My name is April Flanagan and learners usually call me Dr. April. I live on a beautiful lake in Southeastern Michigan. My only son lives and works Chicago, and just got married there, in October.
After spending 25 years as an executive in human resources, I "reinvented myself" by opening my own consulting firm to work with leaders at all levels of business, academic and not-for-profit institutions, with focus on increasing individual, team and organizational leadership, learning and effectiveness.
As an educator, I teach leadership, organizational behavior, ethics, diversity, human resources and qualitative research. I am a committee member and mentor, and have also served as a Sr. Examiner for the Michigan Quality Council, using Malcolm Baldrige criteria to help organizations be the best that they can be.
I have an Ed.D. from Eastern Michigan University, with research in value-driven leadership; an M.A. in Personnel Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a B.A. in English from Rutgers University. In addition, I have studied in many executive programs, including extensive work in systems thinking, dialogue, coaching and organizational learning (University of Michigan, MIT, Babson College, Center for Creative Leadership). In my spare time I enjoy boating, reading and travel, including trips to Europe, China and South America.
Ed.D - Education Administration - 2002, Eastern Michigan University
Defining Moments: The Creation and Impact of Leadership Values for Women in Higher Education
UMI AAT 3058891
The purpose of this study was to obtain a deeper understanding of the leadership strategies of effective women in higher education administration by examining their definition and application of values, sharing their stories, and analyzing their experiences. The findings offer value-driven strategies for effective leadership, particularly for women seeking administrative positions in the dominantly male environment of academia.
This research was conducted as a qualitative, phenomenological study based on interviews of eight women with seasoned experience as current or former higher education administrators, ranging from department chair to president. Interviewees were selected purposefully, using a snowball technique; three are African American, and five are Caucasian. All consider themselves to be effective leaders. They have lived and worked throughout the East, Central, and Southern regions of the United States and began their careers in the aftermath of Civil Rights and feminist activism. Interviews were confidential, conducted on-site by the researcher, audiotaped, and transcribed verbatim. Following validation by the interviewees and an external auditor, their stories were written and compared.
Analysis showed that the definition and application of values have been major factors in the success of the women studied in this research. By clarifying their personal values, they have been able to define leadership philosophies and strategies that have enabled risk-taking and achievements that they perceived would not have been possible otherwise. They have made choices, said "no," and exited environments that were not supportive. They have also created environments that have supported the inclusion, fair treatment, and respect for all participants. Conclusions include the importance of knowing oneself, taking action, adopting strategies for effectiveness, supporting development in others, and recognizing that feminine advantage exists in some circumstances.
Specific recommended strategies based on this research include investing the time to define values and understanding their impact on results; engaging in mentoring relationships, learning communities, fellowships, and other developmental activities; and sharing stories of the significance of values with the next generation of academic leaders. The major recommendation from this research is that women, indeed all leaders, should invest the time and secure the support needed to connect with their values and create aligned careers that have personal meaning for them.