Faculty Directory

Ella L.J. Bell Smith

Professor of Business Administration





Personal Website



PhD, Case Western Reserve University, 1987; MA, Columbia University, 1973; BA, Mills College of Education, 1971

Areas of Expertise

Organizational behavior


Leadership Out of the Box; Personal Leadership


Ella L.J. Bell Smith teaches courses called Leading Organizations, Consulting: Dimensions of Change Agency, and Leadership Out of the Box.

Current Research Topics

  • Race, gender, and social class in organizations
  • Organizational change

Professional Activities

Academic positions

  • Tuck School of Business, 2000–present
  • Associate Professor, Belk College of Business Administration, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1996
  • Assistant Professor, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1992–96
  • Visiting Professor, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991–92
  • Research Fellow, School of Organization and Management, Yale University, 1990–91
  • Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1990–91
  • Faculty, Summer Institute, Smith College, 1988–90
  • Assistant Professor, School of Organization and Management, Yale University, 1986–90

Nonacademic positions

  • Founder and President, ASCENT: Leading Multicultural Women to the Top, 2004–present
  • President, Organizational Behavior Teaching Society, 1999–2001 

Board memberships

  • Advisory Board Member, National Women’s Leadership Summit, The White House Project, 2005
  • Advisory Board Chairperson, Best Companies for Women of Color, Working Mother Media, 2002–05 

Editorial positions

  • Journal of Applied Behavior Science, 2002–present


  • Earl Hill Jr. Faculty Achievement and Diversity Leadership Award, Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, 2021
  • Compass Award, Women's Leadership Exchange, 2005
  • Legacy of Leadership Award, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, 2005; McGregor Award for Best Paper, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 2001
  • Bunting Fellow, Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College, 1993–94
  • American Sociological Minority Fellowship, American Sociological Association, 1983–86

Selected Publications

  • Career GPS: Women's Strategies for Navigating the New Corporate Landscape, HarperCollins, 2010
  • With D. Meyerson, S. Nkomo, and M. Scully, "Interpreting Silence and Voice in the Workplace: A Conversation About Tempered Radicalism Among Black and White Women Researchers," Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 39(12), 2003
  • Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity, Harvard Business School Press, 2001
  • "What Does It Mean to Be an Intellectual Woman? A Comparative Essay," Journal of Management Inquiry, 9(2), 2000
  • "Postcards from the Borderlands: Building a Career from the Outside/Within," Journal of Career Development, 1999
  • "Armoring: Learning to Withstand Racial Oppression," Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 2, 1999
  • "Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill: Comment on a Personal Reflection," Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 28, 1992
  • "The Bicultural Life Experience of Career-Oriented Black Women," Journal of Organizational Behavior, 11(6), 1990