University of Notre Dame
Inspired Leadership Initiative
Office of the Provost
Please click on a fellow's name or image to view their bio.
Julienne Armbrust was born a “Maineiac” but has lived in seven other places. She settled into a public high school in Washington, D.C., with the Washington Post and the Smithsonian rounding out her education. She began her career in food service before working at Microsoft and earning an MBA. After leaving Microsoft, she apprenticed with a dog trainer and obtained the necessary credits for her CPA. She also passed the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exam. She worked at a Seattle accounting firm until leaving to care for an ailing relative. When she returned, she served as a forensic accountant at the FBI until moving to New Hampshire in “retirement,” but now looks forward to the next stage of her very diverse career.
Tom Bard's degree in electrical engineering provided entry to the Navy Nuclear Submarine program, then to business school and ultimately, he enjoyed a 43-year career in real estate investment, development, and management. Mr. Bard was actively involved in a variety of geographical markets and all types of commercial properties: office, industrial, retail, apartments, and condominiums. He was a partner in three different businesses—the last of which was ScanlanKemperBard Companies—before retiring in 2014 in Portland, OR. Although Mr. Bard acknowledges real estate is generally thought to be dealing in hard assets, a rewarding, challenging and enjoyable aspect of the business for him was the fascinating diversity of people he encountered. He says he never thought that he had a job. After retirement, he has contributed to the development and ongoing management of PDX Commons, the senior cohousing project where he lives.
Mike Boyce’s Marine Corps career included several command and senior level executive assignments. He deployed for operational and expeditionary campaigns to Korea, Iraq, and Somalia. He is a member of several national veterans’ organizations. Post retirement, Mr. Boyce worked in programs in Macedonia and Iraq. As chairman of Cobb County, GA, from 2017-20, he funded additional green spaces, increased compensation and benefits for all employees, added Veterans Day as a county holiday, and guided the county through a turbulent 2020. Mr. Boyce is an active member of Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church and served three years as the director of the men’s ministry. His volunteer work includes Habitat for Humanity and mission trips both in the United States and abroad.
Mike Burton was raised in Elmhurst, a Chicago suburb. After graduating from college in 1982, he moved to St. Louis for law school and has never left. He became a public defender and then a private criminal defense attorney, doing significant death penalty representation. He also worked as a guardian ad litem, representing abused and neglected children. In 1999, he was appointed to be a judge in the St. Louis County Circuit Court and has spent considerable time focusing on better ways for the circuit to address domestic violence and juvenile issues. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he became presiding judge. Mr. Burton and his wife, Sheila, started Join Hands ESL in 1990. Through programming, mentoring, and private education, the organization has served thousands of children in East St. Louis, IL.
Joanna Cote is a three-time Ironman triathlete, a high school cross country and track coach, and an avid outdoor enthusiast. She is a passionate believer that the combined power of sports and nature can change lives, and with it “anything is possible.” After spending 15 years working in team management in Silicon Valley’s high-tech industry at start-ups, including Cisco Systems and ROLM Corporation, she turned her interests to community service and athletics. As such, Ms. Cote has partnered with Homeboy Industries to develop a program integrating running, hiking, yoga, and mindfulness into the lives of formerly incarcerated and gang-involved men, women, and youth. She is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor, facilitator with the Prison Yoga Project, and also involved with Play Like A Champion Today. Ms. Cote has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master's degree in sports leadership.
Rick Dunn has lived his entire life in Florida—outside of his four years in college—and fittingly, was born in Coral Gables during a hurricane. His parents emphasized leadership and, as the oldest of six children, Mr. Dunn learned early on the importance of leadership and he has continued to exhibit leadership throughout his life, both in career and family. After earning a business marketing degree and completing the ROTC program, Mr. Dunn entered Law School. Following active duty, he became a federal public defender, worked in the Florida Legislature, and then became a civil trial lawyer. He worked in several firms and ultimately established his own firm that specialized in business litigation (defending corporations from lawsuits). He personally tried over 40 cases to verdict—most notably the largest aviation case in the U.S—before retiring in 2018. Mr Dunn is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Kathy Garbarino is the oldest of seven. She entered the convent in ninth grade, going home for a time to help with family needs, but returning after high school. After three years, she left again to pursue social justice issues and family life. Ms Garbarino has a bachelor’s in social work and a master’s in theology. She initially served as a childcare worker in a group home for young boys. Later, she worked with the Team for Justice at Wayne County Youth Home, and then for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. She was recruited by Planned Parenthood, where she served as the associate director. Then she moved to Catholic Healthcare, where she held several positions—first at an inner city hospital as the marketing director, then in the long term care division as the vice president of mission. Ms. Garbarino lived in Detroit for over 40 years before retiring to St Joseph, MI.
Clementine Gwoswar earned a bachelor’s degree in public health from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, a master’s degree in community health and development from the Tropical Institute of Community Health and Development at the University of Great Lakes - Democratic Republic of Congo, and diplomas in midwifery and general nursing from the Kenya Medical Training College. She has additional training in consulting and completed the Strategic Leadership and Development Program at the Kenya School of Government. Ms. Gwoswar specialized in community health strategy, service, and delivery during her distinguished career, working for Kenya’s Ministry of Health as county chief nursing officer, regional public health nurse leader, provincial logistician of the immunization program, and coordinator of the Continuing Professional Development Program. A part-time University lecturer, Ms. Gwoswar participated in two international research networks and contributed to the book Revitalizing Health for All: Case Studies of the Struggle for Comprehensive Primary Health Care.
Margaret Higgins’ career spanned three decades of c-suite and senior leadership in Catholic Higher Education with executive positions in student affairs, administration, and development. Most recently, she served as President/CEO of a Cristo Rey Jesuit college prep high school. In each role, Ms. Higgins worked with members of the university community and external stakeholders to ensure the mission, student success, and financial sustainability were achieved. She inspired a commitment to the spiritual, intellectual, and professional development of future college graduates and leaders with a particular emphasis on first generation students and their families. Ms. Higgins has earned a B.S. in communication disorders, a M.Ed. in guidance and counseling, and a PhD in educational administration and policy. Her dissertation research is on the transformational behaviors of Catholic university presidents in the development of vision.
Patrick Horvath is an attorney by training and worked for almost 13 years as the associate director of a civil legal services program in New York City that provided legal assistance to single homeless adults. The family moved to Denver, Colo., in 2000, and for the past 21 years he has had a variety of positions at The Denver Foundation, the main community foundation for the region. He directed the foundation's Strengthening Neighborhoods Program, a grassroots community development program, and since 2012 directed the foundation's Economic Opportunity program area. He also served in various leadership roles, before leaving the foundation at the end of 2020. Mr. Horvath is an active board member of CEDS Finance, a community development financial institution; as well as the Center for Community Wealth Building, which builds the economic strength of disinvested communities; and Grassroots Grantmakers, a national organization that connects community leaders and grantmakers to drive community-led change.
Michele Kellrooney was born in Akron, Ohio. She graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and worked in dinner theaters, summer stock, and touring theaters. She then married and moved to Chicago. Ms Kellrooney was employed as education coordinator at libraries, nature centers, and science museums until she decided to go back to school for education. She has earned a B.S. and M.Ed. and has taught in the Nashville Public Schools until her next relocation—this time to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Three moves and three teaching positions later, she is now delighted to call South Bend her home and is most curious to see what happens next.
Ana Lawton was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to the United States, a refugee, at the age of four. She grew up in the Chicago area and has lived there most of her life. She has earned both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees. She recently retired from a 43-year career in accounting, finance, and financial systems, specializing in business intelligence software for the last twenty years. She is a CPA and is also certified in project management and change management. Ana has travelled to several states and Europe, fulfilling a lifelong dream of visiting Paris, France. A cancer survivor, Mrs. Lawton has participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night campaign, raising funds for blood cancer research. She was a member of Toastmasters International for four years, during which she competed in several speech competitions.
John Lawton, a native to South Bend, is returning home after 60 years in the Prairie State. Most of his life was spent in the Chicago area where he enjoyed a diverse career, working the last 30 years in the home medical equipment industry in operations and general management. His experience spans the gamut of national companies to small, individually owned businesses. In this highly competitive and regulated industry, Mr. Lawton led these organizations to improved financial performance and market growth. He holds a B.A. in math and earned an MBA while working full time. His loyalty to and enthusiasm for Notre Dame is rooted in a 130-year family affiliation with the University.
Hugh Lena is emeritus provost and professor of sociology at Providence College in Providence, RI. He stepped down from the chief academic officer position in 2020 after serving in that capacity for 16 years and is currently in his 48th year in a faculty position. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1970, and he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from the University of Connecticut. In 2020, he received an honorary doctorate in higher education from Providence College. Lena has edited two books, contributed several book chapters, and has articles published in The American Sociologist, The International Journal of Health Services, and Contemporary Sociology among others. He has been awarded prestigious fellowships from the Institute of Human Values in Health Care, the National Science Foundation, and the Endowment for the Humanities.
Patrick Mannion’s career has straddled business and community service. His business career was in life and health insurance, industry roles at the national and state levels, board leadership roles in local not-for-profits, health care institutions, and businesses. He was also appointed to numerous government sponsored initiatives in health care, transportation, and economic development. He stepped down from active business in 2020 and is active today on business, hospital, and not-for-profit boards. Mr. Mannion is also a firefighter, EMT, and officer of Fayetteville Fire & EMS (New York). He is involved in multiple Catholic organizations including his parish, the Partners in Franciscan Ministries with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
Tim McDermott has lived in the northwest suburbs of Chicago for more than 30 years. During that time, he has had a diverse career path, from practicing as a litigation partner in a large law firm to executing in-house legal and regulatory roles in the financial markets to, most recently, leading a regulated exchange and clearinghouse as its CEO, overseeing areas of technology, marketing, sales, legal, regulatory, risk, finance, and operations. In addition, over the past several years, he has become active in an angel investing group, IrishAngels, served on for-profit and not-for-profit boards and charitable organizations, and been active in his local parish. Mr. McDermott holds degrees in accounting and law.
Mike Mullen was a practicing attorney for over 50 years. He began his legal career serving as a junior counsel to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and then as the chief counsel to the Consumer Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Commerce. After working in private practice for a Washington, D.C., firm for several years, Mr. Mullen returned to North Dakota to work on a health care reform project and then became an assistant attorney general and legal advisor to several state agencies and the state hospital. He was also an adjunct professor of health care law at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. Earlier, he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Mullen enjoys a little skiing and a lot of tennis.
Sr. Chukwuka arrived in the United States in 2017, from Nigeria, where she served as a school teacher in Catholic schools from 1978 to 2005 and retired as a principal. For her it was an exciting career—watching girls she had admitted as tender innocent kids transform into young teenagers was an experience that brought great joy to her life—and those girls taught her more than she taught them. She learned how to be more humane, discerning, compassionate, and observant. All in all, Sr. Chukwuka found her career to be fulfilling and challenging, as she considered herself a type of architect: of human mind, character, and destiny. She looks forward to the ILI year as an opportunity to reinvent herself with the goal of creating a new form of service to the society.
Dave Pusateri was the former deputy managing partner of McGuireWoods' corporate practice, where he was responsible for 500 transaction attorneys in one of America’s largest law firms. He was also the former managing partner of McGuireWoods’ Pittsburgh office for ten years. Prior to merging with McGuireWoods in 2001, he was a founding partner and the managing partner of the Pittsburgh firm of Sable Pusateri Rosen Gordon & Adams, LLC. Mr. Pusateri was also previously vice president and associate general counsel of Robertson-Ceco Corporation. Concentrating his practice in environmental, real estate, and business law, his practice covers the spectrum of environmental claims, problems, and real estate development issues. He began his legal career clerking for a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Tom Reynolds has had a career as consultant to senior executives in the areas of executive talent management and development, supply chain management, operations strategy and transformation, and board advisory. He has served hundreds of clients in a variety of industries including industrial/automotive, consumer products, retail, high tech, health care, and pharmaceuticals. Most recently, he served as partner and global practice leader at Egon Zehnder, specializing in executive talent management, development, search, and coaching. Previously, he led major consulting practices at Capgemini, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and Deloitte. Earlier, he worked as a production control specialist at General Electric and a mechanical engineer with IBM. Mr. Reynolds holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an MBA in finance and international business. He is a longtime resident of Atlanta and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including camping, biking, skiing, and fishing.
Ken Wendeln continues to be inspired by the advice and actions of his father: learn from the best and leave some time to give back to others. As such, he seeks education and life-enhancing opportunities. In business, that has meant roles of leadership, encouragement, sponsorship, and sometimes the redirection of others. He has worked for Honeywell, Gould, Siemens, Square D, Landis+Gyr, and Spirent. After closing an international business career spanning 33 years, six companies, and eight locales on two continents, Mr. Wendeln began living the ‘give back’ advice. By combining his academic training with cross-functional business experiences, he holds a teaching professor (emeritus) role at the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis to lead in the classroom and coach others for meaningful professional growth.
Eric Wiechart grew up in a family-owned business. He also grew up in a blue-collar Irish/Italian neighborhood that considered Notre Dame the pinnacle. So the community inspired him to work academically to achieve a degree from Our Lady’s University. Rebelling from his youth, he chased “big” business, eventually realizing that, for him, joy came from small business. Mr. Wiechart sincerely believes small business is the economic, social, and cultural backbone of our society. He believes wholeheartedly that to provide meaningful work is the greatest success achievable in life. He looks forward to the challenges life offers in his next career and believes the Inspired Leadership Initiative will promote heading into this next chapter fully armed.
Mary Ellen Woods has held technology leadership roles with Inland Steel, Stone Container Corporation, Brunswick, and Veolia Water North America—as well as her own technology strategy consulting firm. She has led organizations that have transformed businesses in measurable and significant ways. The granddaughter of a coal miner and a New York City cab driver, she focuses her service work on helping young people gain access to education. She is vice president of the Notre Dame Club of Chicago’s Scholarship Foundation and a board member of i.c.stars|*—a rigorous technology-based workforce development and leadership training program for underserved adults. She is a resident of Chicago, IL. Ms. Woods earned a B.A. in government from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Public Policy with a focus on finance from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.