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Dr. Sunny Zhang Named one of Houston's 50 Most Influential Women for 2022-23

Dr. Sunny ZhangDr. Sunny Zhang, a marketing professor at the University of St. Thomas-Houston Cameron School of Businesswas named one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2022-23 by Houston Woman Magazine. The magazine is dedicated to informing, inspiring and connecting successful women.

A celebration dinner, attended by the honorees and their guests, was held on March 23 at The Junior League of Houston. More than 350 guests participated in the festivities, and included in the crowd were several past honorees, elected officials and celebrities.

“Dr. Zhang is a well-deserving recipient of this illustrious award,” Dr. John Leavins, Cameron School of Business Leadership Team, said.  "As a professor of Marketing at the University of St. Thomas, she always brings enthusiasm and dedication to her work. Her students admire and appreciate her innovative classroom teaching techniques.  We wish her the best."

Nomination Process for Women of Influence

Each honoree was nominated for the “50 Women” list by a reader of Houston Woman Magazine and then selected by the publication staff. According to Beverly Denver, publisher of the magazine, “Those selected as Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2022-23 have earned an enviable reputation for their expertise in a particular field or arena. They are knowledgeable, credible, and trustworthy. The thoughts and actions of these women influence the thoughts and actions of others. We are pleased to introduce these remarkable women to our readers and others in our community.”

Professor and Entrepreneur

Zhang specializes in venture investing and venture building with 20 years of experience in behavioral science, digital marketing, social networks and international business. She is a founding partner at Born Global Ventures, an investment firm focused on early-stage, globally scalable tech startups led by resilient immigrant entrepreneurs.

Zhang is passionate about bridging gaps and closing divides for underestimated founders and underserved communities. She founded the Born Global Community, a  501(c)(3). She served as the Program Advisor of Women in AI USA, on the Board of Advisors for the George H. W. Bush Foundation of U.S.-China Relations, on the Advisory Board at StudioHub, and on the Board of Directors at the World Chamber of Commerce.

She is also a tenured marketing professor at UST’s Cameron School of Business. Zhang’s areas of expertise include marketing, entrepreneurship, international marketing and social networks. She teaches marketing principles, global marketing, research, decision-making, management, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. Her research areas include consumer behavior, social network and group processes, disclosure, privacy, and ethics. 

Zhang’s publications on her academic research have appeared in premium scholarly journals. She has taught at business schools for the past 19 years, including the University of Alabama, Indiana University, and Colorado State University, before joining the University of St. Thomas in 2012.

Her accolades include Outstanding Professor for 2021-2022 in the Cameron School of Business and the 2021 Small Business Champion of the Year at the U.S. Small Business Administration Houston District.

Zhang received her Ph.D in Marketing with a Social Psychology minor and Master of Business from Indiana University - Bloomington, and her M.S. in Applied Psychology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

She and her husband Sandip have two children, Eshaan and Rohaan, and a schnauzer Bobo.

Past UST Recipients

Past University of St. Thomas recipients of the 50 Most Influential Women award include: First Lady Marianne Ivany; Dean and Associate Professor of the Cameron School of Business Dr. Beena George; Associate Dean and Assistant Professor of the School of Education and Human Services Dr. Nicole McZeal Walters; Dean and Professor of Theology Dr. Sandra Magie; Director of the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies Lori Gallagher, J.D.; and Dean of the School of Education and Human Services Dr. Ana-Lisa Gonzalez.