In Every Issue
Latha Ramchand, Dean and Professor, Finance
Letter from the Dean
“Do what makes you happy” — it’s a phrase we’ve all no doubt heard before, and it seems easier said than done.
What if your job didn’t make you happy? For many, a source of income and the ability to provide financially outweighs happiness. But, what if your employer prioritized employee happiness? Or, what if you found a way to do what you love for a living? The idea that individual and hence organizational happiness is key to success dates back to 18th century economist and philosopher Adam Smith, who believed:
“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”
Professor Dusya Vera, who spoke at our annual Bauer College Faculty Awards Lunch this spring, believes and lives life on the principle that happiness is a choice.
In her words:
“We live busy and stressful lives. Happiness is an elusive goal, and I think we need all the help we can get, from each other, to choose happiness in the middle of stress and busyness. I know this is a business school and not a ‘happiness school.’ But, as research shows, happy people are more engaged and give 200 percent of their effort toward goals they believe in. I have found that it is worth it, and it pays off, to include happiness as a variable in conversations about strategic leadership or strategic management, ethical leadership, global leadership and global strategy, the classes that I usually teach.”
Happiness, competence, commitment and character — up to us to make those choices. While we may not have answers to all questions, as Dusya pointed out, each of us can define our own measure of happiness.
To quote Adam Smith again:
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”
And for some, that means to happiness is by taking the leap to small business ownership. By investing in your interest to begin with, you create opportunities to serve others’ interests.
As a member of the National Small Business Development Center Advisory Board over the last two years, I have had the opportunity not only to learn more about the connection between small business and the United States economy but also to play a role in ensuring that the American dream is alive and well. If you dream it, you can do it, and there is in fact support for you to pursue what makes you happy.
This issue of Inside Bauer is full of stories of alumni, friends, students, staff and faculty who live and breathe “small business.” They’ve started their own companies, or they’re contributing to the success of others who have launched a small business. We hope you enjoy each of these stories as much as we enjoyed bringing them to you.
Sincerely and with warm regards,
Dean and Professor, Finance
C. T. Bauer College of Business
University of Houston
A Carnegie-designated Tier One research university