ILR Influence

Improving people’s lives a takeaway for Greenhalgh Ph.D. ’79
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A management professor at Dartmouth College who has been helping women and minorities join business communities since he was a doctoral student at ILR has received the Martin Luther King Social Justice Award for Lifetime Achievement by Dartmouth.

The award recognizes the work of Leonard Greenhalgh Ph.D. ’79 in educating minority, women and Native American business owners.

At Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business since 1978, Greenhalgh said his years at the ILR School in the 1970s sparked his interest in promoting minority business education.

“I was involved in campus civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, but my dedication to improving the lives of minorities, women and other groups that faced discrimination gained real movement after I arrived at ILR in 1973,” he said.

A native of Manchester, England, Greenhalgh worked in corporations, management consulting and entrepreneurship before coming to Cornell.

At ILR, Leonard first worked on a project that helped integrate people with disabilities into the workforce by training leaders and workers for work sites where people with disabilities developed job skills.

When New York state began laying off employees in the 1970s during a budget crunch, Greenhalgh was asked by then-ILR Dean Robert B. McKersie to head a project that led to the creation of one of the first employee outplacement programs in the nation.

“It was the start of job loss on a wide scale and organizations did not know how to do it,” he said. “People who had the most difficult time in the labor market were women and minorities because there was discrimination against them. We did a lot of outplacement, helping hundreds of people.”

In 1980 at Dartmouth, Greenhalgh started teaching one-week programs to train women and minority business owners. “We put the business owners through boot camp.”

He estimates helping more than 7,000 entrepreneurs in 36 years, leading about 12 programs a year.

“We take people who run businesses and make them very successful,” he said.

“Entrepreneurs know how to deliver a service or manufacture a product, but they don’t know how to run the business around that. Their business failures are usually not because of the quality of their work or product; they run out of cash or have the wrong strategic direction.”

A management professor, Greenhalgh is faculty director of the Tuck School’s Programs for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses and director of its Native American Business Programs.

He has traveled the country since 2003 helping Native American tribes develop sustainable economies on their reservations, and advised the Obama administration.

“The Native Americans have their own laws and ways of running their communities,” he said. “What works in Chicago won’t work on a Navajo reservation.”

Greenhalgh and his wife, Jocelyn Paquette, live on the Maine coast, where they operate the 86-acre Wheeler Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. He recently received Maine’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Environmental Excellence for his 30 years of work in restoring Maine’s coastal wetlands.

“I am rescuing land that is being threatened with development, but it has a really high value as a habitat for eagles, ospreys and other birds,” he said. “Environmental restoration is my only hobby. It’s hard work, but very rewarding.”