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How do leaders create workplace cultures that inspire true inclusiveness and make all employees feel like they belong? How can organizations turn everyday crises into opportunities? Simmons University President Lynn Perry Wooten, Ph.D., has built a career out of transforming these challenging questions into competitive advantages, showing that organizations don’t have to succumb to crises ― they can thrive in the midst of one and emerge even stronger.

How to Emerge from Crisis a Better Organization

An accountant by training, Wooten brings decades of research on crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, management strategy, and positive leadership to the table to help leaders better prepare to lead through crises ― and for whatever lies around the corner. Co-authored with Erika H. James, dean of The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Wooten’s new book, “The Prepared Leader: Emerge from Any Crisis More Resilient Than Before” (Wharton School Press, September 20, 2022), presents five phases of crisis management. Using vivid and memorable cases, from the NBA to Burger King, the authors reveal the skills leaders need to navigate each phase, making the right decisions under pressure and building a crisis leadership team.

“In addition to people, profit and the planet, prepared leadership should be the fourth ‘P’ in a company’s bottom line. Effective leadership is the key factor in determining whether or not an organization or a society will be better off following a crisis,” explains Wooten, who has consulted for the Kellogg Foundation, Harvard’s Kennedy School and Google, and collaborated with firms across industries – including professional services, health care, automotive, technology, retail, hospitality, nonprofits and more. “Our work goes beyond the mechanics of damage control and effective communications to recognizing crisis situations as opportunities to create change and open the doors to innovation and growth. The time to prepare is always.”

Empowering Women Leaders to Succeed

A seasoned practitioner and executive named a “Next Generation Business Thinker” by the Financial Times, Wooten presents tactical and practical research-backed frameworks to guide decision makers on all matters related to leadership, strategy, and organizational culture. As the first African American president of Simmons, a women-centered university that aims to level the playing field, economically and socially, Wooten inspires leaders and students with her passionate and relatable style. And in her interactive keynotes and workshops, she encourages managers to consider how inclusive leadership strengthens organizations culturally, financially, and competitively.

“True inclusive leadership isn’t just inclusiveness for the sake of inclusiveness,” says Wooten, who is co-author of the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling book “Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership” (McGraw Hill, April 2022). “It’s a way to better understand your organization, assess the differences within a workforce and build bridges to ultimately cultivate diverse capabilities – making diversity, equity and inclusion a core competitive advantage.”

Praise for “The Prepared Leader”

“Crisis management is often approached as damage control and risk assessment, but James and Wooten offer an optimistic alternative. The prepared leader, they argue, is one who can convert failures into lessons, resilience and growth opportunities.” ― Financial Times

“’The Prepared Leader’ is a strong roadmap for how to lead during a crisis, filled with relatable, real-world examples. I found myself nodding my head and saying ‘yes’ while reading. The book also inspires us all and reminds us that with preparation, companies and their team members can emerge from challenging times stronger and more resilient than ever, and spawning a new phase of innovation.” ― Roz Brewer, Chief Executive Officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance

“Brilliant and fast-reading, ‘The Prepared Leader’, by Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten, is a must-read for anyone who aspires to successfully navigate a major crisis―for the sake of their organization, their employees, and their customers. Their research supports what I’ve experienced leading a company in a time of crisis: developing the right skills, continuing to learn, and leveraging the power of a diverse and knowledgeable team are all essential aspects of becoming a Prepared Leader.” ― Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines

“’The Prepared Leader’ is a timely assessment of what it takes to be an effective leader in our hyper-connected world. In detailing how best to identify and plan for a crisis of any size, Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten provide an informed strategy any executive can employ. However, by including thoughtful methods for learning from our challenges, James and Wooten ensure every reader can take away invaluable lessons to prepare us for an unknown future.” ― James Gorman, Chairman and CEO, Morgan Stanley

“By definition, the specifics of a crisis can’t be predicted. But the best leaders both anticipate areas where a crisis might emerge, and they prepare themselves and their teams to respond. ‘The Prepared Leader’, by Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten, is an excellent playbook for doing both. The frameworks and processes they share are world-class.” ― Reggie Fils-Aime, Former President and COO of Nintendo of America, and Author, “Disrupting the Game”


When unplanned emergencies arise, a robustly prepared leadership team and vigorous crisis management response is vital. Stern Speakers & Advisors connects you with renowned thought leaders whose insights, strategies and management frameworks help organizations fuel growth and disruptive innovation to better compete in a constantly changing world. Let us arrange for these esteemed experts to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting sessions, workshops and keynotes.

Prepared Leaders See Crises As Opportunities, Not Organizational Disasters was last modified: September 26th, 2022 by Justin Louis