Women's History Month: Business Edition: Pt. 2

The Cougar's Byte is highlighting another woman in business for Women's History Month.

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Women's History Month: Business Edition: Pt. 2

The Cougar's Byte is highlighting another woman in business for Women's History Month. 

Ch'nya Howard

Women around the globe are not only thriving in creating businesses but also educating others about the field. As a continuation of celebrating Women’s History Month, the Cougar’s Byte has had the pleasure of interviewing another woman in business. Saran Anika Nurse, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor for Kean University’s School of Management and College of Business & Public Management. Nurse explained that her interest in the business sector developed over time as she was attending college and trying to define her career path.

“My interest in business evolved over time, beginning with my pursuit of an accounting major at the University of Guyana when I was just sixteen. Initially drawn by a fondness for numbers and the prospect of a stable career, I soon discovered that accounting didn’t fully capture my interest. Instead, it was the broader spectrum of business disciplines that truly intrigued me, particularly as I transitioned to the U.S. and shifted my focus towards marketing, attracted by its blend of creativity and strategy,” said Nurse.

Pursuing an entrepreneurship profession presented several adversities related to her gender and race.

“In my early years in Corporate America following my MBA, I faced significant challenges, including a stifling lack of autonomy and barriers that, upon reflection, stemmed from racism/sexism. As a Black woman, these obstacles were not only professional but deeply personal, driving me towards entrepreneurship in search of the freedom and autonomy I craved,” said Nurse.

When asked if there were critical periods that were turning points in her career, Nurse detailed two events that established her journey.

“Reflecting on the journey of my career, two pivotal moments distinctly stand out as monumental in shaping my path. The first turning point occurred when I was unexpectedly laid off from my corporate position. While initially disconcerting, this event serendipitously aligned with my budding interest in entrepreneurship. The severance package I received not only offered crucial financial support but also served as a catalyst, propelling me towards this new venture with renewed purpose and determination. This period of transition marked a profound shift in my professional identity, turning what could have been a setback into a stepping stone for growth and exploration,” said Nurse.

“The second significant milestone in my career was the decision to delve into academia. Having started as an adjunct, I was encouraged by peers to pursue a full-time academic career, a suggestion that resonated deeply with my aspirations. The encouragement led me to embark on a, and later to sell my business, a decision driven by a desire to contribute more substantially to the field, particularly in empowering entrepreneurs of color,” said Nurse.

Throughout her decades of experience in business, Nurse emphasized that forming relationships is one crucial lesson she has learned.

“Having navigated the business landscape for decades—initially in corporate America, followed by entrepreneurship, and most recently in academia—I’ve amassed a wealth of insights and experiences. Reflecting on this journey, one paramount lesson stands out: the critical value of nurturing and cultivating relationships,” said Nurse.

Regarding advice, Nurse stresses the importance of learning from successes and disappointments and welcoming the journey.

“My advice to young women aspiring to a career in business is to embrace the journey with an open heart and a curious mind. The business landscape, with its sectors from corporate to entrepreneurship and academia, is vast and filled with unique challenges and unparalleled rewards. It’s vital to stay true to your personal values and goals while navigating this path,” said Nurse.

Nurse is an example of what it means to pursue a career that is suitable to your interests and desires in life. With hard work and perseverance, she expanded her studies and career.