By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Boca Raton-based Florida Atlantic University has just received two donations totaling more than $1.8 million.
Dr. Kathleen E. Brush, Ph.D., a business executive, strategy consultant and author, contributed more than $1.3 million to FAU’s College of Business to establish the Kathleen Brush Program for Women in Leadership.
In addition, the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science received a $500,000 gift from the Gangal family’s nonprofit foundation to establish an endowed scholarship fund for engineering graduate students, with an emphasis on bioengineering research.
Brush, who earned a master of business administration degree from FAU in 1980, approached several universities with her idea of creating a program for women in leadership. And while all expressed some degree of interest, she said, “FAU was the only one that said we support gender equality in leadership; we want to be part of the solution.”
At lower levels of management, Brush said, women are almost at a level of parity with men. But at each successive level, she noted, the gap grows wider.
“When you get to the top, women are almost non-existent,” said Brush, who created three scholarships for the program. “In the Fortune 500 today, only 4.8 percent of CEOs are women.”
Her program will be launched as part of FAU’s executive education offerings and will eventually be integrated into the College of Business’ undergraduate and MBA programs. It will feature a mentoring segment and emphasize applying theory-to-practice and networking.
The academic focus will address women-specific challenges, such as being a mother and a leader and dealing with gender bias.
Brush, who has been an executive with several companies, has worked as a global leadership, business and strategy consultant since 2009. A resident of Seattle, Brush will be actively involved in the program at FAU.
The target market initially will be mid-career female executives, she said.
Daniel Gropper, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Business, said the program will allow the university to expand on the leadership education it offers to all of its students.
The half-million dollar donation from the Gangal Family Endowed Scholarship Fund will support students preparing for careers in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“There is a tremendous need to fill an increasing number of available jobs in engineering and high technology fields,” said Stella N. Batalama, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “This most generous gift will help us develop a robust talent pipeline in this region and beyond to meet the needs of the 21st century economy, where STEM-related jobs will be in high demand.”
The Florida Chamber of Commerce says the need for jobs in STEM fields has increased by more than 63 percent since 2010. Currently, more than 55,000 STEM jobs in Florida are unfilled, and future demand for these positions is expected to exceed general employment growth.
Shiva and Sneh Lata Gangal established their nonprofit foundation in 2014 in Coconut Creek. Shiva Gangal served as CEO of Tri State Engineering & Management Company, an engineering design and construction company in West Virginia, from 1983 to 2001.
Sneh Lata Gangal also served as secretary and treasurer of Tri State Engineering & Management Company from 1983 to 2001 and received her BS degree from Agra University in India. Their daughter, Anjali Gangal, is vice president of Branch Banking & Trust Co., operating two banking branches in Fort Lauderdale.