McDonough School of Business
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Georgetown University Announces Partnership with General Curia of the Society of Jesus to Deliver Certificate in Discerning Leadership

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business has developed a new certificate in Discerning Leadership for the General Curia of the Society of Jesus, in partnership with Le Moyne College and Esade Business & Law School. This new program will educate senior-level Church leaders in the combined disciplines of management education and Ignatian principles.

“As the world becomes more complex, we need leaders across the globe and across organizations who are ready to apply the best tools, techniques, and mindsets to solve society’s most pressing problems, successfully manage change, and bring people together to serve the common good,” said Paul Almeida, dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “As America’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher learning, Georgetown and its McDonough School of Business are proud to partner with the General Curia of the Society of Jesus and our Jesuit colleagues from around the world to develop and deliver this important program.”

The certificate currently is being offered to Church leadership, officials from the Vatican Dicasteries, male and female Superior Generals, Jesuits, and lay partners in leadership positions. As the program evolves, the Curia plans to eventually make it available for leaders around the world. [Watch a video featuring participants.]

“In a world where there is so much division, good leaders reconcile. Good leaders bring hope. In a world where values are compromised and where realpolitik seems to always have the upper hand, we need to support leaders who stand for truth, justice, and freedom, leaders who believe in people, leaders who believe in God,” said Father Arturo Sosa, S.J., superior general of the Jesuits. “This course is working with leaders precisely for those goals so that they can lead organisations to build a different kind of world, a world where the poor are lifted up rather than broken and thrown aside. It is still not too late; we can still make a difference.”

The inaugural offering of the certificate began in May this year and concludes in October. Participants spent two one-week residencies in Rome gaining cutting-edge management and leadership insights from Georgetown University and Le Moyne professors, as well as Ignatian insights from Jesuit and Lay partners.  

The program offers an executive-level curriculum with a global perspective that also has an ethical and values emphasis. It aims to offer senior-level leaders an opportunity to reflect on and share their leadership challenges and potential. The program has at its core modules on discernment, adaptive leadership, strategy, and communication, with remaining modules selected by participants based upon their individual context and challenges.

Teaching for Georgetown were Almeida, who also is a professor of strategy, and professors Robert Bies (management, McDonough School of Business); Brooks Holtom (management, McDonough School of Business), and Jeanine Turner (Communication, Culture & Technology, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences). Topics covered by the Georgetown professors range from strategy and organizational behavior to creativity and innovation, building coalitions and alliances, and courageous conversations. 

David McCallum, S.J., vice president for mission integration and development, Le Moyne College, worked with other members of the General Curia of the Society of Jesus to teach the Ignatian leadership modules, including the topics of making space for grace, leadership for change, perils of leading, and reflective practices for leaders.

“As leaders within the Church, we seek to create conditions in groups and teams that allow us to form a deep understanding of and compassion for each other and develop the most adaptive way to respond to our needs and challenges together,” McCallum said. “This collaborative, discerning approach to leadership is the way to co-create the future we hope for, rather than the one many of us fear.”

Participants also identified their transformative areas of growth and mapped their individual leadership journeys. They have been charged with returning to work ready to use the insights from the program to make an impact within their areas of leadership. In addition, Georgetown and Le Moyne are working with Esade Business & Law School to develop a version of the program for Spanish-speaking participants, ensuring the program reaches a diversity of individuals.

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that our leaders — both within the Church and within society — can have the confidence to combine the latest research-based leadership and management skills with the moral and ethical values found within Church teachings,” said John Dardis, S.J., general counsellor for discernment and apostolic planning, General Curia of the Jesuits. “The Church has so much to offer, so much wisdom that can be broadly applied when paired with modern business skills. We want to positively impact current and future generations of global leaders. We want to play our part in building a hope-filled future.”