Veale Institute, Weatherhead School launch executive-in-residence program pilot

This year, Case Western Reserve University will welcome a group of 10 executives to campus for interactive and collaborative visits as part of the inaugural executives-in-residence (EIR) program.

The EIR program brings together senior executives across industries and geographies with CWRU’s world-class talent and cutting-edge researchers to explore leadership, business models, innovation and emerging technologies. 

Hosted jointly by Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship and Weatherhead School of Management, the program seeks to maximize opportunities to infuse classroom knowledge with business insights, amplify CWRU’s ongoing innovations, and broaden commercial collaboration opportunities for CWRU faculty.

Events with the EIRs will span from campuswide speaking engagements to advising faculty on research innovation, hosting professional development workshops and guest lecturing in the classroom. In fact, some EIRs have already begun their work.

Last month, Jodi Berg (GRS ’17, management), former CEO of Vitamix, visited “Leading People and Organizations,” a flagship course for first-year MBA students known as LEAD.

Berg’s workshop engaged the students in an exercise on personal purpose—knowledge of which, she said, highlights one’s “superpowers” so that you can use your full potential in your professional and personal life.

For students like Maddison Czarnecki, this type of exercise can be life-changing.

“I left our class with a different outlook and mindset about myself and my career,” Czarnecki explained about her time with Berg.

“It helped me to identify what excites me and going further how I will use [my strengths] when I am feeling stressed or drained. I learned to think more in line with my purpose and how to use my strengths to accomplish it.”

Ellen Van Oosten (MGT ’94; GRS ’13, organizational behavior), professor of the LEAD course, agreed that providing students with the opportunities to learn from industry managers and leaders can make a big difference in their ability to apply concepts.  

“I strive to bring the outside world into the classroom in a variety of ways to help students make the connection between learning concepts cognitively and applying them in real-time,” said Van Oosten.

“Hearing from guest speakers is often enjoyable for students because they bring the material alive in meaningful ways. Jodi Berg is an exceptional role model as she blends her research as a Weatherhead PhD student with her experience as a c-suite executive regarding how personal purpose connects to positive organizational outcomes. Anytime she speaks in my class, students always leave incredibly inspired around their superpowers and how to leverage them as leaders. I am deeply grateful to Jodi for generously sharing her insights and perspective.”

While some EIRs will be engaging with CWRU later in the school year, one other member of the cohort started much sooner; Rex Tibbens (MGT ‘98), former COO of Lyft, recently presented for the Weatherhead Executive Speaker Series on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) as part of his residency.

As the EIR program kicks off and continues to expand, the CWRU community will find there are a number of ways to participate. To stay up to date on events and to learn more about the 2022-23 EIRs, be sure to follow the Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship on Instagram and LinkedIn.

2022-2023 EIR Cohort:

  • Rekha Agrawal, operating partner at Morgan Stanley Infrastructure
  • Jodi Berg (GRS ’17, management), former CEO at Vitamix
  • Nora Brownell, founding partner at ESPY Energy Solutions
  • Kevin Clayton, senior VP and head of social impact and equity at Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Margaret Fitzgerald (NUR ’06), founder of Fitzgerald Health Education Associates
  • Alka Gupta (WRC ’92), venture partner at Fin Capital
  • JeShaune Jackson (MGT ’14; GRS ’18, biology), associate director of BioPharma Partnerships at Guardant Health
  • Judith Shamian (GRS ’98, nursing), president emerita of International Council of Nurses
  • Rex Tibbens (MGT ’98), former president and CEO at Frontdoor and former COO at Lyft
  • Kelli P. Washington, managing director of research and investment strategy at Cleveland Clinic Investment Office