Notre Dame Executive Education

All Stories of Impact

Finding Balance and Joy

Mike MathileClark Woods
VP, JPMorgan Chase
September 2007 Participant

“Growing up in a military family, my concept of leadership involved order and executing the task,” says Clark Woods, Vice President of JPMorgan Chase Treasury Services.  His college experiences, including a three-year stint as president of his undergraduate class and a four-year intercollegiate basketball career at Taylor University in Indiana, helped him to foster a can-do attitude.  His Master of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University strengthened his resolve to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

But realizing he needed to achieve a measure of balance in all areas of life, Woods decided to attend the September 2007 session of Executive Integral Leadership.  “There are a lot of leadership programs out there, but the EIL program at Notre Dame was a tremendous asset in my life,” says Clark.

Two course sessions – Developing the Integral Perspective and The Soul of Leadership – helped Clark discover and cultivate a set of core values and to realize that there is more to life than success in the corporate arena. “The personal and spiritual areas of my life are components of leadership, and my Notre Dame experience helped me focus on these areas. During the week, I was impacted by stories of individuals who had overcome great obstacles in life to achieve success in their chosen fields.  As a result of the EIL program, I have not only experienced a greater amount of joy and excitement in life, but I have also become more effective in personal leadership.”

Today Clark is still reaping the rewards of a program that seeks to infuse its participants with a passion for success in every area of life.  “With a redefined meaning, purpose, process and plan, I look forward to adopting the true concept of ‘balance’ from within while striving to be a greater ‘blessing’ to others,” says Clark.

Learning to Successfully Navigate and Collaborate

Mike MathilePeter Clayton
Vice President of Operations
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
April 2005 Participant

 “Before attending EIL, I had been frustrated by an assignment to lead three independent professional groups without having the power of budgetary control. I felt demoralized and was thinking about leaving my organization,” says 2005 EIL participant Peter Clayton, Vice-president of Operations for a major children’s hospital.

Calling the session “transformational,” Peter said the meeting changed his mind on what management was about. “The program helped me understand that leadership at the highest levels is not about budgetary control, but persuasion. EIL refocused my understanding and my efforts,” he says.

One of the EIL tools that Peter found helpful was the Navigator, a notebook style journal that allowed him to integrate the teachings of the class with his own reflections on personal and organizational success. “It was kind of like my own scientific method of inquiry,” says Peter, “and from it I was able to interpret data and draw my own conclusions.”

This analysis helped him switch from a management role to a leadership role. For Peter, EIL provided understanding into the corporate dynamics he was facing and gave him an appreciation of his circumstances. As a result, he was better able to define what was happening and accept the current state, not stress out about it.

Realizing he wouldn’t be successful by dwelling on circumstances he couldn’t change or by demanding change from those who did or did not report to him, Peter instead set his sights on helping others “see a better future state and align themselves with that mission, while maintaining their goals and perspectives in the process.” And rather than simply “blazing his own path,” as he had done in the past, Peter learned to integrate into the current system better.  His newfound skill in collaboration, cultivated in large part from his EIL experience, has led not only to an increased level of content but enabled him to realize more growth opportunities in his expanding organization.

Gaining Courage

Mike MathileJoe Gerardi, D.O.
Chair, Department of Surgery
Children’s Hospital Central California,
ND Parent
October 2005 Participant

When it comes to orthopedics, Dr. Joe Gerardi, Chief of Surgery at Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera, California, knows his stuff.  In fact, he can generally tell how a bone was broken simply by looking at it. 

But diagnosing bone injuries and managing a hospital staff are entirely different.  In 2006, with more than a quarter century of experience in medicine, Dr. Gerardi realized that, although he had achieved success in his clinical practice, he lacked managerial training.  “Doctors don’t take business management courses in medical school, and leading by example goes only so far,” says Gerardi.

After researching several high-quality programs, he settled on Executive Integral Leadership (EIL) at Notre Dame.  “I was extremely pleased with the program; whether you’re the chief of surgery for a hospital or a manager for AM General/Hummer, you’ll benefit. The program is well-organized, professionally conducted, and very well executed,” explains Gerardi.

One valuable part of the program is a 360° leadership assessment survey in which the EIL participant is evaluated by his or her boss, peers and team members.  The results of the survey formed the basis for his one-on-one session with an executive coach who, according to Gerardi, “looked at my evaluation and knew everything about me.  It was as if the guy were living in my back pocket.  It turns out I had very predictable problems, and the coaching was empowering, giving me the tools to improve my management skills.” 

Dr. Gerardi returned to Children’s Hospital with high praise for the EIL week and many principles to integrate into the workplace.  “Before the program, I had trouble dealing with problematic situations and difficult individuals; now I have gained the courage to address problems as they arise,” says Dr. Gerardi.  The result?  A doctor who is confident with both his clinical and his managerial skills.

Recognizing Opportunity

Mike MathileKim Armour
Nurse Practitioner/Manager
Central DuPage Hospital
October 2004 Participant

“For some people, a medical mission trip is a curiosity; for me, it was a calling,” says nurse practitioner Kim Armour of Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, IL.  Kim credits her EIL coach for the advice she gleaned during her week at Notre Dame in 2004. Three years later, with her combined management and clinical experience in hand and boarding a flight to Navaisha, Kenya with the Joliet diocese, Kim took her coach’s suggestion “to walk through the door of opportunity.”

“The Lord opened the door for this trip, and I was able to put my EIL leadership training to good use, ministering with the gifts God has given me,” says Kim. In the mornings she taught emergency and obstetrical care to midwives, some of whom walked eight miles to receive this training. Afternoons she provided health care as a nurse practitioner and ultrasonographer, helping deliver babies for patients such as Susan, whose first baby unfortunately was three weeks overdue and stillborn.

Because Kim embraces and even seeks personal growth opportunities, she valued the chance to help patients in the same way she valued the occasion to experience leadership at Notre Dame. “I loved everything about EIL, both personally and professionally. The group dynamics and individual coaching were invaluable. At the time, I was evaluating two different career tracks, management and clinical. Taking my coach’s advice, I made an unusual move and combined the two tracks rather than sacrifice one for the other,” says Kim.

“In my life, there have been many open doors, many opportunities to grow under God’s direction. EIL gave me the management training I needed to teach and to serve, both in the States and overseas. My experience in international health care provided a means of giving back. Now I believe my destiny is to provide health care and information in developing countries, and I’m again planning to further my education in order to do just that.”

Empowering Others

Mike MathileScott Scholten
Senior VP, Pace Global Energy Services
September 2007 Participant

When Scott Scholten of Pace Global Energy Services participated in the EIL experience in September 2007, he believed he was well versed in the principles of negotiation. During the course of the week, however, he discovered that he didn’t know as much as he thought. “Although I was familiar with negotiation tactics, I learned that the process is not simply a win-lose proposition. There are often opportunities to increase the size of the pie to be divided between the parties.”

After attending EIL, Scott returned to his job more confident of his negotiating skills. As one example, he said: “I improved my preparation and focused on understanding the other party’s value drivers, so I gained a different perspective. As a result, I found something of high value to the other side and leveraged it to achieve our side’s desired result, which was a contract extension in this case.”

The financial impact from better negotiating skills was one of the many benefits gained in EIL, which Scott calls “phenomenal from top to bottom.” Another component of the week focuses on a current business issue. Each day, the participants spend time journaling, defining a problem and exploring possible solutions. In Scott’s case, he learned “to stay back so others could step forward.” At EIL, Scott was reminded of a time he had served as the president of his church council. “Although I wasn’t an expert in many areas of the job, people complimented me on the good job I was doing. As I reflect on it, it’s probably because I was forced to depend on others, to ask questions, and to listen, making me a better leader,” he says.

After EIL, Scott translated that lesson into his consulting job, where one of his roles is interfacing with key clients.  Though his instinct is always to maintain a direct relationship with each client through fulfillment of the engagement, Scott recently handed a coveted client to one of his managers.  The manager achieved everything Scott would have – and even expanded the relationship – reinforcing the principle that Scott gained during his EIL week: business success comes from empowering others.

Enabling Growth and Success

Mike MathileSean Kelly
CEO, Modern Terminals
ND Alumnus
May 2006 Participant

“After becoming CEO of Modern Terminals, I was looking for an executive course to refresh my perspective and reset my thinking on company strategy.  Heads of organizations have many pressures, so I was seeking some strength and balance as I took on this new challenge.” says Sean Kelly, a 2006 EIL participant.

For Sean and Gavin Dow, General Manager – Strategy Management, who attended a subsequent EIL session, Notre Dame’s developmental week fit the bill. That EIL would be a complete break from the Hong Kong work environment, involved senior-level participants from diverse profit and non-profit enterprises, and offered the opportunity to consider a real business issue from many different aspects were all factors in the decision to attend EIL. As a Notre Dame grad, Sean knew the holistic approach would mean a positive balance of the mental, spiritual and physical aspects of leadership and life. “In the end, it becomes stunningly clear a holistic approach enables success and growth.”

Gavin adds that EIL “provided the opportunity to consider issues from more points of view, ensuring that myriad activities all support the overall strategy.”  In addition, EIL’s integral model “brought structure to a number of company initiatives already under way, including employee coaching, 360-degree assessments, and cultural development training.”

Sean returned to Hong Kong at a challenging time for his business, but the perspective and compelling rationale he gained from EIL provided the framework, confidence and fortitude needed for the way forward. “With significant merger and acquisition activity in our industry, and a desire to grow the company, there was a need to understand the value drivers of our business and reset our business model, vision and strategies. We took a very systematic and holistic approach to what we needed to change in order to be successful,” Sean states.

Modern Terminals plans to nominate a senior executive for every EIL session, so that each is immersed individually in the learning, experiences freedom of thought and expression, and gains a personal growth experience.