Lessons in Leadership

Experience the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Lessons in Leadership Forum 

The Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Lessons in Leadership forum provides its faculty and staff with professional growth opportunities that broaden leadership skills and expand professional networks. This is a forum where leaders from the greater metropolitan Atlanta area, as well as from Kennesaw State University’s leadership. Join Radow College faculty and staff members to engage in conversation about leadership skills, personal leadership style, and the career paths that helped them develop these skills.

What is Lessons in Leadership?

Dean Katie Kaukinen facilitates discussions with guest speakers, and both a live and online audience, posing questions that guide a fluid conversation around leadership skills and strategies. The dynamic and inspirational exchange of advice, best practices, and challenges offers a foundation for Radow College’s emerging leaders to build confidence and define their own leadership roadmap.  

What’s Next? 

Lessons in Leadership is currently planning its 2024-2025 Academic Year calendar for the 2nd annual discussion series. Watch this space for the upcoming roster of speakers.

Upcoming Speakers

We Feature Exceptional Metro Atlanta Leaders

The inaugural year of this valuable leadership forum was a resounding success. Executives from a range of fields, including sports, community/non-profits, and public health organizations came to Radow College to share wisdom and strategies. Featured speakers included:

  • Norman J. Radow

    Norman J. Radow

    Founder & CEO - The RADCO Companies

    Prior to founding The RADCO Companies, Mr. Radow was a seasoned real estate litigation, workout, and transactional lawyer. Awarded a Juris Doctor by New York Law School in 1981 and a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1978, he is licensed to practice in both New York and Georgia.

    • As a Chairman of the Kennesaw State University Foundation Board of Trustees, he oversaw the expansion of the 33,000-student university in metropolitan Atlanta. During his 13-year tenure, the campus doubled in size with the addition of $500 million in new buildings that he helped finance and develop. Mr. Radow is the Benefactor of the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Kennesaw State University. 

      A member of the New York Law School Board of Trustees, he previously served as an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law. He is a dynamic speaker and has been featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and more. 

      “To be grounded morally and ethically, to explore, and to come to understand our purpose as human beings is paramount to advancing our society, creating a better citizenry, and improving the world in which we live.” – Norman J. Radow, Founder and CEO of The RADCO Companies 

    • Milton Little

      Milton Little

      President & CEO - United Way of Greater Atlanta

      Milton J. Little, Jr. became the first African American president of United Way of Greater Atlanta in July 2007. Previously, he served as president of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. Little stands among a strong legacy of fundraising and collaborative leaders who bring together supportive partners in the for-profit, nonprofit, philanthropic and government sectors to identify challenges facing individuals and families and offer solutions.

      • He has helped raise more than a billion dollars for local community needs and priorities during his career. He has been at the forefront of shaping the role of United Way in responding to economic and natural disasters.  

        Under his leadership, United Way of Greater Atlanta launched the Child Well-Being Movement—a movement to unite people and resources across sectors to make lasting improvements in the well-being of children, families and the communities that surround them. United Way of Greater Atlanta and a group of partners developed the nation’s only Child Well-Being Index that measures child well-being, down to the zip code, using several indicators. This index was key in March of 2020, when United Way of Greater Atlanta – in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta – created the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. The fund raised more than $25 million and provided 320 nonprofits across Greater Atlanta with resources they need to help the most vulnerable populations affected by the pandemic. 

        Before joining United Way, Little served as chief operating officer and interim president and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights and social service community-based movement. Prior to joining the League, Little had a career in corporate philanthropy at AT&T and Lucent Technologies and served as vice president for Field Operations at MDRC, a non-partisan education and social policy research organization. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Little graduated magna cum laude from Morehouse College with a B.A. degree in sociology. He earned an M.A. degree in urban sociology and social policy from Columbia University. 

      • James A. Mercy

        James A. Mercy, Ph.D.

        Director, Division of Violence Prevention - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

        James A. Mercy, Ph.D., is the Director of the Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) in the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control where he provides leadership to innovative research and science-based programs to prevent violence and reduce its consequences.

        • Dr. Mercy has worked to develop the public health approach to violence prevention for more than 35 years. Prior to his current appointment, he oversaw global activities in DVP and implemented surveys on violence against children in developing countries as part of a global partnership called Together for Girls with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the World Health Organization (WHO), and others. 

          He has authored more than 250 publications that have addressed child maltreatment, youth and intimate partner violence, homicide, suicide, and firearm-related injuries. In 2019 he won the William C. Watson Jr. Medal of Excellence, the premiere service award for CDC employees. 

          Dr. Mercy received his master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology from Emory University. He is an adjunct associate professor of sociology at Emory University and at the Public Health Institute at Georgia State University. 

        • Milton Overton

          Milton Overton

          Director of Athletics - Kennesaw State University

          Milton Overton is the Director of Athletics at Kennesaw State University. Milton has previously served as the Director of Athletics at Florida A&M University and as the Sr. Associate AD at the University of Alabama.  A 19-year veteran of college sports administration, he has experience in sports marketing, licensing, ticket sales, fundraising, multimedia rights partnerships, sports broadcasting, sports performance video, and athletics technology innovation. Milton also served as a 4-year football letterman and team captain at the University of Oklahoma.

          • At Kennesaw State University, Milton oversees six revenue-producing units and the Track & Field/Cross Country sports program. Milton is also responsible for boosting revenue, developing new digital inventory and corporate partnerships, fulfilling sponsor contracts, managing web hosting relationships with CBS Interactive, and producing coaches shows, radio and TV spots, and in-game sponsor elements in partnership with multimedia rights holder (Learfield ISP). 

            Milton Overton has a Master’s degree in Higher Education from The University of Oklahoma. Milton also has a Master’s degree in Higher Education/Higher Education Administration from The University of Oklahoma. In addition, he is a Certified Mental Health Professional. 

            Some of his coworkers include Ivan Pulinkala - Interim Provost, VP, Academic Affairs & Interim VP for the Division, Enrollment Services; Eric Arneson - VP, Student Affairs, and Lance Burchett - VP, Advancement & CEO, KSU Foundation. Milton Overton reports to Kathy Schwaig, President.

          • DeRetta Rhodes

            DeRetta Rhodes, Ph.D.

            Executive Vice President, Chief Culture Officer - Atlanta Braves

            DeRetta Rhodes, Ph.D., is in her fifth season with the Braves after arriving in January 2019. She joined the organization as Senior Vice President of Human Resources before being promoted to Executive Vice President, Chief People Capital Officer, in January 2021. She was elevated to her current role, Executive Vice President, Chief Culture Officer, in January 2022.

            • Dr. Rhodes, who oversees communications, community affairs and people capital initiatives for the organization’s Major League and The Battery Atlanta operations, has left a lasting impact in her short time with the Braves. She transformed the people capital department, expanded the culture of the organization with training programs and employee resource groups, and created an internal diversity, equity, and inclusion council. She also managed organizational changes that became necessary due to the pandemic.  

              Prior to joining the Braves, Dr. Rhodes was Executive Vice President/Chief Human Resources Officer of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, Vice President of Human Resources at First Data, Vice President of Human Resources for Turner Broadcasting, and held leadership positions at Ernst & Young, ADP, HomeGrocer.com and YUM Brand. Dr. Rhodes received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, her master’s in business administration from Clark Atlanta University, and her Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. 

              She is a certified facilitator for the Benchmark 360 assessment by the Center for Creative Leadership, DISC coach and facilitator, qualified facilitator for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), HOGAN Assessment and HOGAN 360. A Kansas City native, Dr. Rhodes has served in the Metro Atlanta community in various board member roles and activities, most recently: Woodruff Arts Center, 21st Century Leaders, Goodwill of North Georgia, 21st Century Leaders, Woodruff Arts Center, and TedX UGA Speaker (March 2018). She was also recognized as 100 Women of Influence by the Atlanta Business League, and as National Diversity & Leadership Top 100 HR Professionals.