Marilyn Wiley is no different from any other woman. Her family-room-sized office begs to differ, both her Master of Science and PhD in Finance protest otherwise, and her resume questions the legitimacy of that statement. Yet, along with many other women in business, she has still faced discrimination in the workplace throughout her career.
“Oh, you’re looking for Marilyn? She’s back in the kitchen. We’re going to put up curtains back there so it feels like her space,” Marilyn Wiley recalls overhearing.
Marilyn Wiley is the current Dean of the College of Business at the University of North Texas, and the 2nd woman to ever hold the position. She is the former Vice President of Finance and Administration at Barrios Technology, but has also worked for NASA at the Johnson Space Center, served as an Associate Professor, and earned her PhD from Texas A&M University all while being a full-time mother of three boys.
“As women, we feel that we can handle everything; managing both family and work can be difficult,” Stacy Suits, Assistant to the Dean said.
However, Dean Marilyn has found a way to hold a leadership role both in her career in Finance and in academia.
Each role that she has held has challenged her to let go of her tendency to bite her tongue in important conversations, being afraid to interject, and overlooking slightly discriminatory jokes. Today, Marilyn Wiley works to make sure that all students, especially woman understand that they do have a home in business, that the university has resources to protect women against discrimination, and that there are resources for women to be offered opportunities to advance their careers. The confidence she has in her ability to lead and contribute thoughtful and beneficial points to any conversation pertaining to her role as an administrator has made her who she is today.
Leadership doesn’t scare her; her ability to lead gracefully to uplift her team while delegating tasks that are supplemental to her vision for consistent improvement is her key strength.
She has set a standard for herself as a leader, but also for her team of faculty and staff in the College of Business.
“You expect the Dean to be extremely professional and ‘chop-chop;’ I think she has added a human touch to it,” Associate Dean Dr. Audhesh Paswan said confidently.
“You don’t have to become Donald Trump to become a good leader,” Paswan said.
Wiley spoke about a recent Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Women in Business Conference where she learned a lot about her new-found ability to interject in conversation.
“One the speakers said, the problem that women have is that they’re afraid to interrupt and I thought – well I got over that one!”
She spoke with a tiny amount of timidity and quick ability to laugh at herself as she explained how she may have started to interject in conversations a little too much.
Although she interjects in conversations more often, and is the main leader of the College of Business, Marilyn Wiley has managed to do her job in a way that unites everyone by prioritizing her staff, the relationships her staff have with each other, and the growth of the College of Business as a whole.
“She is a leader, a scholar, and truly a genuine person who loves students, the faculty, the staff, and the alums. She literally wants everyone in the college to be viewed as a family,” Kevin Fralicks the Director of Development said.
To encourage Faculty and Staff to meet people outside of their departments and to generate a greater sense of pride for the College of Business, Dean Wiley organized a team building day which she now refers to as one of the biggest accomplishments of the year.
The college was shut down on February 5th for the half of the day to allow for all departments to engage in team building exercises that forced them to do karaoke to get them outside of their comfort zones, challenged their way of speaking to one another, and brought every part of the College of Business team together.
Second City Works, the world’s leading comedy theatre and school of improvisation out of Chicago, Illinois came to emphasized to educate on communication as well as facilitate activities to get everyone to be comfortable with each other.
Creating a unified, family-like team is one of the many ways that Dean Marilyn Wiley believes the College of Business will improve, as well as by creating an environment where all students can flourish into qualified professionals in their future careers.
Her own family is also a huge priority in her life. Her three boys are the light of her life and are what she believes is truly her legacy. She raised her sons to understand that women are equal partners in everything that they do, and she strives to also instill that in UNT students.
Marilyn Wiley adapted to her surroundings when she entered a career that was dominated by men by overcoming her natural will to not interject and learning to have confidence in her opinions and speak up when necessary.
As she prepares to submit her top ten accomplishments of the year to the provost she cant help but laugh as she tries to recollect all of her hard work. Dean Marilyn Wiley shows tremendous dedication to the advancement of the College of Business, equipping all students to succeed, and encouraging women to pursue careers in business despite the ratio of men to women working in business.
To the women in the College of Business, Dean Marilyn Wiley says this:
“We welcome women in the business school we want more of them. Why would we want to leave half of the brain power and talent out of the equation? We need every bright person over here and we want to help and support all of them.”
Dean of the College of Business
Associate Dean of the College of Business
Executive Director of Development
Assistant to the Dean