Michigan State University to Launch a Women’s Leadership Accelerator


The Broad College of Business at Michigan State University has received a major gift from Priya Balasubramaniam to establish the Dashney Women’s Leadership Accelerator, or DWLA, to equip dozens of students each year with the abilities and confidence to pursue professional leadership positions. With long-term mentoring, coaching, workshops and experiential learning opportunities, the DWLA provides a powerful, immersive experience for select undergraduates.

For more than 20 years, Balasubramaniam has called Broad College faculty member Helen Dashney a mentor and friend, and her gift is in honor of their lasting relationship. Dashney will serve as the DWLA director, offering one-on-one mentorship to admitted students — known as DWLA Scholars. Her role also will include crafting personalized leadership development plans and cultivating a champion network to assist scholars after they graduate and to connect them with future DWLA cohorts.


Balasubramaniam earned an MBA at Michigan State University. She is now the vice president of operations at Apple Inc. Balasubramaniam says the unwavering support she received from Dashney was her driving inspiration to pay it forward. Whether it meant knowing she had someone who cared or having a sounding board to provide meaningful guidance when facing professional challenges, she found Dashney’s mentorship immensely helpful. “She exemplifies the kind of support from advisers that can help you turn hopelessness into hope, and that is paramount in the creation of the accelerator,” Balasubramaniam said. Establishing the DWLA is all about “making sure young women are geared up to be intentional and have purpose in their actions and activities. Shining a light and passing things forward.”

Dashney is a graduate of Duke University, where she majored in economics and mathematics. She holds a master’s degree in mathematics education from the University of Rochester in New York and a master’s degree in family economics from Michigan State University.

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