More Than 120 Staff Leaders Join First Class of the Inclusive Leaders Academy

Research shows that employees with greater self-awareness and social intelligence are frequently more successful.1

For this reason, Staff Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement launched the Inclusive Leaders Academy, a professional leadership and legacy development program for managers at Georgia Tech. The goal of the program is two-fold: to support managers’ career development by creating opportunities to learn and grow, and to build a leadership community that will transform Institute culture through modeling inclusive excellence.

“More self-aware managers collaborate better with others, are more effective in leading change, can be more inclusive and engaging, and proactively seek to develop others,” said Pearl Alexander, executive director of Institute Diversity’s Staff Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement unit and co-founder of the Inclusive Leaders Academy.

The key learning benefits of the Inclusive Leaders Academy – and core curriculum topic areas – facilitate self-awareness, social intelligence, and co-active leadership. Curriculum content has been curated from the NeuroLeadership Institute on unconscious bias and from Brave Leaders Inc on Daring Leadership: The Four Pillars of Courage based on the research of Brené Brown. This combination of self-paced online learning is supplemented with interactive group activities through wisdom labs and coaching sessions to reinforce skill building in each of the core curriculum areas.

As Alexander added, “The program engages leaders in reflective practices, such as journaling, intergroup dialogue, storytelling, and coaching, to evoke personal insights and promote self-discovery and transformation.”

More than 120 staff leaders representing over 40 campus units joined the first class of the Inclusive Leaders Academy during spring semester 2017.

“The interactive wisdom labs with the highest participation include ‘Identity Cores, Self-Acceptance and Power of Authenticity,’ ‘Mitigating Unconscious Bias,’ ‘Emotional Intelligence – Triggers and Saboteurs,’ and ‘Resilience.’ These wisdom labs affirm leaders in the practices of making good business decisions, showing up authentically with their teams, discovering behaviors that inhibit authenticity, improving self-care, and growing their emotional fluency to navigate difficult circumstances,” remarked Cheryl Cofield, director of inclusion and engagement and co-founder of the Inclusive Leaders Academy. “We’re very grateful for our collaborators across campus, and brilliant teammates, Faith Sumpter and Alden Eavenson, who have been critical to the program’s success. With their support, a total of 41 interactive, facilitated sessions will be delivered by August 7.”

“One of the greatest insights from this program is how to be present in the moment and listen,” said Peter Severa, director of MBA student engagement in the Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business and one of the participants. “The Inclusive Leaders Academy teaches you about yourself and your presence with others. You also learn about the soft skills needed to be more vulnerable and to establish better connections with your team.”

On October 24, the program’s closing ceremony will feature keynote speaker Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston, founder and CEO of Brave Leaders Inc, and author of three New York Times best sellers. In addition to recognizing the qualifying program participants, campus community members are welcome to attend the closing ceremony to engage in a dialogue on “Transforming Our Culture through Daring Leadership.” Invitations to register will be sent next month, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The Inclusive Leaders Academy is intended to cultivate valued leadership behaviors that, if practiced, will positively influence the lived experiences of staff, faculty, and students,” remarked Archie Ervin, vice president for Institute Diversity.

For more information on the Inclusive Leaders Academy, visit

1 Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis, “Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership,” Harvard Business Review (September 2008).

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For More Information Contact

Annette Filliat

Communications Manager

Institute Diversity