Executive Director, Center for Integrative Leadership
Laird has served as General Counsel, Optum; Vice President and Senior Counsel for Medtronic's Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management and Neuromodulation businesses; Senior Legal Counsel for Medtronic Europe, Middle East and Africa; Attorney-Adviser International in the Legal Adviser's Office at the U.S. Department of State; International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations; and faculty member of the Faculty of Laws at the University of Sheffield in England.
Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Co-Academic Director, CIL
Kathy is assistant professor for public and nonprofit leadership at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs where she teaches courses on leadership and civic engagement. Kathy's work focuses on how managers in public and nonprofit organizations create opportunities for communities to address public issues together. She does ethnographic research in communities where such managers have been particularly successful in building platforms for ongoing civic engagement and leadership. She studies practices across diverse issue areas, including city budgeting and resource management, environmental stewardship, urban master planning and zoning, neighborhood conflicts, transportation, and arts and culture development. Kathy's research, teaching, and service commitments grow out of her professional practice. She previously worked as an environmental advocate and policy analyst in Indonesia, and as a community development program manager in two Californian cities.
Pond Family Chair in the Teaching and Advancement of Free Enterprise Principles, Carlson School of Management
Co-Academic Director, CIL
Shaver is Professor of Strategic Management and Organization at the Carlson School of Management. He is also the academic co-director of the Center for Integrative Leadership. He has received numerous teaching awards for MBA and executive education classes on Corporate Strategy, Multinational Business Management, and Corporate Responsibility; and Ph.D. classes on strategy and international business research. His research interests revolve around corporate strategy choices and their impact on performance. In particular, his research focuses on the management and economics of international expansion as well as corporate expansion through diversification and mergers and acquisitions.
Associate Director, Student Initiatives
Merrie Benasutti is the Associate Director of the Center for Integrative Leadership at the University of MN. Merrie is responsible for student initiatives within the center, including the CIL Student Leadership Team, CommonGrounds, which brings together graduate students from multiple disciplines to work together on a public issue, and a collaborative, civic engagement project, CHANCE, which connects the university with the adjacent Cedar Riverside neighborhood. Merrie has over fifteen years experience working within higher education and is committed to campus/community collaboration, civic engagement, and promoting cross-cultural learning and interaction.
Assistant Program Manager
Sara manages the Center's communication and marketing, event planning, lecture series, and other projects. After graduating from college, Sara worked abroad as an English Teaching Assistant in Palestine/Israel. She has also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in the local community. In her first term she supported refugees seeking access to education and careers in healthcare with the International Institute of Minnesota and during her second term she managed the AmeriCorps project as VISTA Leader with the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation.
Graduate Research Assistant
Thor is a second-year Master of Public Policy student focusing on U.S. Foreign and International Security Policy. During the summer of 2014, Thor assisted with the coordination and implementation of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for You African Leadership program. Prior to starting his graduate studies, Thor served for two years as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer working with youth and training teachers in the public schools of Abi Adi, Ethiopia. Thor serves on teh board of the Public Affairs Student Association (PASA), is involved with the CHANCE initiative and tutors adult English language learners at the International Institute of MInnesota.