Lander Recognizes First Graduates of Kauffmann Leadership Institute


Fifteen Lander University faculty and staff members recently became the first graduates of the Kauffmann Leadership Institute.

The institute is the result of the vision of President Richard Cosentino to provide Lander employees with valuable leadership training opportunities. Cosentino, in collaboration with Crystal Rookard, vice president and general counsel; Sharon Colcolough, consultant; and Mike Worley, vice president of the Lander Foundation, developed the leadership experience for the faculty and staff at Lander.

The program is funded through a donation to the Lander Foundation by Rev. Douglas Kauffmann and his wife, Sally, a 1975 Lander graduate.

The provider of the program is Lead Advantage, Inc., of Charlotte, which was founded and continues to be run by Sherri K. Baldwin. The Lead Advantage philosophy is to provide a “unique and proven business-relevant, engaging and high-energy leadership development process, resulting in leaders who add value with their presence.”

Previously, Rookard participated in the E4 Emerging Leaders year-long leadership program facilitated by Lead Advantage. “She knew first-hand the bonding with fellow professionals, and the professional development that such a leadership institute could offer,” Kauffmann said, in his remarks to the graduates.

Kauffmann, an adjunct professor of religion, thanked Rookard and Colcolough, who served as program coordinator, as well as Baldwin and Rick Vippermann, of Lead Advantage, for “doing a great job in providing a wonderful leadership institute for our Lander faculty and staff this year.”

He also thanked the participants, for “being so faithful in this endeavor. We celebrate what each does to make Lander University a great university,” he said.

“The Kauffmann Institute provided a great opportunity to get to know other Lander employees while allowing us to work together to enhance the university. Lead Advantage did a phenomenal job educating and encouraging us throughout the process to enrich personal and collective growth. Very thankful for the opportunity!” said Chris Ayer, a member of the inaugural class.

Michelle Weeks, another participant, said that she, too, enjoyed the experience. “Great leaders empower people to make decisions that support the goals and vision of the university by building a workplace that is participative , both responsibly and accountably. The Kauffmann Leadership program gave me valuable insight to not only myself, but to those I interact with in the workplace. Thank you to everyone involved for bringing this invaluable program to Lander,” she said.

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