aol-logoAcademy of Leadership

For thousands upon thousands of years the questions remain…

Is a leader born or made?

Is an individual a natural leader or can you teach someone to lead?
Many individuals and institutes of higher learning are firm in the belief that leadership is an inborn trait and cannot be taught as a field of study. The Academy of Leadership differs in its support of the philosophy that leadership can and must be taught. Not only does Executive Women International provide a forum for leadership development through the Academy, the current curriculum is driven by the understanding that behavior is the foundation of all successful leadership.

Authors with published works on social intelligence, site the fact that skills can get a professional only so far and behavior is the corner stone of creating and solidifying the effectiveness of a leader. The Academy supports this approach with the use of behavioral assessments in all of its modules and a faculty that has a long history of teaching and coaching successful leaders.

Many traditional leadership programs steer participants toward organizational strategies and avoid the task of behavioral development. The Academy finds its strength and style in its focus on behaviors. Academy participants are introduced to the history and philosophy of leadership, taught to influence and motivate others within the context of leadership, and are encouraged to become centers of influence in their firms and chapters.

Our Philosophy

This is the foundation for the entire Academy of Leadership program, including all speakers, activities, and information presented at each course.

  • Leadership can and must be taught.
  • Everyone has the capacity to lead.
  • There are stellar examples of leadership within EWI.

Courses and Enrollment

  • Academy of Leadership courses are offered at Spring Conference and Leadership Conference & Annual Meeting.
  • Registration for courses is often available in conjunction with conference registration.
  • The completion of any four Academy of Leadership courses is a prerequisite to join the Academy of Leadership Alumni. Alumni are eligible to attend special leadership events.

Academy of Leadership Faculty

Lori Giovannoni

Lori GiovannoniLori Giovannoni has consulted with numerous professional leadership programs throughout the United States. During her career she has addressed more than 250,000 professionals, focusing on issues such as the changing face of leadership, the evolution of leadership, and women as leaders. Her company, Lori Giovannoni and Associates, is a member firm of EWI of Salt Lake City. Through her association with EWI, she has designed all of EWI’s Academy of Leadership modules since its inception in 2001.

Lori is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions including the Athena Leadership Award given to women who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession; provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community; and actively assist women in realizing their full leadership potential.

Kristi Emmons

Kristi EmmonsKristi’s career includes over 20 years of working with major corporate brands such as Gaylord Entertainment, TNN/CBS, McGraw-Hill and FedEx.  In her current position as Executive Assistant, she and her colleague, Dan Mullally, Senior Vice President of Sales, lead the largest of three sales divisions at FedEx Services with nearly 4,000 team members to provide customers with the best solutions from a broad portfolio of transportation services. She is a graduate from the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and also studied Communications at the University of Memphis.

Kristi has been a member of EWI since 2001 and is a two time President for EWI of Memphis.  Outside of FedEx and EWI, Kristi loves music, traveling and is an avid Zumba Fitness fan.

Dr. Heather Williamson

Heather WilliamsonSpecialized in performance management and organizational development, Dr. Heather Williamson heads Transformation Group, LLC, a leading growth and performance firm. For the past eight years, she and her team have worked with a diverse array of clients across multiple industries in an effort to provide the highest quality executive coaching, strategic planning, managerial development, and team leadership strategies. Dr. Williamson, who has worked in the business sector for an excess of 17 years, is a recognized expert in the development of communication and interpersonal skills, as well as employee and leadership enhancement.  She earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology with a focus in Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007. She holds a Master of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the same institution. Dr. Williamson has been active in many associations including the Rotary, Executive Women International, Powhatan Chamber of Commerce, and Powhatan Crime Solvers.  She serves on several boards and is active in the community.  Dr. Williamson serves as an adjunct faculty member for Virginia Commonwealth University in the areas of leadership, business management and psychology.

Dr. Williamson lives in Powhatan, VA with her husband, Kent, and eight year old son, Temple.  For further information about Dr. Heather Williamson and the professional services her company offers, please see


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General Information & Membership: Address: 300 River Place Drive, PO Box 23 Detroit, MI  48207 EWI is a proud 501 (c) (3) organization.
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