Second Cohort of 126 Staff and Faculty Engages in the Inclusive Leaders Academy This Semester

SDIE Launches the Executive and Senior Leadership Coaching Program through the Inclusive Leaders Academy

Following a successful program launch last year, 126 staff and faculty leaders from 52 campus units have joined the second cohort of the Inclusive Leaders Academy and participated in the program’s kickoff on February 6. Participants from both the first and second cohorts came together to hear featured presenter Stephen Young discuss “MicroInequities: Managing Unconscious Bias.”

“We’re thrilled that so many staff and faculty leaders have joined the second cohort,” said Cheryl Cofield, director of inclusion and engagement and co-founder of the Inclusive Leaders Academy. “Once the second cohort completes the program this semester, we will have engaged more than 500 campus leaders with the curriculum and created more than 200 ‘Culture Champions.’” Culture Champions are committed to modeling inclusivity and shifting the culture towards leadership excellence and inclusive excellence.

The Inclusive Leaders Academy is a professional leadership and legacy development program for staff, faculty administrators, and research leaders at Georgia Tech. Developed by Institute Diversity’s Staff Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement (SDIE) unit, the curriculum was designed to blend neuroscience and social science in ways that spark insights and guide personal transformation.

Key learning benefits of the Inclusive Leaders Academy – and core curriculum topic areas – facilitate self-awareness, social intelligence, and co-active leadership, which have been identified as critical areas for leadership development. Curriculum content has been curated from the NeuroLeadership Institute on unconscious bias and from Brave Leaders Inc on Daring Leadership: The Four Pillars of Courage, based on the research of Brené Brown.

According to survey responses from the first cohort, 100 percent would recommend the unconscious bias content from the NeuroLeadership Institute, and 90 percent would recommend the Daring Leadership: The Four Pillars of Courage content. Additionally, 98 percent would recommend all wisdom labs and group coaching sessions to future participants.

In 2018, the Inclusive Leaders Academy has been condensed from an eight-month to a four-month program based on lessons learned and current capacity for execution. This year’s curriculum expands on the model of an individualized path of self-guided learning, interactive practice, and knowledge integration through wisdom labs, group coaching sessions, and dialogue discussions. Upon completing 12-24 hours of learning, participants will receive a “Culture Champion” certificate at the end of this semester.

Andy Register, chief scientist in the Electronic Systems Laboratory at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), remarked, “I was motivated to participate in the Inclusive Leaders Academy because greater diversity at GTRI is critical to our future as an exceptional research organization, and there is a disparity in the number of women engineers at GTRI compared to the number of women earning engineering degrees from Georgia Tech.”

SDIE is also offering an executive and senior leadership coaching program through the Inclusive Leaders Academy this year. Selected participants – in positions of executive director or associate chair and above – will participate in the same Inclusive Leaders Academy online curriculum and complete up to three individual 60-minute coaching sessions or experiential reflective activities by May.

“I hope to leave the Inclusive Leaders Academy with specific tools that will inform and guide my decision-making about important processes such as hiring, tenure and promotion, and performance reviews,” stated Richard Utz, chair and professor, School of Literature, Media, and Communication. “More generally, I also hope for a renewed sense of solidarity to be part of a campus culture in which inclusiveness is at the heart of all we do.”

“There is a mindful leadership movement toward managing organizational culture that is growing across the country, and as we’ve learned, we cannot separate leadership and culture,” said Pearl Alexander, executive director of diversity, inclusion, and engagement and co-founder of the Inclusive Leaders Academy. “At Georgia Tech, we are responding to the desire for leadership development through the Inclusive Leaders Academy as the work is focused on practicing valued leadership behaviors that, in turn, foster inclusivity, healthy levels of engagement, and resilience in our workforce.”

To view the Inclusive Leaders Academy video sizzle reel, visit, and to learn more, visit

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Annette Filliat

Communications Manager

Institute Diversity