2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Ella F. Washington, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University 

Congrats to Ella F. Washington of the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University  for being named a 2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professor.

Ella F. Washington

McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University 

Dr. Ella Washington is a force. She has a remarkable ability to influence, shape change, and add value wherever she goes. She is not only an organization psychologist and expert in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), she’s also a practitioner with a passion for positive impact. One of my favorite classes during my MBA program was ​Innovation through Inclusion, created and taught by Dr. Washington on the business case for DEI in the workplace. The class challenged us to practice empathy, think critically, and innovate strategically using the concept of white space.”Silas Humphries 

Ella F. Washington, 34, is Professor of Practice at the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University.

She is an organizational psychologist and DEI expert with a wealth of experience through her involvement as the Founder and CEO of Ellavate Solutions. Her research examines conditions of workplace cultures that best support inclusion, diversity and equity while also contributing to employee’s individual development. 

She is the co-host of Gallup’s Center of Black Voices Cultural Competence Podcast, and the Author of “The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion,” published by Harvard Business Review Press. 

She received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Georgetown’s MBA Class of 2021.


At current institution since what year? 2019


  • Northwestern University – Ph.D., Management
  • Spelman College – B.S., Psychology

List of MBA courses you currently teach: 

  • Leading Teams for Performance and Impact 
  • Innovation Through Inclusion 
  • DEI for Managers 


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when … I sat in my father’s mathematics classes as a young child. He was a college professor and I saw the impact he had on his students’ lives. Much later in life when I attended the Ph.D. project, I knew I’d found my calling in the intersection of business and psychology and started on my pathway to become a professor. 

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?   Currently I am researching how identity plays a role in how we navigate the world, specifically looking at the role of identity in negotiations. This is the next phase of my research from my book, “The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion.” 

If I weren’t a business school professor… I would be a Chief Diversity Officer of a multinational company. 

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? My classes are designed to be very interactive; given the topics I teach, it’s important that students are able to engage and share their own perspectives with each other. I believe the interactive nature of my classes makes the learning process enjoyable for students and has a long-lasting effect on them. 

One word that describes my first time teaching: NERVE-RACKING – Teaching is an art form that takes practice to master. 

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor:  The more you infuse culture and current events into your classroom, the more engaged students will be. It’s fun for professors too! 

Professor I most admire and why: The late Dr. Katherine Phillips was a phenomenal professor, researcher, and human being. She brought so much to the field of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and was an inspiration to me as one of my professors during my Ph.D. program at Northwestern University. She is greatly missed by all who loved her. 


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? They are literally the future of the business world. Having an impact on them means having a real impact on the world for years to come. 

What is most challenging? Grading 200+ papers at one time! 

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Closed-minded

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as…Application is key, students do best in my class when they have fully immersed themselves in the in-class experiences which is as important as doing their homework for my classes. 


What are your hobbies? Traveling, Peloton, and spending time with my dog I.V.

How will you spend your summer? At the pool as much as possible.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Capetown, South Africa; Cartegena, Columbia; Dakar, Senegal

Favorite book(s): To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Atomic Habits by James Clear

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? Bridergton on Netflix is a great example of how representation matters, seeing a Black woman as Queen of England is exhilarating and is something that I would never thought I would see on mainstream television. 

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Beyonce – she is the epitome of world-class talent, hard work, a standard of excellence and Swag!  


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more … time for students to be curious about the world around them in safe spaces. 

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… matching their espoused values to their daily actions, especially when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

I’m grateful for… the opportunity to have a career that I love and a purpose-driven life.  



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