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Women at LBS are leading the way

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we thought we should celebrate the fact that 59% of senior management at the School are already female.

We caught up with three new members of the Leadership Programmes management team in Degree Education to find out a little bit more about them and the changes they'd like to see in business education.


Fiona Lennoxsmith, Director, EMBA Programmes.  Fiona brings 17 years of experience and knowledge of the School, most recently from her role as MiM Programme Director.  
Jordana Blanchet, Director, EMBA Dubai Programme. Jordana has been with LBS in Dubai since April 2013, most recently in the role of Associate Director.
Shona Macfarlane, Director, Sloan Programme and Business Improvement Shona joins LBS with 13 years higher education experience from LSE, the last 10 in a collaborative partnership between LSE, NYU Stern and HEC (the TRIUM EMBA programme). Her most recent role was of Head of Programme Delivery and Operations, TRIUM. 


This week we celebrated International Women’s Day (8 March) the theme being #BoldForChange. What would you like to see change in business education?

Fiona:  It would be great to see women properly embedded into business education – so not just more female students, but female faculty, female speakers and cases featuring women as the norm rather than the exception.

Shona: Very simply that there are more women in business education - it’d be great for it to be the norm that the faculty or CEO guest speaker is a female.

Jordana: I would love to see more women pursuing business education, more women as faculty, more women on panels and as guest speakers. Studies show that there is a strong positive correlation between a higher proportion of women in management and leadership positions at all levels and firm profitability – so I would like to see business education reflect and encourage this trend of empowering women in business.


What do you hope to achieve in Degree Education at LBS? 

Fiona:  The gold standard for me is always really happy students at congregation, who turn into great alumni – but I’d like my part in that to have been achieved through having well supported teams who are happy to work together and can make great things happen with colleagues across the school.

Shona: Very satisfied students! I really enjoy finding out about what graduates go on to achieve- very inspiring stories.

Jordana: Happy students, happy alumni, higher EMBA rankings, even more quality applications, and an engaged and happy team across Dubai and London.


What keeps you motivated? 

Fiona:  New ideas, problems to solve or things to create – and having meetings of minds with other people. 

Shona: I’m curious about how to do things better and like lots of variety in my role. A deadline also helps! 

Jordana: Challenges that require innovative solutions, collaborating with energetic and driven colleagues, and positive feedback from students and alumni!


What do you consider your greatest achievement? 

Fiona:   I’m super proud of the MiM programme, that I was part of from before it launched – but there are too many people who deserve a piece of the glory to claim it all for myself. Successfully completing my Masters at the end of last year was a huge achievement, and something I’m very proud of. 

Shona: Probably juggling a brand review, website revamp, new alumni portal, the central operations set up as well as keeping on top of the day to day programme management. It was very full on but without wanting to sound cheesy our small team really believed in what we were trying to achieve and managed to get through it all! 

Jordana: At LBS, I’m proud of my part within our small team (and so many colleagues in London) in growing the Dubai Centre to house nine electives, catering to about 700 students a year (core and electives) and hundreds of alumni, raising our profile in the region, and keeping our faculty happy, all while having fun and enjoying the process. We are just getting started!  


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Fiona:  The grass is not always greener on the other side (as evidenced by the number of staff who want to come back to LBS after they’ve left). 

Shona: Treat someone as you would like to be treated yourself. 

Jordana: Don’t worry, just fix it! My first boss would calmly respond with these words when I came to him anxious over a mistake or problem I was facing; he taught me to take a deep breath, look for a new solution, learn from my mistakes.


Tell us something surprising about you 

Fiona:  I’m a perpetual student. Since I’ve been at LBS I’ve completed two Masters degrees (literature and psychodynamics), a post graduate diploma (psychology), a certificate in counselling and I tried to learn Czech. When I told my friends I was done after this last Masters, they laughed.

Shona: As a kid I swam for Scotland however realised I wasn’t going to make it to the top so retired at the age of 15!

Jordana: One of my first jobs as a teen required me to take horses out to pasture, clean their stalls, feed and care for them every day. I even got to watch a foal being born – it was an unforgettable moment!