Dr. Teresa Nelson is a Professor of Strategic Management at Simmons University, and is known globally for her scholarship related to women and gender and diversity in entrepreneurship and family business. She is also a co-founder of the Impact Seat, a consultancy on issues of organizational capabilities of diversity and inclusion, and served as Research Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Innovation Initiative.
Her work has been deeply guided by her interest in innovation – what it is, what it means, how and whom it impacts, and how it is actualized as entrepreneurship by individuals, teams and companies.
Nelson is a member of the second ARC Network Virtual Visiting Scholar (VVS) cohort. The VVS program provides a unique opportunity for select scholars across disciplines to pursue research meta-analysis, synthesis, and big data curation on topics crucial to STEM faculty equity.
Nelson applied to the VVS program because it presented the opportunity to delve into a topic in a way she hadn’t previously had time to do. “Doing deep literature reviews is time consuming - and it's nice to know they have a purpose, as they are generally not publishable on their own,” she says.
“By doing this work with the ARC Network, I believed it was more likely that the work would be used to inform other work, such as policy and programming, that supports women faculty entrepreneurs.”
Nelson became interested in STEM and STEM equity work while she was serving as an Obama era appointee to the National Women's Business Council. “I was already deeply engaged in the high growth entrepreneurship of women at that point, but when I saw the dearth of resources going to women faculty through the Small Business Innovation Resource program I realized this was something that needed addressing.”
That realization led to coalition work with other like-minded academics, then a Sloan Foundation grant to study women faculty as entrepreneurs at MIT, one of the country’s top entrepreneurship faculty hubs, then a connection with Dr. Heather Metcalfe, ARC Network CO-PI and WEPAN Director of Research and Constituent Relations, and eventually the VVS.
For her VVS research, Nelson focused on academic entrepreneurship of women in STEM. Nelson sees universities as central hubs for innovation in products and processes that have potential in commercial markets.
“Universities and the private entrepreneurship sector both provide critical resources to get those inventions to the marketplace. Access to those resources is sex segregated, where women faculty do not have the same access or equal opportunity. This needs policy, program, and research responses in order to change.”
She is currently working exploring subconscious and dream theory in terms of creativity and ideation. “That might seem a long way from university product incubation - but really, great ideas come in unexpected ways -- and our creative selves can provide solutions to the most mundane, yet troubling problems. It all links up in the end.”
Nelson loved being part of the VVS program, despite the interaction challenges presented by the pandemic. Nelson also discussed her work in a webinar for the ARC Network community.
“I got to continue my affiliation with Dr. Heather Metcalf, an extraordinary leader in this area, and also worked with all the other experts across the U.S. participating as both board members and scholars, past and present.”