Teaching Leadership

Leadership is the ability get a group of people or organization to work towards the achievement of a particular goal. Because leadership is such a complex and ambiguous topic, I try to approach it from a starting point of humility and curiosity. I am hopeful that my own enthusiasm for exploring leadership concepts and practices can be instilled in my students. Unlike some subjects, I don’t consider there to be a “right answer” when it comes to leadership practices but instead a variety of potentially effective approaches that must be tailored to the participant(s), the task(s) and the setting. On this page I provide a high-level overview of the leadership topics, resources and examples that inform both my leadership teaching and my own personal leadership actions.  Last Updated: February 15 , 2022.

COMM 4881 Leadership Practicum

Spring 2023

In Spring 2023 we have 14 Leadership Minor students in the practicum, forming 4 groups. Our guest speakers for the semester are:

  • Feb 22 – Carl Zeithaml, former Dean, McIntire School of Commerce
  • Mar 1 – Dean Ian Solomon, Batten School UVA
  • March 13 – Gali Beh, Nature Conservancy and Beh Consulting
  • More TBD

Spring 2022
In 2022 our Leadership Minor grew to over 20 students which allowed the class to engage in additional practicum projects and try new activities such as the Patient Zero Leadership Simulation. Students worked in groups on practicum projects with King Family Vineyards, Fly Dog Yoga, UVA Aquatics, VABA, and Crozet Pizza. As a class we identified a wide variety of leadership profiles of interest. Each of these speakers was generous to share their time with us during the semester.

  • Carl Zeithaml, former Dean, McIntire School of Commerce
  • Jennie Blumenthal, former Partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers
  • Gali Beh, Beh Consulting
  • Wanda James, Founder, Simply Pure
  • Bryan Myers, CEO, [solidcore], former BCG consultant, McIntire alumnus
  • Amaka Agugua-Hamilton, newly-hired UVA Women’s Basketball coach

Spring 2021
It was my honor and pleasure to have six students in our first ever Leadership Practicum class. They helped establish a strong foundation for the practicum in future years and I have no doubt they will each be impactful societal leaders!

These students worked in groups on projects with IX Art Park and the CASH program run by Madison House. As a class we identified a wide variety of leadership profiles of interest. Each of these speakers was generous to share their time with us during the semester.

  • Carl Zeithaml, former Dean, McIntire School of Commerce
  • Justin Dillane, Assistant Manager, Wal-Mart Distribution Center, Zion’s Crossroads, VA
  • Jennie Blumenthal, former Partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers
  • David Eaves, Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School and Technology Thought Leader
  • Austen Murrow, Management Consultant, Accenture and 2015 McIntire Alumnus
  • Heather Moyse, Two-Time Gold Medalist in Women’s Bobsleigh, Member of World Rugby Hall of Fame, Professional Author and Speaker
  • Jack Dougherty, Co-founder, Dougherty Dialectics
  • Wanda James, Founder, Simply Pure
  • Bryan Myers, CEO, [solidcore], former BCG consultant, McIntire alumnus

General Leadership Topics and Related Resources

Popular Leadership Textbooks and Related Books

Cases and Resources on Managing Up

Cases on Cross-Cultural Leadership

  • Cases: Managing a Global Team – Greg James at Sun Microsystems – A & B, Michael Fernandes at Nicholas Piramal, Leading Change across Cultural Boundaries (A), Mary Guerrero and the Advancement of Latinx Talent: Developing an Employee Resource Group at a Top Tier Bank (A) and (B) 

Cases on Change Management

Cases and Simulations on Crisis Management – Simulation: Patient Zero, Everest Simulation

Cases on Career Management

Cases on Project Management  – Cases: Adobe Systems – Working Towards a Suite Release (A)

Cases on Diversity and Inclusion – Rosalind Fox at John Deere 

Cases on Human Resources – Cases: The Wonderful World of Human Resources at Disney, Two Tough Calls (A), Two Tough Calls (B)

CEO Activism – Academic Article – Out of character: CEO political ideology, peer influence, and adoption of CSR executive position by Fortune 500 firms

Specific Leadership Examples and Settings

I have found that examples of effective and ineffective leadership can be found in almost any type of setting, including amongst friends and family, within community organizations, in professional sports, and in government and politics.


Examples – Travis Kalanick at Uber, Elizabeth Holmes at Theranos, Jamie Dimon at Citigroup,

Family & Friends

My sister-in-law Heather Moyse – Two-time Olympic gold medalist in women’s bobsleigh, World Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee, Professional Speaker and Author

Community Organizations/Non-Profits

Examples – H3 Sabres Baseball, lead by UVA alumnus Jeff Burton

Cases – Nonprofit Boards: It Is time to Lift Your Gaze and See the System, St. Martin de Porres High School (A), This Old House of Worship: St. Anthony Shrine (A) and (B)

Health Care

Cases – Barbara Norris – Leading Change in the General Surgery Unit

Professional/High-Level Sports

Examples – U.S. Women’s Soccer fight for equal pay, various Professional Sports Franchise Owners (Mark Cuban, Robert Kraft, Al Davis, George Steinbrenner, etc.), various Professional League Commissioners (David Stern, Adam Silver, Gary Bettman, Paul Tagliabue, Roger Goodell, Vince McMahon, Juan Antonio Samaranch)
Cases: Steve Kerr – Coaching the Golden State Warriors, Cricket Australia – Leadership in Crisis, Malcolm Turner at Vanderbilt

Bronco Mendenhall Presentation at McIntire

Government, Military and Politics

Examples – various World Leaders,
Documentary – Statecraft: The Bush 41 Team
Cases – USAF 99th

Leadership “Gurus” – The subject of leadership seems particularly effective at generating a number of celebrity “gurus” who develop large followings of people who appreciate their insights. While I am generally view these “Gurus” with some skepticism I think there is also much to learn from both their messages and their popularity.

Examples – John Maxwell, Brené Brown, Marshall Goldsmith, Tom Peters, Simon Sinek

Leadership Academic Programs at UVA

UVA is blessed with a number of different academic leadership programs affiliated with a variety of different entities.

McIntire Leadership Minor

Batten Minor in Public Policy and Leadership

UVA Athletics is also working on a new Center for Citizen Leaders and Sports Ethics which includes the Virginia Athletics Leadership Academy.

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