Becoming an excellent leader starts by learning from one. Participating in KU Professional Leadership training programs gives you access to a roster of proven leaders, each with a passion for passing their experience and knowledge on to professionals like you.
Skip Gast—Personal Leadership Branding
Vice President, Human Resources (Retired), Black & Veatch
Skip Gast is a human resources professional who specializes in building the strategy, structure, and competencies of corporate teams to support execution of business strategies. He has developed programs that impact business results in strategic planning, succession planning, change management, branding, leadership transition, restructuring, mergers, acquisitions, and retention. His experience encompasses all areas of human resources, including strategy, organizational development, talent engagement, and leadership development. These services have been delivered in diverse industries, including engineering, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, legal, and insurance.
Andy Garrison—Leading Through Speaking
Owner/Director, Actor Training Studio
Andy Garrison has operated The Actor Training Studio since 1998, holding both workshops and private sessions for actors, voiceover artists, and public speakers. Andy has served as a consultant with creativity and sales programs for a wide variety of organizations, including the University of Kansas, Plattform Advertising, Sunbridge Capital Financial Services, and Sprint. He worked for over 10 years in Sprint’s University of Excellence as a contract role player through its assessment centers for people identified as high potential supervisory, managerial, and executive candidates. Andy has extensive formal training in acting, voice, and movement. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Baker University, and a master’s degree in acting and directing from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Allise Garrison—Leading Through Speaking
Second Vice President, Customer Insight and Intelligence, Assurant Employee Benefits
Allise Garrison leads the customer insights effort at Assurant Employee Benefits, a Fortune 500 subsidiary, where she is responsible for developing actionable business insights and communicating them to key stakeholders. She has been a speaker at countless presentations, workshops and conferences, and was recognized by Assurant’s Center for Emerging Leaders for her outstanding presentation skills. Allise’s experience has spanned 20 years in advertising, research, and creative development. Clients have included SONIC Drive-Ins, Kohl’s, Hallmark Cards, Sprint PCS, IBM, the March of Dimes and many others.
Marilu Goodyear, Ph.D.—Organizational Change
Assistant Vice Chancellor, KU Edwards Campus, Professor, KU School of Public Affairs and Administration
In addition to her duties as KU Edwards Campus assistant vice chancellor, Marilu Goodyear is an associate professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration. She has a background in information technology and is the former chief information officer for KU. She is an expert in organizational change, particularly in relation to large strategic changes for organizations. Dr. Goodyear is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and has served as a consultant to many universities and federal agencies, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, FAA, and the Government Printing Office.
Marc Greenberg, Ph.D.—Language Hacking for International Business
Director of the KU School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Marc possesses a doctoral degree in Slavic languages and has published numerous scholarly articles on language, culture, and literature topics of interest to 21st-century global business.
Angie Pastorek, Ph.D.—Communicating for Inclusion
Communication faculty member and manager of the Professional Workplace Communication Certificate program at KU
As communication faculty member and program manager for the Professional Workplace Communication Certificate program at the University of Kansas, Angie helps emerging leaders identify and apply organizational communication research to develop communication messages, methods and strategies that support teamwork, innovation and productivity across organizational hierarchies.
Building on a foundation of over 10 years working in global employee development and corporate communication for companies including Siemens Healthcare and Deloitte, the findings of Angie’s interview-based doctoral dissertation research directly challenge the myth of the "disengaged employee."
Sydney Spears, Ph.D., LSCSW—Mindfulness
Program Director, KU School of Social Welfare
Sydney Spears is a licensed clinical social worker and Program Director at The University of Kansas-Edwards Campus. She also manages the KU School of Social Welfare’s Continuing Education Program. Sydney teaches yoga for stress-relief, chair/office yoga, Mindful Self-Compassion, Introduction to Mindfulness, and meditation (yoga nidra) classes at the University of Kansas.
Lee Stuart, D.B.A.—Professional Leadership Webinars; Thinking Like DaVinci; Say It Simply; Decision-Making
Leadership Instructor, KU Professional & Continuing Education
After three previous careers—as a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper journalist, a senior leader of innovative product and new business development initiatives with Hallmark Cards, and 12 years as president of a boutique management consulting firm—Lee C. Stuart has been serving as Leadership Programs Manager and is now a Leadeship Instructor for the University of Kansas Edwards Campus.
Lee brings experience in adult learning, disruptive innovation, organizational effectiveness, strategic business planning, and executive coaching. He possesses an unusual blend of creative and business thinking wrapped in years of experience as a writer, speaker, corporate executive, and as a consultant/coach to an array of organizations.
Sharon Watson—Crisis Communications
Director of Public Affairs & Communication, Johnson County, Kansas Government
Sharon Watson serves as the public affairs and communications director for Johnson County, Kansas government, the largest county in the state. She is the department spokesperson, oversees all external and internal communications, and manages the county’s Joint Information Center during emergencies. Sharon conducts media/crisis communication training for local and state officials and has taught media and crisis communication courses nationally and internationally.