Lori Coakley, Ph.D.
Lori Coakley couldn’t be happier with the thank you notes, news of promotions, etc., that adorn one entire wall in her Bryant office. “I’m lucky; I know the impact I have had,” says Coakley, whose dynamic passion for teaching, consulting, and other campus obligations make her a highly visible leader. “My primary purpose is to be a role model for students and mentor them,” adds Coakley, who frequently speaks to student clubs and organizations. “It’s not just me; many colleagues are very engaged on campus to provide that open door for students.”
She also couldn’t be happier working at Bryant. “I strongly believe that we are always one step above where other academic institutions are going. We are at the forefront of supply chain management, data analytics, and definitely design thinking. Being on the cutting edge is something we transfer to our students.”
Coakley, who holds several leadership positions at Bryant, teaches design thinking, personal branding, negotiation and leadership skills. Thanks to her robust consulting business, an extensive network of business leaders participates in the University’s IDEA program, mentors students, and offers internships and career positions. Bringing real-world business experiences into her classrooms provides students a rich repository of relevant lessons.
“Everything we do off-campus is somehow integrated into everything we do on campus,” says Coakley, a recipient of several teaching awards. “Consulting makes me more valuable in the classroom.”
Given the focus on career development, negotiations, communication skills, and dressing for success in her Women in Leadership class, which enrolls both men and women, it’s no surprise that students consider Coakley a valuable mentor. While both groups seek advice about effective networking, men ask for assistance with their resumes and request introductions to contacts, etc., while women discuss the work-life balance and disclose other personal challenges, says Coakley, whose relationships with students continue long after graduation. Pleased when students initiate the mentoring relationship – a skill they’ll need in the workplace – Coakley expects juniors and seniors to share lessons learned with younger students. “I want to develop mentors; women who will mentor other women.”
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An awareness of constant change informs his teaching. “Trying new things isn’t an option. It’s a must.”