DR. MARY LANDON DARDEN
President of Higher Education Innovation, LLC
Higher Education futurist Mary Landon Darden is President of Higher Education Innovation, LLC and author of Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America and the soon to be released Entrepreneuring the Future of Higher Education: Radical Transformation in Times of Profound Change. She earned a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Baylor University, 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.
DR. JAY K. BOX
Chief Leadership Innovation Officer
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.
BENJAMI MOHLER, M.A., CFRE, ACFRE
Philanthropy and Development Coach
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
DR. GREG LEMAN
Transformation and Innovation Coach
Dr. Gregory 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 Practice Leader for Innovation and Entrepreneurship track, HEI Visionary Presidents Institute, delivering workshops for current and aspirational College and University Presidents to prepare them to lead transformation on their campuses, and serves in innovation project leader roles on these campuses as needed. He also serves as Chief Engineering Officer for Green Carbon Technologies, a rapidly growing startup turning industrial hemp into green chemistry industrial products.
DR. ELLEN DARDEN
Assessment and Organizational Change Coach
Ellen Darden, Ph.D. was hired by Mercedes Benz USA for her expertise in organizational systems, cybernetic thinking, change dynamics and clinical skills. There, she worked domestically and internationally collaborating with owners, management, and front-line workers to create solutions by conducting thorough, culturally aware assessments; analyses; one on one consultations; team development work; trainings and more. Management teams, through intense strategic planning sessions with her, were able to realize what were previously thought to be unachievable goals. Darden moves and works seamlessly among all levels of organizations, partnerships, and communities. In the academic world, she was recruited by universities for her excellence in applied teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as her abilities to facilitate change, develop programs, and assist with accreditation. Darden was a leader in the development, design, and ongoing implementation of several academic programs, including a thriving graduate online MSW (Master of Social Work) program which consistently exceeded enrollment numbers and financial expectations in a climate of ever-shrinking enrollments.
HON. CHET EDWARDS
Government Relations Coach
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 and service to the country. Edwards graduated in 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.”
WILLIAM R. FOSSEY, PH.D., J.D.
Legal Issues Coach
Dr. Richard Fossey is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Louisiana and a former Paul Burdin Endowed Professor of Education. He earned a doctorate in Educational Policy and Planning from Harvard University and a J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law. Dr. Fossey taught Higher Education Law for 25 years and was lead editor of a higher education Law text titled Contemporary Issues in Higher Education Law (2nd and 3rd editions). He conducts research and teaches graduate-level courses in education law and policy. Prior to pursuing a higher-education career, he practiced law in Alaska, where he represented a number of rural school districts in Alaska Native communities.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coach
Ms. 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 our community promoting diversity in its many forms, seeking social justice, and to 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, a Masters of Sociology from Prairie View A&M University and is currently a doctoral student at Prairie View A&M University studying Educational Leadership.
ROBERT F. DARDEN
Special Projects Coach