Past Leadership Lectures

October 2017 – Charlie Westling

Lessons learned on Leadership
“Things I know now, that I wish I knew then”

Charlie Westling, Chief Executive Officer of Computype, shares his leadership lessons, “Things I know now that I wish I knew then,” at the October 2017 Leadership Lecture at Dunwoody College of Technology.


February 2017 – Michael M. Sill II

Lessons for Aspiring Leaders

The Chief Executive Officer of Road Machinery & Supplies Co., Michael M. Sill II, shared what he looks for in young leaders, how he built his business, and his formula for success at the February 2, 2017 C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture.

November 2016 – Gregg Stedronsky

November 2016 Leadership Lecture Featured Gregg Stedronsky

Gregg Stedronsky, the Vice President of Engineering, Global Safety & Environment and Manufacturing Excellence for General Mills, talked about the importance of Leading with Safety at the November 3, 2016 C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture.

October 2016 – Joel Moryn

Leading Through Crisis

President and CEO of Parsons Electric, Joel Moryn, shared the leadership lessons he learned during a financial crisis that almost ended the 89-year-old business only three years into his role as President. He also shared what he has learned along the way.

September 2016 – Sheila Peyraud

September 2016 Jackson Leadership Lecture Featured Sheila C. Peyraud

The Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Donaldson Company shared how her life experiences shaped her leadership views at the September 2016 Leadership Lecture at Dunwoody College of Technology.

August 2016 – George Sherman

Sherman’s Leadership Vision

July 2016 – Dale Andersen

From Manager to Owner: Lessons Learned

President and Owner of Delkor Systems Dale Andersen shared the lessons he learned during his transition from sales manager to company owner

When Dale Andersen made the decision in 1999 to purchase Delkor Systems he went from being the Sales Manager to the company’s President and Owner. At the time, the company had sold off its main product lines and was a small company of about 10 employees.

The transition from employee to owner was more difficult than Andersen imagined, but he learned quickly that losing money was a great motivator for innovation. That innovative spirit has allowed Delkor to not only transform into one of the leading U.S. manufactures of case packing and robotic packaging machinery, but revolutionize the way many products are packaged and sold. Today, Delkor employs nearly 200 people. Read the full story.

Watch the video of Andersen’s Leadership Lecture:


June 2016 – Judy Poferl

Leadership with Energy

“Never under value the worth of your own contribution.”
-Judy Poferl, Senior Vice President, Corporate Secretary & Executive Services for Excel Energy

Judy Poferl used the power of storytelling to share her insights and advice on leadership at the June 2 C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture at Dunwoody College of Technology. The Senior Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Executive Services for Xcel Energy, Poferl is passionate about clean energy, employee and public safety, community service, public affairs and leadership development.

Watch the June 2 Leadership Lecture featuring Judy Poferl:


April 2016 – Ted Ferrara

Photo of Ted Ferrara speaking.
Developing a Leadership Mindset: Five Points

Ted Ferrara, ’77 Refrigeration, describes his personal leadership as a “work in process,” not a “work in progress.”

“Some days progress, some days regress, but all days are part of a process,” Ferrara said. One of the owners of Standard Heating & Air Conditioning, a local, family-owned business, Ferrara shared his thoughts on leadership during the April 7 C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series at Dunwoody College of Technology.

The Dunwoody alum and immediate Past Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Ferrara also holds a B.A. and B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Metropolitan State University and an MBA from Harvard University.

During his talk, Ferrara defined “Leadership that Matters,” as “Helping people get to a place they would not have otherwise been inclined to go,” and touched on five main points.

  1. Be a Good Follower. Know what it is to be a good follower. It is an active pursuit, not a passive one. Ask yourself, “Would I want me as a follower?” Good followers push back when they disagree and help ensure that their leaders are successful. Becoming a good follower helps future leaders develop understanding and empathy.
  2. Take Ownership. The organization you work for is an extension of yourself and taking ownership means going beyond the job description and taking responsibility to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. At the same time, don’t take on everyone’s problems. Instead, empower others to become problem solvers.
  3. No Excuses. Leadership is difficult and risky personally, and things don’t always work out, but nobody buys excuses. Instead, ask yourself if you had a “do-over” knowing what you know now, would you have done anything different. By adopting a “no excuses” mentality you put your best efforts forward and unleash a lot of creative problem solving.
  4. Define Reality. Whether it’s an established and well-functioning enterprise or a total turn-around, a leader’s job is to first figure out where the organization is at and then help others understand that reality.
  5. Lead With Values. Define and communicate your core values. In an uncertain world, this is where you find certainty. Shared values are the strongest reasons for people to follow you.

Watch the video:


December 2015 – Nancy M. Dahl

Photo of speaker Nancy Dahl at Dunwoody for the Jackson Lecture series.
Think ‘Directionally’ and Develop a Vision

Have a vision for your life, leverage your strengths, drive your own bus, and plan for failure. Those were just some of the key messages that President and COO Nancy Dahl shared with audience members during the Dec. 3 C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture at Dunwoody College of Technology.

Dahl’s career spans 30 years and four different industries ranging from $20-$750 million. She is currently the President and COO of Tastefully Simple, which provides meal time solutions that bring families back to the dinner table. Prior to Tastefully Simple, Dahl led both the school and retail divisions of Lifetouch, a billion dollar photography company. She is a teacher, national keynote speaker, and author.

During her talk, Dahl encouraged others to take ownership of their lives and not “sit and wait.”

“When you put your life in park, it takes a lot to get it started again,” Dahl said.

Dahl also talked about the importance of taking advantage of opportunities and saying “yes” when something comes along.

Nancy shares more of her message on her blog, and her book will be launched in 2016.

Watch the video featuring Dahl:


November 2015 – Twanya Hood Hill

Twanya Hood Hill and Dunwoody College of Technology President Rich Wagner, Ph.D.









Learning the “look” of confidence, turning perception into reality

When Twanya Hood Hill was in elementary school she was painfully shy and her mother would often tell people “She’s bashful, but she’s smart.” From those early experiences, Hood Hill discovered that by adopting “the look” of confidence she could change the way people viewed her – and eventually how she viewed herself.

The Vice-President of Leadership Development for Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Hood Hill now helps others unlock their own leadership potential by learning the skill of self-confidence. Hood Hill is also an adjunct faculty member in the Master of Arts and Organizational Leadership program at St. Catherine University.

“Confidence is not about how you feel about yourself, it’s how others see you,” Hood Hill explained during the Nov. 5 Jackson Leadership Lecture, held at Dunwoody College of Technology. The lecture series features key executives from the business community, who speak on a range of leadership topics.

During her talk entitled “Self-Confidence: The Key to Success,” Hood Hill provided several strategies for building self-confidence:

  • Fail fast – Put your ideas out there and then learn to adjust
  • Avoid negative thoughts
  • Manage Perceptions – Beware and be aware of how others perceive you
  • Learn the “Charisma Formula” – Strength + Likeability = Charisma

“Eventually people will start to see you differently, and you will see yourself differently,” Hood Hill said.

Watch the video featuring Hood Hill:

The breakfast lecture series is held the first Thursday of every month. The next event will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3 and will feature Nancy Dahl, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Tastefully Simple, a national home tasting company. For more information, or to view past events, visit

October 2015 – Kay Phillips

Speaker Kay Phillips and Dunwoody President Rich Wagner.






Great Leadership: The Intersection of Passion & Emotional Intelligence

From strategic agility and decisiveness to conflict management and team building, there are countless traits and qualities that go into being a good leader. But for the Co-Owner and Former President of ATEK Companies, two traits are critical to becoming a great leader.

During the Oct. 1 Jackson Leadership Lecture, featured speaker Kay Phillips shared how the intersection of passion and emotional intelligence can lead to great leadership.

Phillips said that having passion for what you do produces energy, ignites others, drives vision and helps you connect with those around you.

“People need to know where you are going, how they can help and that you care deeply,” Phillips said, adding that you can’t lead without followers.

When passion is combined with the self-awareness and empathy that comes from emotional intelligence, Phillips said you create a “winning environment.”

Phillips used examples from her own experience as the Former President and Co-Owner of ATEK Companies, a company that provides electro-mechanical medical devices, manufacturing solutions and contract manufacturing. Prior to that, Phillips held numerous senior leadership positions in large multinational companies.

The breakfast lecture series is held the first Thursday of every month and features key executives from the business community, who are invited to speak on a range of leadership topics. The next event will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 and will feature Twanya Hood Hill, Vice President of Leadership Development for Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. For more information, or to view past events, visit

Watch the video featuring Kay Phillips:

September 2015 – Russell Becker








CEO Russ Becker talks about the impact of leadership development at APi Group

Leadership development is a journey that “takes time, energy, investment and commitment,” said Russell Becker, APi Group, Inc. CEO and President.

Becker shared the importance of that journey and its overall impact at APi Group, during the Sept. 3 Leadership Lecture at Dunwoody College of Technology. Under Becker’s leadership, APi Group has grown to a $2.5 billion parent company. APi Group includes more than 40 complementary businesses, which provide fire protection and industrial and specialty construction.

When Becker was promoted to CEO and President he began re-investing in leadership development. “Leadership, and leadership development, has been a huge part of our company, really since I joined the corporate company in 2002,” Becker said.

As part of the company’s leadership development journey, Becker talked about the importance of first aligning their company values and corporate culture, as well as making sure they had the right leaders in top positions.

“We have 200 locations; each one of those locations needs to have great leadership,” Becker said.

Becker said leaders at APi are problem solvers who have a sense of urgency. They are results driven and focus on building relationships. The company utilizes the Leadership Institute as well Leader Labs for ongoing training and development. APi also creates individual development plans for its leaders and utilizes a strategic leadership advisor and a Chief Learning Officer.

For APi Group, Becker said he can point to the company’s increased revenue and profitability over the past 13 years as proof that the investment is paying off.

The breakfast lecture series is held the first Thursday of every month and features key executives from the business community, who are invited to speak on a range of leadership topics. The next event will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1 and will feature Kay Phillips, Co-Owner and Former President of ATEK Companies. For more information, or to view past events, visit

Watch the video featuring Russell Becker:


August 2015 – Elizabeth Abraham

Top Tool CEO Elizabeth Abraham and Dunwoody Provost Jeff Ylinen






Top Tool CEO shares personal and powerful message on leadership

On Thursday, Aug. 6, Elizabeth Abraham shared her personal journey – from an early career as a psychologist to the current CEO and Owner of a precision micro-parts manufacturing company. Abraham was the featured speaker in August for the C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series at Dunwoody College of Technology.

Abraham related her powerful personal story to a series of leadership lessons ranging from learning from your mistakes to surrounding yourself with a great team.

A licensed psychologist, Abraham grew up in New England and taught at the Chicago Medical School in the 1970s. She also did small business consulting and taught Marketing & Small Business Development at the University of St. Thomas and at the Carlson School of Management.

All of those experiences helped shape her leadership values, which have become a part of the Top Tool culture.

Founded in 1966, Top Tool Company was a tool and die shop that created precision progressive dies, which manufactures used to make metal parts for electronic devices and other products. After purchasing the company with her husband in 1987, the company diversified into metal stamping and manufacturing of precision micro-parts and has seen annual double-digit growth since 2010. Top Tool has also steadily gained new customers in defense and medical device industries.

Abraham believes strongly in giving back and has served on numerous boards, including the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association and the Minnesota Manufacturer’s Coalition of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. She was also a founding member of the Women Leaders in Manufacturing Council.

For her leadership and advocacy of the manufacturing industry, Abraham received the “American Eagle Award” from the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. She was also named an “Industry Leader of the Year” by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.

The breakfast lecture series is held the first Thursday of every month and features key executives from the business community, who are invited to speak on a range of leadership topics. The next event will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3 and will feature Russell Becker, President and CEO of APi Group, Inc. For more information, or to view past events, visit

Watch the video featuring Elizabeth Abraham:


June 2015 – Dale Mulfinger, FAIA







From Hard Work to Teamwork:
Architect Dale Mulfinger Delivers Leadership Lecture

Award-winning architect Dale Mulfinger, FAIA, talked about the value of teamwork during the recent Leadership Lecture event held at Dunwoody College of Technology.

“You don’t need to hit a homerun,” Mulfinger said. “You just need to get on base and let your team do the rest.”

Mulfinger also emphasized the values of hard work, excellence and building positive relationships when he shared how the principles of leadership expert and author John C. Maxwell relate to his work as the Founding Partner and Principal Emeritus of SALA Architects, Inc.

The author of five books, including “The Architecture of Edwin Lundie” and “The Cabin,” Mulfinger was the featured speaker for the June 4 C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series event.

The breakfast lecture series is held the first Thursday of every month and features key executives from the business community, who are invited to speak on a range of leadership topics. The next event will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6 and will feature Elizabeth Abraham, Owner and CEO of Top Tool Co. For more information, or to view past events, visit

Watch the video featuring Dale Mulfinger:


May 2015 – Michael LeJeune







Leadership Lecture Series Brings Fabcon CEO & President Michael LeJeune to Campus

CEO & President of Fabcon Companies Michael (Mike) LeJeune presented at the College’s latest Leadership Lecture Series event on May 7, 2015. The series—offered the first Thursday of every month—has brought several prominent speakers to campus to speak on a variety of leadership topics.

The premise of Mike’s presentation was the “Importance of Corporate Culture” and what leaders can do to create a successful one.

Mike began his presentation by sharing the progression of his professional life with the audience, highlighting some of the challenges he first began to experience during his early years with Fabcon. Mike explained that after years of trying to find the root of the problem, he realized it was something much bigger than he was expecting: it was the overall culture of the organization.

“The most important thing I can do as a CEO is create a corporate culture where everyone can succeed,” Mike said.

Mike’s decision to shift the corporate culture of Fabcon ultimately shaped a set of important guidelines he and his employees now follow–something they call “the Fabcon way”:

  • Keep your integrity.
  • Focus on what is right instead of what is wrong.
  • Say thank you.
  • Treat everyone with respect.
  • Focus on the process, not the person.
  • Really listen.
  • Know it’s okay to make a mistake.
  • Explain why you want someone to do something; share with them the big picture.
  • Celebrate success.
  • Have fun.

Mike explained that by following this simple but effective list of corporate ethics, Fabcon—and its employees—have emerged stronger and more successful than ever. He hopes his story and these tips encourage organizational leaders in a similar situation to do the same.

The Leadership Lecture Series continues with Dale Mulfinger, FAIA Principal Emeritus, SALA Architects, Inc. Thursday, June 4 at 7:30 a.m. RSVP to

Watch the video featuring Mike LeJeune:


April 2015 – Ben Clymer


Pictured above (l to r): Gib Syverson ’74 Automotive Service Technology, Mark Falconer ‘ 68 Welding & Chair, Alumni Board of Managers, Ben Clymer, and Paul Berman ’82 Automotive Service Technology.

Ben Clymer shares message about personal leadership

On Thursday, April 2, Dunwoody College of Technology hosted its monthly C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series event. This month’s event featured former NHL player Ben Clymer, who shared a great message about taking ownership in your life through personal leadership.

Clymer, a hockey reporter and analyst for Channel 45 and Fox Sports North and a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch, has earned a national reputation as an NHL defenseman, a broadcaster and a businessman.

Don’t miss the next C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series, when Michael LeJeune, President and CEO of Fabcon Companies, will be the featured speaker.

The event will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 7 at Dunwoody. The cost to attend is $20 and you can register in advance by e-mailing or by calling 612-381-3064.

Watch the video featuring Ben Clymer:

February 2015 – Dr. Bruce Jackson

Newly-launched Jackson Lecture series has leadership focus

More than 50 alumni, students, faculty and friends attended the first ever C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series on Thursday, Feb. 5 at Dunwoody College of Technology. The event featured Dr. Bruce Jackson, a talented speaker and expert in Leadership and Human Performance. Dr. Jackson kicked off the lecture series by providing a framework for leadership at any level of the organization.

Dr. Jackson serves as the CEO of The Institute of Applied Human Excellence, a training firm dedicated to helping individuals, teams and organizations achieve peak performance. He is also the Executive Director of the C. Charles Jackson Foundation.

The Jackson Leadership Lecture Series features prominent speakers on leadership topics and is being offered the first Thursday of every month.

Watch the fideo featuring Dr. Bruce Jackson’s presentation on “Leadership and Human Performance.”