GWSB Professor Vanessa Perry Receives Multicultural Mentoring Award

Dr. Perry has been named the American Marketing Association Foundation’s 2020 Williams-Qualls-Spratlen Multicultural Mentoring Award of Excellence recipient.

Vanessa Perry
July 20, 2020

By Briahnna Brown

Vanessa Perry does not like to think of herself as a mentor.

The associate dean for faculty and research and professor of marketing for the George Washington University School of Business said that she prefers to think of herself as someone who leverages resources to help her friends and her community.

Dr. Perry said that she has been privileged to have received help from others’ kindness and generosity, and that help has afforded her opportunities that would not have been available to her otherwise.

“I always assumed that doing the same for others, if I were ever to be in a position to do so, was part of the deal,” Dr. Perry said. 

Dr. Perry has been named as the American Marketing Association (AMA) Foundation’s 2020 Williams-Qualls-Spratlen (WQS) Multicultural Mentoring Award of Excellence recipient. The AMA annually presents this award to a marketing professor who makes significant contributions as a mentor to students and professionals of color in the marketing field. Dr. Perry will formally accept the award during the AMA Summer Academic Conference in August.

“I cannot imagine anyone more deserving of this award than Dr. Perry,” said Anuj Mehrotra, dean of GWSB. “This is a fitting recognition of her outstanding contributions to her field from its most prestigious academic-professional association.”

The WQS award is named for marketing scholars Jerome Williams, William Qualls and Thaddeus Spratlen, all of whom Dr. Perry said offered her critical advice while she was a Ph.D. student.

“Their advice was especially valuable, because as 'firsts' in the field, they knew that I would face unique challenges that the faculty in my doctoral program might not be aware of—much less be able to prepare me for,” Dr. Perry said. “I finished my Ph.D. 21 years ago, and there has not been a single year when I have not sought their advice on navigating the field and academia in general.”

In paying that mentorship forward, since joining GWSB in 2001, Dr. Perry has been actively involved with The PhD Project, a national nonprofit organization that works to increase the diversity of business school faculty through mentorship of future faculty. Dr. Perry said she tries to make herself available to help with the organization whenever asked. This ranges from recruiting prospective Ph.D. students to holding mock interviews for soon-to-be graduates. Other times it involves taking late-night calls from nervous mentees or offering support to other faculty members of color.

This award is especially significant to Dr. Perry because colleague and close friend Gerri Henderson from Loyola University in Chicago was the 2014 winner of the WQS award. She died in 2019, and Dr. Henderson was deeply dedicated to helping faculty of color become tenured at their respective universities, Dr. Perry said.

“She used to call at all times of day and night to make sure that students and junior faculty got whatever help they needed,” Dr. Perry said. “Now that she's gone, I am going to try to fill in for her whenever possible.”

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