The 2017 Distinguished Faculty Award recipient is Marilyn Gist, PhD, professor of management and associate dean of executive programs at the Albers School of Business and Economics. Marilyn heads the Center for Leadership Formation, through which she directs the Executive Leadership Program and the Leadership Executive MBA program. Her work reflects her passion for teaching, inspirational leadership and enthusiasm for supporting others in their transformation as leaders.
Marilyn earned her bachelor degree from Howard University and her MBA and PhD from Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland College Park. For two years she led the Management Development Program at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Additionally, she was the Boeing Endowed Professorship of Business Management at the University of Washington and faculty director of their Executive MBA programs.
Marilyn joined the faculty of Seattle University 14 years ago. “My passion and my values fit very well at SU,” she says. “My extensive research in self-efficacy and my teaching and management development work are in perfect alignment here. Leadership formation and development are deeply important to me. I’ve been so happy here because SU is a different kind of place—one that educates the whole person.”
By heightening awareness of community needs, Marilyn engages students both inside and outside the classroom. By developing personal growth and accountability, emphasizing the need for greater self-discipline, her students achieve greater success both as individuals and as team members.
“Marilyn is a highly gifted professional who has devoted her life’s work to education and transforming and mobilizing talented leaders throughout the country to make significant impact in business, social justice and community,” says Mari Anderson, ’10, LEMBA, vice president, people and customer service for PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company. “She has created an educational environment of thoughtful challenge, cognitive dissonance and impassioned discernment, which is necessary for leaders to excel in this world of complexity.”
An internationally recognized scholar, Marilyn is the author of more than 25 publications and is widely recognized for her research that examines how motivation, training and leadership influence confidence and performance. Her theoretical article published in the 1991 Academy of Management Review was the most cited in the journal’s history.
“Marilyn Gist is a visionary who took an excellent Executive Leadership Program and raised it to new heights,” says Peter Morton, ’00, ELP, president, Peter M. Morton Consulting, Inc. “Her initiative in evolving the program into a Leadership Executive MBA fulfilled the vision of its founders bringing national recognition to the Albers School and the university.”
For the past seven years, under Marilyn’s leadership, the Executive MBA programs ranked among the Top 20 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. They achieved their highest ranking at #12 in 2016. Concurrently, Marilyn was instrumental in bringing to Albers Alan Mulally, former CEO and President of Ford Motor Company and former CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, as Senior Fellow for the Center for Leadership Formation. Alan was formerly CEO of Ford Motor Company and President of Boeing Commercial Airlines. He has galvanized students through his passionate teaching.
While educating the whole person with an emphasis upon reflection and discernment, Marilyn imparts the principles, ethics and vision that will sustain her students throughout their professional—and personal—lives.