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The values-driven startup

Christina Black (Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Supriya Munshaw (Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

Publication date: 23 June 2021


Study level/applicability

The case is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate business students. The suggestions in the teaching note would suit classes of varying sizes and can be organized by teams or for individual work.

Subject area

The case is suitable for classes discussing a range of topics including business ethics, values-based leadership and entrepreneurship. The case is told from the perspective of a Hispanic, first-generation female CEO in tech – a male-dominated field. As some of its decision points include discussions with other female entrepreneurs in similar positions, this case is also suitable for discussions on gender and minority leader representation.

Case overview

This case tells the story of a female tech entrepreneur in Baltimore, how her personal values influenced the values of her company and how she successfully applied those values even in the early stages of her venture. It includes a discussion of her former career in the military and her experiences as a first-generation American.

Expected learning outcomes

The case offers several decision points where students are invited to anticipate and discuss the protagonists’ values and their application of them in her work. It likewise invites students to reflect on their own values and how they influence their business decisions. As the case is based on true events and uses real names, students may also perform research on the real business and its context to extend this case even further.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email to request teaching notes.

Social implications

Women are chronically underrepresented in leadership positions and some choose to become entrepreneurs because it offers a surer path to CEO roles. Additionally, this case offers some perspective on the different leadership styles of women, such as this protagonist’s choice to allow her personal and corporate values to drive important early decisions for her business. The instructor and students also may wish to focus on aspects of the case related to the protagonist’s ethnicity and her family’s status as recent immigrants to the USA. Ideally, class discussions will consider the protagonist holistically, and her identities as intersectional.

Subject code

CSS 3: Entrepreneurship.



Black, C. and Munshaw, S. (2021), "The values-driven startup", .



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Christina Black and Supriya Munshaw.

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