College of Business > News & Events > Distinguished Alumna Paula Price to Headline Executive Speaker Series

From Campus to the C-Suite: Accomplished alumna Paula Price to share her insights and advice in new Executive Speaker Series

a headshot of Paula Price
Even among other accomplished leaders, Paula Price has a unique vantage point.  

The Driehaus alumna and independent board director has led publicly traded companies from within the C-Suite and guided them from within boardrooms. She has served on nonprofit boards and taught at Harvard Business School. All told, Price’s leadership experience is exceptional for both its depth and its breadth.  

On April 22, Price will return to DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business as the first speaker in the college’s Executive Speaker Series. The series, which will bring a different alumnus/a to campus annually to share their insights on leadership, was established thanks to the generosity of Protiviti COO and Business Advisory Council member Cory Gunderson. 

Price will share her unique insights into business and leadership today. Just as importantly, she will share how she got to where she is: what she learned at Driehaus, who helped inspire and mentor her, and what advice she has for the next generation of leaders. 

Before the series, she sat down with us to share just a few of those insights and advice.  

Want to hear more from Paula Price? Sign up here to join us on April 22.  

Driehaus College of Business (DCOB): Tell me about your Driehaus experience! What are some things you learned here that you still use today? 

Paula Price: My time at DePaul was not only enjoyable because of all the great friendships, but also formative and invaluable. The curriculum provided a solid foundation in accounting, finance, marketing, and management, which I still use today in my business ventures. Also, the emphasis on teamwork, camaraderie and communication skills has been indispensable in navigating complex projects and negotiations. Overall, I’d say DePaul has equipped me very well with practical knowledge and skills that are necessary to excel. 

DCOB: What never gets old for you about working in accountancy? 

One of my DePaul professors once said, “accounting is the language of business.” I’ve repeated this many times to former students and co-workers. One can explain any business model or financial transaction if one understands how the five major accounting concepts (revenue, expenses, assets, liabilities, and equity) work. That knowledge helps unleash financial insights that drive informed decision-making and value creation. And that never gets old!  

DCOB: What does leadership mean to you? How do you approach making decisions?  

Price: To me, leadership is about inspiring, guiding and empowering others towards a shared vision while fostering a culture of inclusion, collaboration, innovation and growth. Several experiences have shaped this definition, including leading group projects in college and holding different managerial roles in companies. 

In my leadership experiences, I've been pleasantly surprised by the importance of empathy in motivating and supporting team members. I've also learned that clear communication and transparency are crucial for building trust and alignment. 

Having been in leadership positions, I now see the corporate world through a lens that emphasizes interconnectedness, and I fully understand the significance of cultivating a positive work environment and culture.  

DCOB: As an independent board director, you are responsible for leading companies from the outside. What is that perspective like?   

Price: This special vantage point of board directors allows for a broader, more strategic outlook on the company's direction and performance. You are correct that being on a corporate board means giving oversight and guidance without being directly involved in the day-to-day management. And, while this distance is sometimes difficult for leaders who have managed businesses before, it is important to be able to offer impartial advice and help make decisions based on a big-picture understanding of the company's goals and challenges.  

For me, this allows an opportunity to take a step back and ask if management is focused on the most important areas that will create value for their shareholders, as well as for other key stakeholders such as employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate. 

Having this perspective has allowed me to take a more holistic view of the business world and has also reinforced the importance of governance, transparency, and ethical leadership in driving sustainable business practices. 

DCOB: Any advice for current students at Driehaus?  

Price: Looking back at my career, what I'm most proud of is the journey of continuous learning and growth, both personally and professionally. I take pride in the relationships built, the challenges overcome, and the positive impact made along the way. Whether it's contributing to the success of a business, mentoring others, or serving the community, each experience has shaped me into the person I am today. 

For current students at Driehaus, my advice would be to cultivate opportunities for learning and growth, both inside and outside the classroom. Stay curious, be open to new ideas, and don't be afraid to take some risks. Remember that success is not always linear, and setbacks are often opportunities in disguise.  

Above all, cultivate integrity, resilience, and a commitment to lifelong learning. These qualities will serve you well in any career path you choose. 

To hear more from Paula Price about her career and leadership journey, sign up here.