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Our Experts



Areas of Expertise:
Research and Assessment
Student Services – Admissions and Recruiting

Higher education futurist Mary Landon Darden is President of Higher Education Innovation, LLC and author of two books published by the American Council on Education and Rowman & Littlefield, Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America and Entrepreneuring the Future of Higher Education: Radical Transformation in Times of Profound Change (Winner of the 2021 American Bookfest Award (education/scholarly). She earned a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Baylor University and has nearly three decades of experience in college and university leadership, research, teaching, writing, and speaking. Darden served for five years as a university campus dean and currently offers higher education leadership/ entrepreneurship workshops through HEI for college and university presidents and administrators.

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Areas of Expertise:
Community College Leadership
Workforce Development

Dr. Jay K. Box has 30 years of outstanding community college leadership, including as
President of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) – one of the top 10 systems in the country. He served on the White House’s American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, the national board for Rebuilding America’s Middle Class, and the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board. Dr. Box was also a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s National Advisory Group, the American Association of Community Colleges’ Sustainability Education and Economic Task Force, Southern Regional Education Board’s Commission on Career and Technical Education, and the Aspen Institute’s Innovation In Higher Education
Working Group. Dr. Box is the 2020 recipient of the Lifetime Leadership Award from Higher Education Innovation.



Area of Expertise:
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Ramona Curtis is the Director of Diversity Outreach Programs at Tulsa Community College. She is responsible for Diversity Outreach Programs including the Diversity Outreach Center. She retired from Baylor University and moved to Tulsa in 2019. In 2015 she won the Baylor University Diversity Enhancement Award for her tireless work on campus, and in and outside the community promoting diversity in its many forms, seeking social justice, and inspiring cultural competency.

During the past few decades, Ramona spearheaded many initiatives to promote diversity, including the “Church Swap,” attempting to dismantle the most segregated hour in America. She coordinated Undoing Racism, a program that focuses on understanding racism and how we can work together to undo its negative effects. She speaks throughout the world on leadership, diversity, and other professional development topics.

Ramona holds a bachelor’s in communication from The University of Texas at Arlington and a Masters of Sociology from Prairie View A&M University, where she is currently a doctoral student.

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Area of Expertise:

Robert F. Darden is the author of 25 books and the co-founder of the world's largest initiative to digitize America's fast-vanishing legacy of Black Gospel music. The Black Gospel Music Preservation Program has been featured in most major radio networks, newspapers and magazines in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Ireland, and has brought Baylor unparalleled positive attention. Darden is the winner of every Baylor University teaching and
research award, is a dynamic charismatic presenter, and is as at home in African American churches as on Fresh Air with Terri Gross and in the New York Times, among others. His music-fueled presentations about how universities can use hitherto-unknown collections to reinvigorate donations and create an unsurpassed body of public good has made him a much in demand speaker on colleges and settings on both sides of the Atlantic.



Area of Expertise:

Government Relations

The Hon. Chet Edwards served eight years in the Texas Senate and 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the Texas Senate, Edwards was a member of the Senate Education Committee, and Texas Monthly named him one of 10 outstanding legislatures. In the U.S. House, Edwards was Chief Deputy Whip and served on the Budget, Armed Forces, Veteran Affairs, and Appropriations Committees. He wrote the 2009 law that provides a full GI college scholarship to every military child in America who has lost a mother or father in service to the country. Edwards graduated from Texas A&M University in 1974 with a BA in Economics and
received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1981.

Edwards describes himself as a “recovering politician.”

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Area of Expertise:

Academic Affairs
Workforce Development

Dr. Joanna L. Kile has more than twenty-five years of community college leadership experience in Texas. Her expertise lies in the transformation of and innovation in higher education and in academic affairs, especially in the area of workforce development. She has held leadership roles at small community colleges and large multi-campus districts serving as Vice President of Instruction, Vice President of Workforce Training and Continuing Education, Associate Vice Chancellor of Workforce Instruction, and Executive Director of Transformation. In addition, she has authored numerous grants funded by various federal, state, and local agencies. Her innovation work includes the development of a coefficient to measure the breadth and depth of engagement with business and industry in higher education.


She holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Baylor University and a master’s degree in human genetics from the University of North Texas. Dr. Kile holds a Blue Belt in the Innovation Engineering™ System and serves on the board for the National Council for Continuing Education and Training.



Area of Expertise:


Dr. Greg Leman is a transformation and innovation coach, consultant and change process leader. He is a global innovator, an innovation leader and a transformation systems designer-implementer. Leman is a Black Belt in the Innovation Engineering™ System. He served in various operations and innovation leadership roles at Dow Chemical, Cabot Corporation, Cabot-Hüls (Rheinfelden, Germany) and at Great Lakes Chemical until 2005, when he joined Baylor’s faculty. As Clinical Professor in Entrepreneurship at Baylor University, Leman created and led the Technology Entrepreneurship Initiative, including the i5 Practicum in Technology Commercialization in China. He founded the LAUNCH Innovative Business Accelerator at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). He also served as Executive Director of the Start Up Waco entrepreneurial ecosystem for the Waco region. 

Leman currently serves as a Practice Leader for HEI’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship track and HEI’s President as Entrepreneur Institute. He also serves as Cofounder of Vertek Materials, LLC.

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Area of Expertise:

Institutional Advancement

Benjamin Mohler is an advancement professional and philanthropic facilitator with 20 years of
experience leading institutional advancement offices at both private and public universities, and for a community college system. His background includes key advancement roles at Eastern Kentucky University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Cedarville University, and the University of Texas at Austin. Most recently, he served as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System
(KCTCS) and as the Executive Director of the KCTCS Foundation, Inc. In this role, Mr. Mohler helped the KCTCS Foundation increase annual fundraising results by tenfold within two years.


Mr. Mohler is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and has earned the Advanced Certified
Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) credential. He currently serves on the ACFRE Credentialing Board. Mr. Mohler is a longstanding member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and served on the publishing advisory committee for the AFP/John Wiley & Sons Fund Development Series for six years, the last two years as chair. He also serves on the board for the United Way of Kentucky. The AFP Bluegrass Chapter honored him with their Exemplary Service Award in 2015.

Mary Darden
Jay Box
Ramona Curtis
Robert Darden
Chet Edwards
Joanna Kile
Greg Leman
Benjamin Mohler
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