UCI’s Leadership Development Institute Empowers Organizations

May 24, 2022 • By The UCI Paul Merage School of Business

Motivating and inspiring employees is an uphill battle, only exacerbated by a volatile, ever-changing world gripped by pandemic, economic crisis, wars and the societal uprise against socioeconomic and racial disparities.

Persistent uncertainty has created significant issues for today's business leaders. How do high-performing individuals, teams and organizations continuously adapt, mobilize and transform in order to maintain relevance and effectiveness against the future? More importantly, how can organizations find the customized solutions that they need to evolve and create sustainable growth?

The UCI Paul Merage School of Business has recently launched its Leadership Development Institute (LDI) which was designed to provide individuals and organizations relevant and research-based solutions in order to build sustainable leadership going forward. By bringing together the latest learning technologies and leveraging a new client engagement strategy, LDI will deliver unique programming through its core structure of clarity, alignment and growth.

Through customized curriculums, leaders can sustainably cultivate a cycle of resilience, engagement and reinvention. The result, says Ian O. Williamson, Dean of The UCI Paul Merage School of Business, is long-term success for businesses, their employees, and the world.

Building future-proof leadership

"We exist in an era of constant disruption," says Executive Director of Leadership Development Institute, Mollee Elniski. "We must all be equipped to face these challenges to create sustainable growth and future-proof leadership. The sole focus of the Merage School's new Leadership Development Institute will be to provide a customized learning experience fueled by our world-class faculty and centered around practical applications."

LDI approaches its goal by partnering with local businesses to help set benchmarks, identify gaps and share critical knowledge for immediate application. LDI's individual and organizational development programs are customized to respond to specific challenges, emphasizing corporate strategy, culture and talent. The challenges organizations bring to the institute are authentic issues to their workplace which guides the curriculum from the beginning.

"We understand that challenges are unique to each level of leadership within an organization," says Dean Williamson. "Our methodology involves collaboration within organizations to support the advancement of the leadership pipeline, from top to bottom through our open enrollment and custom programs."

Context is everything

The core approach to LDI's programs begin and end with discovery in mind, where tangible growth metrics are established and considered through the following three phases of clarity, alignment and growth. By first understanding the current state of the organization, LDI works with teams to align internal and external resources to find pathways to anticipate change and build for the future with a focus on the results that matter.

"Essentially, everything at LDI begins with the participant in mind,” says Williamson. “But not just the participant; their organizational objectives guide the workshops, networking events and simulations. Context accompanies each of these as well.”

As organizational cohorts move through the curriculum, activities provide the space leaders need to translate theory (20%) into application (80%). The Leadership Development Institute believes that this intentionally crafted 80/20 rule is the ideal framework participants need to translate new knowledge in the workplace. 

From individuals to organizations, and everywhere in-between

Though custom programs are a great fit for organizations, open enrollment programs allow for core development and specialized skill refinement at the individual level. Among the available open-enrollment programs is a growing list of other targeted tracks for individual contributors and emerging leaders:

  • Emerging Leaders
  • Global Healthcare Leadership
  • ESG Leadership Academy
  • CFO Leadership
  • Chief Nurse Executives; and
  • Chief Medical Officers

Each offering provided for all stages of the leadership pipeline, whether the individual is working alone or managing an entire organization. Regardless, LDI’s diverse curriculum focuses on a broader range of global challenges, including healthcare, economic uncertainty, political polarization, socioeconomic or racial disparities and environmental impacts.

“We’ve seen that leadership can be an effective catalyst for positive change within the organization,” says Williamson. “Continuous change is here to stay. That’s why we need leaders who understand how to adapt quickly and respond intelligently to our ever-changing world.” 

Take a step toward sustained growth

The Leadership Development Institute (LDI) bridges the gap between today’s world and our accelerated future, empowering individuals and organizations to constantly create new value in times of constant disruption and build Future-Proof Leadership.


For more information about UCI’s Leadership Development Institute (LDI) and its customized individual, organizational or international programs, email or visit