Executive Director, Center for Integrative Leadership
Vanessa Laird is the Executive Director of the Center for Integrative Leadership, a joint initiative with the Carlson School of Management and the Humphrey School. She is a member of the graduate faculty at the Humphrey School and of the affiliate faculty at University of Minnesota Law School and has extensive experience ranging across private, public, and academic institutions. Laird previously served as General Counsel for Optum Inc. and is a former Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel for Medtronic, Inc, having led the legal team of the company’s largest division and served as senior counsel for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Prior to her work at Medtronic, Laird practiced U.S. and international law in the Legal Adviser’s Office at the U.S. Department of State and served as an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. She engaged with other governments on diverse legal issues, including litigation against the Department and the drafting, implementation and interpretation of statutes, treaties, and regulations.
Laird holds a BA (magna cum laude with Highest Honors in English) in English and political science from Williams College; a BA Hons (MA) in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University; and a JD from Stanford University.
Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Co-Academic Director, CIL
Quick is assistant professor for public and nonprofit leadership at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs where she teaches courses on leadership and civic engagement. Quick'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. Quick'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.
Quick holds a Ph.D. in Planning, Policy, and Design from the University of California, Irvine, a master’s degree in city and regional planning (concentrating in environmental planning) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Swarthmore College.
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.
Shaver holds a Business Communication degree from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. in International business from the University of Michigan.
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.
Katie manages the Center's communication and marketing, event planning, lecture series, and other projects. Katie holds a B.A. in Cinema and Media Culture, with a Minor in Cultural Studies in Comparative Literature, from the University of Minnesota, where she also played for the Varsity Women's Softball Team. Katie received her Master of Public Policy degree, with a concentration in public and nonprofit leadership and management, here at the Humphrey School in 2011. Her subsequent experience includes working as a Project Manager and Community Organizer for the Minneapolis-based consultanting firm Grassroots Solutions.
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 Young 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 the 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.