Leading with impact

Hewertson '04 helping advance the next generation of Cornell leaders
Monday, August 4, 2014

Helping to cultivate the next generation of leaders at Cornell is important to Roxi Bahar Hewertson '04. That's why she chose to support the university in a special way.

Hewertson, CEO of Highland Consulting Group, Inc. and a nationally recognized leadership expert, gifted her blended-learning training program, "Leading with Impact :Your Ripple Effect," to Cornell's office of Organizational Effectiveness within the department of Human Resources.

The program, Hewertson says, has been used successfully by universities, corporations, and non-profits across the country. She wanted more people to have access to her comprehensive course, so she created over six hours of DVD content with teaching, work scenarios, and learner activities with a complete facilitator guide.

"We need a revolution and paradigm shift in the way we think about leadership today; we also need an awareness of the huge impact our leaders have on our work cultures and the health of our organizations. I donated my program to Cornell to help broaden access at the university to people who believe they would like to be leaders and need to really understand what it means to lead effectively," she says.

Kathy Burkgren, director of organizational development for faculty and staff, says the university will begin utilizing "Leading with Impact: Your Ripple Effect," in the fall. The program, she says, it is a great addition to Cornell's portfolio of leadership offerings. It can be a 'next step' for staff who have completed Turning Point, which is designed for those who don't currently manage staff, and now have an interest in developing their leadership potential.

"These are people who are starting to ask themselves, 'do I want to be a supervisor?' " Burkgren says. Their experience using Leading with Impact in the next year or two, she adds, will inform efforts to create a management preparatory course.

Hewertson, who earned her master of professional studies from the ILR School in 2004, previously worked at Cornell in the former Administration, Facilities, and Finance Division when Hal Craft was vice president. She played a major role in the development and launch of the Harold D. Craft Leadership Program, a popular campus-wide leadership program.

Over the years, Hewertson says, not much has changed when it comes to the leadership challenges. She believes her course will serve a real need at the university and can be utilized by any leader, or potential leader, anywhere.

"People often end up in leadership positions with no leadership training, or set of skills to guide them. In every organization I work with, there are a few or a lot of leaders who simply don't know how to communicate with their people, to listen, coach, delegate, run meetings well, deal with conflicts, or give constructive feedback. 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."

Hewertson says a "tremendous sense of loyalty and gratitude" inspired her to give back to the university. "I grew up at Cornell working all over campus for 27 years. I got my master's degree here, and I am so thankful that my leader (Hal Craft) and my peers at Cornell encouraged and supported me to do this wonderful work."

Burkgren adds: "Roxi is known for her facilitation of leadership and her depth of knowledge. It was generous of her to give this program to us."