Dean Sri Zaheer poses with women at the Girl Scouts 2019 Women of Distinction event

Dean Zaheer Named Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Girl Scouts today can earn a badge in cybersecurity -- something Carlson School Dean Sri Zaheer wishes she could have done during her time in Girl Guides (the equivalent of Girl Scouts in India) rather than tying reef knots.

But while the badges might be different, Zaheer has long exemplified the many characteristics that the Girl Scouts cultivate in their members: being a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader. That’s why she was recently named a 2019 Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys during an event on May 9 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

“Dean Zaheer has been instrumental in expanding global learning opportunities for students both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Tish Bolger, CEO of Girl Scouts River Valleys. “Through her leadership as Dean of the Carlson School of Management, she is equipping young leaders of today for a bright future by encouraging students to achieve their own goals and dreams. Her commitment to making a difference in the lives of others exemplifies the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”

Zaheer never expected she would end up leading a business school. Initially interested in physics, she would go on to get her MBA. With a foothold in business, she let curiosity and passion guide her across the world. It was in Nigeria that she first caught the university teaching bug. That led her to MIT and then to the University of Minnesota, where she has been ever since.

During her speech at the Women of Distinction event, Zaheer told the girls and young women in attendance to stay curious and never stop learning. “You never know where it will take you,” she said. She also encouraged them to consider careers in business.

“At the Carlson School, we truly believe business is a force for good,” Dean Zaheer said. “I know many people think of business as Dilbert in a cubicle, but management thinking really helps you in any sphere you choose to go into. As a business leader, you have the power to address society’s problems in new and innovative ways, you get to do all sorts of fun things -- create products people want, launch your own new ideas, see the world and create prosperity for all. And I certainly hope that some of you will choose that path.”

Zaheer has been recognized many times for her accomplishments, including the 2018 PWC Strategy& Eminent Scholar Award by the International Management Division of the Academy of Management. The Eminent Scholar Award is a prestigious recognition of lifetime achievement in international management scholarship. She accepted the award during a special joint session with PWC at the Academy of Management’s annual meeting in August 2018.