FSB faculty win grants at M.I.A.M.I Women's Giving Circle's Hawk Tank

April 2018

Jay Murdock

Sitting in Hall Auditorium, Dr. Jim Stearns admitted something you might not expect from someone who speaks to people every day.

“This is as nervous as I’ve been since I defended my dissertation!” he laughed.

Stearns was one of 15 people from across Miami who were about to make their pitch at Hawk Tank, an event created by the M.I.A.M.I Women’s Giving Circle.

They were seeking grants for various projects and ideas that sought to help women inside and outside the university. There was $104,000 available, with more than $440,000 in requests from 37 projects. The 15 finalists were seeking a total of $150,000.

Stearns was one of two Farmer School faculty seeking funds who were selected as finalists. His project wasn’t a new idea, but one dear to his heart; the Miami women’s ice hockey team.

“We’ve had a bit of a funding crisis. Our costs have gone up, and the amount of support we get from the university has gone down,” he said. “What that means for players on our team, is that we’ll be charging dues of at least $1,000 to participate. And some of our players can’t afford that. What I’m pitching is support for those players.”

Appearing at the event via video, Dr. Gillian Oakenfull hoped to get the money to help launch KICKGLASS Marketing, a Department of Marketing program to proactively address gender inequities that exist within the marketing field.

“We plan to launch KICKGLASS Marketing in the fall … to offer ground-breaking workshops to male and female marketing students and faculty that focus on identifying and addressing gender-based prejudice and bias,” Oakenfull said. “These workshops will be coupled with a new mentorship program where female marketing alumnae will serve as mentors to both male and female marketing students, providing a foundation for change agency and empowerment.”

Their pitches worked: Stearns was granted the $20,000 he asked for, while Oakenfull received the $5,000 she sought.

“This important and innovative initiative by the M.I.A.M.I Women’s Giving Circle has provided momentum to a great variety of programs that will work to empower women and girls at Miami and across the globe,” she remarked. “I greatly appreciate the company I’m keeping among so much passion and energy to hear the sound of breaking glass as Miami initiatives shatter glass ceilings around the world.”

“The result was they funded 10 grants,” Stearns said. “It’s a good cause, and it’ll help a lot of women do what they want to do.”

He said the time spent on the grant process was worthwhile.

“At times going through it, I was like, ‘Why am I doing this?’ But like a lot of things, when you accomplish something, it’s a great feeling, and a feeling of satisfaction,” he explained. “It’s been very gratifying, I’ve enjoyed it, and I was happy to help the team.”

Dr. Jim Stearns making his pitch at Hawk Tank Dr. Gillian Oakenfull making her pitch at Hawk Tank via video