Lessons in Leadership Speaker Series

In 2019, the IT@WashU Leadership Committee and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) introduced an inspiring speaker series called Lessons in Leadership. This speaker series brings local thought leaders, innovators, humanitarians and change-makers to Washington University in St. Louis  to share their perspectives of effective leadership.

The Lessons in Leadership Speaker Series features speakers from varied backgrounds and professions. The series is designed to cover topics and concepts that support leadership development.

The Lessons in Leadership Speaker Series is free and open to the public.


Event Details

All events take place on the Washington University Medical Campus at the Eric P. Newman Education Center (EPNEC), in room Seminar A.


April 15, 2019
The Art and Science of Diagnostic Thinking—
How to solve the “right” problem the first time

Jackson Nickerson
Frahm Family Professor of Organization and Strategy – Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis
Senior Fellow in Governance Studies – Brookings Institution

EPNEC, Seminar A
10:00 – 12:00 p.m.

How often are you called into a meeting to tackle a problem and within the first few minutes, participants are already debating about a solution? Jumping to a solution is one of the most prevalent and pernicious maladies in organizations, which leads to delayed problem solving, high costs, and sluggish responsiveness that can demoralize an entire organization.

The Art and Science of Diagnostic Thinking provides new insights into how individuals and teams can solve the right problem the first time. The critical challenge is that all too often when tackling problems, individuals and teams suffer from a set of biases and additionally, impediments cause them to focus on problem solving. In contrast, this session focuses on the art of comprehensively formulating problems before solving the one.


Dedric Carter headshotAugust 5, 2019
Becoming Better: Fostering a Mindset for Growth, Equity/Efficacy, And Resiliency

Dedric A. Carter, PhD, MBA
Vice Chancellor for Operations and Technology Transfer
Professor of Engineering Practice
Faculty Fellow, Wayman Crow Residential College
Washington University in St. Louis

EPNEC, Seminar B
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Dedric A. Carter, PhD, MBA serves as vice chancellor for operations and technology transfer and professor of engineering practice at Washington University in St. Louis. In this role, Carter serves as the senior executive officer for many key operations functions including dining and food services, campus card services, Whittemore House, parking and transportation, summer programs and conferences, procurement and resource management, and environmental health and safety. Carter is additionally responsible for the Office of Technology Management. Carter teaches courses in systems applications to technical, business, and policy issues with an emphasis on the entrepreneurial process and new venture creation.

Prior to his present role as vice chancellor, Carter was associate provost and associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis. In this role, Carter served as the senior executive officer for innovation and entrepreneurship has oversight for the Office of Technology Management, the Center for Research Innovation, and the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in addition to responsibility for the campus interactions and programming with the Cortex innovation district.

Having started a venture-backed company, Carter enjoys working with students, researchers, and entrepreneurs on ideation and new venture creation. Prior to joining WUSTL in 2013, he served as the Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Director at the US National Science Foundation in addition to serving as the executive secretary to the US National Science Board executive committee in Arlington, VA. Carter launched and oversaw the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program to impact the speed of basic research commercialization. He has been an Assistant Dean of Engineering at MIT and a senior principal consultant in IT strategy and management. Carter serves as the Ambassador at Large for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in addition to chairing the International Travel Oversight Committee for the University.

Dedric has an undergraduate and graduate degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, and a PhD in Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University. Additionally, he studied as a senior executive fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is the vice-chair of Venture Café St. Louis and is a board member of the Academy of Sciences St. Louis, and the MIT School of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board. Carter serves as a board observer for the Cortex Innovation Community, is the vice-chair of the Missouri Technology Corporation, and an executive committee member of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Carter is a former trustee of MIT and the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Sciences where he served as vice-chair of the Academics Board. He was a member of the Committee on the Carnegie Mellon University experience, which was established as an advisory group to the CMU president.


September 10, 2019
Benjamin Ola. Akande, Ph.D.

Assistant Vice Chancellor, International Programs – Africa Director, Africa Initiative
Associate Director, Global Health Center
Washington University in St. Louis

EPNEC, Seminar A
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Benjamin Ola. Akande, Ph.D. will discuss the the value of being able to tell your own story. He’ll share the lessons there are to be learned in the process and guide the audience through the steps to crafting a narrative.

Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande is Assistant Vice Chancellor of International Programs-Africa, Director of the Africa Initiative, and Associate Director of the Global Health Center at Washington University in St. Louis. He is charged with strengthening and expanding the University’s efforts in Africa. Dr. Akande also chairs Washington University’s International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC). He is a respected economist, scholar and global consultant to Fortune 500 companies and institutions in the higher education space in the areas of strategy, leadership development, corporate responsibility and market positioning.

Dr. Akande holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma and completed post-doctoral studies at JFK School of Government, Harvard University. He currently serves on the Board of Argent Capital, a $4 billion asset management company. He is a member of the Board of Enterprise Bank & Trust ($5 billion assets). He also serves as a board member of Forest Park Forever, the Danforth Plant Life Center Leadership Council, and the MUNY.


m.krejci_thumbnailDecember 10, 2019
A Taste of Mindfulness

Meg Krejci, MBA
Wellness Consultant for Mindfulness
Washington University in St. Louis

EPNEC, Great Room B
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Meg Krejci comes from a background in Accounting, MIS, and International Business.  As a result of life challenges and the related stress, she sought out training in mindfulness through Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the Center for Mindfulness – UMass Medical School. For the last 20 years, Meg has been guiding individuals of all ages & organizations in stress reduction strategies through her programs at Masterpeace Studios; a nonprofit organization in St. Louis.  The Move into Mindfulness program offered for Washington University employees is modeled on this evidenced-based curriculum. Meg is passionate about sharing the benefits of practicing mindfulness to help employees reduce stress and anxiety, improve physical health and mental well-being, and achieve greater adaptability and appreciation in life.