Center for Leadership and Ethics speaker series begins with crisis leadership panel

School of Business

The world needs strong, ethical leaders now more than ever, and Mercer University’s Center for Leadership and Ethics is committed to developing the global leaders required for today’s challenges and opportunities.

Elizabeth Chapman
Dr. Elizabeth Chapman

“We want to bridge the gap between schools, colleges and programs at Mercer to highlight our incredibly talented students and alumni so that the University community can see what great leadership looks like,” said Dr. Elizabeth Chapman, co-director of the Center and associate professor of management at Mercer’s Stetson-Hatcher School of Business.

The Center is hosting the first of a new speaker series at 6 p.m. Jan. 21 with a virtual panel discussion on crisis leadership. Expert alumni and student leaders from across the University will come together for “2020 in the Rearview: Lessons Learned in Crisis Leadership.”

The discussion will merge perspectives from various disciplines and industries to reflect on challenges leaders have faced over the past year. One goal of the conversation is to provide insight and leadership strategies for a new year ahead.

“The focus is on the people who have been able to lead in the various crises we’ve experienced in 2020. We’re all facing uncertainty regardless of our industries, and that’s one thing we all have in common,” said Dr. Chapman. The panelists “have been inspirational and motivational. Everyone we have involved in the first panel is really motivated to help others succeed.”

And it’s not just about leadership. Ethics have a key role in the conversation too.

Seeing excellent leadership in action helps motivate and inspire the next generation of leaders.

“Leadership is not just about telling people what to do; it’s about influence,” Dr. Chapman explained.

Having leadership demonstrated by the panelists who are also Mercer graduates will help inspire others to rise above current positions, roles and titles to make an impact on others.

The virtual discussion is free to attend, and registration is required.

Alumni panelists include Dr. Gwen Sherwood, professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing; Dericus Harvey, area team director of field operations at Chick-fil-A; Tuoi Ngyuen, senior manager of technology at Cox Communications; Kevin Hagan, CEO of Thrive Impact.

The discussion will be moderated by Yasmeen Hill, a senior in Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Sterling Serfoss, a fourth-year student pharmacist in Mercer’s College of Pharmacy.

Meet the panelists

Gwen Sherwood
Dr. Gwen Sherwood

Dr. Gwen Sherwood, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, ANEF is professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing where she served as associate dean for academic affairs and the founding associate dean for global initiatives. She is co-developer of QSEN, the award-winning Quality and Safety Education for Nurses framework to define a competency model to improve quality and safety which has been implemented nationally and internationally. She is senior faculty in the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety and co-editor of four books including three AJN Book of the Year awards: “Quality and Safety in Nursing: A Competency Approach” (translated into Chinese) and “Reflective Practice: Transforming Education and Improving Outcomes.” A tireless educator and mentor, she leads interactive workshops for educators, clinicians and learners in many countries. An alumna of Mercer’s Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, she has been named to the School’s Research Hall of Fame and awarded Alumnae of the Year. Among many honors she was recognized with the Sigma Theta Tau International Excellence in Leadership Award, the Prince Mahidol International Special Award for interprofessional education, and awarded an honorary doctorate from Sweden’s Jonkoping University.

Dericus Harvey
Dericus Harvey

Dericus Harvey serves as an area team director for field operations at Chick-fil-A. In this capacity, he selects new franchisees and is responsible for internal owner/operator relocations. Additionally, he manages a team of operations leads who advise and serve as relationship managers to Midwest owner/operators in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin ($550 million in revenue, 100-plus restaurants). The Midwest is Chick-fil-A’s fastest growing region. Harvey’s industry experience spans the health care, automotive and quick service restaurant industries where he has worked in industrial engineering, supply chain management, manufacturing, strategic finance, treasury and business consultant capacities. Throughout his professional career he has led new product launch initiatives as well as multi-billion-dollar strategic finance projects on behalf of multiple Fortune 500 organizations. Harvey also has a noteworthy track record and expertise in fostering global business relationships to achieve long-term objectives for sustainable growth and profitability. He grew up in Macon, graduated from Northeast High School and attended Mercer. After college, Harvey worked as an engineer in the automotive industry, and he returned to school to obtain a Master of Business Administration at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. After graduate school, he joined Johnson & Johnson’s Finance Leadership Development program, and he spent nearly seven years with the company before returning to Georgia to join Chick-fil-A in 2011.

Tuoi Nguyen
Tuoi Nguyen

Tuoi Nguyen is a senior technology manager of service assurance at Cox Communications. Her primary responsibilities include the oversight of the enterprise incident management process and knowledge content management that provides the network operations center with robust processes, governance, policies, and knowledge to effectively and efficiently resolve customers’ service interruptions — assuring high service quality and an optimal customer experience. Nguyen joined Cox Communications in 2010 as a senior business analyst consultant in the technology operations department. Prior to joining Cox, she started her career at Caterpillar Financial Services in 2008 where she served as a business systems analyst supporting Siebel CRM and various business applications used by customer relations and contract services. Nguyen holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in management information systems from the University of Georgia and an Master of Business Administration in Innovation at Mercer. She is certified in ITIL Foundations 2018, Six Sigma Green Belt 2017, and Project Management Professional (PMP) 2013.

Kevin Hagan
Kevin Hagan

Kevin Hagan, with 20 years of leadership experience in nonprofits, corporate and government organizations, brings a wealth of expertise and insight to help organizations thrive and have greater impact. Throughout his career, his focus has been on large scale organizational transformation and crisis management. Hagan is CEO of Thrive Impact, a nonprofit consulting and coaching firm. He works alongside the nation’s charities to build sustainable funding and programmatic strategies. At Thrive Impact, his practice areas include: organizational strategy, leadership and governance, change management, organizational transformation and crisis management. Previously, Hagan served as CEO of two of the country’s largest charities: the American Diabetes Association and Feed the Children, where he led both organizations through significant transitions after each experienced periods of organizational turbulence and scandal. Hagan’s education includes a master’s degree in international affairs from American University in Washington, D.C., and undergraduate degrees in political science, history and German from Mercer. During his nonprofit CEO tenure, he also completed executive education in nonprofit management at Harvard Business School. He is the recipient of the 2013 American University Alumni of the Year Award. He serves as the Board Chair for RESOLVE — the national infertility association — and is also active as a director on the boards of the American Association of Mediators, Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni, and HyperCarrot, a startup technology company.

Meet the moderators

Yasmeen Hill
Yasmeen Hill

Yasmeen Hill is a senior double majoring in journalism and media studies. She is a community-driven multimedia journalist with a background in radio storytelling. Additionally, she is the co-host of the news and culture podcast Black Girl Tea Party. Hill is a varsity member of Mercer’s nationally ranked debate team and won the 2019 Dan Henning NPDA Top Novice Speaker Award. 

Sterling Serfoss is a fourth-year student pharmacist at Mercer’s College of Pharmacy. He is completing his pharmacy practice experiences at Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital as part of the Mercer Pharmacy Advanced Clinical Track. During his time at Mercer, he served as president of the 2019-20 College of Pharmacy Council of Students, secretary of 2018-19 Christian Pharmacist Fellowship International, tutor of the Rho Chi Honors Society and a member of the Student Political Action Committee.

Sterling Serfoss
Sterling Serfoss

Serfoss has competed in numerous academic pharmacy competitions, and he is the 2019 Mercer Champion for the AMCP Pharmacy and Therapeutics Competition, and the 2018 Mercer Champion for the ACCP Clinical Skills Competition. His most recent research includes “Assessing Duration of Therapy of IV Methocarbamol at Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown” which he presented at the 2020 American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacy mid-year meeting. Serfoss is expected to graduate in May 2021 and will pursue a post-graduate pharmacy residency.


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