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She makes inclusion her business.


Meet Dr. Lex Smith Washington.

Growing up in the New York City borough of Queens, she didn’t know much about Oklahoma State University, but all of that changed when she came to Stillwater in 2012. What she found was a vibrant and welcoming community where she could thrive, unburdened by the hurried pace of big-city life.


“You can make your career here,” she said. “You can decide what you want to do. One of the best things I have found is people are given the room to grow their talents.”


With a background in gender, status, and influence, as well as diversity and bias in the workplace, she wanted to explore new research methods. The Spears School of Business supported her with funding, time and the opportunity to hone new skills.


“My department invested in me,” she said. “It has paid off for me in terms of publications, in satisfaction with the work that I do and what I can give back to my department. So it has been a place where I have been able to really make my career and become the scholar I’d like to see in myself.”

Now a tenured professor and senior inclusion officer for the Spears School of Business, she is using her expertise to build on OSU’s culture of inclusion and inspiring the next generation of leaders to take an inclusive approach to business and life.


“Inclusion is a step beyond diversity — it’s actually an action,” she said. “It’s making the people around us feel they are welcome and a part of the group and that their uniqueness and experiences are what makes them wanted and welcome as a part of our team.”


That’s how we build Cowboys.




WE ARE ALL COWBOYSHailing from all 50 states and 98 countries, we are united by the Cowboy Code.

  • We end the day knowing we gave it everything we had
  • We dream only as big as the sky
  • We know challenges come with pain, but pain will not win
  • We have a passion to do what's right, even when it's hard
  • We stand for what matters, even if we stand alone
  • We finish what we start
  • Being a Cowboy isn't in our clothes, it's in our character
Inspired by the book "Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from The Code of the West." © 2004 James P. Owen
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