Cohort 1: Class of 2014

Anna Amato, Ph.D.

Caretaker, Company Culture, edtec central, LLC
Ferndale, MI

Anna Amato is the CEO and president of edtec central, an educational consulting firm that helps individuals, organizations, and communities implement transformational educational programs in the K-12 sector. Her firm also specializes in designing and implementing highly customized programs for delinquent, neglected and abused youth. Anna began her career as a teacher and later went on to lead and manage major projects in the office furniture industry before returning to education reform pursuits in 1990.

Anna is a graduate of the southeast Michigan’s Leadership Detroit program, class of XXVIII. She earned her bachelor’s of science in education from Central Michigan University and a master’s in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University.

Denise Brown, Ph.D.

Director of Urgent Care/Primary Care – Ambulatory Operations, The Christ Hospital Health Network Cincinnati, OH

Denise recently capitalized on her dream of opening a comprehensive health and wellness center in Cincinnati where she is a emotional resilience practitioner. She is a former clinical account executive for HealthLinx Transitional Leadership. In this capacity she selected, managed and provided a high-level of accountability for executive leaders in all inpatient specialty areas. During 4-6 month short-term engagements, she provided strategic planning, improved efficiencies, and ROI for hospitals requiring interim leadership.

Denise is a registered nurse with specialty in the areas of critical and emergency care. She provides transformational leadership and executive consulting designed to improve the patient experience, increase clinical outcomes, and drive operational performance. Denise also holds an M.B.A. from Thomas More College, and has held numerous executive leadership roles in hospitals ranging from small community to large academic urban medical centers. She is a former emotional management trainer through the Institute of HeartMath and is a licensed and ordained minister.

Shannon Brown, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, University of St. Francis
Joliet, IL

Shannon recently became an Assistant Professor at University of St. Francis in the College of Business and Health Administration located in Joliet, IL. She is the former vice president of client services at Exemplify and previously served as practice head of North American Legal Solutions for Tata Consultancy Services. As the Business Development Director for Boom360, Shannon specialized in helping businesses manage and grow their online media presence.

Prior to joining Boom360, Shannon worked for 10 years as Client Services Director for Thomson Reuters, overseeing a team of professionals providing training, implementation and support services to law firms, corporate legal departments and government agencies. Shannon earned her B.A. and M.B.A. at Dominican University.

Kerrie Aman Carfagno, Ph.D.

Lecturer of Communications, McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

Kerrie teaches as a lecturer of communications for the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia; She previously taught at John Carroll University, the University of Alberta’s School of Energy and the Environment, and Penn State University. Her courses include environmental business, marketing, and telecommunications management. Kerrie worked as a Senior National Account Manager for Adelphia Business Solutions managing the MCI Worldcom and UUNet family of accounts prior to teaching at the university level.

Kerrie earned her executive M.B.A. from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and she has a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from Penn State University.

Basil Chen, Ph.D.

Professor, Centennial College
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Basil K.C. Chen is Professor of Accounting and Finance at the School of Business, Centennial College, Toronto, Canada. His research interests include positive organization identity; positive organization scholarship; virtuous organizational practices; value based leadership; and performance measurements. He received his Ph.D. in Values Driven Leadership from Benedictine University. He is also a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and an alumnus of Wilfrid Laurier University where he completed graduate degree in business (MBA).  Prior to his appointment at Centennial College, he held leadership and management position with both private and public companies that encompass controllership, market management and operations. He can be reached at

Mike Chikeleze, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Leadership Studies, Louisiana State University
Shreveport, LA

Michael Chikeleze is an associate professor of leadership studies at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Prior to this role, Michael held several higher education leadership positions in Ohio, including associate dean for business, campus director, and associate director of corporate and
employer relations. Prior to joining higher education, Michael began his career in business, spending 10 years in major corporations such as Procter & Gamble and J.P. Morgan Chase, holding various positions such as finance manager, real estate manager and account executive. Michael holds a Ph.D. in Values-driven Leadership from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL, and M.B.A. and J.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

Lee DeRemer, Ph.D.

Colonel, U.S. Air Force, Retired
Director, LIFECYCLES, Inc.
York, PA

Lee is the founding director of LIFECYCLES, Inc., a non-profit mentoring program with the mission of “building young men of character in a faith-based bicycle touring adventure program.”  He earned a doctorate degree in Values-Driven Leadership from the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, Benedictine University in 2014, an M.P.A. in public administration from Central Michigan University, an M.A. in strategic studies from the Naval War College, and an M.S. in national security strategy from the National Defense University.  He led a Booz Allen Hamilton strategy and leadership development for the Air Force senior leadership in the Pentagon, served as the professor of Ethics and Strategic Leadership the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and taught leadership, management, and business strategy courses at York College of Pennsylvania. He served in the Air Force for 26 years as a pilot, commander, and Pentagon strategic planner.  He and his wife, Marcie, have been married for 33 years.  They have two married children and one grandchild.

Barbara Fahey, Ph.D.

President, Fahey Associates, Inc.
Glen Ellyn, IL

Barbara is the president of Fahey Associates, Inc., a healthcare executive search and management consulting firm. Barb has held many senior leadership positions in the health care industry. She was the director of surgical services at United Hospitals in St. Paul, Minnesota; a healthcare consultant with Herman Smith Associates; and the director of national operations for HMO America, Inc., (a publicly traded HMO). She later became president of Pennant, a for profit clinical management company, before beginning her own company in 1990.

As the president of Fahey Associates, Barb is the principal consultant on all searches and continues healthcare consulting in leadership and management. Barb was the chair of the Board of Trustees of Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago and is currently the chair of the Board Quality Committee and co-chair of the board subcommittee on quality and finance. She has her bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in communication, human relations management.

Carolyn Maraist, Ph.D., Ed.D.

Director, AAP
Glencoe, IL

Carolyn is an education and business professional with more than 15 years of management consulting experience. She currently serves as the director of AAP, a boutique firm which specializes in legal, medical and educational services for children and young adults for both mainstream and special needs populations. She is also currently working on a project for the Center for Creative Leadership, researching user-centered design initiatives for curriculum creation and development. Carolyn has previously taught business at China’s Zhejiang University for more than five years.

Carolyn earned an M.B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and has a master’s degree from Oxford University. In addition to pursuing her Ph.D. with the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, she earned her Ed.D. from Benedictine University.

Premalatha (Prem) Mony, Ph.D.

Director, Wellness Center & Rehab Services, Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
Downers Grove, IL

Prem is the Director of Wellness Center & Rehab services at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, IL. a 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient for healthcare. Born and raised in India, Prem received her Bachelors in Occupational Therapy from Christian Medical College, Vellore, India,  Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University, and her PhD in Values-Driven leadership from Benedictine University. Currently she is a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Examiner as well as an elected School Board member for District 34.

Lee Murphy, Ph.D.

CEO, Inspera Health
Naperville, IL

Lee Murphy is the founder and CEO of Inspera Health, a different kind of health improvement company, that focuses on improving the health of those living with multiple chronic conditions. Lee has spent over three decades innovating in the health improvement and employee benefits industries.

Lee is a CPA with an MS in Organizational Behavior, an MBA and a Ph.D. in Values-Driven Leadership.

PassleyPhDShaun Passley, Ph.D.

CEO, Epazz
Chicago, IL

Shaun is Epazz, Inc.’s Chairman & CEO. He has a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Masters of Science in Information Technology from DePaul University, MBA from Benedictine University, a Masters of Science in Product Development from Northwestern University, a PhD from Benedictine University College of Business and is expecting a Masters of Law from Northwestern University in 2016. Shaun is launching FlexFridge in 2016, a foldable mini-fridge conceived from his final engineering school project. He has the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit necessary to identify new market opportunities and launch successful new ventures. At Epazz, Shaun is responsible for software and product development, overall design and research and development of future products and services.

Joe Ricciardi, Ph.D.

Vice President of Operations, SEFA
Valparaiso, IN

Joe is the Vice President of Operations at SEFA, a nationwide network of leading restaurant supply and equipment dealers and manufacturers. Joe is a decorated Army veteran who has served 27 years in the reserves and on active duty. He has deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq. Colonel Ricciardi is the Assistant Chief of Staff, G7, 9th Mission Support Command in Ft. Shafter, HI.

Joe’s previous experience includes supply chain management and marketing analytics at HAVI Global Solutions, sales management with HILTI Chicago and several years owning and managing restaurants in NW Indiana.  In addition to his Ph.D. in Values Driven Leadership Joe has an undergraduate degree in economics from the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, an M.B.A. from Purdue University and a Maters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA. Joe resides in Valparaiso, IN.

Kimberly Sebastian, Ph.D.

Tulsa, OK

Kimberly has been a leader within the Telecommunications industry for 18 years, where she has held various leadership positions focused on transitioning teams through change, building culture, developing talent, improving customer engagement, and driving results through Values-Driven Leadership. Kimberly is passionate about supporting growth and development at all levels within an organization. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management through the University of Phoenix and is certified in the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test through Multi-Health Systems. Kimberly is currently working to complete her Ph.D. from Benedictine University, MS MSc in Organizational Behavior and Coaching, which is inclusive of a certification in Professional and Executive Coaching from the University of Texas at Dallas.  Additionally, she is an active member of the International Coach Federation.

Dave Smith, Ph.D.

Senior Analyst, Booz Allen Hamilton
Panama City, FL

Dave is an senior analyst with Booz Allen Hamilton. He has a range of experience in the private sector and the U.S. Air Force. His military experience includes serving as the director of operations for Space Shuttle Astronaut rescue for seven Shuttle launches and landings, and commanding a computer systems squadron. Dave began his military career as an aviator. Dave has also held civilian positions leading multicultural teams, domestically in telecommunications software development, and internationally in Eastern Europe as the regional director for a non-profit. Dave holds a bachelor’s of science in finance from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and a master’s in theology from Reformed Theological Seminary. His study and research interests include leadership (from informal to C-Suite) and organizational culture and values.

Indigo websiteIndigo Johnson Triplett, Ph.D.

CEO, Careers in Transition, Inc.
Atlanta, GA

Indigo Johnson is the CEO of Careers in Transition, an organization that helps companies attract, develop and retain talent. She launched the company in 1995 to serve an impressive client base ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency to Halliburton.

As the author of Playing by the Unwritten Rules I & II, she established herself as a leading authority on career management. Indigo served in the U. S. Marine Corps and holds an A.A.A., B.A. and M.A.

Joanna Beth Tweedy, Ph.D.

Western Governor’s University

A foreign-adventurist with chronic and gravitational home-soil leanings, Joanna Beth Tweedy is from the Illinois Ozarks, where she serves as the founding editor and host of Quiddity, published in partnership with NPR Illinois. A novelist, poet, and consultant, Tweedy has received honors from Glimmer Train, the Alsop Review, New Millennium Writings, and the Southern Women Writers Conference, among others.

Tweedy has presented widely throughout the United States and internationally on her research interests, which include flourishing, leadership, publishing, linguistic dialects, and writing. Publications include a novel, numerous poems and short stories, as well as academic book chapters and articles in journals related to leadership, publishing, and creative craft.

With degrees in education (BS), English (MA), and values-driven leadership (Ph.D.), Tweedy has served as faculty-in-residence at the University of Illinois and an Associate Professor of Arts & Letters and Dean of Academics at Benedictine University. She currently teaches the most talented, galvanized, and inspiring students on the planet at WGU and the Center for Values-Driven Leadership.

Benny White, D.B.A.

City Council
Naperville, IL

Benny retired from the
U.S.Army after 22 years of service, ending his career as a Lieutenant Colonel. He is a 1987 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Currently, Benny is the senior Army instructor at Joliet West High School, Junior Reserve Officer Training Program (JROTC), and currently serves on the City Council for Naperville, IL.

He has earned a bachelor’s degree in management from West Point, a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Indiana University, and an M.B.A. from Webster University.

Jacquelyn (Jackie) Woodard

Senior Vice President – Business Executive –Operations, Bank of America
Boston, MA

Jackie is a senior vice president at Bank of America. Previously, Jackie worked for Citizens Bank, where she focused primarily on operations management and program/project management. Prior to joining Citizens, Jackie spent several years as a principal consultant within the Management Consulting Services Division of PricewaterhouseCoopers, concentrating on strategy and process improvement within the financial services industry. She began her career as a large corporate lender at Bank of Boston.

Jackie has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in business administration (magna cum laude) from Florida A&M University.