Leadership Assessment Advisor
Dr. Marilyn Buckner is a business and leadership consultant and executive coach focused on culture change, agility and inclusive leadership. She has designed over twenty high potential and leadership programs for global companies including Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Cox, Delta, Equifax, Home Depot, Hertz, McKesson, Nationwide, Siemens as well as universities such as the University of Central Florida, University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Kennesaw University, Tampa University to name a few.
She is an expert in designing succession planning and leadership development programs and has developed Talent Management systems for many global Fortune 500 companies. She also worked with the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to design and deliver a succession planning and leadership coaching program for future Deans, C Suite and Presidents. Formerly she was a leader in the talent development area at The Coca-Cola Company and developed the first global succession planning, global staffing, leadership development and career development programs. As a result, she has traveled globally to implement leadership programs. After working at The Coca-Cola Company, she went to work for a software company, Global Pay, as head of strategic planning before becoming a consultant where she has worked for two decades.
She has been a coach and a consultant for global companies for two decades designing leadership, change, culture change, performance management and career development programs. She is the author of publications on the subjects of succession planning, learning agility and career development. As the former Board Chair of Human Resources People & Strategy and the Program Chair, she also designed over ten HR and Talent workshops such as Change Leadership, Culture Change, High Potential Leadership, Mergers and Acquisitions and Succession Planning and was recognized by her peers with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Her Ph.D. is in Counseling from Georgia State University where she also taught in the graduate Counseling program. She is located in Georgia but works with clients throughout the world.
She is also a Master Trainer for several leading-edge assessments including the learning agility TALENTx7, Hogan Leadership Assessments, the Decision Style View for inclusive leadership styles and an Emotional Intelligence 360 Survey and uses these for accelerating coaching and team development outcomes. She recently published a chapter in a book entitled the “Age of Agility”. She also co-authored an article with the CEO of a global company on an innovative leadership program that was proven to accelerate leadership agility. She is the former Board Chair of the strategic HR association, HR People + Strategy, a division of SHRM and was elected by her peers for that role.
Leadership Assessment Advisor
Gary Dent brings to GA&A an expertise in human resources after a lengthy career in HR leadership positions with higher education organizations, major city and Fortune 500 corporations. One of his last positions was as the human resources vice chancellor with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), where he was chief HR officer for this system of 14 universities. Gary coordinated the PASSHE chancellor search and many of the presidential searches of member universities. His expertise in HR and passion for talent management has been tapped by boards, including the Detroit Institute of the Arts, Boy Scouts of America, Junior Achievement, United Way, American Society of Employers, Association of International Personnel Management Association, International Association of Suggestion Plans and National Black MBA Association.
Gary has a B.S. in special education from Norfolk State University and an M.A. in management and supervision from Central Michigan University. He is also a private pilot.
Vice President & Managing Director, GA&A and Kelly
As vice president and managing director for GA&A, Susanne oversees financial management of the firm, supervision and development of consultants and team members and organization of systems and operations. She brings a wealth of administrative expertise garnered through a successful career in K-12 leadership. She joins GA&A from service as chief academic officer of the Minneapolis (MN) Public Schools where she designed and implemented academic priorities to maximize the capacity of the system to provide excellent learning environments for the approximately 34,000 students in the district. Previously, in service to the approximately 24,000 students in the Bibb County Public Schools in Macon, GA, she was acting superintendent and deputy superintended of School Improvement and Redesign. In this latter role, she led the design and implementation of a district-wide strategic planning process and the development of a school redesign program to maximize the district's student learning success. Other executive roles include multiple leadership posts within the Rochester (MN) Public Schools, including executive director of School Improvement and Accountability, principal at Franklin/Montessori at Franklin Elementary Schools, principal at Churchill/Hoover Elementary Schools, interim director of Special Education and Speech/Language pathologist. She also served as an educational consultant with the Cochlear Impact Program of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Susanne's leadership includes service as board chair for the Child Care Resource and Referral Network (CCRR) and co-chair of the Campaign Steering Committee for the Joint Building Venture between CCRR and Rochester (MN) Boys' and Girls' Club. She was also a board member for the Rochester Area Foundation - First Steps and for the Rochester Diversity Council. She has been involved with the Communities in Schools Council of Champions, Macon Promise Neighborhoods Advisory Council and Minnesota Department of Education Desegregation and Integration Task Force. Internationally, she has served as a team leader with Global Action Youth Summer Camps held in Ukraine, Moldova and India.
Susanne holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and an M.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed additional licensure coursework at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She holds licenses and certificates as a district superintendent, a school principal and a speech/language pathologist in Minnesota. She has completed training to be a Leaf Level Certified Trainer in Fierce Conversations. She has been trained at Harvard University through the Public Education Leadership Project and DataWise. Other training includes Courageous Conversations, Professional Learning Communities, Positive Behavior Intervention and Support, Response to Intervention and Crisis Prevention and Intervention.
Practice Leader for Strategic Services & Senior Executive Leadership Consultant
Sharon A. McDade heads Greenwood Asher & Associates' (GA&A) leadership and strategic services. She facilitates searches for higher education leaders and provides consulting on organizational development including environmental scanning, strategic planning, problem-solving focusing on organizational diagnosis, leadership development and presidential assessment and facilitation of meetings and retreats for leaders and boards.
At the American Council on Education, Sharon directed the Emerging Leaders Group and ACE Fellows Program, and created the Leadership Academy for Department Chairs. Previously she directed Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management, founded and directed the Management Development Program and co-founded the Harvard Seminar for New Presidents. She has created or directed major leadership programs for organizations as diverse as the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, New England Center for Research on Higher Education, National Association for Women in Education and Midlantic National Bank. She was a founding board member, external evaluator and contributor to many research articles for the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women. She worked with leadership development internationally with the Fulbright Commission, United States Information Agency, Latin American Scholars Program of American Universities, Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundations, U.S. Freedom Support Act Graduate Fellowship Program, Universia Foundation of Mexico, Higher Education South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. She has keynoted and presented on leadership development at conferences in Kazakhstan, British Columbia, England and many U.S. events.
Sharon taught higher education graduate programs at George Washington University, Columbia University and University of Massachusetts. Her scholarship and chairship of 60+ doctoral dissertations focus on leadership relating to development, administration, assessment, the presidency, women, planning and faculty and career development.
Sharon has an Ed.D. in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University, an M.F.A. in theater design from Ohio State University and a B.S. from Miami University.
Throughout her career, Dr. Katie Olivant has engaged in successful grant writing, strategic planning, action research, program evaluation, and accreditation activities. Katie worked at California State University, Stanislaus after 25 years, during which she served as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (AVPAA), Chair of the Liberal Studies - Elementary Teaching Content Preparation Department, and Associate Professor of Liberal Studies.
As AVPAA, Katie served as the University’s Accreditation Officer and Research Integrity Officer and oversaw both academic policy and curricular policy initiatives and processes. She also led the initial implementation of a university-wide, comprehensive academic advising software tool. During her time as department chair of one of the University’s largest majors, Katie worked closely with the Teacher Education department and subject matter area departments to develop clearer and more efficient pathways for undergraduate students into credential programs, including writing and implementing a $225,000 grant for that purpose, and participating in the development and implementation of a $2,000,000 grant to improve the recruitment and preparation of future teachers. She also served as the Assessment Facilitator for Undergraduate Programs for the College of Education, Kinesiology and Social Work. In her early years as a faculty member, Katie served as the Coordinator of Outreach, Communications, and Graduate Learning Services for CEGE (Center for Excellence in Graduate Education) and as the Coordinator of Service Learning for PACE (Program for Academic and Career Excellence). Her involvement with CEGE and PACE, which were funded by a Title V grant, further enhanced her experience in program evaluation and grant reporting.
Prior to transitioning to faculty, Katie served in a variety of student services roles at CSU Stanislaus, including Director of Student Leadership and Development and Executive Assistant and Judicial Affairs Officer for the Division of Student Affairs. These experiences deeply informed her commitment to student success and equity as a faculty member and academic administrator.
Katie’s research interests involve the roles of creativity, critical thinking and reflection in both K-12 and higher education leadership, as well as the evaluation and assessment of educational programs’ effectiveness. Katie received her Ed.D in Educational Leadership from UC Davis / CSU Fresno, M.B.A. from Northwestern University, and B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University, Bloomington.
Brandon Price has over 25 years’ experience as a higher education professional. Throughout his career, he has amassed a wealth of expertise in grant development and implementation, equity research, and program evaluation. Notably, he has secured grants from esteemed institutions such as the U.S. Department of Education (Title III, Title V, and TRiO) and the National Science Foundation, among others. Brandon's proficiency also extends to various quantitative research techniques including conducting multivariate analyses to bolster program evaluation and enhancement efforts, as well as leading numerous program assessments.
Recently, Brandon served as the Associate Vice President for Student Equity and Success at California State University, Stanislaus, where he spearheaded initiatives to bolster enrollment and bridge equity gaps. Prior to his tenure at CSU Stanislaus, Brandon held pivotal roles, including Associate Dean of Student Equity and Success, Dean of Student Services, and Dean of Career Technical Education and Economic Development. Each position allowed him to make significant strides in advancing educational opportunities for students.
A passionate advocate for student equity, Brandon Price has actively pursued research initiatives in key areas such as rural student access and success, STEM students' self-efficacy, Hispanic student matriculation in graduate education, and the influence of peer interaction on student retention and graduation rates.
Amanda has over 10 years of professional experience in governmental, non-profit, and higher education organizations. She currently serves as a senior administrator within the Division of Academic Affairs at Stanislaus State. Prior to this, she served as Special Assistant to the University President at Stanislaus State, Director of Operations and Government Affairs at a local non-profit organization, and as a communications consultant and legislative aide in the California State Legislature.
Most recently, Amanda facilitated a successful strategic planning process for the Division of Academic Affairs at Stanislaus State. In addition, she’s spearheaded a number of executive leadership transitions including presidents and provosts among other positions. Her areas of expertise include operations management at the executive level, optimizing organizational effectiveness, and internal and external strategic communications.
Amanda holds a B.A. in Government from Sacramento State and a Master of Public Administration from Stanislaus State.