Redefining Business

The Individual as the Changemaker: Liz Lowe, MBA ‘15, AACSB Influential Leader

By Nuria Marquez Martinez, Masters of Journalism candidate & CRB Editorial Writer

Liz Lowe, MBA ‘15, has practiced yoga for years. Among her many extracurriculars during her time at the Haas School of Business, Lowe was a yoga instructor. She says it was an important component of her years at Haas and it taught her how to build a strong community in a business setting.

Now as the Innovation Lead for the Sustainability and Social Impact team at Adobe, Lowe’s yoga practice continues to inspire her as she works to implement socially responsible initiatives that enhance diversity and sustainability within the company.

“Everyone needs their practices in order to show up whole and focused,” she said.

On Thursday, February 7, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), recognized Lowe, at the 2018 Deans Conference in Las Vegas as a 2018 Influential Leader Honoree. She was among a group of 29 business pioneers, from 13 industry sectors, whose careers are addressing today’s most pressing social, economic, environmental, and educational challenges. The Center for Responsible Business along with the Haas Office of Development and Alumni Relations, who nominated Lowe, were thrilled to learn that she had been chosen to receive the award.

The conference celebrated the positive impact business school graduates are making in communities around the globe as part of the 2018 Influential Leaders Challenge. This annual initiative honors notable alumni from accredited schools whose inspiring work serves as a model for the next generation of business leaders.

At Adobe, Lowe manages the Adobe Digital Academy, an accelerated pipeline for nontraditional students to transition into tech careers. This diversity & inclusion program offers scholarships and living stipends to high-potential individuals to study web development. Qualified students then come to Adobe for a technical apprenticeship, with the opportunity to be hired full-time at the end. She’s also led several initiatives to empower employees to live sustainably.

I’m mainly focused around the individual as a change maker,” she said. “Whether it’s the candidates through the academy or employees thinking about sustainability through their own responsibility.”

Lowe built the Adobe Digital Academy by identifying the intersection between the business needs and the potential social impacts. After talking with the leadership team, the human resources department and management at Adobe, Lowe found that not only was there a high demand for people trained in technical skills, but there was also an increasing awareness around tech companies’ workforce diversity strategies.  

From that thought, she began reaching out to non-profits like Hack the Hood and the International Rescue Committee to connect with the community and find students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to a program at Adobe. The pilot was very successful, with one candidate landing a full-time job at the company from the internship. The program has now scaled to four different offices, including Adobe’s Utah location.

“I still don’t think of it as a finished program,” Lowe said. “We’re always looking for feedback from individuals who go through the program and leadership.”

While at Haas, Lowe served as the co-president of the Design, Innovation and Strategy Club, an incredibly influential position which she says taught her how to build trust and communicate within a small team to achieve a common goal. She also had the opportunity to teach as a graduate student instructor for Problem Finding, Problem Solving, and a Women in Business course which helped her see the importance of elevating less represented voices.

She sees Haas as not only influential to her career as she’s moved forward, but as a place that aligned with her own value set. She’s taken those same values to Adobe by creating a supporting environment for growth, encouraging risks and questioning the status quo – all ideas she learned while at Haas.

“Looking beyond yourself is one of the most important tenants in my career,” she said when asked what values the school had instilled in her. “We all have a way that we can have a positive impact in the world.”

Lowe is honored to receive this recognition, but she’s knows there’s still work to be done. She’s taking this nomination as a point to reflect on what’s happened since graduating and what she’s been able to contribute in living out these values.

She sees this award as another opportunity for her to encourage other changemakers and leaders to think about bringing diverse individuals into a tech setting. For her, this means focusing on a growth mindset when carrying out these initiatives, another important tenant of her work.

“With the value of a student always, there’s a part of me that takes this as an opportunity to think about where I can continue to grow,” she said. “Failure means we’re growing. Just because there are setbacks doesn’t mean that that’s the end.”



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