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McLauchlan Leadership Series: Learning by Doing

McLauchlan Leadership Series and associated fellowships for students in the college’s Jenkins MBA program is one of numerous opportunities available for students to learn by doing.

This premier leadership development program, launched in fall 2015 with a generous gift from Russ and Cara McLauchlan, enables the selected fellows to build their network, receive executive coaching and master the fundamentals of personal, team and organizational leadership.

Specific features include:

  • Executive interaction: McLauchlan Leadership Fellows will have extensive opportunities to network with and learn from corporate and community leaders through in-class discussions, executive panels and social networking sessions.
  • Executive coaching: McLauchlan Leadership Fellows will participate in three one-on-one sessions with a personal executive coach, enabling them to focus on a personal leadership development plan.
  • Personal leadership challenge: Fellows will be issued a “Personal Leadership Challenge” and provided $300 each to pursue that challenge during the course of the series.

The non-credit program is open to current Jenkins MBA program students enrolled in the full-time professional evening or professional online programs. Students are selected through a competitive application process under way. The inaugural class of McLauchlan Leadership Fellows completed the series during the spring 2016 semester, said Leigh Shamblin, professor of practice in Poole College and director of the program. Details for current Jenkins MBA students interested in applying to this program are available on the Jenkins MBA website.

“We believe successful management leadership requires talent and perspective well beyond function skills and capabilities,” the McLauchlans said in a joint statement when the program was announced in 2015. Their leadership series addresses what they see as a decline in opportunities for talented employees to develop skills needed for future leadership roles.

“Our commercial world has changed significantly over the years with many people affiliating their careers with smaller organizations that cannot commit resources to training and developing their high potential employees in learning the intangibles of successful leadership,” Russ McLauchlan said. “The McLauchlan Leadership Series is our gift to help identify and develop ambitious and energetic students looking to develop those personal skills and traits found in the most successful leaders in all areas of everyday life.”

Over a series of three two-day sessions, the McLauchlan Leadership Fellows will master the fundamentals of personal, team and organizational leadership. The series includes lectures, group discussions, guided assessments, team projects, coaching, external speakers and additional opportunities to practice leadership.

The McLauchlans are long-time friends and supporters of the NC State University and especially the Poole College of Management where Russ McLauchlan has served on the Dean’s Advisory Board since 2009. He also is a mentor to the college’s Jenkins MBA students and alumni, a reflection of his interest in developing new business ventures and the talents of those around him.

Russ McLauchlan is executive chairman and former chief executive officer of Calvert Holdings which he founded in 1996 following 25 years as senior executive in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Calvert Holdings is the parent company of Calvert Research, a strategic advisory and equity investment firm; Calvert Labs, which specializes in discovery and development of potential pharmaceuticals; Calvert Corporate Funding; Calvert Enterprises, a testing ground for Calvert’s endeavors outside of the life sciences; and Carolina Securities, a registered broker/dealer.

Cara McLauchlan is a successful writer and director of The Back Yard Foundation, a non-profit organization created for the sole purpose of giving back and helping those who would not otherwise be afforded the opportunity for assistance. Her writing, which focuses on inspirational essays and developing books that capture the best of life, has been featured in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers,” and on the Carolina Parent magazine’s blog. Prior to joining The Back Yard Foundation in 2008, she worked in the public relations and marketing fields.

The McLauchlans received Poole College’s 2016 Persons of the Year Award.


The NC State Poole College of Management is distinguished by its focus on management education for a technology driven global marketplace. The college’s faculty is passionate about enabling individuals to excel as they progress through undergraduate and graduate degree programs and executive programs, and to be innovative, entrepreneurial and action oriented in their careers.

Real world, applied and global learning – integral to the Poole College experience – is enhanced by the college’s outreach and engagement with business and industry through our centers, initiatives, our discipline-based boards of advisors in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park and beyond, and our partners in international business education. The college’s accounting and management programs are AACSB-accredited.

The college’s Jenkins Graduate programs include the Master of Business Administration, Master of Accounting, and the Master of Global Innovation Management. The Jenkins MBA program includes full time, part-time for working professionals, and online options. Master’s and doctoral degree programs in economics are offered jointly with NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.