Leading tomorrow’s leaders

Meet Stacy Campbell, director of the Institute for Leadership Advancement
Stacey Campbell
ILA Director Stacey Campbell talks with students and donors after Donna Hyland, President and CEO of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta speaks during a Mason Public Leadership Lecture on Wednesday, September 06, 2023 in Athens, Ga..

Before studying CEO effectiveness, before teaching her first course on team management, Stacy Campbell (PhD ’07) knew the impact a great boss could have on an organization. 

As a consultant for KPMG and North Highland in the early 2000s, she saw great leaders expertly guide their teams as companies embraced new technologies and structures. She also saw companies and employees suffer when leaders weren’t up for the challenges of the new century.

“I’ve always been interested in leadership because in the eight years that I worked as a consultant, I was on a new project all the time, and I would have new managers,” Campbell says. “I had some really good managers and some managers that made me look at the situation and say, ‘Well, I’m the same person, but this isn’t going the same way.’”

For the last decade, Campbell helped shape the next generation of business leaders in Georgia as a professor and director of the Coles College Leadership Scholars Program at Kennesaw State University. That passion for leadership led her back to the Terry College, where she hopes to broaden the impact of the Institute for Leadership Advancement (ILA). 

Campbell, a native of Brooklyn, New York, received a master’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

When working on her PhD at Terry, she was drawn to studying how leaders and their followers interact. When she started teaching, that interest morphed into learning how to prepare students to be effective leaders.   

At Kennesaw State, she built the Coles Scholars program to put into practice what she learned about leadership education. It was a great program, but its size was a drawback, she says. The program was capped at about 25 students and restricted to business majors. 

Campbell says a top draw of working with ILA is the program has the capacity and support to serve the entire university. She wants more UGA students from outside of Terry to pursue ILA’s Certificate in Personal and Organizational Leadership or just take a few ILA classes as electives. 

The skills students take away from ILA — whether they’re in one leadership course or pursuing a certificate — impact their abilities in the workplace and spill over into the communities they live in and the organizations they join, Campbell says. 

“There is talk about the younger generation being entitled and expecting so much, but what I have seen is a lot of fear,” she says. “They’re afraid of failing, and they’re afraid of making mistakes. 

“(ILA) is an environment where they can make mistakes, learn from them and grow. You’re not able to do that in all of your classes. … This is more about really getting to know yourself and how to work with people.”

Since its founding in 2000, ILA has trained more than 1,500 values-based, impact-driven leaders through innovative certificate programs combining coursework with service-learning opportunities.

In 2021, ILA expanded its public outreach efforts by launching the Leadership Dawgs program. The yearlong program for UGA alumni provides off-campus leadership development experiences and partners alumni with nonprofits to complete a community improvement project.