The world lost a great mind this week, Dr. Gipsie Ranney. I had the opportunity to meet her when she was a professor in the MBA Program at Belmont and I took several operations classes from her.
It was during her time as a professor that I developed my love of systems. She taught me more than just operations – she also was an advocate for being a great manager and told her class once that we must understand the power, we as managers have. Her exact words, which I remember her saying from the front of her class while pointing her Vis-à-vis wet erase marker for the overhead transparency at the class, “you may never realize the damage you can do as a manager, be careful.” She also taught her classes with such zeal and finesse that made math come alive. She was also a spitfire and I loved learning from her. Her examples of how to do complex problems often included finding the number of rat hairs that could be in peanut butter, based on outside facts, etc.
She was a systems thinker and many times said, “people act rationale to the systems which are in place.” This has been a powerful reminder to me over the many years.