came from," said Distinguished Teaching Fellow Kellie McElhaney, founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership. "It won’t be surprising to see his customers, employees, vendors, and investors leave him."
Big brands abandon racial stereotypes
Aunt Jemima pancake products will be renamed because the brand's 120-year depiction of an African American woman is "a stereotype," according to a company spokesperson. Kellie McElhaney, founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender & Leadership, said that companies resist change because brand is tightly linked to share value. However, she said that it's time for companies to make a deeper commitment to inclusion and listen to their employees.
Companies Send Message in Support of Nationwide Protests
Voice of America online
CEOs and business leaders usually stay quiet during protests like those currently spreading across the country, but this time seems to be an exception. "I am shocked by the number of executives who have spoken up for the first time," said Distinguished Teaching Fellow Kellie McElhaney, Founding Director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership.
Coronavirus Pandemic Worsens Gender Pay Gap
Some 45% of women have had work hours cut or been laid off, compared to 35% of men, during the pandemic. "We see women who are making the extraordinarily difficult choice of reducing hours, taking a temporary leave, and even quitting in some cases, which is obviously going to disproportionately affect their pay," said Distinguished Teaching Fellow Kellie McElhaney, founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership.
Cincinnati passes bill giving renters alternatives to security deposits
Cincinnati has passed legislation that requires landlords to offer alternatives to the traditional lump-sum security deposits. "Housing is the most significant barrier and factor in the rich-poor gap that we have, and I think this law is getting to the root of the wound as opposed to putting a Band-Aid on," said Kellie McElhaney, founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender, & Leadership.
#MeToo is necessary. It’s also freaking men out
Boston Globe online
Since #MeToo took hold, a new type of leadership conference that teaches men how to be better allies to women in the workplace has begun gaining popularity. The general sentiment at the one I attended as a journalist last fall was contrition. After all, women have always trailed men in salary and promotions, despite decades of leadership conferences designed to teach women to take a seat at the table.
Momentum Builds For More Women On Boards
California requires publicly-held companies headquartered in the state to have a minimum of one woman on their boards by the end of 2019 and two by 2021. "It’s unfortunate that California had to legislate giving equal opportunity on boards to the 52% of the population who are women, but the alternative of simply waiting for companies to catch up to reality was no longer tenable," said Kellie McElhaney, founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership.
Growing Criticism, Activism among Big Technology Company Employees
Voice of America online
Companies are examining their contracts with the military and pouring millions into causes their employees care about. These efforts are good for business and for building trust with the public and employees, said Distinguished Teaching Fellow Kellie McElhaney, Founding Director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership.
US tech industry becomes hotbed for employee activism
Washington Post online
There's a growing backlash about "unethical tech" and the industry is speaking out. “As an employee in the tech sector right now, there is a fair bit of guilt or (asking), ‘What is my responsibility?,’” said Distinguished Teaching Fellow Kellie McElhaney, Founding Director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership.
Silicon Valley wades into the abortion wars — cautiously
San Francisco Chronicle online
Distinguished Teaching Fellow Kellie A. McElhaney, Founding Director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership, said it's possible that highly visible companies may be wary of getting involved with the polarizing, political hot potato of abortion rights. But, she said, “it’s a lost opportunity for sectors like tech who already have a gender problem."
Meet the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business 2019
San Francisco Business Times
Kellie McElhaney is lauded as of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business, which celebrates well over 100 women business leaders in real estate, law, tech, finance, health care and many other industries. These women work in diverse fields, but all share a passion for what they do.
Selected Papers & Publications (8)
Promoting a Culture of Equity in the #MeToo Era: Moving Beyond Responding to Gender-Related Workplace Issues to Tackling Root CausesHarvard Business Review
Kellie A. McElhaney, Genevieve Smith, Margi Goelz
Case Study March 2019
Eliminating the Gender Pay Gap: Gap Inc. Leads the WayHarvard Business Review Case Study
Kellie A. McElhaney and Genevieve Smith
Ernst and Young: Gender Balanced Teams Produce Higher Business ReturnsBerkeley-Haas Case Series
Kellie A. McElhaney
Wal-Mart's Global Women's Economic Empowerment InitiativeHarvard Business Review
Kellie A. McElhaney
The roadmap toward effective strategic social partnershipsDeloitte Insights
John Mennel, Tina Mendelson, Kellie A. McElhaney, Bill Marquard
Women Create a Sustainable FutureCenter For Responsible Business
Kellie A. McElhaney & Sanaz Mobasseri
Just Good BusinessBerrett-Koehler Publishers
Kellie A. McElhaney
Designing Sustainability at BMW Group: The Designworks/ USA Experience. Strategic Sustainability: The State-of-the-Art in Corporate Environmental Management SystemsHarvard Business School
Kellie McElhaney, Michael W. Toffel and Natalie Hill
The Value of Equity Fluent Leadership
MBA 292, UGBA 192
Business Solutions for Global Mega Trends