Faculty & Staff
CVDL Co-founder and Director; Professor, Global Leadership and Core Faculty
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Dr. James D. Ludema is the Co-founder and Director of the Center for Values-Driven Leadership and a Professor of Global Leadership at Benedictine University. He is Past Chair of the Academy of Management’s Organization Development and Change Division and is the author of two books and dozens of articles on leadership, strategy and organizational change. His book The Appreciative Inquiry Summit: A Practitioner’s Guide for Leading Large-Scale Change is widely considered a classic in the field.
Dr. Ludema has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America and has served as a consultant to a variety of organizations including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, BP, McDonald’s, John Deere, USG, U.S. Cellular, the US Navy, World Vision, and many local and international NGOs. Dr. Ludema received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Case Western University and a B.A. in Philosophy from Calvin College.
Research interests: Global leadership; values-driven leadership at the individual, organizational, and societal levels; appreciative inquiry and positive organizational scholarship; the link between culture and profit in small and mid-size businesses.
Kendra Adeszko joined the Center for Values-Driven Leadership in 2015 as the Associate Director. Kendra manages the Ph.D./D.B.A. program’s day-to-day operations and is often the first point of contact with the Center. Prior to joining Benedictine University, she worked as the Manager for Priorities and Sales Coordination at StartSampling, Inc, and previously served as Office Manager for Brook, Weiner CPAs and as Bookkeeper for Astor Recycling. Kendra attended both the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin/Parkside. She is passionate about providing outstanding educational experiences for all students.
Core Faculty, Organizational Change & Corporate Social Responsibility
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Dr. Marie E. Di Virgilio joined the Center in 2008 as Administrative Director. She brings over 30 years of business experience, much of it with Allstate Insurance Company, holding key leadership positions in sales, human resources, accounting, corporate education, and information technology. She earned a Ph.D. in Organization Development from Benedictine University in 2005.
Dr. Di Virgilio is a core faculty member specializing in Organizational Change and Corporate Social Responsibility at the Center and has held faculty appointments with Dominican University, the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, the International School of Management and the U.S. State Department Middle East Partnership Initiative. She teaches internationally in Poland, the Czech Republic, and France. Consulting and speaking on a variety of topics including change management, teams, and leadership, Di Virgilio uses her scholar-practitioner skills to help organizations improve their effectiveness.
Dr. Di Virgilio is the Prospect Heights (IL) Dollars for Scholars board president. The mission of the organization is to provide local students with financial aid and support to pursue higher levels of academic achievement.
Research interests: Developing values-driven leaders; employee engagement; change leadership; work group transformation; social enterprise and responsibility.
Sandra Gill, Ph.D.
CVDL Co-founder; Dean, College of Business
Dr. Sandra L. Gill is Dean of the College of Business at Benedictine University. Dr. Gill joined Benedictine in 2001 as Department Chair and Associate Professor of Business, MBA Programs; she has served as Dean for more than a decade. She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and Fellow of the American Association of Healthcare Consultants. She is a Certified Clinical Sociologist with the Sociological Practice Association and was 2009 Chair of the Lisle Chamber of Commerce.
For 40 years, Dr. Gill has worked in education and health care as a licensed teacher, program director, consultant and academic faculty member. From 1980-2000, she completed over 1,500 health care external consulting engagements throughout the United States and other countries. For five years, she served on the strategic planning council of the Fielding Graduate University, where she completed her M.A. (1995) and Ph.D (1998) in human and organizational systems. She completed her B.A. (1966) and M.A. (1974) with honors, at Michigan State University. She has published over 40 applied articles related to health care leadership and governance.
Leadership Scholar-In-Residence; Core Faculty, Leadership Development
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Dr. James “Gus” Gustafson is the Leadership Scholar-in-Residence and core faculty member in Leadership Development for the Center for Values-Driven Leadership at Benedictine University. He is the former Chair of the Business Leadership Division of the International Leadership Association, former Editor-in-Chief of the Organization Development Journal, and 2010 recipient of the prestigious Global Strategic Leader Award given by the World HRD Congress. Prior to coming to Benedictine, he was Director of Strategic Leadership Research and Development and Organizational Transformation at U.S. Cellular, where he received many awards for his pioneering work in leadership development and organizational change.
Dr. Gustafson has over 20 years of successful organization development, sales, marketing, operations, leadership development, channel management and general management experience in public, private and non-profit organizations.
Research interests: Servant leadership; leadership of self; legacy creation; organizational and team effectiveness; corporate social responsibility.
Chief Communications Officer; Senior Research Associate
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Amber Johnson is the Center’s Chief Communications Officer, and a Senior Research Associate. She also oversees executive student recruitment for the Center. Amber brings 15 years of experience in communications, marketing, and non-profit fundraising and administration.
Before coming to the Center, Amber spent seven years in various leadership positions with World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization. Prior to her work with World Vision, Amber spent two years in Tonga as a Peace Corps volunteer and served as the University Editor at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. She served as adjunct faculty in marketing and public speaking at Taylor and at Ball State University. Amber holds a M.A. in communication studies, with an emphasis in rhetorical theory, from Ball State University and an undergraduate degree, also in communication studies, from Malone University in Canton, Ohio.
Executive-in-Residence; Administrative Director, Return on Values Project
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Dr. Kevin D. Lynch is the Executive-in-Residence at the Center, and the Administrative Director of the Return on Values Project. He joined the Center in 2012 after serving for 11 years as Chief Financial Officer for Pritzker Realty Group, a privately held company in Chicago Illinois. In this role, Dr. Lynch managed the administrative, human resources, information technology and risk management responsibilities of a rapidly growing organization in the commercial real estate field with assets in excess of $6 billion.
As a practitioner, academic and consultant, Dr. Lynch specializes in assisting organizations that are experiencing rapid change, particularly with regard to strategic growth decisions, and the implementation of appropriate organizational infrastructure. Dr. Lynch holds a Ph.D. in Organization Development from Benedictine University.
Research interests: Scholar-practitioner interactions; social, environmental, and financial sustainability; values-driven business.
Director of Research; Professor of Leadership, Strategy & Change, and Core Faculty
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Dr. Michael R. Manning joined the Center’s faculty in 2013 as Professor of Leadership, Strategy & Change. Dr. Manning earned a Ph.D. from Purdue University and has held faculty appointments at New Mexico State University, Case Western Reserve University, Fielding Graduate University, and SUNY-Binghamton. He currently serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and is active in the Academy of Management, where he is a former Chair of the Organization Development and Change Division.
Dr. Manning has dedicated his professional career to educating and developing executives, designing effective organizations, and creating applied action research processes and intervention techniques. He teaches and consults throughout the U.S. and internationally in Mexico, Europe and the Baltic States, the Middle East, and the Far East.
Research interests: Multiple topics related to the management of change (whole systems change using large group interventions, the role of affect and emotion in change, identifying change moments); leading and collective action; occupational stress and well-being.
The Center for Values-Driven Leadership is made possible in part by the generous support of its Founders Council. The Council is comprised of individuals, corporations, and foundations that advance the mission of the Center by contributing a minimum of $25,000 per year for three years.
Eight decades ago, Magnetrol’s founders developed a more reliable instrument for liquid level control than was prevalent with the technology of the day. By combining a buoyancy device with the operating principle of magnetic-coupling, the first “Magnetrol” was born.
Innovation is still a prized resource at Magnetrol and is sustained by programs that recognize and reward initiative and creativity. Magnetrol nourishes responsible innovation through superior engineering, by manufacturing to the highest standards of excellence and by truly listening to its customers.
Now a global company, Magnetrol has come a long way since it produced its first electro-mechanical level switch in 1932. However, the company’s commitment to its customers, employees and the community as a whole hasn’t changed. Continuous improvement of products, processes and service remains the company’s prime objective.
Tellabs is a telecommunications infrastructure builder and a partner with communications service providers around the world.
The mission of the Tellabs Foundation is to advance specific, strategic endeavors in communities where Tellabs employees live and work. They aim to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations by supporting sustainable initiatives, primarily in education, health and the environment.
The Vaya Group has more than 25 years of experience in helping Fortune 1000 companies meet their talent management needs. Led by Dr. Paul H. Eccher, Dave Ross and Nino Lamberti, Vaya Group uses their insight, knowledge, experience and proprietary assessment, quantitative and intervention tools, and strategies to successfully help companies identify their talent and cultivate excellence.
Using their The Vaya Talent Optimization Framework™ Audit, Vaya Group is able to provide a multi-dimensional, holistic approach to talent cultivation taking into account the past, present and future; industry and competitive and market conditions; business strategy and direction; the organization’s goals and philosophy; and the leadership’s strengths and weaknesses.
The company’s rigorous assessment of coaching and collaboration with thousands of executives and employees at world-class organizations has produced insights and research recognized throughout the industry. They have helped highly successful organizations like Hewlett Packard, General Electric, Campbell Soup, Amgen and sanofi-aventis harness their talent and improve their profitability.
Located in Naperville, IL, Edward Hospital & Health Services is a full-service, regional healthcare provider offering access to complex medical specialties and innovative programming.
Designed for “people who don’t like hospitals,” Edward Hospital’s goal is to make the patient experience as stress free as possible. The hospital is known for its continuous innovations to provide maximum comfort, such as space for family to spend the night, peaceful healing gardens and an ER designed especially around and for kids.
The organization’s commitment extends beyond its patients to its employees and the community at large. Edward is one of the leading providers of charity care in the region, helping families who need financial assistance.
Michael L. Flynn
Chief Financial Officer,The Financial Group
Michael Flynn is the founder and chief financial officer of The Financial Group. He was also a charter member of the Advisory Board for the Small Business Development Center of the Business and Professional Institute at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.
His passion for children and families in distress prompted Flynn to found SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) Adoption and Child Advocacy Center, a nonprofit foundation that serves families with special needs and terminally ill children. In addition to representing families who desire to adopt children locally and abroad, he also serves as a court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem.
Additionally, Flynn sits on the Board of Directors for the Red Thread, a charitable organization that facilitates medical and surgical procedures in the United States for foreign-born orphans.
The Center for Values-Driven Leadership is made possible in part by the generous support of its Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is comprised of leaders from business and academia who advance the mission of the Center by providing guidance regarding the direction, contribution, and operation of the Center and its programs.