UT Austin appoints millionaire jewelry designer to faculty position

Kendra Scott has a new job on her resume: University Professor. The Austin-based jewelry designer, entrepreneur, and a member of Forbes ‘list of Forbes’ Richest Homemade Women in America is now a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin.

Scott joins the prestigious school as Professor of Practice at the UT College of Fine Arts. The college is also home to the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) Institute, a partnership between the CEO and the university launched in 2019 as a multidisciplinary program designed to empower women in business. The specially designed room of the institute will open this semester in the Doty Fine Arts Building.

For the fall semester 2020, Scott will teach Women in Entrepreneurship together with Jan Ryan, who is also the Executive Director of WEL. According to a press release, the new three-credit course will “provide practical, tangible tools to equip and empower women entrepreneurs,” and will consist of lectures, hands-on exercises and guest speakers – many of them from the Kendra Scott brand.

“I am honored to join the university as a professor of practice and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work directly with this next generation of courageous leaders,” said Scott. “We have seen a real hunger for programs and courses that nurture and support aspiring women entrepreneurs, and I am committed to advancing our work with the WEL Institute by bringing my own experience and expertise to the class.”

“The class,” said a press release, “will immerse students in the basic principles of starting a new business, uncovering the barriers and challenges women face in today’s society, and offering strategies to overcome them.”

Students include Scott and members of her leadership team who provide real-world examples for decision making and problem solving. Scott built her $ 1 billion brand starting in 2002 with just $ 500 in capital. Today, Kendra Scott has more than 100 stores – including the flagship of the Southern Congress – and Forbes calculates Scott’s personal empire to be worth more than $ 500 million.

“This class uniquely enables us to offer a ‘live’ case study of one of the most innovative brands in retail,” said Ryan. “We want students in this class to have the tools they need to feel empowered to take control of their careers.”

Like the institute itself, the class is open to UT students of all genders and majors. The opening session will have 30 students all enrolled in the previous semester and will be taught remotely due to COVID-19. Eventually it will take place on campus in the center of the institute in Doty.

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