Emerge program graduates first cohort of university leaders

November 30, 2022

By Lisa Maloney

Even on graduation day, the participants of Yale’s leadership development and training program, Emerge, had work to do. The 19 participants presented their diagnoses of a case study — then, they celebrated! The graduation ceremony, held last month at the Maurice R. Greenberg Conference Center, included a dinner and certificate of completion.

Emerge, a presidential initiative designed to retain staff and develop leaders throughout campus, kicked off its first cohort in March 2022 with employees from departments and schools throughout the university. Coordinated by Yale Organizational Effectiveness and Staff Development (OESD), the initiative is the newest of Yale’s many programs and resources designed to help staff strengthen their leadership skills. The intensive eight-month training includes immersive classes, group assignments, and insights from Yale leaders on topics ranging from strategic analysis of problem solving to financial and business acumen.

The participants are already seeing results from their training, including promotions and new project assignments. Several are developing plans with their staff and supervisors to implement strategies for more effective communication, methods for managing change, and new ways to recognize staff.

For the Emerge graduates, the ceremony was both a celebration of completion and a recognition of their dedication to Yale and years of hard work. “We were all made to feel that the work we do for Yale and the community is important,” says graduate Stacey James-Hepburn, director of Strategic Initiatives, Yale Hospitality. “We belong here, we are heard, and there is a plan for us.”

Stacey and her fellow graduates are eager to pay these lessons forward through mentoring and training their employees to become great leaders. The program’s second cohort began in mid-November.*

Congratulations to the graduates of the inaugural Emerge program.

  • Mariana Di Giacomo Caporale, natural history conservator, Peabody Museum of Natural History
  • Michele Carpenter, program manager, Diversity Office, Yale School of Medicine
  • Vannesa Martinez Cecchini, senior associate general counsel, Office of the Senior Vice President
  • Kenechia Daley, associate director, Office of Sponsored Projects, Office of Research Administration
  • Sara Estrom, director of Financial Operations and Compliance, Graduate School, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Marisa Figueira, director, Employee Relations, Yale Human Resources
  • Maurice Harris, director of Marketing and Communications, Yale Schwarzman Center
  • Wendi Hicks, director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid, Yale School of the Environment
  • Eric Hsiao, associate director, Yale Medicine Finance, Yale School of Medicine
  • Zoe Hunter, managing director, Tsai CITY, Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking
  • Stacey Hepburn-James, director of Strategic Initiatives, Yale Hospitality
  • GoEun Lee, senior associate athletic director of Business Operations, Department of Athletics
  • Sandra Livramento, senior associate director, Yale College Alumni Fund, Yale Office of Development
  • Jennifer Medina, finance and administrative manager, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Fani Meyerson, portfolio and grant accountant, Cell Biology Operations, Yale School of Medicine
  • Von Narcisse, assistant chief of police, Campus Police, Yale Office of Public Safety
  • Vernice (Hopie) Randall, Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid
  • Asha Shipman, director, Hindu Life, Office of the Chaplain
  • Dawn Smith, associate director for technical services, Law Library, Yale Law School

*Managers require departmental approval or nomination to attend leadership training programs. (Individuals who participate in the Emerge program are nominated in consultation with the department’s Vice President.)