Former CEO and Harvard alum Linda Oubre appointed as new dean of business college

Britesmile co-founder Linda Oubre will bring more than 20 years of business experience to SF State as the new dean of the College of Business.

Oubre will officially take the position as dean in July, according to a press release issued by the University. She will replace interim dean Caran Colvin, who has held the position since July 2011. Oubre explained that she decided to pursue the job because of SF State’s diversity and “high quality” business department.

“I see it as a great opportunity for someone like me to be a dean,” Oubre said. “There [are] a lot of College of Businesses that would not take someone with a business background.”

Oubre has gathered strategic and financial planning experience while working with businesses but has always had a strong interest in education.  Being one of five children raised by a single mom, she used school as an escape. Eventually, she would go on to apply to Harvard Business School along with her husband. They would be the first two African-American students admitted in to the Harvard Business School from the University of California Los Angles.

“I happened to go to a Harvard Business School Admissions recruitment event at UCLA, and decided to apply as a college senior,” Oubre said.  “To my shock, I got into their deferred admit program.”

The “deferred admit” program allowed Oubre to enter Harvard’s business program as a senior. After receiving her master’s degree in business administration, Oubre served as Assistant Director of Admissions until her husband graduated from the business program.

From there she went to work for the Los Angeles Times, Walt Disney and then Tri Com Ventures.  In 1998, she was brought on by a major investor to help build the business model for the San Francisco-based teeth whitening spa, Britesmile, a company that now has 50 spas around the country and 5000 dentist-affiliated companies around the world.

“She actually kind of impressed me because she was the co-founder,” said Micheal Ponce, 26, business department staff member, who was enamored by her presentation to the business department last month.

However, not all students in the business department are impressed or are even aware that there will be a new dean in the department.

“I had no clue that there was a new dean,” said economics major Abo Rahimi, 24. “Nothing has changed and I don’t know if anything will change.”

As dean, Oubre will be in charge of the overall direction of the College of Business from the curriculum and budget all the way down to the faculty and staff, said interim dean Colvin.

Oubre doesn’t plan to change to curriculum however, she does plan expand the business department’s relationships with corporations and alumni.  As chief diversity officer and executive director of relations and business development at UC Davis, Oubre oversaw the relationships the university had with other corporations and plans to bring those skills to SF State.

“One thing I have learned with my experience at Davis,” Oubre said. “Is that when it comes to alumni and dealing with corporations, it really depends on the individual and what their interests are.”

Fundraisers and developing other sources for investing are some ideas she has to build relationships with corporations and SF State alumni.

“I talk a lot about rolling up your sleeves and actually focusing on action and getting things done,” she said.