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Chicago Chairwoman Challenges The Status Quo

Michelle Kilbourne is chair of business & leadership at Judson University, School of Business & Professional Studies.  Her current position is responsible for growing the academic programs and co-curricular activities for the business and leadership degrees at Judson University. The profession enables the development of one's voice through theoretical thought leadership, contributions to industry professionals and/or teaching in the classroom.

(Photo Courtesy of Michelle Kilbourne)

Kilbourne obtained a Bachelor of Science in finance and a Master of Business Administration from Illinois State University. Her Doctor of Philosophy is in organizational leadership from Regent University in Norfolk, Virginia.

What are the scope and responsibilities of your current role?

"The scope of my role is to oversee the courses, activities and students in any program with business or leadership in its title. At Judson University, this includes business function majors (e.g., accounting) for traditional students. It also includes general business and leadership degrees at the adult undergraduate level and two master's degrees in business administration and organizational leadership.

My responsibility is to envision a future, break down silos and generate synergies at the university. This includes identifying a vision to foster entrepreneurialism. It requires asking hard questions to confront current realities. It involves maintaining collaborative relationships and building new partnerships. It means becoming and remaining financially viable. My responsibility is to teach our students to do exactly what I am doing in any organizational environment."

What is your favorite part of your daily duties?

"My favorite part of my daily duties is challenging the status quo. Sometimes this involves getting those I work with to see a topic from a different perspective, while other times it involves challenging a student's assumptions to enable both change and growth. I love envisioning what could be and fostering a culture of hope."

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

"My educational experience enabled me to "check the box" so that I could be considered for employment opportunities. My education, in what some call a mix of both the hard and soft sciences, prepared me to interact with people while never forgetting that there is always a financial bottom line."

Do you have any advice for people who desire to pursue a similar career?

"If you desire to cultivate one's voice through theoretical thought leadership, then pick an institution in which you can learn from a thought leader and obtain a terminal degree while still young. If you desire to develop one's voice through contributions to industry professionals and/or teaching in the classroom, then strive to build a strong/solid working foundation that enables you to connect theory and practical experience for others."

Michelle Guilbeau is a writer, reviewer, teacher and business owner. She also has experience in school administration, literacy coaching and is proud founder of and Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of cities, food, travel, education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on

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