Patrick J. Sweeney, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Leadership and Character
Patrick Sweeney is an experienced senior leader and scholar who leads the School of Business’ Center for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University. The Center’s primary missions are to: integrate ethical leadership and character strengths into all courses and School of Business’ activities; conduct cutting-edge research that advances the understanding of developing ethical leaders and organization; and provide consulting and executive education. Pat is a Professor of the Practice of Management and has taught in the MBA, Masters in Accountancy, Masters in Business Analytics, Masters in Management, and the undergraduate programs. His research focuses on the study of leader development, character-based leadership, building and leading high performing teams, leadership in dangerous contexts, and organizational adaptation. His work has been published in prominent academic and practitioner journals. Pat was recognized as a 2017 thought leader in the area of trust by Trust Across America.
Prior to his appointment at Wake Forest University, he was the founding Executive Director of the Shackelford Leadership Institute at Georgia Gwinnett College. He served over 29 years in the United States Army and retired as a Colonel. Pat served in leadership assignments both in the United States and abroad to include: Deputy and Acting Head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, the United States Military Academy at West Point; Director, Eisenhower Leader Development Graduate Education Program, a joint venture with Columbia University, at West Point; Liaison Officer for the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division, Operation Iraqi Freedom I; Commander of a 450-person artillery unit and Chief of Staff of a 1600-person organization within the 101st Airborne Division. He also served as the Executive Officer and Researcher for West Point’s Center for Leadership and Organization Research. In this role, he supervised the execution of several major projects to include: the study of tacit knowledge for military leadership with Yale University and a longitudinal study of cadets’ leader and character development.
Dr. Sweeney has experience creating and implementing programs at the institutional level and is the primary architect of the Domain of the Human Spirit, the main character dimension for West Point’s Leader Development System; a foundational dimension in the U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program; and a main pillar in the Department of Defense’s Total Force Fitness Program. He also played a lead role in the refinement, expansion, and organizational integration of the West Point Leader Development System.
Dr. Sweeney led a team of 62 prominent international scholars and practitioners to produce the book entitled, Leadership in Dangerous Situations: A Handbook for the Armed Forces, Emergency Services, and First Responders. He has also published 34 articles and chapters on leadership across an array of academic and military professional publications, including: American Psychologist, Applied Psychology: An International Review, Armed Forces Journal, Consulting Psychologist Journal, Journal of Applied Social Psychology and various other professional journals.
Dr. Sweeney combines his scholarly work and 35 years of practical leadership experience to enhance the education development of leaders at all levels and backgrounds. He has conducted education sessions to senior executive leaders from major organizations such as: Deloitte, EMCOR, GE, HP, Kellogg’s, JP Morgan Chase, P&G, Prudential, State Farm, and Synchrony Financial.
Dr. Sweeney holds a Ph.D. and Masters in Social Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; a Masters in Military Art and Science from the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and a Bachelor in General Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Lyn B. Myers, Senior Operations Manager
Lyn Myers joined the Wake Forest community in 2001. Since that time, she has served in various administrative and leadership roles within the business school. These areas include: business operations, human resources and payroll, accounts payable and receivable, budget reporting and financial planning as well as management of faculty administrative support personnel.
In the area of Administration, Lyn was directly responsible for the daily financial management of the Business School. She supervised accounts payable/purchasing/accounts receivable processes as well as financial reporting. Lyn also directed the School of Business human resources function, serving to implement and maintain University human resources and payroll policies and procedures for staffing, salary administration, benefits, performance reviews and compliance issues. She helped create framework for team management programs, development workshops and training.
Prior to joining Wake Forest, Lyn was an experienced professional in the consumer financial services sector for more than 11 years, managing wholesale lending operations with SLM Holding, a Sallie Mae subsidiary, as well as Equity One.
Lyn attended Appalachian State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with majors in Management and Marketing.
Kris Shelton, Instructional Designer
Kris Shelton comes to Wake Forest with a portfolio of training, marketing, and instructional design experiences spanning the academic, corporate, and non-profit sectors. She has built training and learning programs as well as provided high quality instruction for Davenport University, Dex Media, Dominican University of California, Schneider National, and the Blue Gray Alliance.
In the academic sphere, Kris has been recognized for her excellence in the classroom through being designated as “Distinguished Adjunct Faculty” at Davenport University as well as being named “Best Overall Davenport University Instructor”. As well, she is the author of the book, Power Language: Effective Communication for Executive Development used since 2003 in the MBA program at Dominican University of California.
In the business sector, she is known for securing highest quality at lowest cost for product life-cycle management in communication, training, instructional design, and marketing. She has experience leading cross-functional teams on training and communication as well as process improvement projects during times of rapid change.
In the non-profit sector, Kris shaped brand identity for a 15k member organization and developed a marketing strategy that reached an international audience of 50k including raising funds in the amount of $14k through special projects.
With an MBA degree in Strategic Management from Davenport University in Michigan, and an MFA degree in Writing, Publishing, and Literature from Emerson College in Boston, Kris blends the tactical and the creative to translate business needs into products and programs that support company values, goals, and initiatives.
Shellie W. Ritzman, Administrative Coordinator
Shellie Ritzman has 30 years’ experience in executive administrative positions with companies in a wide variety of fields including: retail, industrial and workplace hygiene, corporate accounting, restaurant franchisement, and banking.
In addition to providing executive administrative support to C-suite leaders and executive staff, she has chaired employee appreciation committees, redesigned organizational systems and processes for office management, billing and implemented administrative handbooks. Shellie also operates her own LLC providing personal assistant services.
Sean T. Hannah, PhD, Senior Research Associate
In addition to his role as a Senior Research Associate, Sean Hannah is a Professor of Management and holds the Tylee Wilson Chair of Business Ethics at Wake Forest. Dr. Hannah is the founding Executive Director of the Center for Leadership and Character.
Sean Hannah is an experienced practicing senior leader and a scholar whose theoretical and empirical work is published in the top journals in the management field. He focuses on the study of character-based leader development, exemplary leadership and its positive effects, behavioral ethics, and the building of high performing teams.
Prior to his appointment to the Wilson Chair at Wake Forest he served for five years as the first Director of the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE) at West Point – The United States Military Academy, in NY. CAPE is the Army’s overall proponent and subject matter experts for the profession, ethics, and character-based leader development. He previously served as the Director of Leadership and Management Programs at West Point. Dr. Hannah has served in command and staff positions in Infantry units in Europe, Cuba, Panama, Southwest Asia, and the United States. He served in combat with the lead unit of 3d Armored Division during Desert Storm, where his unit was awarded the Valorous Unit Award and he the Bronze Star; and also in other contingency operations such as Operation Sea Signal (Panama and Cuba), and Joint Task Force Los Angeles (LA Riots). He was in the Pentagon on 9/11 and the day after the attack was assigned as the Budget Director of Resource Services-Washington, the Army organization that sustained the highest casualty level in the attack, and led the reconstitution of that organization and its processes and systems to reestablish a $32 billion dollar budget. He has served from the lowest tactical levels to the highest strategic levels, having worked for two Chiefs of Staff of the Army and an Assistant Secretary of the Army. Upon his retirement he was awarded the Legion of Merit to honor his 26 years of service.
Dr. Hannah holds a PhD in Management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters of Business Administration from Syracuse University, a Masters of Arts in Public Administration from Syracuse University, a Masters in National Security Studies from the Marine Corps University, and a Bachelor in Political Science from California State University.
He sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Business Ethics Quarterly. In the last five years alone he has published over 40 papers on leadership including papers in the premier management journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Organizational Behavior; the Leadership Quarterly; Business Ethics Quarterly; and many others.
An engaged and effective educator and trainer, he synthesizes his research and practical leadership experience to engage students and leaders and enhance their learning. Beyond university teaching he has conducted over 250 executive education programs with major corporations and other executive groups on leadership, leader development and character development.
John Sumanth, PhD, Center Research Associate
John Sumanth is the James Farr Fellow and Assistant Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior at the Wake Forest University School of Business. Prior to Wake, John spent two years on the faculty at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. An award-winning teacher, John has been recognized for his outstanding performance in the classroom at multiple institutions (Wake, SMU, UNC). He was voted by Wake Forest School of Business undergraduates as the recipient of the Senior Class Teaching Award for 2013-2014.
John’s broad areas of research interest and expertise are in leadership, upward communication, trust and the role of power and status in organizational hierarchies. In his current work, he examines how individuals in position of influence can have a potentially detrimental impact on both the quantity and quality of innovative ideas that their followers’ raise. To date, his research has been published in top-tier outlets, such as Administrative Science Quarterly, the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, the Journal of Organizational Behavior and Organizational Psychology Review. John serves as an invited reviewer for the Academy of Management Journal and the Academy of Management’s annual conferences. He is a member of the Academy of Management’s Organizational Behavior (OB) and Social Issues in Management (SIM) Divisions, the Association for Psychological Science (APS), and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). He has presented his work at the annual Academy of Management meetings, SIOP, INFORMS and the International Conference on Productivity and Quality Research (ICPQR).
John holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), an MBA in marketing and management from the Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida and a B.S. in industrial engineering (cum laude) from the University of Miami (FL). He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key, Tau Beta Pi and the Iron Arrow Honor Society, the University of Miami’s highest honor.
Prior to academia, John spent nearly a decade working in a number of high-profile strategic planning, marketing, and R&D positions for large, multi-national corporations in the insurance, global tourism and fast food industries. His extensive experience working closely with senior-level executives and government officials includes spending time coaching high-potential ExxonMobil executives as part of their Leadership Development program.