Mary Shapiro

Professor of Practice
  • School of Business
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(617) 521-3860

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  • M.B.A. Wright State University
  • M.S. Wright State University

About Me

For more than 25 years, Ms. Shapiro has served as an Organization Behavior faculty at Simmons School of Business, teaching undergraduates, MBA students, and executives. She teaches in the areas of leadership, team building, compelling communication, and strategic career management, all infused with the critical lens of multiple social identities. From 2014-2019, as the inaugural endowed position of the Diane K. Trust Professorship on Leadership Development, she contributed to the development of PLAN, the undergraduate general education curriculum; created, launched and refined the required Leadership course; and built leadership development opportunities across the University.

Ms. Shapiro researches and publishes in the areas of women, their careers, risk-taking, confidence, and use of power; and organizational efforts in moving towards gender equity. Her articles and case studies published in scholarly journals have received multiple awards. Her two case studies featuring women protagonists, not only brings the experience of women into the MBA and undergraduate business classroom, but helps to counter the legacy scarcity of cases about women.

In addition to contributing to scholarly literature, she has three books aimed at people who work. In 2015, Harvard Business School Press published her book, "The HBS Guide to Leading Teams", which captured the strategies and stories from 25 years of working with teams. Earlier, she co-authored two books, Take Charge of Your Career and A Smart, Easy Guide to Interviewing, which extend an understanding of interviewing and work strategies to include the nuances of gender and other social identities. She also developed "The Communication Styles Diagnostic," an online tool that has been used by thousands of managers to improve their effectiveness with individuals and teams.

Throughout her career, Ms. Shapiro has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, private institutions, and non-profits, including organizations such as CVS Caremark, Harvard University, and Liberty Mutual Insurance, to create vision, mission and strategic plans; launch teams with the infrastructure necessary to produce optimal outcomes; and intervene in teams in crises. She works with numerous Boards of Directors, as a consultant guiding strategic planning efforts. For 6 years she served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (GSEMA). In addition to her dedication to Girl Scouts, for 20 years she has raised funds for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute through the Pan Mass Challenge, a 200-mile bike ride. Ms. Shapiro received her M.B.A. and M.S. Economics from Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.

Mary Shapiro's Curriculum Vitae

What I Teach

Undergraduate Classes

  • LDR 100 Leading Quietly: Introverts Leading in an Extroverted World (PLAN First Year course)
  • MGMT 100 Introduction to Management and Principled Leadership
  • MGMT 234 Organization Communication and Behavior
  • IDS 150 Simmons World Challenge

Executive Education Teaching and Coaching

Executives from for-profits and nonprofits, and government agencies, from around the world, attend Simmons' Executive Education programs. Ms. Shapiro delivers curriculum for the following topics: Exploring your Leadership Potential; Leading Teams; Politics, power and influence; Communication and building strategic relationships; A strategic path to leadership; Creating credibility and authority; Women and the "Vision Thing"; Women accepting leadership; Executive Presence; Reflected Best Self; Influence without authority; History of the Future; Your Leadership Story; Leadership through a gender lens.

Research/Creative Activities

Creating Case Studies of Women in Business

Since 1908 when Harvard began the first M.B.A. program, case studies about leaders, their decisions and actions have overwhelmingly been about men. The Harvard Business School, the major producer of business school teaching cases with approximately 500 generated per year, produced about 10% of their cases with female protagonists in 2010-2014. The Dean of Harvard Business School set a goal to have 20% of their cases feature women protagonists by 2020.

Ms. Shapiro has written two cases featuring women, published by HBS: the first (2010) on Simmons' retired President Helen Drinan: Giving voice to values, about Drinan's time as SVP of Human Resources at Caritas Christi Health Care, the second largest health care system in Massachusetts, determining how to address sexual accusations against the CEO. The second case (2017) is on Simmons' then Provost, Katie Conboy: Leading change at Simmons College, about Conboy leading towards her vision of a new general education curriculum. School of Business Professor of Practice Cynthia Ingols was guest editor for a special issue of Case Research Journal. The issue, focused on women's leadership, is part of an effort to provide teaching cases focused on women leaders and includes the Conboy case.

Learn more about Creating Case Studies of Women in Business

Selected Publications

Articles through the Center for Gender in Organization

These are research summaries for a practitioner audience, available to be downloaded for free.

Shapiro, M., Costello, M., Strowman, S., Birnbaum, S., & Blake-Beard, S. (2020). Women's Mentoring Experiences in the #MeToo Era. CGO Insight #46, Center for Gender in Organizations. Link at:

Blake-Beard, S., Van Dam, E., Rivera-Beckstrom, M., Gao, L., Shapiro, M., O'Neill, R., & Ingols, C. (2019). Women's Experiences with Male Allies. CGO Insight #45, Center for Gender in Organizations. Available at:

Grossman, D., Gao, L., Shapiro, M., Van Dam, E., & Hammer, D. (2017) Professional Women and Confidence: A New Understanding of the ‘Gap'. CGO Insight #42, Center for Gender in Organizations. Available at:

ngols, C., Shapiro, M., & Tyson, J. (2015). Throwing like a girl: How traits for women business leaders are shifting in 2015. CGO Insight #41. Available at:

Shapiro, M., Martin, K., Grossman, D., Deyton, P., Hammer, D., Lauren Walleser (2014). Dreaming big: Examining the career aspirations of girls of color. CGO Insights #40. Available at:

Shapiro, M., Blake-Beard, S., Carter, S., O'Neill, R., & Ingols, C. (2013). Confronting Contradictions: Exploring the Tensions of Women as Breadwinners. CGO Insight #36. Available at:

Shapiro, M., Deyton, P., Martin, K., Carter, S., Grossman, D., & Hammer, D. (2012). Dreaming Big: What's Gender Got to Do with It? The Impact of Gender Stereotypes on Career Aspirations of Middle Schoolers. CGO Insight #35. Available at:

Gupta, V., Maxfield, S., & Shapiro, M. (2009). Risky Business: Busting the Myth of Women as Risk Averse. CGO Insight # 28 Available at:

Shapiro, M., Ingols, C., & Blake-Beard, S. (2007). Optioning In versus "Opting Out": Women Using Flexible Work Arrangements for Career Success. CGO Insight #25. Available at:

Recent articles and cases published in academic journals

Shapiro, M. (2016). Katie Conboy: Leading change at Simmons University (2016), Case Research Journal, 36(4). Distributed by Harvard Business School Press.

Nitkin, M., White, S., & Shapiro, M. (2015). Professional cornerstones of Liberal Arts Education: An intensive, interdisciplinary action-based curriculum. College Teaching.

Shapiro, M., Grossman, D., Carter, S., Martin, K., Deyton, P., Diane Hammer (2015). Middle school girls and the 'leaky pipeline' to leadership: Is 'Legally Blonde' the best we can do ? Middle School Journal, 46(5), 3-11.

Books & Chapters

Shapiro, M. (2018). Got introverts? Get CAE (Collaborative Auto-ethnography). In Herman, J. & Nilson, L. Creating Engaging Discussions: Strategies for "Avoiding Crickets" in Any Size Classroom and Online. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Shapiro, M., Devnew, L. et al. (2017). Women and Leadership Aspirations, in Susan Madsen (Ed.) Handbook of Research on Gender and Leadership, Edward Elgen Publishers.

Shapiro, M., Hass, S., & Maxfield, S. (2015). Risk aversion among women: Reality, or simply 'doing gender'? in Adelina Broadbridge and Sandra Fielden (Eds.), Handbook on Gendered Careers in Management: Getting in, getting on, getting out (pp. 30). Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK.

Shapiro, M. (2014). Leading high performing teams. Harvard Business School Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Nitkin, M. & Shapiro, M. (2014). Action Learning Models for Poverty Alleviation. In Milenko Gudic, Carole Parkes, Al Rosenbloom (Ed.), Fighting Poverty as a Challenge for Business and Management Education (pp. 20).

Paper Presentations

Shapiro, M. (2020). "The gendered impact of COVID-19 and remote work on women & organizations." State Street Professional Women's Network, to a global virtual audience.

Shapiro, M., & Blake-Beard, S. (2019). "Cross gender mentoring in the age of #MeToo." CGO Distinguished Scholar Speaker Series, Boston, MA.

Shapiro, M. (2018). "Diversity, equity, and inclusion: Challenges in academia," Tufts University Rosemary Johnson Symposium, Boston, MA.

Shapiro, M. (2017). "Women and leadership aspirations." International Leadership Association, Women's Affinity Conference, New York.

Shapiro, M., (2017). "Collaborative Auto-Ethnography: Leader identity work with first year college students." International Leadership Association, Women's Affinity conference in New York.

Shapiro, M., Martin, K., Grossman, D., & Hammer, D. (2017). "Confidence and career aspirations: Middle school through high school," Massachusetts Statewide Conference on Girls, Worcester, MA.

Shapiro, M. (2016). "Including introverts as leaders: Course design for first year college students." International Leadership Association Global Conference, Atlanta, Georgia.

Shapiro, M., Grossman, D., & Martin, K. (2015). Keeping girls in the pipeline to leadership. International Leadership Association, Monterey Bay, California.

Shapiro, M., Grossman, D., & Martin, K. (2015). Are we keeping girls in the leadership pipeline? Association of Middle Level Educators National Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.