The booming 1990s were a heady, exciting time to be an advertising executive for Fortune 500 companies and top agencies. But for Andrea Scott, there was an unsettling undercurrent to those go-go years. She subscribed to a viewpoint she calls “other-mindedness,” and she wasn’t seeing enough of it in her environment.
“I was troubled by the atmosphere of ‘everyone out for oneself,’” she remembers today. “When you train for business, sometimes it cultivates a narrow- mindedness. My background and heart was in social marketing: sharing the wealth, educating people, and cultivating some sense of awareness of others.”
Somewhat interested in returning to academia for a terminal degree some day, she pursued a successful marketing career under the mistaken belief that business professors only taught as a sideline. Then, at the National Black MBA Association conference, she met some professors associated with The PhD Project and learned for the first time about the opportunities of earning a business doctorate. What she heard made her heart jump: not only could she gain a platform to inspire a generation of future business leaders in other-mindedness, but “I loved the fact that I could research whatever interested me.”
Dr. Scott knew that with her combination of creative experience, an international background (she was born and raised in Jamaica), and her others-oriented world view, she would have something special to offer students. “My other- mindedness stems from coming from a poor country. It was a place that had a ‘we’ rather than ‘I’ mentality, a greater sense of belonging to a community. I have always been conscious of the opportunity and obligation to look beyond myself.”
Having made her decision, Dr. Scott marched determinedly through her Ph.D. studies, completed a Fulbright grant to her native Jamaica, and went on to a marketing faculty position at Pepperdine University. There, she used real-life examples from the news, nonprofit organization case studies, and from her personal experience in community activity to help make marketing more accessible. She engaged her students in group projects to give them experiences in encountering—and learning from—other people whose perspectives and viewpoints differ from their own.
“We talk in class about doing charity, about corporate sponsorship issues, and we think about them. We don’t skip those chapters.”
The dream continues…
Dr. Scott’s project exploring the challenges of successful HIV/AIDS communication in her native Jamaica won grants and was published and presented. She keynoted an academic seminar in Jamaica in 2006. She also reports, “My commitment to other- mindedness continues. International students in particular seek me out as they know that their perspective and outlook will be appreciated, even sought out, in our classroom conversations.” She adds, “I find it interesting that more and more students who come to me for career (and life) counseling are longing to find purpose in their chosen profession. I am encouraged that they see my own passion for what I do and often ask what led me to teaching and researching.”