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Joshua Daspit

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Joshua Daspit
Class of 2021 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40
(He, Him) is 39

The year 2020 feels like a worldwide wake-up call in so many ways. As a leader, I realize the most important thing I have learned and will take forward is…

I’ve learned that embracing and adapting to change shouldn’t be only for times of crisis. Comfort resides in complacency, but that’s not where growth exists. As I move forward, I hope to be more intentional about creating positive change that fosters growth for myself and others.

Joshua Daspit is the founder of Parco Enterprises, a certified LGBTBE®, that produces and sells a stylish protective backpack. He developed the product partly in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting and violence against LGBTQ people. Daspit has an MBA in international business and a Ph.D. in Management. He is a professor of entrepreneurship and management who has published more than 30 research projects with consistent findings that when people have differences, and the differences are embraced, they can do more together. 

Growing up in a small, Texas town, Joshua Daspit had no LGBTQ+ role model. As a young person, he was often embarrassed and lived a closeted life throughout his long journey to self-acceptance.

After obtaining an MBA in international business, he pursued a Ph.D. in Management. As a student, his comfort level in accepting his LGBTQ identity grew as did his understanding of the applicability of business theories to easily explain his personal experiences in his own need for talent differentiation. He hesitated in sharing his discovery because the theories were developed to explain firm behaviors and not to explain individuals. Daspit’s aha moment was when he realized a differentiation strategy has the potential to create value at any level of an organization and for individuals.  Talent, as an asset, has the potential to become increasingly valuable the more it can provide a specialized or differentiated perspective that can be applied for business value purposes—talent is one of a firm’s most prized assets.

Daspit has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in entrepreneurship and management to more than 1,000 students at three universities.  As a professor, he encourages his students to consider how they can differentiate their businesses and themselves in the market. He explains how being different and highlighting the value of their uniqueness creates the potential for earning a premium for their specialized talent and perspectives. 

Simply stated, being different can be an asset, rather than a liability, for both businesses and people according to Daspit. In fact, this statement is at the foundation of his research: How can we do better when we work together? Businesses can create greater value for shareholders and clients when interpersonal obstacles are overcome. In more than 30 published research projects, he approaches this question from a variety of perspectives; and his findings are consistent — when people have differences, and the differences are embraced, they can do more together. 

In addition to serving as a professor, Daspit applies his insights to other aspects of his life. He has taken his own advice by founding and certifying his business, Parco Enterprises as an LGBTBE® with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce through their Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce affiliate.  Parco Enterprises produces and sells a stylish protective backpack partly in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting and violence against LGBTQ people.

Whether he is teaching, working with community groups, keynoting or running his own business, he is working towards a future where LGBTQ+ individuals are recognized and embraced for their differentiated value and perspectives they bring to the table. He believes “wholeheartedly” that by bringing diverse perspectives together and collaboratively working towards solutions, “we do better.”  

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