Tuck School of Business | Inside the Cross-Cultural Leadership Program at Tuck
Vincent Mack’s door to Tuck Hall is literally always open.
A trusted advisor and leadership coach for students facing personal and professional challenges, Mack prides himself on being an active listener, but isn’t afraid to challenge a perspective when he hears an opportunity for change. . “I try to create an environment where I don’t just hear praise,” Mack says. “I want to hear the fullness of who you are – what is your full story, what are your goals and why are they important to you? And I want to be fully present and empowering in this conversation so that I can help you reach your full potential.
After spending five years at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy at Dartmouth College, Vincent Mack joined Tuck in 2017 as the first Associate Director of Intercultural Leadership in the MBA Program Office. In her role, Mack is focused on helping the Tuck community develop and strengthen their cross-cultural skills through coaching and practical leadership strategies.
We caught up with Mack to learn more about his vision for a new program focused on cross-cultural leadership, how he’s helping to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at Tuck, and what he loves most about what he does.
What do you primarily focus on in your role as Associate Director of Cross-Cultural Leadership?
A lot of my work is with students, especially international students, listening to them and advising them. I want to create a space for students where they can explore a cultural dimension of an interpersonal interaction, in class, in a first-year project, with a study group member that they would like to pay more attention to. My leadership coaching often dives into the questions: What does it mean to be a leader in a diverse work environment? What does it mean for you as a leader to create fairer practices? What does it mean to you to foster a more inclusive environment where people really belong? I want students to think about these questions and focus on creating meaningful change in the future businesses they will lead.
In the spring of 2021, you introduced a new program at Tuck focused on race, equity, and workplace leadership called the Tuck Cross-Cultural Leadership Program. Tell me more.
It was a passion project of mine and something valuable that I knew I could bring to the Tuck community. I have constantly heard students say that they encounter cultural challenges in their workplace. They expressed a desire for a stronger skill set around cross-cultural skills and how to foster inclusive and dynamic work environments. I wanted to create a leadership program that addressed those specific needs.
I have constantly heard students say that they encounter cultural challenges in their workplace. They expressed a desire for a stronger skill set around cross-cultural skills and how to foster inclusive and dynamic work environments. I wanted to create a leadership program that addressed those specific needs.
The purpose of the cross-cultural leadership program is twofold: first, it gives students their own objective reality around their effectiveness in navigating cultural differences. So how do you enter the conversation yourself and where do you fit into this conversation about race, equity and inclusion? Second, once you understand your positioning, you have a better objective idea of your effectiveness in the face of cultural differences. You can then look at how you relate to others, how you encourage and support the growth of others, and how you can lead people to co-create more equity.
The other element is understanding where others are on the continuum of cultural understanding and creating a framework for understanding how to address those differences in a work environment. As you become part of a team or build a team, ask yourself what are the values? What standards can you set that really create more equity and a more inclusive environment? And then how does that evolve throughout the organization? Where are the places of power that can really change the trajectory of an organization to create more equity, to create more inclusiveness? This is really where I want our students to flourish and be exemplary.
What can students expect when participating in the program?
One of the ways we are launching the program is by creating a common language. How to talk about race, equity and inclusion? I use an assessment tool to show everyone where they are on this learning continuum and where they specifically have work to do to improve their effectiveness across cultural differences. I offer one-on-one coaching sessions where I review their results and offer very specific feedback. We also bring in phenomenal speakers and experts who bring their insights into different facets of DEI. At the end of each program, we all dine to continue dynamic conversations about equity and inclusion.