Dr. Ella Bell

In addition to teaching in Tuck’s MBA and executive education programs, Ella L.J. Bell Smith is the founder and president of Ascent: Leading Women to the Top, a nonprofit  organization committed to professional development and career advancement. Ascent’s leadership programs are offered in partnership with Tuck Executive Education.


Working in the field of organizational behavior and organizational change, she is one of the leading experts in the management of race, gender, and class in the workplace. She is a consultant to Fortune 100 and 500 companies and public institutions on the advancement of all women in the workplace, as well as issues related to authentic leadership for both men and women. Her clients include PepsiCo, American Express, Intel, Goldman Sachs, Booz Allen Hamilton, and U.S. Department of Labor.


Professor Smith’s research interests focus on the career and life histories of professional women and she is currently studying issues of work/life balance. Her latest book Career GPS: Strategies for Women Navigating the New Corporate Landscape (Amistad, 2010) offers proven techniques for women wishing to advance their careers in the fast-changing corporate world. She is coauthor with colleague Stella M. Nkomo of the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed book Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity (Harvard Business School Press, 2001).


She received her BA from Mills College of Education, her MA from Columbia University, and her PhD from Case Western Reserve University.