Meet Our 2019 Cohort of Fellows: Martha Bull


Yale School of Management

Martha has spent much of her life in theaters: she was raised in a theater troupe near Boston and was carried onstage before she could walk. She has performed regionally and Off-Broadway and is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association. Martha taught acting at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Smith College, and taught Shakespeare as a guest artist in NYC public schools. During her six years on the UMass Theater Department's performance faculty, she taught courses including acting, voice and public speaking, movement, dialects, and musical theater. Martha spearheaded interdisciplinary collaborations with non-arts departments at UMass, bringing actors' skills (creative collaboration, public speaking, deep listening, empathy, and accessing personal power) to other fields. For example, she co-created the curriculum for a new course, 'Acting for Healthcare Professionals', with faculty from the UMass College of Nursing. Martha's other initiatives at UMass included founding and chairing Theater's Outreach & Engagement Committee, serving as departmental liaison to the Provost for Diversity, and leading student recruitment for her department. Prior to her faculty appointment at UMass, Martha earned an MFA in Acting from Columbia University and an AB in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities from the University of Chicago, where she was a Phi Beta Kappa inductee. Martha is also a competitive powerlifter and weightlifter, and has helped raised money for the Ali Forney Center through Pull for Pride, an annual deadlift competition to benefit homeless LGBTQ youth.


What made you consider business school?

In the course of my interdisciplinary collaborations, I became deeply interested in the intersection of management training and acting/improv work. I wanted to dive deep into the practice—and not just the theory—of this work, so I left academia to pursue an MBA in order to gain the requisite management skills to bring applied theater and speech training to the business space.


What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?

The people! I know the next two years of my life will be a transformative time that will expand my horizons and networks, and I look forward to forging lifelong relationships with others who inspire and motivate me.


Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?

Lena Waithe, Janae Marie Kroc, Mark Rylance, Alan Cumming, and Laverne Cox, to name a few.


What's one thing everyone should know about you?

I can play the bagpipes and deadlift nearly 400 pounds, though not at the same time. Also, at least 10% of my brain, during any given social conversation, is being used to scan the dialog for potential bad puns & dad jokes.

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