Vanderbilt Leadership Academy announces 2023–24 class

The Vanderbilt Human Resources’ Employee Learning and Engagement team welcomes 23 leaders from 19 schools and departments to the 13th class of Vanderbilt Leadership Academy. More than 270 faculty and staff members have been part of the program since its inception. 

The Vanderbilt Leadership Academy is a learning experience that brings together a diverse group of university leaders from both academic and administrative areas to expand their knowledge in leading at Vanderbilt as well as their passion for furthering the institution’s values and mission. The program is designed to sharpen awareness of personal performance as a leader, promote behaviors that reflect learning and leading agility, demonstrate composure and presence both internally and externally, and consider stakeholders’ interests, core values and data in decision-making. The program focuses on helping participants discover who they are as leaders, how they effectively interact with others, and how they can prepare to lead the university for the future. 

This year marks the program’s inaugural collaboration with the Owen Graduate School of Management Executive Education program. The program consists of nine modules, including Leadership Coaching and Navigating the Organization. Seven of the nine modules will be led by Owen’s world-class faculty using the same curriculum experienced by global leaders in the world of business. The program also consists of Lunch Connectors with Vanderbilt vice chancellors, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver and Chancellor Daniel Diermeier.  

“An organization’s success is deeply intertwined with the development of its leaders, and we are thrilled for the opportunity to partner with Human Resources on the VLA program to share the world-class expertise at Vanderbilt with our own leaders to amplify their leadership skills, elevating our collective leadership at the university to new heights,” said Becca Yancey, managing director of Executive Education at Owen.  

Human Resources greatly values its partnership with Executive Education, working alongside Jon Lehman, faculty director, and Matthew Cox, associate director of executive programs, to make this new leadership development experience a reality for VLA participants.  

“At Vanderbilt, we’re always looking for opportunities to radically collaborate, which is why I am excited to announce our enhanced VLA program” said Cleo Rucker, associate vice chancellor and chief human resources officer. “Through the partnership between Owen Graduate School of Management and Human Resources, we have built an improved leadership development program that continues to sculpt Vanderbilt’s future leaders by blending executive education with real-world expertise.” 

VLA’s opening session kicked off Sept. 21 with Diermeier, the vice chancellors and Rucker, along with a special welcome message from Tom Steenburgh, Ralph Owen Dean and professor of marketing at the Owen School.  

Class 13 of Vanderbilt Leadership Academy  

  • Alissa Hare, senior lecturer, Department of Chemistry and Faculty Senate  
  • Amy Johnson, assistant provost, Experiential Education and Undergraduate Affairs, Office of Undergraduate Education 
  • Ben Frazee, executive director, Enterprise Applications, VUIT 
  • Caroline Johnston, executive director, Alumni Engagement  
  • Dawn Ellerbe, assistant vice chancellor for athletics communications,Communications and Marketing 
  • Duane Watson, Frank Mayborn Professor, professor of psychology and human development and associate provost for faculty development 
  • Elizabeth Boyd, executive director of operations, Graduate School 
  • Heather Slagell, chief business officer, VUIT 
  • Jennifer Garrett, senior director, Talent Acquisition  
  • Karen Hande, professor of nursing and chair of Health Promotion, Populations and Health Systems, School of Nursing 
  • Katie Janeway, director of accounting and financial reporting, Finance  
  • Lindsey Ganson, assistant director, Transportation and Mobility Office 
  • Margaret Shute , finance manager, Financial Planning and Analysis  
  • Mark Carter, senior associate athletic director and executive director, National Commodore Club  
  • Molly Barth, associate professor of flute, Blair School of Music; associate director, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy 
  • Eben Cathey, director of local government relations, Government and Community Relations 
  • Rachel White, assistant vice chancellor for marketing, Communications and Marketing 
  • Rashad McCloud, investment manager, Office of Investments  
  • Chris Lowe, managing counsel, Office of the General Counsel  
  • Stacey Bonner, director, Health and Wellness Programs 
  • Taylor Wood, assistant vice chancellor, Development and Alumni Relations  
  • Tommye Sutton, deputy chief of police, VUPS  
  • Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities, professor of African American and diaspora studies, professor of French and vice provost for arts and libraries 

For more information about these programs, contact