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ILR 75th Anniversary

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the ILR School

Roxi Bahar Hewertson, MPS ’04

Roxi Bahar Hewertson, MPS ’04

For more than 25 years, Roxi Bahar Hewertson was a fixture on the Cornell campus, working in Residence Life, the Cornell Store, Business Services, the Department of Athletics and the former Administration, Facilities, and Finance Division. She  played a major role in the development and launch of the Harold D. Craft Leadership Program, a popular campus-wide leadership program that continues today. 

Bahar Hewertson earned a master’s of professional studies from the ILR School in 2004 and went on to serve as an adjunct faculty member teaching ILR undergraduate classes for four years.

A leadership expert, Bahar Hewertson is currently the CEO of Highland Consulting Group, Inc. and the author of “Hire Right, Fire Right: A Leader’s Guide To Finding And Keeping Your Best People” and “Lead Like it Matters…Because it Does.”

In 2014, Bahar Hewertson gifted her blended-learning training program, "Leading with Impact: Your Ripple Effect," to Cornell's Department of Human Resources. At the time, Bahar Hewertson said a "tremendous sense of loyalty and gratitude" inspired her to give back to the university, and that "People often end up in leadership positions with no leadership training, or set of skills to guide them … The results of poor leadership are unhappy and unhealthy workplace cultures. We should be setting people up to succeed, not to fail at leadership and supervision."

How did ILR change you? 

I was attracted to ILR early in my Cornell career and took courses that greatly broadened my understanding of people, leaders, and the workplace. When I was ready and able to earn my MPS, Professor Lee Dyer was the single most important factor in my success. He encouraged 'better late than never', dreams, helped me navigate the system, guided me through my thesis, and was a champion for my work.

He asked me to teach one of his classes -- quite an honor! Once I graduated, he asked me to serve as adjunct faculty and teach a four-credit class in ILR to juniors and seniors. That was a remarkably rewarding and eye-opening experience for several years. I loved the students and the challenge of designing a course that added value to them and their resumes.

How are you making an impact through your experiences at ILR?

The genesis of the Harold D. Craft Leadership Program for faculty and leadership staff was in Facilities and Campus Services in 1994. I worked for Hal and was a designer and champion of the program and later for Turning Point for all the staff. The fact that it has stood the test of time and is still offered on campus, is humbling and a beautiful thing.

Since I left Cornell, and launched my consulting and coaching practice, I’ve taught leadership development courses all over the United States, created my virtual streaming leadership course, and the instructional design for institutions and corporations - all with the goal of providing access to those who would otherwise not be able to find this important learning in their workplaces.

My work and study in ILR also led to writing two books for leaders - the most recent is Hire Right, Fire Right: A Leader’s Guide to Finding and Keeping Your Best People (2020 Rowman & Littlefield), and Lead Like it Matters…Because it Does! (McGraw-Hill 2014). Recently, I have been writing a regular blog for the Society for Human Resource Management’s national audience. Without ILR and Dr. Dyer, and without my many incredible Cornell experiences as an administrator, faculty member and student, none of this would have been possible – I’m certain of that!

How might the mission of ILR help shape the next 75 years of work, labor and employment?

We’ll always have work and workplaces - even if they look very different in the years to come. And that means we will have leaders and followers, collaboration and conflict. As long as humans work together to achieve common goals, ILR’s mission will be not only relevant, but powerful, in its ability to influence the world of work, applying the research, and having a real time impact. Staying on top of innovations in the workplace, and the social and psychological influences, will continue to be an important role for ILR as our society changes, as globalization continues to influence our work and as we move slowly but surely toward more diverse, just and rewarding workplaces.

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