A number of influential leaders are helping shape leadership education and research at The Ohio State University as part of the Fisher Leadership Initiative's (FLI) external advisory board.

“The purpose of the external advisory board is to advise us on how to leverage the science of leadership to achieve a greater impact on our students and practicing leaders,” said Dr. Tim Judge, executive director of the FLI and the Joseph A. Alutto Chair in Leadership Effectiveness. “The board members are among the most impressive leaders we know who have a long history of exemplary leadership and insights into these very issues.”

The FLI external advisory board includes:

  • Paula Bennett (BSBA ’71), former president and chief executive officer of J.Jill, Inc.
  • Sandra Harbrecht Ratchford (MBA ’82), president and chief executive officer of Paul Werth Associates
  • C. Robert Kidder, former chairman of the board of Chrysler Group LLC
  • George Kimson, chief operating officer of Heritage Development Company
  • Steve Milligan (BSBA ’85), chief executive officer of Western Digital
  • Gene Smith, senior vice president and Wolfe Foundation Endowed athletics director at The Ohio State University

The scientific study of leadership has led to more than 65,000 articles in peer-reviewed journals, Judge said. These studies have revealed important insights into how people can lead more effectively, but the research hasn’t had much impact.

“Is there anything more important we can do for our students than to teach them to be the best leaders they can possibly be?” he said. “If we can better communicate the value of research and the science of leadership to actual leaders, is that not of profound value?”

The board will be instrumental in guiding the FLI in finding effective ways to bridge the gap between leadership research and applicable leadership principles and insights for students and businesses.

Bennett’s service is borne out of her affinity for Ohio State and the positive impact it has had on her life.

“I am very interested in elevating the impact of leadership scholarship at Ohio State,” she said. “This initiative supports my belief that one has to focus on the future and the opportunity and diversity of resources that are within our reach, and to make the most of them for our students and external customers.”

“We have the opportunity to create a program that is disciplined, focused, enriching and measurable — a program that can represent the modern embodiment of what it means to be a principled leader: for our students, our university and the world.”

Kidder joined the advisory to learn and contribute his experience and insights.

“The Ohio State University is one of the largest and best research institutions,” he said. “The FLI’s research into leadership and leadership styles fits Ohio State’s DNA.”

Judge is thankful for the contributions of the board in shaping the mission and vision of the FLI.

“We are incredibly lucky to have the board members we have,” he said. “Every board member we asked said yes, and we are really grateful to have their support amid their incredibly busy schedules.”

Members of the Fisher Leadership Initiaitve collectively look forward to this group continuing to shape the future of the FLI along with the college’s commitment to leadership.