Faculty Snapshot: Modupe Akinola

Three photos of Modupe - one head shot, one family photo with five people, a person in the center wearing green, one childhood photo

Tell us about your work.
I examine how organizational environments—with the pressures of deadlines and multitasking—can lead to stress, and how this stress can spill over to affect performance. I study why some people thrive under stress while others buckle, using a psychological and physiological lens. I also study workforce diversity, exploring the biases that affect the recruitment and retention of women and people of color in organizations. I teach the core required leadership course for first year MBAs which brings me so much joy. I learn and grow tremendously from my incredible students.

Tell us about a book that you have read recently and would recommend.
I am obsessed with memoirs! I’m currently reading Obama’s A Promised Land. Before that, Colin Powell’s My American Journey, Wes Moore’s The Other Wes Moore, Andre Agassi’s Open, Valerie Jarrett’s Finding My Voice, Samantha Power’s The Education of An Idealist, Justice Sotomayor’s My Beloved World. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there!

What have you been listening to lately? Can you recommend a podcast, album, or artist?
I am a big fan of Dan Harris’ 10% Happier podcast (book and app too!). I also really love the Podcasts in the TED audio collective which has shows like Design Matters with Debbie Millman and WorkLife with Adam Grant. It also includes my podcast, as I host TED Business. This podcast launched in October 2020 and I have truly enjoyed being able to showcase the ideas of amazing thought leaders.

In terms of music, I love AfroBeats so Davido is one of my favorite artists. I also recently re-discovered an oldie but goodie that my parents used to listen to all the time by Sir Victor Uwaifo. The song is called “Joromi”. My parents are from Nigeria, Togo, and Ghana and any West African child of immigrants from my era will recognize this song.

What are you looking forward to when we all return to campus?
Being in the classroom and seeing all of my students. Of course, that is assuming that one day we will all be mask-free. I really can’t wait to see everyone's smiling faces! There is nothing like seeing genuine smiles, hearing laughter, and basking in the joy of others around you. I truly miss that.

To learn more about Dr. Akinola's research, please visit her website or follow her on Twitter.