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Alumni

Duet: Equal Opportunity

  • Nicole Laidler
  • |
  • Mar 5, 2018

Professor Alison Konrad and PhD candidate Mirit Grabarski talk workplace diversity

Duet: Equal Opportunity

Alison Konrad, Professor of Organizational Behaviour, is from the American Midwest. Mirit Grabarski was born in the former Soviet Union and grew up in Israel.

A shared interest in gender and diversity in the workplace brought them together at Ivey, where Mirit is entering her third year of PhD studies.

Prior to arriving at the School in 2003, Alison spent 15 years as a Professor of Human Resource Management at the Fox School of Business and Management, Temple University. Mirit holds an MBA from the Open University of Israel and most recently served as a research unit manager and assistant at Ohalo Academic College in Katzrin.

Why Ivey?

Alison: I wanted to learn the case teaching method. Action learning is very powerful. And Ivey has very good scholars. They are very engaged in building the knowledge base. It’s great to have such interesting colleagues, as well as the collegiality.

Mirit: Israel has a very limited number of universities. I decided if I go abroad to do my PhD, it should be to a good school. Ivey was my first choice. I wanted to work on gender-related issues and thought Alison was the best person to do it with. I don’t think I was wrong.

Why should people care about diversity in the workplace?

Alison: It’s important that workplaces become more humanistic and encouraging for everybody. There are still places where there are ‘in’ groups and ‘out’ groups. That affects career development in an inequitable way.

Mirit: It’s just basic justice. And the workplace shapes your view of the world. If you have diversity in your workplace, you may become more tolerant in your life and pass those values on to your children.

Describe your ideal day.

Alison: I had a sabbatical year last year and found that a lovely day is one where I can write for three hours and also have my family time and time to be outside.

Mirit: Sleep in. It can’t rain. And invite friends over for good conversation and some entertainment.

What is the most influential book you have ever read?

Alison: Cultures in Organizations: Three Perspectives by Joanne Martin.

Mirit: The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.

If you weren’t an academic, what would you be?

Alison: An accountant. I love money and numbers, and accountants get to work with both.

Mirit: I tried it, and it didn’t work out.

If you could give your younger self advice about navigating the workplace as a woman, what would it be?

Alison: Be strong in your views. Be positive and cheerful. Open up and let people know who you are. Don’t be so compliant, passive, and hidden.

Mirit: Look for your role model, someone who will support you and be a good influence.

Photo: Nation Wong 
Art Direction: Greg Salmela, Aegis