TU announces Erin Moran as inaugural executive director of Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute

Moran will guide the launch of key programming and offerings for TU's new leadership institute

August 2, 2021


Towson University on Monday announced Erin Moran has been appointed as the inaugural executive director of the Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute after an extensive national search. Moran will start in the role September 8. 

Towson University’s Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute is an interdisciplinary research and action-based institute launching this September. The externally facing institute is forging a new standard for leadership development for the state, region and nation that will elevate leaders across all levels. Reporting to Daraius Irani, vice president of Division of Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research, Moran will lead the overall operations and fiscal management of the Institute, including the launching of key programming initiatives, as well as represent the Institute with key stakeholders such as corporations, non-profits and government agencies.

“Towson University is an anchor institution providing nationally recognized leadership for the public good,” TU President Kim Schatzel said. “The Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute is key to TU’s public engagement and its commitment to fulfill this role for the Greater Baltimore region and beyond. As the institute’s inaugural executive director, Erin will have a major role in the Institute’s launch as well as achievement of its mission. She is a tremendous leader herself and I very much look forward to supporting her efforts to advance the Institute’s success and its influence.”

Moran has spent most of her 24-year career dedicated to developing leaders who create inspiring work environments that enable people to be fulfilled while also achieving extraordinary business results. Moran believes we create a better society when people work in healthy environments.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute,” Moran said. “Our world needs capable and ethical leadership more than ever before and this Institute will undoubtedly positively transform and impact so many people. And as a proud Baltimore native, I am beyond thrilled to join a pre-eminent national university such as Towson University."

The Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute features a comprehensive portfolio of programs and solutions for individuals and organizations that focuses on transformational outcomes, improving workplace culture and engagement, attracting the best talent, and addressing the most challenging leadership and organizational issues of the day.

Moran spent nearly a decade with Great Place to Work where she studied leading workplace cultures, helped produce the “Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For” list and advised clients on how to improve workplace culture. Moran was chief culture officer for New York City-based Union Square Hospitality Group for seven years, where she was responsible for overseeing and enhancing all aspects of employee experience for the company that created Shake Shack and is known globally for its culture.

Moran has a series of awards to her credit, including being named one of the Top 50 Women Innovators in the Restaurant Industry (2019), a two-time honoree through the National Restaurant Association Power List of Culture Champions (2017 and 2019) and Women’s Foodservice Forum Top Women in Metro New York Foodservice & Hospitality (2018).

Moran is a Baltimore native and holds a Bachelor of Science from St. Joseph’s University and an M.B.A. from the Thunderbird School of International Management.

The Institute is named for Dr. Nancy Grasmick, Towson University alumna, presidential scholar and a visionary leader as state superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education from 1991–2011. Grasmick’s vision and philanthropic support, as well as her passion for developing and mentoring leaders, were instrumental in the creation of the Institute and its focus. 

“It was important to me that this person had the experience and values that I wanted to see involved in this institute,” Grasmick said. “I’m so impressed with Erin, and she certainly represents ethics, accountability, business experience —internationally, and working with large groups and small groups in terms of implementation. She’s the ideal candidate to be the inaugural executive director of this institute, which means she will hit the ground running on Day 1.”

The search committee was chaired by Vernon Hurte, vice president for student affair, and included key members of campus leadership:

  • Bobbie Laur, Associate Vice President for Outreach, Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research
  • Linda Singh, TU’s Leader-in-Residence and retired adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard
  • Patrick McQuown, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship, Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research
  • Brian DeFilippis, Vice President, University Advancement
  • Deb Plunkett, Board of Visitors; Principal, Plunkett Associates, LLC
  • Sherman Ragland, Board of Visitors; Founder, Realinvestors, LLC
  • Shohreh Kaynama, Dean, College of Business and Economics
  • Chris Chulos, Dean, College of Liberal Arts

The Institute launches this fall. For more, visit Towson.edu/GrasmickLeadership