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  • The Prepared Leader: Crisis Management w/ Erika James and Lynn Wooten – Wharton School Press Q&A
    The Prepared Leader: Crisis Management w/ Erika James and Lynn Wooten – Wharton School Press Q&A
  • Erika H. James & Lynn Perry Wooten Discuss New Book, "The Prepared Leader," on Crisis Management
    Erika H. James & Lynn Perry Wooten Discuss New Book, "The Prepared Leader," on Crisis Management
  • Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership | Talks at Google
    Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership | Talks at Google
  • Simmons University President: Higher Education in 2022 -  CXOTalk #751
    Simmons University President: Higher Education in 2022 - CXOTalk #751
  • Author Conversation - Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership
    Author Conversation - Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership
  • Women's Network: Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten
    Women's Network: Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten
  • Unlocking Resources for Recovery, Renewal, and Resilience
    Unlocking Resources for Recovery, Renewal, and Resilience
  • Ninth President Lynn Perry Wooten: The Power of Women Mentors
    Ninth President Lynn Perry Wooten: The Power of Women Mentors
  • How to be a Leader in Crisis - Lynn Wooten
    How to be a Leader in Crisis - Lynn Wooten
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    MLK Day 2022 Preview
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    34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observance
  • Simmons President On Combating Racial Injustice On Campus: "This Has To Be Collective Work"
    Simmons President On Combating Racial Injustice On Campus: "This Has To Be Collective Work"

Learn More About Lynn Perry Wooten

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 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.”

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Lynn Perry Wooten is the first African American president of Simmons University. Prior to joining Simmons, she was the David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. She is the co-author of four books, including “Positive Organizing in a Global Society: Understanding and Engaging Differences for Capacity Building and Inclusion” (Routledge, September 2015) and “Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During, and After a Crisis” (Routledge, 2010). Sharing her work at nearly 60 symposia and conferences, she also is the author of nearly 30 journal articles and more than 15 book chapters, as well as managerial monographs and numerous teaching cases.

Wooten served on the faculty of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business for nearly 20 years, where she taught undergraduate, graduate, and executive education courses and served as co-faculty director of the Center for Positive Organizations as well as co-faculty director of the Executive Leadership Institute.

Wooten is an active member of several national volunteer leadership organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Jack & Jill of America, Junior League and The Links Inc. In addition, Wooten is actively involved in the Boston philanthropic and civic community. She currently serves on the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees,  the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Trustee Advisory Board, the JFK Library Foundation Board of Advisors, the Fenway Alliance Board of Directors, the MASCO Board of Directors and the GBHBoard of Trustees. Wooten also serves on the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan Board of Directors, the George School Board of Trustees, and the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (A&T) State University Board of Trustees.

Wooten is a past recipient of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business’s BBA Student Award for Teaching Excellence as well as the school’s Andy Andrews Distinguished Service Award. She also was chosen as a “Next Generation Business Thinker” by the Financial Times.

She earned a bachelor’s in accounting in 1988 from North Carolina A&T State University, a historically Black college, where she graduated as valedictorian; an MBA from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business in 1990; and a doctorate in corporate strategy from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in 1995. She received a Certificate in Advanced Educational Leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2018.

Lynn Perry Wooten is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops, and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.  

Lynn Perry Wooten was last modified: October 26th, 2022 by Justin Louis

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The Prepared Leader: How to Emerge from Crisis a Better Organization

When an organization is in crisis mode, how can leaders use these unplanned emergencies as opportunities to become stronger and more resilient? Simmons University President Lynn Perry Wooten brings to each presentation decades of experience and research on crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, management strategy, and positive leadership to help leaders better prepare to lead through crises ― and for whatever lies around the corner. “The time to prepare is always,” she says. Her new co-authored book, “The Prepared Leader: Emerge from Any Crisis More Resilient Than Before” (September 2022), presents five phases of crisis management and lays out a blueprint for leaders to make the right decisions under pressure. Going beyond the mechanics of damage control and effective communications to recognizing crisis situations as opportunities to create change and open the door to innovation and growth, Wooten offers practical tools and frameworks for addressing and learning from crises and illuminates skills necessary to become a prepared leader.

Arrive and Thrive: Empowering Women Leaders to Succeed

Women leaders should no longer be considered simply lucky to survive in the workplace, they should be able to thrive at the top. As President of Simmons University, Lynn Perry Wooten’s goal is to economically and socially level the playing field for women and historically marginalized groups. Her co-authored book “Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership” – a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller – equips women with the tools to flourish in senior leadership roles. This presentation, based on Wooten’s decades of research and experience leading and learning in women-centered environments, teaches managers how to inspire excellence in their teams while leading a highly fulfilled life.

Creating an Inclusive Culture in Your Organization

How do leaders create cultures where people feel like they belong? Research has shown that workplace diversity drives innovation and profitability, and closing the gender gap could add trillions to the global economy. An expert on positive organizational scholarship, Simmons University President and former Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) faculty affiliate Lynn Perry Wooten says that leaders must think strategically about inclusiveness. In this presentation, she reveals her framework for how leaders can build bridges and cultivate capabilities that will turn strengths into excellence. The result is the ability to create competitive advantages that will elevate your organization from good to great.

High Potential Career Development: How to Become a Leader of Leaders

How do high potential employees rise from being a leader to becoming a leader of leaders? Simmons University President Lynn Perry Wooten, a Financial Times “Next Generation Business Thinker” and pioneering authority on corporate strategy, helps people map out career strategies and effectively transition to leading other leaders. Grounded in more than two decades of research and experience leading at all levels of an organization, Wooten shares practical strategies for building high performance teams, achieving excellence, and creating win-win atmospheres that will strengthen your organization’s leadership pipeline.

The CRISIS Leader

September 24, 2020

Turning Crises Into Opportunities: An Interactive Workshop

It’s inevitable that organizations will eventually encounter crises. How can leaders turn unpredictable events into opportunities AND emerge even stronger?

“In addition to people, profit and the planet, prepared leadership should be the fourth ‘P’ in a company’s bottom line,” explains Simmons University President and leadership expert Lynn Perry Wooten, who has advised organizations from across industries, including The Kellogg Foundation, Harvard’s Kennedy School, and Google. During this interactive workshop, which can be scheduled as a half-day, full-day or two-day program, Wooten will draw from her upcoming book, “The Prepared Leader: Emerge from Any Crisis More Resilient Than Before” (September 2022), which uses memorable, real world cases like the NBA and Burger King to present the five phases of crisis management and the skills that leaders need to navigate each phase, build a crisis leadership team, and make the right decisions under pressure. Her frameworks equip participants with strategies for effectively navigating crises of all kinds and the tactical and practical tools to emerge a stronger organization.

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: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo

“'The Prepared Leader' was written for this moment―but it stems from years of research and the personal experience of two remarkable and pathbreaking leaders. Seizing on the premise that you can prepare for crises―after all, they are both inevitable and increasingly common―frees us to manage with greater capacity and control and to seize the unique opportunities revealed in the urgency of the moment. Wooten and James have written this book for all of us who lead organizations, teams, and enterprises in an exceedingly complicated world.”

Judy Samuelson, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Business & Society Program

“This book is truly special and right on time. In their important new book, Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten provide aspiring and established leaders with a roadmap for navigating competing crises such as racial injustice, political upheaval, economic instability, and pandemic recovery. For leaders of organizations fighting and advocating for societal change, The Prepared Leader is an essential read, revealing how we can shape better outcomes. This book is a must read.”

Wes Moore, Bestselling Author and Former CEO, Robin Hood Foundation

“Erika James and Lynn Wooten have created a guidebook for those who know we need to be a prepared leader. You’ll learn how we humans are hardwired to prevent us from absorbing a threat. They explain how this realization is a critical step towards developing the mindset necessary to become the leader we want to be. We probably won’t know exactly what the next crisis will be, but we can be prepared. With real world examples of leaders who flourished in the crisis of COVID to those who failed spectacularly in the tectonic shift in racial justice, every chapter has something to teach us.”

Karen Finerman, CEO & Co-founder, Metropolitan Capital Advisors

“Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten present a practical and insightful tour through the critical elements of effective crisis management. Crises are inevitable but the key to leadership through one is building resilience before the crisis―feedback and learning loops are essential to prepare leaders for the serious challenges they must address. James and Wooten show that crises provide risks coupled with opportunities and that the leaders who thrive during crises are those who push themselves to learn thoroughly and rapidly and to seize on both wins and losses.”

Ruth Porat, SVP & Chief Financial Officer, Alphabet and Google

“In my experience, crises are inevitable; the question is how you respond. In their well-researched and actionable new book, 'The Prepared Leader', Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten share the stories of the companies that have successfully navigated crises and offer guidance to help organizations prepare for and manage through uncertain times and challenging moments.”

Vikram Malhotra, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company, and Chair, Wharton Graduate Executive Board

“Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten’s 'The Prepared Leader' is more than just a smart take on the lessons learned from the private sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. This book offers a wealth of insights and best practices that empower managers at any level to successfully navigate whatever crisis comes their way. A must-read for managing the unexpected in an ever more complex and interconnected world.”

Alex Gorsky, Executive Chairman, Johnson & Johnson

“Dean James and President Wooten have penned an indisputable blueprint of how to successfully manage, leverage, and emerge victoriously from any global crisis. More importantly, they invite leaders to be deeply introspective to challenge themselves to an elevated level of leadership.”

Carla Harris, Senior Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley, and Author, Lead to Win and Expect to Win

“Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten have written a brilliant new book, 'The Prepared Leader'. In it, they lay out a practical framework to help leaders build teams, manage through crises, and help their institutions emerge even stronger. I only wish the book had been available as we navigated the Great Financial Crisis!”

F. William (Bill) McNabb III, Former Chairman and CEO, Vanguard Group

“Combining extensive experience and evidence, this dynamic duo has created the road map you need to prepare for the unexpected.”

Adam Grant, Wharton School professor and bestselling author, Think Again, “10 Books to Enrich Your Thinking”

Praise for "Arrive and Thrive"

“Bravo to this trio of authors who, leveraging their powerful and distinct leadership experiences, perspectives, and network bring us closer to understanding the essence of authentic leadership. This book is chock full of inspiration and tangible lessons for being our best and truest self.”

Erika H. James, Dean, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

“This book captures insightful and practical lessons that all aspiring leaders can learn from.”

John Donahoe, CEO, Nike

“This book will inspire and empower women—and their allies—at all levels of leadership to think bigger and intentionally about their professional impact and possibilities.”

Dorie Clark, Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of “The Long Game” and Executive Education Faculty, Duke University Fuqua School of Business

"‘Arrive and Thrive’ is rooted in real world experience and incredible life lessons. The seven impactful practices have proven true throughout my leadership journey and reflect lessons that I learned both on the court and in the boardroom. In an era where so many of us think we are just surviving in this complex business world, this book will inspire you to move from survive to thrive.”

Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner, WNBA

“There are so many reasons to read this book: It is practical, poignant, personal, powerful, and pointed toward doing. The lessons learned from experience and research are provided in accessible ways. The authors are generous in sharing their favorite tools and best advice in the journey of moving beyond arriving to thriving. A must-read leadership resource.”

Barry Z. Posne, PhD, Michael J. Accolti, S.J. Chair and Professor of Leadership Chair, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

“Women fighting for gender equality have to upend so many barriers; a world of work built for men and outdated stereotypes. It can be exhausting but there is energy to be found in learning from the insights of ‘Arrive and Thrive.'”

Julia Gillard, 27th Prime Minister of Australia; Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, King’s College London and the Australian National University

“If you are contemplating stepping up and stepping in, even more, the seven impactful practices in this book — and the wisdom of the three authors and the experts they highlight — will show you how.”

Molly Fletcher, Speaker, Author, Former Sports Agent

“Timely and pragmatic . . . this progress in gender equity and leadership will alter the trajectory of our society.”

Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University