CVDL_icn_Quote_50x50Leadership Degree & Program Testimonials


We asked our students and graduates to share their thoughts about the doctoral program in values-driven leadership. Find their comments below, then learn more about the program at

Quality of Faculty and Staff

Sayer thumbnail“I was told the Ph.D. in Values-Driven Leadership was very “student-centered,” unlike other Ph.D. programs, and that was one of the draws for me. What really sold me is they truly means this. The staff and faculty of the Ph.D. in Values-Driven Leadership are incredibly supportive and are there to see the student succeed in every aspect. The authenticity of this is of great value to me and to the program.”
Nancy Sayer, Director, Samaritan Center for Congregations. Naperville, IL., Cohort 3

“They are as invested in our success as we are.  It shows in each course and in the effort they make to help us internalize the course material.”
Lee DeRemer, Ph.D.,  Founder, Lifecycles. York, PA., Cohort 1

“The words I would use to describe the faculty and staff are ‘motivated’, ‘passionate’, ‘dedicated’ and ‘obliging’. Dedication to the mission and goals of the DVDL program is clearly evident in the coordination and leadership of the program by faculty and staff.”
Steve Carter, President, The Carter Group. Chicago, IL., Cohort 2 

Quality of Distinguished Visiting Scholars & Leaders

Zucco thumbnail“The concept of using visiting scholars to teach many of our courses is a valued component of the CVDL program. As respected leaders in the field and authors of many of the renowned Leadership texts, we are clearly learning from the very best.”
Al Zucco, Sr. Director of Energy & Sustainability, USG Corporation. Chicago, IL., Cohort 3  

“I was thrilled to see the authors of many texts I’ve used for courses I teach to graduates and undergraduates actually presenting to us for entire weekends. These internationally recognized superstars of the fields of leadership, management, organizational behavior and sustainability really brought a unique quality to the program.”
Lee DeRemer, Ph.D., Founder, Lifecycles. York, PA., Cohort 1

“I am most impressed by the quality of pedagogy offered by our distinguished visiting scholars. Not only are they well-known and accomplished in the specific area of research and practice they discuss, many of them have been excellent at engendering rich dialogue within the cohort and/or in small groups that allow us to dig deeper into the literature and concepts being discussed.”
Steve Carter, President, The Carter Group. Chicago, IL., Cohort 2 

General Reflections

Lopez thumbnail“If you are a person interested in values and you are convinced that values are meaningful not only for your personal life but also for your business, living this program is going to be an amazing experience in every single moment. Every minute of a class, every instructor you meet, any paragraph of any reading is going to be a total treasure. It seems to me that there is no other place in the world where there has been deployed so much academic effort with so many talented people and so much experience in order to create a process designed not only to enhance your leadership but your whole life.”
Enrique Lopez, President & Founder, Humanum. Monterrey, Mexico, Cohort 3

“You know those conversations you have with friends where you solve all the world’s problems over a coffee or a beer but you know nothing will ever come of it? This program is what happens when the conversation doesn’t end after 30 minutes and you find yourself thinking, ‘You know, this really could change the world…'”
– Brad Davis, Senior Analyst, Engility Corporation. Freeburg, IL., Cohort 3

“I trusted that the program would be as strong as advertised, and I knew I would enjoy the content and the process. But I was not ready for the ways that the CVDL doctorate would change my life. I am truly a different person from the one I was at the start of the program, solely because of the influence of the faculty and staff of the CVDL.”
Lee DeRemer, Ph.D., Founder, Lifecycles. York, PA., Cohort 1

Hannan049“This program brings the most innovative and thought-provoking scholars in the field to an impressive, compassionate group of leaders to create a more ethical and sustainable business model for the future. It is extraordinary!”
-Kathy Hannan, National Managing Partner for Corporate Responsibility, Diversity and Inclusion, KPMG. Chicago, IL., Cohort 2

“The Doctoral Program for Values-Driven Leadership has provided me an opportunity to listen, learn and participate with other leaders and cutting edge scholars to better understand the important leadership knowledge highway that bridges the worlds of academia and practice. The empowering richness of this exchange can be used to enhance my leader effectiveness, thereby engaging future leaders in their success.”
-Shelly Major, Vice President/ Chief Nursing Officer, The Methodist Hospital. Mokena, IL., Cohort 2 

Academic Rigor of the Program

Carter121“The doctoral program in values-driven leadership offers a substantial degree of scholarship with an emphasis on the use of critical thinking to unpack relevant theoretical constructs. There is an emphasis on empirically based research and literature, but with a view of being able to apply and operationalize theoretical ideas within the context of your current organization and position.”
Steve Carter, President, The Carter Group. Chicago, IL., Cohort 2 


“I had been thinking about pursuing a Ph.D. for some time but kept putting it off because I didn’t want to start something and then not finish it. This program provides the structure and the support that gives me the confidence that I will get through it and complete it. The assignments are challenging and completing them boosts my confidence that I can also complete a dissertation.”
-Tina Huesing, Chief Consultant, Wyrmwood Consulting. Munich, Germany., Cohort 2 

“I am particularly impressed with the VDL Program being fully taught live and in-person and the depth and breadth of the academic basis of the program. I am thrilled that after only seven months in the Program I have had a paper accepted by a conference and that will be traveling to Dubai to present my paper. I believe that I am on an excellent educational and self-development journey, and that at Benedictine and with VDL I am in good hands.”
-Sherri Black, Senior Manager, Visteon Corporation. Dearborn, MI., Cohort 2 

How Program has Helped Develop Thinking

Fahey2“As a senior executive, it was so insightful to learn the research and thinking behind why leaders and organizations do what they do. Learning the theory and reading the leading authors in their fields gave me a broader perspective about leadership, organizational behavior, strategy and change from a values-driven perspective. When you have the foundation of the thinking, it allows you to broaden your perspective and approach in ways that help organizations excel at what they do. Using a values-driven orientation positions a company to be a long-term player in their market and creates happy employees, happy clients and contributes to their communities. A winning combination!”
-Barbara Fahey, Ph.D., President, Fahey Associates, Inc. Glen Ellyn, IL., Cohort 1 

“Perhaps the great value for me has been a validation of deeply-held and valued beliefs and ideals on the one hand, and a greatly expanded capacity to entertain ideas and beliefs contrary to mine on the other.
Steve Carter, President, The Carter Group. Chicago, IL., Cohort 2 

Connection to Leadership at Work

vespa“I am enjoying every moment of the program, which has been very beneficial to me at least in 2 areas; first, it helped me question my leadership role as a CEO and also helped rethink some of our employee policies. We already started to implement some corporate changes to make our company more ‘values-driven’. Altogether, I am quite excited as I have been part of the program for only six months.”
-Remi Vespa, CEO, BlueTrail Software Holding, San Francisco, CA., Cohort 2 

“Not only has this program helped me tremendously in my management functions, it has made me a singular resource with the company for fresh insight and best practices for moving our business forward! The proof of theory is in practice – and this program spans theory and practice.”
Walter Baehrend, Senior Manager, Alcatel-Lucent. Naperville, IL., Cohort 2 

How You are Balancing the Program in the Midst of a Busy Career and Personal Life

“Without a doubt, for me this is the most challenging aspect of the DVDL program. However, finding the balance is not unattainable, rather it requires you to optimize the use of your time and press beyond your former limits. I expect this is one of the great benefits of the DVDL: it resets the boundaries of what you think is possible to achieve.”
Steve Carter, President, The Carter Group. Chicago, IL., Cohort 2 

Quality of Your Fellow Cohort Members and/or the Relationships You Build

Tomaiko thumbnail“The first thing that stands out is the sheer authenticity and strength of character I have observed in the majority of my classmates.  The second thing that stands out is the amount of trust most of my classmates and I have built in the short time we have been together in [the doctoral program]. The VDL Program fosters a positive environment conducive to learning and openness and honesty.”
Tom Tomaiko, Senior Manager, Department of Homeland Security; U.S. Navy (ret.). Oak Hill, Virginia, Cohort 3

“Unquestionably, one of the most fulfilling and thought-provoking aspects of the DVDL program is the interaction with your fellow cohort members. Not only is the cohort comprised of accomplished and engaged professionals and leaders, it is a diverse and interesting group that provides rich dialogue and relationships based on a shared desire to understand and apply values-based leadership and management.”
Steve Carter, President, The Carter Group. Chicago, IL., Cohort 2 

“This is an amazing set of people whom I have come to know as sisters and brothers. I am honored to be in their company and I look forward in anticipation to hear their different perspectives and critique of the material each class. We get so excited and there is so much fun in the dialogue that class time seems to fly by and I hate to see it end.”
Walter Baehrend, Senior Manager, Alcatel-Lucent. Naperville, IL., Cohort 2