This week, the Friday Faculty Spotlight is focused on School of Business faculty member Yolanda Shields, Ph.D. Aside from working at the business school, she’s also a global business adviser/strategist who owns her own business, Yes Builds Coaching & Consulting; an author; and a sought-after speaker and trainer in the areas of business startups, human capital management and entrepreneurship. In addition, she’s a mentor/sherpa at the Tony Elumelu Foundation; Vanderbilt University’s Wond’ry innovation center; and TheStartup.com. She’s currently a board member of the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board and the Shenandoah Community Capital Fund, as well as a GO Virginia Region 8 Council member.
She’s also a presenter at the School of Business’ 2023 Business Symposium next week.
In her Q&A, you’ll learn about how initiative and curiosity brought her to Shenandoah, how she manages her wide-ranging obligations, her teaching style, and her musical career!
When did you join Shenandoah and what attracted you to the university?
I moved from Nashville about three years ago to expand my consulting work that I was doing in Washington, D.C. I didn’t plan to join the faculty at Shenandoah University. Because of the work I was doing at Vanderbilt University Innovation Center, I stopped by SU after seeing the university sign from the interstate. I met with then-Assistant Dean Bogdan Daraban to find out what they were doing in the area of entrepreneurship and innovation. After that meeting, he asked if I could come and teach one course in the School of Business.
What are your areas of research and interest?
My areas of interest for research are the gig economy/remote work, and how technology is changing the way higher education serves students locally and internationally.
You just completed your Ph.D., you’re an author and a business owner, and you also do a great deal of work outside the university. How have you balanced all your responsibilities?
Yes, I recently completed my Ph.D. from seminary institution and will also be working on Ed.D in the near future. I have always been able to manage multiple projects. Part of the reason I can do so is when working on larger projects, I partner or collaborate with others. I believe collaboration allows us to accelerate and expand our reach and impact. I also make sure that what I agree to work on aligns with the work that I am currently doing and passionate about.
What is your teaching philosophy? Do your methods of coaching businesses play a role in your teaching style? If so, in what ways?
My teaching philosophy is to facilitate learning in an engaging way that also brings in students’ previous knowledge that they don’t realize is connected, and shows them that I am not the expert. I love the facilitation model of teaching and bringing in real-life current situations that are connected to the subject matter. I also allow students to assist in leading the dialogue or discussion. I use coaching a lot in my teaching style. Students often believe that they don’t know a lot until you begin to engage with them one-on-one and they see that they know more than they think. This gives them the confidence to share what they know out loud.
What do you hope your students take away from your courses?
I hope students leave my course being able to utilize what they have learned in a practical way in a work environment or when starting their own business. I hope they will graduate with skills that they can use in the business sector or in whatever job they secure after graduation.
What are a few fun facts about yourself?
I have been singing since I was around 10 years old, and I also opened up for Maze and Frankie Beverly while singing in a group during college. I started my first business at 20 years of age. I have traveled to very remote areas in Africa to serve entrepreneurs and families which always makes my family very nervous, but is one of my favorite things to do.
If there’s a faculty member you feel the university community needs to get to know better, just fill out the Friday Faculty Spotlight submission form. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.