My passion has always lied in creating social worlds that enable people to reach their full potential. This interest began as an undergraduate at Earlham College where I studied Human Development and Social Relations. I received my PhD in psychology from the University of Michigan where I studied how social contexts shaped who we became. My dissertation examined growth and resilience across the lifespan and the importance of the social environment in shaping psychological growth and transformation.
Currently I am a faculty member at the Ross School of Business where I teach business communications. I see communication as a tool for creating positive growth. It is through our words, gestures, and shared meanings that we come to understand who we are and who we can become. When we become more intentional in how we communicate, we can improve our lives and others.
I created and continue to teach a course on Positive Business Communications, where I show students how they have the power to design social worlds that elevate themselves and others. Through experiential learning, the students learn how to use language to foster optimal levels of performance and wellbeing.
I’m a core faculty member at the Center for Positive Organizations and serve as the faculty director of the center’s Consortium. In this capacity, I work with organizations to help them apply the science of organizational thriving to their own companies.
My research focuses on leadership communication, positive organizational change, and employee well-being. I focus on identifying tangible solutions that leaders can use to drive positive organizational change. Using quantitative research methods, my research documents the impact of positive workplace solutions on employee engagement, retention and wellbeing.
In addition to my academic work, I advise leaders on how to create flourishing organizations as a consultant. I’m a co-founder of OptimizeU that offers consulting and executive coaching services to optimize workplace well-being and performance. I’m also the co-creator of the BluePrint Assessment Toolset, designed to provide information for designing your ideal self, leadership impact, team and culture.