Dr. Sybil Mobley – FAMU’s Business School Dean – RIP

Go Lean Commentary

CU Blog - Dr Sybil Mobley - FAMU Business School Dean - RIP - Photo 1The FAMU world mourns the passing of Dr. Sybil Mobley (1925 – 2015; age 90), the much-accomplished and celebrated Dean Emerita of the School of Business and Industry (SBI).

This Go Lean … Caribbean movement – book and accompanying blog-commentaries – stress the fact that one man or one woman can make a difference in their community. Dr. Mobley’s impact was societal elevation with her mission to embed Black Americans in the conference rooms and board rooms of major corporations. She molded, prepared, energized and guided the best-of-the-best of Black America (many of Caribbean heritage as well; this writer included) and sent them off to impact the corporate world.

She sowed the seeds …

… the entire Black community now reap from this harvest.

Dr. Mobley was born in Jim-Crow America in Shreveport, Louisiana. She came to Tallahassee, Florida – the home campus of Florida A&M University – in 1963, still in the era and location of the Deep South. Despite that debilitating environment for a Black woman, she thrived and got her disciples to thrive, as depicted in the following news-media obituary and VIDEO:

Title: FAMU’s Dr. Mobley Passes Away
By: Lanetra Bennett

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – September 29, 2015 — Dr. Sybil C. Mobley passed away today. She’s the founder of the world renowned School of Business and Industry at FAMU.

Her students and those who knew her say she was much more.

Dr. Mobley’s family confirms she died early Tuesday morning after a brief illness.

Former students say they’re known as, “Sybil’s babies”. They marvel how she balanced power in the boardroom, with compassion for students.

Tallahassee businessman Clinton Byrd keeps a medallion on his desk with Dr. Sybil Mobley’s face on it.

He says, “The phone rings and you’re just hoping that it’s not that news. But, we knew that one day it would come.”

The news came Tuesday that Dr. Mobley had died. “It’s a sad day for us.” Byrd said.

Dr. Mobley started the School of Business and Industry at FAMU in 1974.

Byrd was one of her students. He said, “One day I was giving a presentation on Accounting Theory and the bright lights came on. I just lost it. When I got through, she said, boy that was fantastic. I said, doc, I can’t even remember what I said or what I did. She was always encouraging. She kept a paper that I wrote in 1967. She still has it about impact.”

Mobley had an impact on countless people in Tallahassee and beyond.

The Shreveport, Louisiana native started her career at FAMU in 1963, and is said to have put S.B.I. on the map alongside Yale, University of Chicago, and University of North Carolina. “People used to come here from all over the world to meet her, to spend time with her.” Said, Byrd.

Precious Tankard is a current sophomore. She said, “It’s a lot to say I am a business administration student or an S.B.I. period, in SBI. When we say we’re SBI, they know that greatness lies ahead.”

The current dean, Shawnta Friday-Stroud, is also a former student. She said, “I hope that I have done and that I continue to do her proud. It’s because of what she taught so many of us that I’m even standing in this position as dean today.”

Byrd said, “Some way, somehow we just all have to carry on.”

S.B.I. recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Dr. Mobley was the founding dean until she retired in 2003. That’s when those special medallions that Byrd has were issued.
Source: Local CBS TV Affiliate WCTV  (Retrieved September 29, 2015) – http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Dr-Sybil-Mobley-Former-FAMU-Business-School-Dean-Dies-329934011.html

CU Blog - Dr Sybil Mobley - FAMU Business School Dean - RIP - Photo 2

VIDEO – Rep. Gwen Graham Honors FAMU Leader Dr. Sybil Mobley – https://youtu.be/QCCk19vnKPU

Published on Oct 7, 2015 – “Today I rise to honor the life of Dr. Sybil Mobley, the founding dean of Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry.

“Dr. Mobley first worked at Florida A&M as a secretary in 1945 – she then went on to study at the Wharton School of Finance and earned her doctorate from the University of Illinois.

After graduating, Dr. Mobley returned to Florida A&M, and in 1974 she became the founding dean of the University’s School of Business and Industry.

“She held that position for 29 years, during which time she worked tirelessly to build the business school into a nationally recognized institution.

“Her rise from working as a secretary to sitting on the board of Fortune 500 companies and leading a business school serves as an inspiration for all of us.

“Today, we mourn Dr. Mobley’s passing – and celebrate her life. She was a treasure to FAMU, Tallahassee, the state of Florida and our nation.”

  • Category: People & Blogs
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Dr. Sybil Mobley impacted the business world, not just the world of college education. She served on many corporate boards and received many awards and honors from around the world; (see plaque in photo above). While she was not of Caribbean heritage, she impacted many students who are; see the Facebook testimony here of two, one Jamaican-American and one Bahamian-American FAMU-SBI alumni:

Michelle Graham Day, SBI Class of 2008
Oh no, ‪#‎LEGEND! No matter how powerful a force to be reckoned with, you could walk in her office as an unknown freshman and get a one on one without an appointment! I remember feeling inspired because like me she had also graduated high school and started college at 16, and I remember her making clear that she was here to get us to play in the majors and said “when people say [why isn’t she using an HBCU business school to funnel students into] minority business what they [the critics, not the official definition!] really mean is minor business” meaning they were doubting her SBI students could hang in the big leagues. She pointed out that no company makes it onto the wall of plaques outside the main entrance without having invested $100k? (correct me if am off) in her vision…

I took 3 long internships that were real work not coffee fetching, one a year long, and graduated way off cycle, but my first big league company out the gate was IBM out west in Colorado (I was always willing to go anywhere while many were not even applying cause it wasn’t somewhere sexy to black people like New York or Miami) and even in the recession when on campus offers froze up, it is those 3 positions with Fortune 500 companies that led to my career which evolved from logistics/supply chain into data analysis into business intelligence and IT. It’s those 3-part PD questions with your premises and non-yes-or-no-answer follow-up question that had me stumping interviewers with my never-cliche questions and already-solid work experience standing out among other candidates even at internship stage. To this day I get compliments on the quality of my questions. The ability to multitask and speedread through 18 credit hours a semester (which I have also pulled off that load in SUMMER when full time is 6 credit hours), the logic picked up by being forced to take Physics I & II as our required sciences with much grumbling on our part, it all served me oh so well in skeleton crew workplaces where you wear many hats and the workload is intense as everyone is required to do more with less post-recession, and in learning how to experiment with the data and record different observations during data analysis and data mining/modeling, just like in the physics labs. She evolved with the needs of corporate and I’m constantly having to evolve to stay ahead of the demands of my field. I went on to work for some of the most established, storied corporations on earth and moved into Fortune 100 and it is all thanks in major part to applying what was learned in Dean Mobley’s program. Her passing is the passing of an era, she will be missed! ‪#‎RIP.‪#‎FAMU‪#‎SBI‪#‎visionary

Clifton H. Rodriguez, CPA, SBI Class of 1985
Probably [she] was the most influential woman in my life. I can still remember her teachings, and the lasting motto: “No effort is adequate until it is effective”. I remember in 1981 when she served on the Board of Anheuser Busch Companies, and had a meeting in St. Louis, Mo. She left her meeting with those important people, including August Busch, III to seek Anthony Glover and myself out to advise us about [a] murder that occurred on campus…. She did not have to do that, but deemed us that important to seek us out and advise us. She treated all of her students in that manner. She was not only our dean, but our nurturing mother, who cared deeply about her precious children.

These foregoing testimonies are such good reflections of Dr. Mobley’s character and quest: she wanted her students “playing in the ‘Major’ leagues” of Big Corporate businesses. She recognized that while minority business ownership is important in America today and for the recent past, minority businesses are just minor businesses.

The publishers of the book Go Lean…Caribbean recognize the life contributions of Dr. Sybil Mobley as an educator, industrialist and advocate for many causes that align with our quest for empowerment and elevation of Caribbean commerce and life. Her vision was for more self-determination for the role that business and economics play in the lives of Black America. This means participating, not just spectating, in the business processes of BIG business. There are now more African-Americans (and those of African-Caribbean heritage) engaged in the business processes with corporate America because of the efforts of Dr. Mobley.

Mission accomplished!

“You have fought the good fight, you have finished the race, and you have remained faithful”. – 2 Timothy 4:7 (The Bible New Living Translation).

Like Dr. Sybil Mobley, the prime directive of the Go Lean book is also to elevate society, but instead of impacting America, the roadmap focus is the Caribbean first. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU seeks to empower the people of the Caribbean to lead more impactful lives in which they are better able to meet their needs and plan for a productive future. The Go Lean roadmap seeks to put Caribbean people in a place of better command-and-control of their circumstances, to develop the community ethos of fostering genius, innovation and entrepreneurship. In fact, the prime directive declarative statements in the Go Lean book are as follows:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

Dr. Sybil Mobley is hereby recognized as a role model that the rest of the Caribbean can emulate. She provided a successful track record of forging change, overcoming incredible odds, managing crises to successful conclusions and paying forward to benefit the next generation. The Go Lean book posits that the economic, security and governing engines are all important for the sustenance of Caribbean life, so Dr. Mobley’s life course stands as a vanguard for many of these pursuits.

The book posits that one person, despite their field of endeavor, can make a difference in the Caribbean, and its impact on the world; that there are many opportunities where one champion, one advocate, can elevate society. In this light, the book features 144 different advocacies, so there is inspiration for the “next” Dr. Sybil Mobley to emerge, establish and excel right here at home in the Caribbean.

The roadmap specifically encourages the region, to lean-in and foster this “next” generation of Dr. Sybil Mobley’s with these specific community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies:

Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 30
Community Ethos – Ways to Bridge the Digital Divide Page 33
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Turn-Arounds Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Build and foster local economic engines Page 45
Strategy – Educate our children with the wisdom and knowledge to succeed Page 46
Tactical – Grow the Economy to $800 Billion – Elevate economy through Education Page 70
Tactical – Separation-of-Power – Federal Department of Education Page 85
Anatomy of Advocacies Page 122
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Education Page 159
Advocacy – Ways to Better Provide Clothing Page 163
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Wall Street Page 200
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Main Street Page 201
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Appendix – Education and Economic Growth Page 258

Education is a priority in the Go Lean roadmap. Previously, this commentary has highlighted many other lessons that the region needs to apply to elevate the societal engines for education. See a sample list here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6269 Education & Economics: Welcome Mr. President
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5482 For-Profit American Education: Plenty of Profit; Little Education
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4572 Role Model: Innovative Educator Ron Clark
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4487 FAMU is No. 3 for Facilitating Economic Opportunity
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1256 Is a Traditional 4-year Degree a Terrible Investment?

We need impactful role models like Dr. Sybil Mobley at home in the Caribbean. The formula of sending our “best-of-the-best” to North America and Europe has failed us – they rarely come back home; see sample testimonies above, both individuals currently live in the US. The quest of the Go Lean roadmap is to change that formula – we now want to educate our “best-of-the-best” right here in the Caribbean region, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will remain after their matriculation. This change will require a lot of contributions from a lot of different people. This quest is pronounced early in the roadmap in the Declaration of Interdependence at the outset of the book, declaring a need for regional solutions (Pages 13 & 14) with these statements:

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxx. Whereas the effects of globalization can be felt in every aspect of Caribbean life, from the acquisition of food and clothing, to the ubiquity of ICT, the region cannot only consume, it is imperative that our lands also produce and add to the international community, even if doing so requires some sacrifice and subsidy.

With the participation of many advocates on many different paths for progress, the Caribbean can truly become a better place to live, work, learn  and play.

Thank you for preparing us for this challenge, Dr. Mobley. Thank you for your service, commitment, nurturing and love. Now take your rest. Rest in Peace!

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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