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Management in Practice

Webinar: Leadership and Purpose

How do you turn personal values and sense of purpose into a leadership approach? Four alumni recently recognized as Donaldson Fellows by the Yale School of Management discussed their experiences with leadership expert Tom Kolditz. The conversation, on April 4, 2013, addressed the challenges that leaders face in maintaining a sense of purpose and adapting personal goals and values to different organizational contexts, roles, and cultural environments.

  • Christine Bader
    Former Director of Social Responsibility, Amazon
  • Don Gips
    Former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa
  • Thomas A. Kolditz
    Director, Ann and John Doerr Institute for New Leaders, Rice University; Retired Brigadier General, U.S. Army; Former Head, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, U.S. Military Academy
  • Nadim Matta
    President, Rapid Results Institute; Senior Partner, Schaffer Consulting
  • Leon Meng
    Co-founder, Ascendent Capital Partners

This webinar was moderated by Tom Kolditz, professor in the practice of leadership and management and director of the Leadership Development Program. He was joined by Christine Bader ‘00, Donald Gips ‘89, Nadim Matta ‘89, and Liang (Leon) Meng ‘97.


Christine Bader ‘00, Visiting Scholar & Lecturer, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University

Christine Bader is a visiting scholar and lecturer at Columbia University; a nonresident senior fellow with the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University; and a human rights advisor to BSR (Business for Social Responsibility).

After graduating from Yale SOM, Christine joined BP plc and proceeded to work in Indonesia, China, and the U.K., managing the social impacts of some of the company’s largest projects in the developing world. In 2006 she created a part-time pro bono role as advisor to the U.N. Secretary-General’s special representative for business and human rights, a role she took up full-time from 2008 until the U.N. mandate ended in 2011.

Christine has also served as a corps member with City Year and a special assistant to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s chief aof staff and deputy mayor. She serves on the boards of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, named one of the world’s best reference websites by the American Library Association, and the OpEd Project, an initiative to broaden the range of voices in public discourse. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Christine has published numerous op-eds and articles and given talks to conferences, companies, and universities around the world, including a TEDx talk entitled “Manifesto for the Corporate Idealist.” She earned her BA magna cum laude in American Studies from Amherst College and now lives with her husband and infant twins in New York City, her hometown. She is working on her first book.

Donald Gips ‘89, Retired U.S. Ambassador to South Africa

Ambassador Donald Gips was nominated as ambassador to South Africa by President Barack Obama on June 4 and confirmed by the Senate on July 7, 2009. He presented his credentials to South African President Jacob Zuma on October 1, 2009. He was recently recognized for his efforts to promote improved relations with South Africa when the U.S. State Department chose him as the recipient of the 2010 Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service.

Before being asked to be President Obama’s personal representative to South Africa, Donald Gips served as assistant to the president. He was a leader on the Presidential Transition Team and then served in the White House, where he ran the office of Presidential Personnel, overseeing the selection of several thousand political appointments for the Obama Administration.

Ambassador Gips previously served in the White House during the Clinton administration, working as chief domestic policy advisor to Vice President Al Gore.

From 1998 to 2008, Gips was group vice president of Global Corporate Development for Level 3 Communications, where he served as chief strategy officer and led the company’s merger and acquisition efforts.

Gips also served as chief of the International Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission, where he was responsible for WTO negotiations and spectrum policy. Additionally, Gips is dedicated to promoting a culture of service and helped launch America’s national service program, Americorps.

Before entering government, he was a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies at McKinsey & Company. Gips received an MBA from the Yale School of Management and received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University.

Tom Kolditz, Professor in the Practice of Leadership and Management, Yale School of Management

Tom Kolditz was appointed professor in the practice of leadership, effective July 1, 2012. He is working with fellow faculty to enhance leader development at the Yale School of Management. His experience as a leader development expert spans four decades in the public, private, and social sectors

A retired brigadier general, Tom led the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, for 12 years, where he was responsible for teaching, research, and outreach activities in management, leader development science, psychology, and sociology.

General Kolditz is an internationally recognized expert on crisis leadership and leadership in extreme contexts and in the development of programs to inculcate leadership and leader development in everything from project teams to large organizations. He has published extensively across a diverse array of academic and leadership trade journals, and serves on the editorial and advisory boards of several academic journals. He is a fellow in the American Psychological Association and is a member of the Academy of Management. In 2007, while still on active duty, Tom was appointed a visiting professor at the Yale School of Management, where he designed a crisis leadership course and taught it in the school’s MBA curriculum for three years.

Nadim Matta ‘89, President, Rapid Results Institute & Senior Partner, Schaffer Consulting

Nadim was selected as one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers of 2012. This is an annual designation by the Foreign Policy Magazine for 100 individuals who have had standout contributions to the intellectual debate over the last year.

Nadim came to SOM from Lebanon, where he worked at the US Agency for International Development, managing part of the agency’s relief and rehabilitation program
during the Lebanese civil war. While at SOM, Nadim took a year off to volunteer with Save the Children Federation in Lebanon to design and lead a major assistance program that provided food support to 100,000 families displaced by the civil war.

After SOM, Nadim joined Schaffer Consulting, where he worked with leadership teams in major corporations on driving change and accelerating strategy execution. He became co-managing partner of the firm in 2009.

In 2006, and with support from his partners at Schaffer Consulting, Nadim founded the Rapid Results Institute, a nonprofit organization that builds capacity for accelerating implementation of social impact programs in developing countries. The Institute has pioneered the use of 100-day projects (Rapid Results Initiatives) in development programs in more than a dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa. More recently, the Institute has been working with the VA, HUD, and several domestic NGOs to mobilize communities in the U.S. to ramp up their efforts to end homelessness among war veterans.

Nadim continues to serve as president of the Rapid Results Institute, while maintaining his corporate consulting work at Schaffer.

Nadim’s work has been featured in the New York Times. And he has published on Rapid Results work in several journals including the Harvard Business Review and the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Apart from his SOM degree, Nadim holds a master’s degree in public health from the American University of Beirut and a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Liang (Leon) Meng ‘97, Co-Founder, Ascendent Capital Partners Limited

Liang (Leon) Meng co-founded Ascendent in 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Meng was a managing director of D. E. Shaw & Co., where he started and managed the firm’s Hong Kong office and was founder and CEO of D. E. Shaw’s Greater China Private Equity Unit.

Before joining the D. E. Shaw group in 2007, Mr. Meng was a managing director of JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited and co-head of that firm’s China investment banking activities, in which capacity he was responsible for the management of the China investment banking group as well as the firm’s Greater China mergers and acquisitions activities.

He served on J.P. Morgan’s Asia Pacific M&A Committee and China Business Engagement Committee. During his investment banking career, he was also involved in equity, debt, hybrid, and restructuring transactions in the U.S. and Asia Pacific. For most of the period from 1997 to 2002, Mr. Meng worked at Credit Suisse First Boston in New York, where he focused on mergers and acquisitions in the media and telecommunications sectors. From March 2000 to September 2000, Mr. Meng served as chief financial officer of ChinaQuest, an online mapping company providing internet-based and wireless GPS services in China, before rejoining Credit Suisse First Boston. Mr. Meng earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management, where he currently sits on the Greater China Advisory Board.