Mason Institute for Leadership Excellence
Center for the Advancement of Well-Being | The College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Leadership Development Faculty

Meet Your Leadership Development Team

MILE leadership development participants receive practical skills and tools, as well as a solid grounding in the theory and research, taught by renowned Mason faculty and high-level government and industry experts. 

MILE's leadership development faculty represent the fields of business, industrial/organizational psychology, policy and government, leadership, and coaching. 

Practitioners represent business and government, including OPM, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Accenture, and Hewlett Packard.

Nance Lucas

Nance Lucas, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Nance Lucas is Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, Associate Professor of New Century College, and former Associate Dean of New Century College at George Mason University. Her teaching and scholarship interests focus on positive psychology and leadership, well-being, and ethics. She is co-author of Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who Want To Make A Difference (1st, 2nd, and 3rd editions), a best-selling book of Jossey-Bass Publishers, and contributing author of Leadership Reconsidered and The Social Change Model of Leadership Development. Dr. Lucas was a co-editor of the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies for special issues and former member of the Journal's Editorial Board.

At Mason, she is the co-founder of the Mason Institute for Leadership Excellence, the Leadership Legacy Program, and MasonLeads while also serving as the senior leadership scholar of the Leadership Legacy Program. She leads Mason's well-being university initiative in collaboration with colleagues across the institution. Dr. Lucas is an affiliate faculty member with The Gallup Organization and the Higher Education Program at George Mason University. Prior to her appointment at Mason, Dr. Lucas had previous appointments at the University of Maryland and Ohio University. Nance served as the creator and convener of the 1997 Global Leadership Week Program (a world-wide leadership program initiative spanning five continents), co-founder of the National Leadership Symposium, co-founder of the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs, and a past chair of the National InterAssociation Leadership Project. She served on the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Leadership Studies Project Ethics Focus Group, W. K. Kellogg Foundation College Age Youth Leadership Program Review Team and the Kellogg Forum on Higher Education National Dialogue Series Planning Team.

She received a Ph.D. in higher education with a concentration in leadership studies and ethics at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her Master's degree in college student personnel and Bachelor's degree in industrial and organizational psychology are from the Pennsylvania State University.

Zaccaro Dr. Steve Zaccaro is a professor of psychology at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. He also is an experienced leadership coach. He has written over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and technical reports on group dynamics, team performance, leadership, and work attitudes. He has authored a book titled, The Nature of Executive Leadership: A Conceptual and Empirical Analysis of Success (2001) and co-edited three other books, Occupational Stress and Organizational Effectiveness (1987), The Nature of Organizational Leadership: Understanding the Performance Imperatives Confronting Today's Leaders (2001), and Leader Development for Transforming Organizations (2004). He was co-editor of special issues of the Leadership Quarterly (1991-1992) on individual differences and leadership, and a special issue for Group and Organization Management (2002) on the interface between leadership and team dynamics. Dr. Zaccaro has directed funded research projects in the areas of team performance, shared mental models, leader-team interfaces, leadership training and development, leader adaptability, and executive coaching. He serves on the editorial board of The Leadership Quarterly, and he is an associate editor for Journal of Business and Psychology and Military Psychology. Steve received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.
Beth Cabrera

Dr. Beth Cabrera is an organizational psychologist dedicated to helping individuals and companies thrive. She is the author of Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being. After earning her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Cabrera joined the faculty of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, a leading Spanish university. When she returned to the U.S., Beth continued her academic career as a professor of management at Arizona State University and then as a senior research fellow at Thunderbird School of Global Management. She is currently a senior scholar at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Blog: Twitter: @bethcabrera.



Fran Nurthen is a retired Federal executive with 37 years of service. Prior to his retirement from public service he was Chief of Human Resources Development for the 36 thousand person U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He held this Army major command level position from 1990 until he retired in 2002. During that period he was responsible for organizational and individual development and played a leadership role in the Corps' transformation to a learning organization. Fran was considered by many as key agent for strategic enterprise change, both in the Corps and across the Federal government.

Since leaving the Corps of Engineers, Fran has pursued his leadership passion in several venues. These include Director of Federal Leadership Programs for the Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland; Senior Fellow at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business in the Office of Executive Education; and Director of the Mason Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE) at George Mason University where he currently serves as a key member of the MILE Team. Fran also serves as a capstone advisor to students enrolled in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology Program at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Fran's passion and life work focus is strength-based leadership development. As a private consultant Fran brings a strengths and systemic focus to his leadership development and enterprise change work. His consultancy integrates strengths awareness, positive psychology, appreciative inquiry and strategic enterprise development.


Dr. Michelle A. Marks is the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at George Mason University. In this capacity, she is responsible for campus-wide administrative leadership and coordination of graduate, undergraduate and on-line education initiatives. She also oversees advising, assessment, registration services and accreditation at Mason. Dr. Marks also leads academic affairs for the recently launched INTO Mason partnership and for Mason Korea. In 2013 she led the development of the Mason 10 year strategic plan.

Dr. Marks is also on the faculty of the School of Business at Mason. As Professor of Management, she has spent her career studying leadership development and teamwork in organizations. She has published theoretical models and empirical studies that illustrate the dynamic nature of the collaborative processes used by organizational teams and the critical roles of team leaders. She has authored and delivered more than 75 peer review journal articles and national conference research presentations. In 2006, Dr. Marks won the George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award and in 2008 and 2011 she won the Executive MBA Professor of the Year award. She teaches courses in organizational behavior, change management, high performing teams, leadership, global business and human resource management in executive, MBA, technology management masters and undergraduate programs. She has led Mason graduate student short-term study abroad courses to the United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, France, Hungary, Austria, England, and the Czech Republic where students study global business and cross-cultural adaptability.

Dr. Marks earned her undergraduate degree from James Madison University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University.


Pam Patterson

Dr. Pam Patterson is Associate Vice President for University Life at George Mason University.   Prior to coming to George Mason, Dr. Patterson served in student affairs leadership positions at Montana State University, the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, and the University of Georgia.  She is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Program and is an executive leadership coach certified through the International Coaching Federation with the credential of Professional Certified Coach (PCC). Her interests include the science and application of well-being, leader development, and coaching.  Dr. Patterson is also licensed and certified by the Institute of HeartMath as a Resilience Advantage Trainer. 

At George Mason, she was a member of a team that created and implemented a leader development curriculum for executive education and a separate program for faculty and staff. Dr. Patterson is a co-founder and co-chair of MasonLeads, the Leadership Legacy Program, and serves as co-director of the Advanced Coaching Program in Leadership & Well-Being and co-director of the Strengths Academy.  Dr. Patterson received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Eastern Illinois University and earned her doctorate in higher education from George Mason University.


Ellen Fulton is a founder and former Director for The Mason Institute for Leadership Excellence, and co-founder of The Washington Coaching Group. She brings her fervency for strengths based leadership and generative well-being to all that she does. Ellen’s 20 years of experience in teaching, management, training and development, and leadership coaching fuel her desire to act as a catalyst for growth and success. 

As a coach, Ellen works with people to improve their strategic thinking and increase awareness around their leadership presence.  People who enjoy working with her have a desire to leave basic management and move toward leading and inspiring.  Ellen challenges clients to reflect on their strengths, areas for growth, values, interpersonal skills, and motivations to help them align action plans that maximize strategic goals and provide sustainable change. Common themes include: interpersonal skills and relationships, communication skills, career advancement planning, self-confidence and work-life balance. Additionally, Ellen is passionate about working with teams and often focuses on issues of building trust, communication, accountability, and achieving results.

Educated as a leadership coach at Georgetown University, Ellen has received her professional coaching certification through the International Coach Federation (ICF) and currently serves as a Co-Director for the George Mason Advanced Coaching Program in Generative Well Being Coaching. Her work leads her into a variety of industries, including the federal government, corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and universities. Ellen is a life-long learner. 


Kris Miller is a seasoned global executive and leadership coach with over twenty years of industry experience prior to coaching. His professional experiences, in concert with his coaching acumen, have led to Kris’ success as an executive coach in sectors including finance, healthcare, telecommunications, non-profits and government. He provides a customized coaching experience for each client with a goal of accelerating each leader’s development and organizational impact.

As an Executive Coach, Kris works with leaders individually, in teams, and in leadership development group programs. More than 100 of his clients have been senior executives who serve on boards, lead non-profit organizations, have business and technical backgrounds and hold advanced degrees.

Kris challenges clients to examine business and personal goals from new vantage points and in consideration of a broader perspective.   Over the course of a coaching engagement, leaders move forward with a stronger sense of self-direction and overall well-being. One client said, “Kris has a way of striking a balance between listening well, being calm and reassuring, and being very direct and a ‘straight shooter’.”


Mark Thurston, Ph.D. is director of educational programs at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.  Dr. Thurston has been a part of the Center staff since its founding in January, 2009.  He previously served as coordinator and advisor for Mason’s undergraduate minor in Consciousness and Transformation, and he teaches required and elective courses for the minor. He has also served as an affiliate faculty member of Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) where he has taught the course “Conflict Transformation from the Inside Out.”   With an academic background in psychology, Dr. Thurston worked for 35 years in adult education related to consciousness, holistic health, and personal transformation.  He is author of numerous books related to personal spirituality, dream psychology, meditation, and the transformation of consciousness.

 Gladis An executive coach, author, and speaker, Dr. Steve Gladis is authority on the subject of leadership. CEO of Steve Gladis Leadership Partners—a leadership development company—he is the author of 19 books on leadership and a professor at George Mason University. His company works with businesses, associations, and US government agencies, and he speaks regularly at conferences and corporate gatherings. A former faculty member at the University of Virginia, Dr. Gladis also served as an FBI special agent and was a decorated officer in the US Marine Corps. His company donates a significant portion of corporate profits back to the community. His newest book, Positive Leadership: The Game Changer at Work, was released in 2013 and is available on Amazon.
Holder Mr. Holder has more than 30 years experience in program management. He has successfully led complex information technology software and enterprise infrastructure programs for various clients. Mr. Holder has managed performance-based initiatives in support of the federal government within the Intelligence Community, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as Federal Law Enforcement. He has demonstrated success in directing, managing and leading critical, highly-visible software development and information systems programs and projects both in the federal government and in private industry. In addition, he is considered an industry expert on performance-based contracting (PBC) and Earned Value Management (EVM) delivering against PBC and EVM standards and methodologies. He possesses exceptional abilities in leading diverse groups of personnel, fostering teamwork, partnering with his customer, building consensus, motivating staff, and Customer Relationship Management. Mr. Holder has a MPA from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA and a BA in Communications from Howard University in Washington, DC. In addition, he possesses Lean Six Sigma training, Project Management Professional (PMP) certified, and ITIL V3 certified.

Mary Elizabeth Lynch, J.D. is an educator and attorney-mediator who spent 14 years helping employers and employees transform workplace conflicts. She brings to her training and mediation work 40 years of personal application of well-being practices for mindfulness and enhanced capacity for resilience and intuitive reasoning.

Mary Elizabeth is a graduate of the University Of Virginia School Of Law, a member of the Virginia Bar, and a certified mediation trainer through the Virginia Supreme Court’s Department of Dispute Resolution Services. She is the co-founder, president and primary course leader for the non-profit organization, “The Personal Transformation and Courage Institute.” Through this organization, Mary Elizabeth works with individuals, groups and organizations teaching concepts and practices which focus on meditation and mindfulness training, values clarification and capacity building for resilience and well-being. She has also served for the last four years as a faculty member for George Mason University’s advanced coaching program, and as the lead instructor for a 100-hour certificate training program entitled “Well-Being Foundations of Personal Transformation.” 

Owen Dr. Julie E. Owen is an Assistant Professor of Leadership and Integrative Studies at New Century College, George Mason University, where she teaches courses on socially responsible leadership, civic engagement, and community-based research. She is a scholar for the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs and is co-editor of both editions of the Handbook for Student Leadership Development (Jossey-Bass). She is active on several national research teams, including serving as PI of the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership - Institutional Survey (MSL-IS) and a research team member with the Leadership Identity Development (LID) project. She is a frequent presenter, consultant, and keynote speaker on topics related to leadership, social change, and organizational development. Dr. Owen is a 2005 recipient of the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, the 2008 recipient of the CAS research grant, a 2011 ACPA Annuit Coeptis initiate, and a 2012 Mason Teaching Excellence Award winner. She has assumed leadership roles in numerous professional associations including ACPA: College Educators International and the International Leadership Association (ILA). Owen received her B.A. degree (1993) in psychology and English from the College of William and Mary, and her M. Ed. (1996) in College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University. She holds a certificate of non-profit administration from Duke University (2000) and received her PhD (2008) in college student personnel at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Laurie Cameron, founder of PurposeBlue, shares her energy and compassion to inspire, teach, and coach internationally. With 25 years as a leadership executive and organization change consultant, she is uniquely adept at tuning in to what is needed to awaken individuals and transform organizational cultures to lead more consciously.  A former leader in Accenture’s Change and Human Performance practice, Laurie continues to work with Fortune 100 companies globally, such as Google, Deloitte, NASDAQ, McKesson, Chevron, Fresenius, Sunovian, Mitsubishi Financial Group and many others.

Laurie translates neuroscience and mindfulness-based emotional intelligence into workplace strategies that create clarity and momentum. Currently a Senior Fellow with the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University, Laurie also teaches Mindful Leadership at Maryland's Smith School of Business and is a Certified Teacher and Learning Mentor with the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, speaking and teaching in Europe, Asia and North America. Laurie received the Five Mindfulness Trainings from Thich Nhat Hanh, and is a frequent keynote speaker and retreat leader, sharing mindfulness and strategic change with over 1500 people in the last year.  

Laurie is the author of the forthcoming National Geographic book Everyday Mindfulness. Laurie also authored “Approaches to Mindful Strategic Change” in the book The Neuroscience of Learning and Development, Stylus, and is featured in National Geographic’s book 100 Things to Make You Happy, 2015. Laurie is a certified executive coach with the International Coach Federation and is passionate about expressionist art, design, and staying in monasteries with her husband and 11-year-old daughter.

Oneill Olivia (Mandy) O'Neill is Assistant Professor of Management in the George Mason University School of Business and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. She holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Stanford University and a B.S. in Psychology from University of Maryland. O'Neill teaches MBA and undergraduate courses in organizational behavior, negotiations, global management, leadership, and organizational change. Her research interests include organizational culture, emotions and gender, and their impact on interpersonal relations, employee attitudes, career success, health behavior, corporate strategy, innovation, and performance.  She has published in a variety of academic and practitioner journals (e.g., Administrative Science Quarterly, Harvard Business Review) and has collaborated with corporations in the healthcare, high tech, retail, and emergency service sectors.

Ann C. Baker is Professor Emerita of the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs (SPGIA) and a Senior Scholar of the Center for Well-Being at George Mason University (Mason). She served as the Senior Associate Dean of the School of Public Policy (SPP) from 2010-2013. She also served two terms as the Program Director of the Masters in Organization Development and Knowledge Management program and has taught in that program since 1996 as well as teaching core culture courses in six other masters degree programs and the PhD program in SPGIA. Dr. Baker has over 30 years experience serving as an external consultant to public, private, and non-profit organizations and has experience as an internal consultant as well.

Dr. Baker's research interests and consulting experience include organizational change, cross cultural communication and collaboration, conflict and change as sources of knowledge creation, and group dynamics. She is the author of numerous publications related to her research and consulting interests including her 2010 book, Catalytic Conversations: Organizational Communication and Innovation, and her previous book, Conversational Learning: An Experiential Approach to Knowledge Creation, 2002.

In May 2006, Dr. Baker received the Don Lavoie Teaching Award from the SPP and in 2008 was a Finalist for the Teaching Excellence Award at Mason. Prior to joining Mason, Dr. Baker was a Kellogg Fellow, having received a three-year Leadership Development fellowship from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for International Leaders of the Future. Prior to moving to the Washington, DC area, she was the Director of the Charleston Higher Education Consortium (consortium of six universities) and the Director of Special Projects for the President and Provost of the Medical University of South Carolina.






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