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

MILE Faculty Member and CWB Senior Scholar Steve Gladis Earns Lifetime Achievement Award from Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce

by Whitney Hopler, Communications Coordinator

Steve Gladis PhotoDr. Steve Gladis, a Senior Scholar and board member at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being (CWB), will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce (NOVA Chamber) in June for his positive impact on people throughout our community.

The award, which Mason’s former president Dr. Alan Merten received in 2011, goes to two Mason alumni this year: Gladis (M.A., English, ’84, and Ph.D., Education and Human Development, ‘91) and Lovey Hammel, president and co-founder of Employment Enterprises (B.S., School of Business, ’88). “This year’s honorees have devoted their careers to impacting our region in a significant way,” says Jim Corcoran, NOVA Chamber president and CEO. “We are humbled to honor their contributions and leadership.”

Gladis, who runs the respected leadership company Steve Gladis Leadership Partners (SGLP) and teaches and coaches through the center’s Mason Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE), has experienced great success for many years working in prestigious roles at top organizations. Yet, it’s not just his impressive resume or deep knowledge of leadership that impacts people. What distinguishes Gladis the most, say those who work with him, is his personal example of well-being and service. 

“Steve has been a leader who has spread so much positive influence across so many individuals and organizations in Northern Virginia,” says Jim Corcoran, Northern Virginia Chamber President and CEO. “He has led by example and by encouraging others rather than telling them what to do. When you think about a servant manager, if you looked it up in a dictionary, Steve’s photo could be right there on the page. Steve talks about leadership, but more importantly, he also lives it every day.”

Center Executive Director Dr. Nance Lucas says that Gladis personally exemplifies the leadership lessons he teaches to others professionally. He embodies this work in his interactions with others and how he shows up as a leader, teacher, and mentor. Steve has become one of my most important advisors for these reasons and more.”

Lucas calls Gladis “an extraordinary boundary crosser, integrating his extensive industry experiences, scholarly work, and executive coaching with the goal of positively impacting individuals and organizations.” She adds that, “He gives generously of himself as a mentor to numerous individuals with his commitment of preparing individuals for 21st century leadership and workplaces.” 

His ability to cross so many boundaries to teach others about leadership reflects the boundaries he has crossed in his own career. Gladis has succeeded in academia (he taught popular Communications department classes at Mason, served as an associate dean at the University of Virginia (UVA), and directed UVA’s Northern Virginia Center), government (as a United States Marine Corps officer who served in the Vietnam War and a special agent, teacher, editor, and speechwriter for the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and business (working with clients from many of the D.C. area’s top companies, from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to Lockheed Martin). As a speaker, teacher, and coach, Gladis impacts many people through MILE and his own company, Steve Gladis Leadership Partners (SGLP). As a writer, Gladis has authored many articles and more than 20 popular books, including Solving the Innovation Mystery: A Workplace Whodunit, Smile. Breathe. Listen.: The 3 Mindful Acts for Leaders, and Positive Leadership: The Game Changer at Work. As a community volunteer, Gladis contributes to numerous local civic organizations.

Since he first began working with the Northern Virginia Chamber around 1996, says Gladis, he has enjoyed building relationships with many area business leaders who network there. His involvement in the chamber “makes the county seem smaller – more intimate – and like you belong. I can’t imagine not being part of the community and I owe a ton to the chamber for that.”

 “Steve is able to help individuals navigate through clutter and find clarity,” Corcoran says. “Steve assists people with priorities so they can be good managers, good leaders, and good communicators.”

Each new day of leadership work is a gift for which Gladis is grateful, he says: “… every day when I wake up I thank God for the opportunity to do what I love to do every day – write, speak, teach and coach about leadership. Just want to do that until I’m, say, 100 or so.”


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