Kaira and the Big Pitch

By Glenna Bett, PhD, Liesl Folks, PhD, MBA and Nancy Schiller, MS

female engineer looks at computer.


An early-career engineer is passed over by the CEO of her firm for the lead role in delivering a pitch to a valuable external potential client.

The case can be used to help develop career skills that may be useful to achieving long-term success, such as:

  • Building your professional support network for career resilience
  • Communicating your impacts
  • Managing conflict / Respectful confrontations
  • Becoming a change agent in your organization
  • Cultivating resilience in the face of adversity
  • Forming alliances with other women
  • Understanding meritocratic ideologies


Upon completion of this case, students will be able to:

  • Recognize workplace gender bias.
  • Recognize who your allies are in the workplace, and recognize who is not.
  • Understand that the gender of the senior leadership does not automatically indicate whether they will support younger employees facing gender bias.
  • Understand that collecting and sharing information is vital, as well as communicating that information to others in your organization.
  • Understand the importance of communicating your impacts to others in your organization, both to your peer group and to middle and senior management.
  • Understand that there may be complex relationships between gender issues a company can influence, and those it cannot.
  • Understand the effects of gender bias in corporate culture.