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Interview with Dr. Atira Charles

Shermin Murji and Josh Davis sit down with Dr. Atira Charles to talk about The Mask Project, student activism and advocacy, as well as Dr. Charles’ take on current events in higher education.

Atira CharlesDr. Atira Charles is an Assistant Professor of Management in the School of Business & Industry at Florida A&M University and CEO of Think Actuality, LLC. She began her academic journey at Florida A&M University, which is where she earned both her B.S. in Finance and her Masters of Business Administration. Dr. Charles immediately began her career in academia, after graduating with her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Management from Arizona State University.

As one of the youngest and most innovative business scholars in the country, Dr. Charles’ research, consulting, and training facilitation seeks to shed light on and further understand the unique narratives revolving around the way in which individuals manage their differences while striving for personal, professional and organizational success. Her expertise also focuses on organizational structures and processes that promote positive and inclusionary environments. Additionally, she explores how organizations can effectively manage the differences of their employees, through social and structural means. More specifically, her research and consulting revolves around racial and gender identity management in the workplace, organizational management of differences, and communication and feedback processes within diverse organizations. Inspired by her teaching philosophy, she also engages in research and coaching which focus on how individual’s can motivate themselves to positive and productive action through self- awareness and identity management.

Dr. Charles’ research has been published in numerous academic journals and media outlets. She has presented her research internationally and has worked with many municipalities and global Fortune 500 organizations exploring the role of identities in the workplace. Dr. Charles provides workshops, coaching, and consultative services that aim to build more authentic, inclusive, and engaging work experiences. She created The Mask Project (www.ourmasks.com), which is a national initiative that documents and uncovers individual’s experiences of “wearing the mask” at work and in life. Dr. Charles also serves as a contributor for Black Enterprise Magazine. Dr. Charles’ audiobook, “The Art of Unmasking: Peeling back the layers to maximize personal and professional success”, has recently been released.

Dr. Charles is a highly sought out speaker for conferences and events focused on diversity, business, and education. Her work has been featured in magazines, such as Black Enterprise Magazine and ESSENCE. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards such as the Florida State University Guardian of the Flame Award and the FAMU Outstanding 125 Alumni Award. Her clients and collaborators speak very highly of her ability to impact the cognitive processes of their employees, in order to promote psychological and behavioral change in the individuals that she works with. However, her most important professional accomplishment is doing all of this work with 3 beautiful children under the age of 8!