Introducing Kendall Bills
EGAL Student Fellow 2019–2021
The Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL) is thrilled to announce our 2019–2021 EGAL Student Fellow, Kendall Bills! Kendall joins us from Charlottesville, Virginia, where she ran a project management consulting firm with a focus on corporate citizenship and sustainability. Her background includes work in the external affairs department of a leading progressive think tank, as well as serving as the first and only staff member of a nonprofit focused on promoting health care access among the LGBTQ community. In addition to serving as a Fellow with the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership, she is a Forte Fellow, member of the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management, and a Reaching Out MBA Fellow.
Why did you choose Haas?
Deciding to pursue my MBA was a challenging process for me — I struggled to imagine the type of business school that would be a real “culture match,” particularly coming from a non-traditional and largely nonprofit background. I vividly remember the evening when I first read Haas’ four leadership principles — it was so exciting and energizing to see in writing the approach that I hoped the next generation of business leaders would take to addressing global challenges. Before I even set foot on campus, I felt seen and connected. As I began speaking with Haas students, it became clear that these principles were more than just lip service — that they are deeply held values that are lived out in all areas of campus life. Finally, the opportunity to work with EGAL as a fellow was a major factor in deciding to come to Haas!
Describe a time when you saw equity fluent leadership in action.
Kelli Palmer is a long-time mentor, and currently serves as Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion at CFA Institute. Seeing her approach to DEI, as well as her work related to sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and other corporate citizenship issues taught me that thoughtful, engaged, equity-fluent leadership around these topics is critical to business success. True equity fluent leadership isn’t reactive — it is a proactive means of ensuring that businesses are most effectively reaching their customers, stewarding their employee base, and preparing for an increasingly interconnected and complex future.
What excites you most about being an EGAL Student Fellow?
Equity fluent leadership goes so far beyond learning what to say or how to say it when it comes to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. True equity fluent leadership is a mindset shift, which can help people see the world around them with greater clarity, respond more thoughtfully to the pressing social and business challenges of our time, and foster continuous personal and professional growth. Equity fluent leadership isn’t a destination — it’s a constant cycle of evolution and improvement. In my role with EGAL, I hope to engage with my peers across campus who are working on various equity related topics. My goal is to ensure that all of EGAL’s stakeholders continue to be encouraged and challenged on their journeys — from addressing trans inclusion as a gender equity issue, to ensuring that the amazing work of leaders in the EGAL network is acknowledged and shared as learning opportunities for the broader EGAL community at Haas and beyond.