Adam Smith Week 2020 Celebrates Women in Economics

Center for Public Choice and Market Process College of Charleston School of Business

Center for Public Choice and Market Process College of Charleston School of BusinessWomen’s History Month is off to a strong start at the College of Charleston School of Business as the Center for Public Choice and Market Process successfully wraps up its 12th-annual Adam Smith Week — the theme: women in economics. 

“Women have made incredible contributions in the field of economics, and yet they are underrepresented in the field,” says center director and economics professor Peter Calcagno, Ph.D. “We have assembled an amazing group of female economists who have all been influenced by the work of Adam Smith.”

Smith is one of the most recognizable figures in economics and philosophy and, according to Calcagno, was a major proponent of equality among all individuals. Also known as the “Father of Economics, Smith is best known for publishing An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations in which he explains that the wealth of nations is created through changes in the division of labor as well as the growth of firms and industries.

The week-long event boasted a slate full of provocative and informative events as a way for the Center for Public Choice and Market Process to create awareness and explore important topics in political economics, entrepreneurship and the role of government. Panel discussions and lectures allowed students, faculty and the community to become more informed on Smith and his contributions to economic philosophy. 

Featured speakers of the event included: Emily Chamlee-Wright, president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies; Jayme Lemke, senior research fellow and associate director of academic and student program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; and Amy Willis, senior fellow and director of Econlib and AdamSmithWorks at Liberty Fund.

To learn more about this annual event, please visit the Adam Smith Week page.

School of Business Board Member Receives Black History Month Honor at White House

The College of Charleston School of Business boasts some of the most accomplished movers and shakers on our professional advisory board – the Board of Governors. Recently, the White House invited board member and intelligence guru Curtis Merriweather Jr. to join other business owners in celebration of black entrepreneurship during Black History Month.

Merriweather serves as the chief executive officer of Emergent, a company that delivers full-spectrum cyber security, information technology, intelligence and language operations support services to the Department of Defense and the national intelligence community.

Because of his game-changer status in the entrepreneurial field, Merriweather accepted an invitation to attend the White House summit in February to meet with high-ranking federal agency representatives. There, attendees discussed the expansion of contracting opportunities for minority-owned businesses and the creation of more mentorship programs for minority entrepreneurs to collaborate with the private sector. 

Merriweather joined the School of Business Board of Governors in November 2018. The Board plays a vital leadership role by contributing business community insights, resources and strategic vision for the School. Our diverse board members have varying backgrounds, industry experiences and leadership roles which serve the needs of our students in and out of the classroom.

“Since joining the Board of Governors at the College of Charleston School of Business, I continue to have transformational experiences as an executive professional,” says Merriweather.

Upon reflection, Merriweather said the event in Washington, D.C. was fantastic and broadened his understanding of the root cause of the capital challenges that minority entrepreneurs face.

We are fortunate to have board members like Merriweather pave the way as School of Business leadership!


From Private Flight Attendant to Startup Executive, MBA Alum’s Career Reaches New Heights

Some might say that Kelly Muxworthy ’18 had an unconventional career path. A former private flight attendant with a degree in communications and a minor in psychology from Western Washington University, Muxworthy enjoyed the adventures her career afforded her, but found herself wanting more. We sat down with Muxworthy to learn how she went from cruising the skies to Director of People for a Boston-based startup — and how the MBA program helped her get there. 

School of Business (SB): Tell me a little about your professional journey between when you graduated from Western Washington University and when you ultimately enrolled in the MBA program. 

Kelly Muxworthy (KM): After college, I worked as a private flight attendant for several years where I had the opportunity to travel the world. Serendipitously, I ended up falling into business through that job. I was hired by the CEO of a public real estate investment trust called Healthcare Trust of America (HTA) to develop the firm’s first corporate flight department. Although I started as the company’s flight attendant, I was shortly thereafter promoted to Corporate Relations Manager where I got my first taste of the corporate world. I was incredibly fortunate to work directly for the CEO who taught me so much about both the industry and business strategy. After being promoted to Vice President of Corporate Communications and being exposed to higher-level business conversations, I realized that although I had found a passion in business, I was lacking the acumen needed to propel me to the next level. So, I started looking into MBA programs to round out my experience. 

SB: Why did you decide to pursue your MBA?

KM: I definitely always wanted to go back to school after getting my four-year degree. My parents used to joke that if I could go to school forever, I would, and they’re right. I was always a bookworm, but I struggled to find direction of where I wanted to funnel that [energy]. My experience working at HTA helped focus my interests and was a big reason I decided to go to business school. 

SB: What about the program persuaded you to apply?

KM: I was living in Charleston for work, and I really liked that it was a one-year program. I didn’t want to take off two years because I felt like I was gaining so much momentum in my career and was passionate about what I was doing. I also loved having access to the professors. As an introvert, I was really attracted to the small cohort size. I felt I would be more comfortable and have the ability to really make an impact and grow and thrive. The location was also an obvious selling point. 

SB: What attracted you to Bain Capital after graduating from the MBA program? 

KM: Bain Capital is a really prestigious private equity firm in Boston. When I worked at HTA and got involved in investor relations, I thought ‘okay, this is something I might want to get into after business school’. But working for a public company, there is a lot of volatility with the stock market so, for that reason, I had this goal of getting into private equity. A recruiter informed me of a job opening at Bain Capital where I could get in on the ground floor of the investor relations team and where there was room for a lot of growth. 

SB: What did you do while at Bain?

KM: I worked for the Director of Investor Relations in private equity, supporting fundraising efforts and ongoing investor communications and coordination. I was excited to have the best in the industry as my mentor and boss. Although I learned so much from him, I also felt compartmentalized in my role, and realized I thrive better in a more dynamic environment. That’s why I decided to move to Beam — a rapidly growing local wellness startup that specializes in selling CBD products. 

SB: What do you do in your current position at Beam?

KM: As Director of People, I work closely with the Co-CEOs to help build the infrastructure of the basic business functions. Given we are a young startup, every day is different, but that’s what I love about the job. On any given day I might be recruiting or onboarding new team members, creating board decks and speaking with investors, developing our health benefits platform, or strategizing through our budget decisions.

SB: How has the MBA program helped get you to where you are today?

KM: Stuart Williams, my mentor in the MBA program, had a huge impact on my experience and instilled in me the idea to always think about how the actions you make in business affect the stakeholders around you. That was one big reason I was excited to work at Beam, because we bring products to people that make a difference in their health and wellbeing, and we focus on ways of doing it sustainably. I learned many valuable things from various professors — Professor Kindly drilled into me the idea to always combine creative thinking along with data when analyzing business decisions. Dr. Messal’s class gave a great foundation of leadership concepts that have helped me while building company processes at Beam. Dr. DeLaurell’s conversational lectures sparked me to critically think about complex issues in the world. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the incredible friendships I have built from the program have created a personal and professional support network that I will have for a lifetime. 

SB: What are some key skills that you learned while in the program?

KM: There are a lot of different functions you find yourself in when you are at a startup, and I love being a part of that dynamic and ever-changing environment. I feel like I’m able to contribute in a meaningful way at Beam. Every day I’m learning something new, and my experience with the MBA program really helped build my confidence to be able to take on this challenge. Even though I’m faced with questions every day I may not know the answer to, I know I have the critical thinking skills and creativity to figure it out.

SB: What’s next for you?

KM: At Beam, we recently finished a major fundraising round with Obvious Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on companies solving the world’s problems in profitable ways. Being a part of the fundraising and diligence process was an incredibly rewarding experience. Now we have the resources to continue growing and achieve our goals as a company, and I’m looking forward to being an integral part of that growth.


School of Business Announces Strategic Partnership with GM Advisory Group, Barron’s in Education Program

The College of Charleston School of Business has entered a two-year partnership with GM Advisory Group (GMAG), a New York-based independent wealth management firm, and Barron’s Group, a financial news publisher owned by Dow Jones & Company, to provide students and faculty with a suite of resources to supplement their studies and professional development.

As part of the program, students and faculty at the School of Business will receive digital access to Barron’s online content, weekly newsletters and webinars. Representatives of GMAG will also make campus visits to speak about financial planning, investment management and other topics related to students’ courses of study and interests.

“In today’s fast-paced economic environment, it’s important to stay current with the latest trends and developments in wealth management such as estate and tax planning, asset and risk management, financial planning, and accounting,” said Frank Marzano, managing principal of GM Advisory Group. “We’re excited to be collaborating with Barron’s to enrich the educational experience at the School of Business with news and insights from our team of experienced professionals.”

Over the next two years, select groups of students will be invited to visit the New York headquarters of Dow Jones for tours of the Barron’s and Wall Street Journal newsrooms and to participate in workshop sessions. The dean of the School of Business will also nominate three students to serve as program ambassadors — a distinction that carries additional mentorship benefits.

Additionally, GMAG will engage with the School of Business’s career services team to communicate about internship and job opportunities.

“We are excited to team up with GM Advisory Group and the Barron’s in Education Program for this opportunity to enhance the student experience,” said Alan T. Shao, dean of the College of Charleston’s School of Business. “This partnership will not only reinforce our mission to prepare students to effectively and responsibly address business challenges, but it will also be valuable for our dedicated faculty.”

The Barron’s in Education program engages with business schools nationally, with programs at other universities  — such as Penn State, the University of Chicago, Duke, NYU and the University of Virginia — having taken part in recent years.

“We are so pleased to bring the Barron’s in Education Program to the College of Charleston School of Business with support from GM Advisory Group,” said Joe Lanza, director of Financial Education at Barron’s Group. “All business school students and faculty will have access to Barron’s digital content along with experiential learning elements designed to help promote financial proficiency for the next generation of business leaders.”

“For us, supporting a school based in Charleston was a natural choice,” Marzano said. “Charleston has become a second home to us over the years: we serve a number of clients in the area, and we’re looking forward to spending more time there in the coming months to deepen our relationship with the community.”

MBA Candidate and Published Author Spreads Love Through Storytelling

According to College of Charleston School of Business communications director, Liz Wolfe, marketing is a form of storytelling. 

“It’s about making authentic connections through shared experiences, fears and desires to help people take action or feel a particular emotion,” says Wolfe. 

That desire for connection and understanding is what inspired MBA candidate and future marketer, Lexi Gravino20 to write a book on diversity and inclusion at just 19 years old. 

My brother has down syndrome, and he’s always been one of my biggest role models,” says Gravino. “I was inspired by how loving and kind he is. He’s so genuine and sees everyone for who they are, not for [their] differences.” 

Gravino wrote and illustrated the children’s book Spread the Love to highlight the importance of embracing what makes us unique and being kind to everyone — no matter their differences. “I think there’s always so much that we can learn from people around us,” says Gravino. 

Wolfe believes authors like Gravino are talented marketers-in-the-making. “Both require similar skills sets: strong communication, an understanding of the human condition and a desire to make an impact.”

Gravino published her children’s book, which is available on Amazon, in the hopes of increasing the compassion people have for one another. She continues to channel that positivity into her work with Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization and global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-on-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Although Gravino, who is interested in pursuing a job as a marketing consultant after graduation, isn’t sure if she will be writing any more books, her ability to tell stories continues as an MBA student with a focus in marketing. 

“Oral and written communication skills in marketing go hand-in-hand and are essential for success,” says Gravino. “As a marketing consultant you are constantly stimulated with new projects and different companies. It’s important to have storytelling and communication skills to persuade or influence your audience.”  

Suffice it to say, her career is one narrative we’re going to want to follow.

College of Charleston School of Business to Host Women’s Summit Featuring Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley - Women for Women Summit presented by College of Charleston School of Business

Women for Women Summit presented by the College of Charleston School of Business

The College of Charleston School of Business is doubling down on its commitment to diversity and inclusion by hosting the 2020 Women for Women Summit, a day-long conference where attendees will celebrate, elevate, share and connect with the women of South Carolina.

Nikki Haley - Women for Women Summit presented by College of Charleston School of Business


The inaugural event, presented by the College of Charleston School of Business, will take place on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 at Sterling Hall of Hyatt House Charleston/Historic District and feature specials guests including former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley. Haley, a woman who put the state of South Carolina on the national and international stage, will receive the 2020 Woman of Courage Award during the event and will give the afternoon keynote address.

“The School of Business is honored to host the Women for Women Summit and celebrate the accomplishments that Nikki Haley has made in her remarkable career,” says Alan T. Shao, Ph.D., dean of the College of Charleston School of Business and a Women for Women speaker. “Given our close ties to the business community, it is important that we remain dedicated to supporting and encouraging the next generation of women in South Carolina to become leaders in their respective industries.”

The programming of the Summit will allow attendees to broaden their networks, learn new skills and be inspired to advance in their professional and personal lives through panel discussions, workshops, a luncheon and an award presentation. Additionally, there will be a marketplace featuring local women-owned-and-operated businesses.

Joanna Lau, founder and CEO of executive consulting and investment company Lau Technologies, member of the School of Business Board of Governors and visionary of the event, says the idea of the Women for Women Summit was inspired by her daughter.

“Having been a woman in business for the past three decades, as well a mother to a young professional woman, I am humbled to promote the advancement of women in the workplace and the economy with our first-ever Women for Women Summit,” says Lau. “Studies have shown one of the greatest predictors of success and happiness is social connection. It is my hope that the Summit fosters personal and professional success for attendees through a shared sense of community.”

In addition to Haley, Shao and Lau, other featured speakers include Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America and the Most Powerful Woman in Banking according to American Banker; Gloria Larson, former president of Bentley University; and Stephanie Sonnabend, co-founder of 2020 Women on Boards — a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by 2020.

Tickets are now on sale. To learn more about the event or purchase tickets, visit the Women for Women Summit site at