Career & Education

Jamaican named EVP, COO at top US university

Sunday, July 09, 2017

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Jamaican chemist and entrepreneur Dr Tashni-Ann Dubroy has been appointed executive vice-president and chief operating officer at Howard University, effective October 2.

Howard University President Wayne Frederick announced the appointment on his official twitter page on Wednesday.

“Please join me in welcoming @PhDTash to the @HowardU team as EVP & Chief Operating Officer. Dr DuBroy will assume her duties this October,” he said.

Dubroy responded: “Thank you so much @HUPrez17! Looking forward to joining #TheRealHU and creating models of excellence in executive leadership with you.”

Dr Dubroy, 36, is currently president of Shaw University, a private liberal arts institution in Raleigh, North Carolina, which holds the distinction as the oldest historically black university (HBCU) in the southern US. She is the 17th president, but only the third woman and the second youngest person ever to hold the office.

In her two-year tenure, Dubroy has been credited with Shaw's first enrolment increase in six years, according to the university, which compared the 2016 freshman class of over 600 students to the 402 that enrolled in 2015. She is also credited with closing a US$4-million fund-raising gap, and raising US$630,000 at the school's 150th anniversary in 2015, the single largest total ever raised at an alumni event.

“Dr Dubroy helped to revitalise campus operations, budget performance and enrollment. She restructured the organisation to better align with strategic priorities,” a release the Howard University website said of Dubroy's leadership at Shaw.

“She is also responsible for the university's expanded presence in downtown Raleigh and within the Research Triangle Park corporate community. An accomplished entrepreneur, Dubroy spearheaded the recent opening of the Shaw University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center in partnership with the Carolina Small Business Development Fund to expand small business development and economic empowerment throughout Raleigh,” it added.

At Howard, which is located in Washington, DC, Dubroy's key duties will include collaborating with President Frederick on strategic planning and ensuring that all initiatives align with Howard's core values and established priorities.

“Dr Dubroy brings valuable experiences to this position, a proven track record of success, and I'm ecstatic that she is joining my leadership team,” said Frederick in the Howard release.

“She comes to Howard at a very critical time. As higher education becomes an increasingly more competitive environment, especially for HBCUs, her ability to advance innovation and strategies that lead to key outcomes and process optimisation across the university will continue to drive us to a vibrant future.”

Dr Dubroy hails from May Pen, Clarendon, in Jamaica. She attended Holy Childhood High and Wolmer's Girls' schools before migrating in 1998.

She received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Shaw University, holds a Masters of Business Administration from Rutgers University in New Jersey, and earned a PhD in Physical Organic Chemistry from North Carolina State University in 2007.

She began her career as a scientist at chemical company BASF, and later co-founded hair care manufacturer and retailer Tea and Honey Blends, as well as co-owned Element Beauty Bar, a salon in downtown Raleigh. She was named 2017 CEO of the Year by the Triangle Business Journal and has been featured in Money Magazine and Bloomberg's BusinessWeek.

Prior to her executive appointment, the Shaw University alumna served as special assistant to the president, chair of Shaw University's Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and as an associate professor of Chemistry.

On Thursday, the self-described relentless optimist and game changer posted on her Facebook page:

“I am grateful to Shaw University's Board of Trustees for the opportunity to serve my Alma Mater as its president and I will treasure all the moments and milestones our faculty, staff, and I created together because we care about the young people who walk our halls and graduate to become future global leaders.

“The work we started is certainly not done, but the E.P.I.C. momentum we've created is phenomenal, and I will be here to assist with transitioning our next leader. ...The love I have for Shaw University — her students, faculty, staff and alumni — is immeasurable. My love for Shaw will never wane.”

Shaw board chairman Dr Joe Bell thanked Dubroy for her leadership.

“We are proud of her energetic, inclusive and refreshing leadership and the manner in which she led our institution to surpass goals in student enrolment, fund-raising and cost control.

“We wish her all the best in the next phase of her professional journey,” he said.

Dr Dubroy is married to Dale Dubroy and they have one daughter, Marli-Jolie.

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