Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute celebrates launch with Future of Work forum

Event unites regional leaders to discuss challenges, opportunities in the ‘next normal’

By Rebecca Kirkman on April 1, 2022

Panelists on stage
Future of Work panelists Ian Brown of Erickson Senior Living, Shalisa Mohamed of Mindgrub, Jeff Schwartz of Deloitte and Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute Executive Director Erin Moran. (Photo: Lauren Castellana/Towson University)

From navigating hybrid workplaces to staffing issues from rising turnover and the Great Resignation, today’s leaders face a complex set of challenges. 

At its Future of Work forum on March 31, the Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute at Towson University gathered 150 regional leaders for a thought-provoking discussion on preparing for the “next normal.”

“As we reflect on the last two years and the challenges we’ve faced as leaders in business, nonprofit, higher education as well as government, I think we can all agree leadership has been tested time and time again,” said TU President Kim Schatzel. “In the tumultuous, challenging and highly uncertain times that are ahead, leadership will continue to be the major difference between enterprises that rise and succeed and those that flounder and fail.”

The event served as the formal launch of the Institute, which creates transformational outcomes for leaders at every level through a portfolio of leadership development opportunities for individuals and organizations. It was named for TU Presidential Scholar Nancy Grasmick ’61, whose vision and philanthropic support were instrumental in the creation of the Institute and its focus. 

The Institute builds on TU’s ongoing commitment to community and business engagement while serving as a key regional asset—uniquely supporting leadership recruitment, development and retention to allow the state and region to thrive.

“The Institute’s coaching strategies and unique programs will help build our leaders and develop their full potential, give them the tools to be successful and fuel our economy and our quality of life,” said Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford. “We all know the way we live and do business has forever been changed.”

The launch’s timing coincides with an era of uncertainty and opportunity for leaders.

“One huge theme we heard from across the region was a desire to convene about common experiences planning for the future of work, given [the] incredibly accelerated speed of change, which is making the current dynamic even more complicated, complex, ambiguous and uncertain,” said Erin Moran, inaugural executive director of the Institute. 

Panelists Ian Brown, vice president of organizational development, diversity, inclusion and belonging at Erickson Senior Living; Shalisa Mohamed, chief operating officer at Mindgrub; Nereida Perez, global head of diversity and inclusion at McCormick & Company; and Jeff Schwartz, founding partner of Deloitte’s Future of Work Practice and author of “Work Disrupted,” led a discussion centered around the opportunity for leaders to rethink the future of work.

“What’s exciting about what the Institute is doing, and I think it’s part of a broader movement around leadership development and research, is recognizing—in some ways—the 21st century really starts right now,” Schwartz said. “Leaders have the opportunity to come up with a bold and relevant narrative for where we are today. If work has been disrupted, we probably need to disrupt leadership as well. That’s why this Institute [is] so important at every level right now.”

Sheela Murthy, founder and president of Murthy Law Firm, praised Grasmick at the launch.

“She always does her homework and invests, and her vision, mission and values are what will really take us from where we are to where we all want to go,” she said. “I’m very excited about being a part of this very special day, knowing that we’re going to have this incredible team of leaders that is going to continue to mentor and shape the future leaders of our region and the world.”

The Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute offers a robust portfolio of leadership development opportunities from one-on-one coaching and signature programs to custom organizational leadership programs for individuals and organizations to drive success. Learn more about upcoming events and programs.

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