UF Leadership Network

The University of Florida Leadership Network (UFLN) is a forum for faculty and professional leaders who have completed UF’s leadership development programs. The network supports its members’ continued exploration of leadership issues while providing opportunities for networking and collaboration.

Membership and Events

The UFLN holds approximately three events per calendar year, and membership is by invitation only. Membership is open to individuals who have completed UF’s leadership development programs including:

The UFLN currently has over 500 members.

Upcoming UFLN Events

Please note that UFLN events are by invitation only.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2024

At UFHR, we are firm in our commitment to prioritizing a UF campus culture of care, opportunity and excellence to empower our employees to do their very best work while working alongside them to help their dreams become a reality. 

Over the next two years, the UFLN will narrow in on how leaders move away from “business as usual” to directing the conversation that helps our campus adopt more forward-thinking approaches to work and an enduring commitment to our employees. By doing so, we believe this strategy will help us recruit, retain, and engage talented colleagues who choose to stay at UF, who choose to create a culture of meaning, and who are inspired to pay it forward to new generations of emerging leaders. 

Fostering a Workplace Culture of Caring is Part 1 of a three-part series on UFHR’s commitment to prioritizing a culture of care, opportunity, and excellence on our campus. Our presenters will be Dr. Jennifer Stuart, Counseling and Wellness Center, Dr. Chris Hass, Associate Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs, and Angie Brown, Director of UFHR Communications and Worklife.  

Event Schedule – Tuesday, March 19, 2024

  • 11:00 am – 12:30 pm – Panel Presentation and Small Group Discussions
  • 12:30 – 1:30 pm – Lunch and Community-building

Location: IFAS Straughn Professional Development Center 

Past UFLN Events

Building a Culture of Well-being using Appreciative Inquiry

On Monday, October 30, 2023, UFLN members were invited to a panel presentation and small group discussions related to the topic of “Appreciative Inquiry”. UFLN members Nila S Radhakrishnan, MD and Christopher A. Adin, DVM shared their experiences with using Appreciative Inquiry to lead change and transformation by leveraging strengths and cultivating relationships while delivering on results. Following the panel presentation and Q/A discussion, participants were invited to discuss ways to apply the concepts in small groups.

In Conversation with President Fuchs

On December 15, 2022, UFLN members welcomed Dr. Kent Fuchs who looked back on his 8-year tenure as UF’s 12th President, sharing leadership reflections, stories, accomplishments, challenges, and insights. President Fuchs then addressed questions regarding his perspective on leading the Gator Nation since January 2015. Afterwards, participants shared takeaways from his remarks and discussed leading change as UF transitions to new institutional leadership.

Navigating Conflict and Disruption in the Workplace: Tools and Resources for Leaders

In June 2022, members of the UFHR Employee Relations and Training & Organizational Development teams offered UFLN leaders guidance on recognizing and addressing disruptive behaviors (including various forms of incivility, gossiping, bullying, and undermining) with strategic communication and applicable resources. Participants had an opportunity to ask questions and share approaches to leading effectively when disruptive behaviors threaten morale, engagement, and well-being.

How Leaders Foster Psychological Safety at Work

On December 2, 2021, Ernesto Escoto, Ph.D., Director of UF’s Counseling and Wellness Center, led an engaging presentation as he shared his knowledge and experience in creating conditions to nurture and promote psychological safety in teams and fostering work environments where everyone feels comfortable with interpersonal risk-taking. The session was held virtually and allowed UFLN members to participate in breakout room discussions on ways to implement psychological safety into their leadership practices and team cultures.

Podcast Discussion Group—Dare to Lead: Brené Brown and Aiko Bethea

This summer, UFLN members participated in a podcast discussion group to share their thoughts and reactions to Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast conversations with “builder, leader and connector” Aiko Bethea. If you were unable to join us but would like to listen to the two episodes and read the related letter, you may access them through these links:

Connected by UF (CxUF) Conference

UFLN members represented our community of practice at the inaugural CxUF Conference as speakers and participants. If you were not able to join us, have heard great things about the conference and want to learn more about what took place, or would like to reinforce what you learned, you may access video recordings of the sessions at the CxUF Resources page.

Racial Equity Institute’s Groundwater Presentation

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, facilitators from the Racial Equity Institute offered the Groundwater Presentation, a three-hour introduction to Racial Equity. REI organizers used stories and data to present a perspective that racism is fundamentally structural in nature. By examining characteristics of modern-day racial inequity, the presentation introduced participants to a helpful and relevant analysis.

Leaders in Action: Disrupting Inequity

On Friday, November 20th, panelists Dr. Sherrilene Classen, Dr. Erica McCray, and Dr. Kevin Otto shared their journeys as leaders of equity at UF. While each had a distinct approach, they all shared personal accounts and leadership actions that were guided by courage and conviction. Following their statements, UFLN members participated in discussions on their current and future efforts to disrupt inequity at UF.

Sharing Leadership Strength in Community

The spring of 2020 provided a remarkable occasion for exhibiting leadership. UFLN members gathered as a community to discuss the leadership experiences, lessons, and opportunities encountered while navigating the challenges facing UF and the world. Via a virtual platform, members shared genuine, honest, and supportive conversation. UFLN College of Medicine (COM) Leadership Development Program members had an exclusive session to address challenges specific to their environment as COM faculty.

Mattering: Why It Generates Engagement and Well-being and How Leaders Can Foster It

Dr. Isaac Prilleltensky, Vice Provost for Institutional Culture at the University of Miami offered UFLN members research-based evidence on the interrelationship between mattering, engagement, and well-being and shared his experience and lessons learned while promoting a culture of belonging and well-being at the University of Miami. Session participants discussed leadership implications and specific practices for supporting mattering, engagement, and well-being in their individual interactions—with staff, students, faculty, peers, and leaders—as well as within the teams they lead.

Leading with Credibility

For its fall 2019 gathering, the UFLN collaborated with LEAD IFAS to celebrate the launch of the LEAD IFAS network, a professional development program for IFAS faculty and staff focused on developing the leadership skills of current and future leaders in IFAS. LEAD IFAS Coordinator, Dr. Brian Myers, led the presentation during which participants explored ways to assess their credibility, identify habits to help make and keep commitments to others, and identify communication skills to build and foster a culture of mutual accountability among the teams they lead.

Dare to Lead

In summer 2019, UFLN members gathered in two small-group, conversational settings to share insights on Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead. Facilitated discussions on this “ultimate playbook for developing brave leaders and courageous cultures” challenged UFLN members to explore ways to stay curious, ask questions, and share power by leaning into vulnerability and courageously engaging in difficult conversations and situations through empathy and connection.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Master Certified Crucial Conversations Senior Consultant and independent contractor and facilitator Greg Sammis guided UFLN members through the Crucial Conversations model for situations where stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. Members learned and practiced skills for improving dialogue and engagement, effecting behavior change and high performance, and nurturing a culture based on trust and respect using crucial conversations’ core principles: creating safety, mastering our stories, and encouraging others to share their meaning. The session offered participants opportunities to apply the crucial conversations framework for fostering frequent, helpful, and honest feedback and coaching as part of everyday exchanges.

Leading Change in Higher Education

From Breaking Resistance to Empowering Agency: Rethinking Organizational Change Management

New York consultant, author, and speaker Carsten Tams addressed the UFLN in November 2018. Challenging the core assumptions of conventional change management theory, Tams discussed big ideas by bold thinkers and challenged UF leaders to reframe organizational change management by dispelling assumptions of employee resistance and embracing a community-building approach.

UF at Work offered an excellent overview of Mr. Tams’ talk.

Mr. Tams is a regular contributor to Forbes Magazine. You can access his published articles on change management here.

Immunity to Change

How can we make the changes we know we want, but never seem able to achieve?

UF Leadership Network member Mark Jamison, along with Araceli Castaneda, of the Public Utility Research Center (PURC), led this transformational session based on the book Immunity to Change exclusively for members of the UFLN.

Participants engaged in an exercise to reveal the hidden stories we, and those in our organizations, tell ourselves to create a natural but powerful immunity to change. UFLN members experienced how this mechanism can hold us back personally and at work and identified the strategies needed for unlocking their own potential, as well as that of the organizations they lead, to finally move forward!

Conflict Competent Leadership

In response to expressed interest from summer reading group participants, the UFLN will host Craig Runde for a presentation and skill-building session on Conflict Competent Leadership on Wednesday, March 21st from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon at the IFAS Straughn Center. Mr. Runde will kick-off the session with an overview of conflict competence after which participants will gather in small groups to practice skills in managing emotions and perspective-taking. This will be followed by a Q&A period.

Developing UF’s Culture of Performance Engagement

On October 11, 2017, UFLN members examined culture change with respect to performance engagement at UF using Connors and Smith’s Change the Culture, Change the Game model. Small-group discussions were followed by a large-group debrief; members continued informal discussions during the network and socializing portion of the event.

Conflict Competent Leadership

During summer 2017, the UFLN held two reading and discussion groups for Craig E. Runde and Tim A. Flanagan’s article on Conflict Competent Leadership. The University Auditorium’s Friends of Music room provided a perfect setting for rich discussions.

Implicit Bias: Leadership Implications

Dr. Kate Ratliff, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Executive Director of Project Implicit addressed the UFLN on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Her presentation was followed by small group discussions on how implicit bias influences our thinking, actions, and decision-making at work and how to reduce its impact in the future. After Dr. Ratliff’s presentation, UFLN members stayed for networking and socializing.

Ideas into Practice

Ideas into Practice March 16, 2016 from 3:00 – 6:00 pm at the IFAS Straughn Center.

Negotiation Skills

On October 12, 2015, Dr. Judith Callahan, of the Department of Management at the Warrington College of Business, presented an overview on the nature of negotiations and how we use negotiation skills in our everyday interactions. Following individual case-study preparation and negotiation in pairs, participants benefited from Dr. Callahan’s review of each dyad’s approach and outcome. Crisp, fall weather welcomed UFLN members to outdoor conversation and hors d’oeuvres during the informal networking part of the event.

Talent, Trust, Vision, Alignment The UF Leadership Model Competencies: Drivers to Excellence

For this event, UFLN members were asked to prepare in advance by visiting our Leadership Toolkit and reviewing one of the resources available in each of the four UF Leadership/Management Competency Model quadrants. These quadrants are: Build Trust, Create and Communicate Vision, Generate Alignment, and Cultivate Talent. The selected resources provided food for thought to initiate small group discussions which addressed each quadrant’s objective. Participants sat at different tables midway through the session, thereby interacting with other members. Following the discussions, UFLN members networked while enjoying a delicious catered lunch.

January 27, 2015 Panel Discussion: Perspectives on Strategy, Change, Culture, and Accountability

The panel discussion featured College of Nursing Dean Anna McDaniel, Vice President for Research David P. Norton, and Vice President for Business Affairs Curtis Reynolds. These three distinguished UF leaders presented their views on identifying and addressing strategic priorities; initiating and supporting change; observing and affecting culture; and developing relationships and influence to nurture accountability. UFLN members were invited to ask questions following the presentations. Finally, an hors d’oeuvres reception offered panelists and UFLN members an opportunity to interact informally and network professionally.

March 17, 2014 Kick-Off

The UF Leadership Network kick-off session was held on March 17, 2014. Attendance was to capacity with 50 members present.Participants watched two TED Talks, each lasting approximately 15 minutes, after each of which they discussed a list of questions to pursue reactions and experiences related to the topics both in small clusters and with the group at large. The TED Talks were: Kathryn Schultz: On being wrong and Shawn Anchor: The happy secret to better work. The formal discussions were followed by an opportunity to informally network and socialize during a cocktail hour.

July 2014, Book Group Discussions

Two book group sessions were held in the summer of 2014 to discuss the title Leadership Without Excuses: How to Create Accountability and High-Performance (Instead of Just Talking About It) by Jeff Grimshaw and Gregg Baron. These sessions were limited to 15 participants which allowed for rich conversations also guided by facilitated questions on some of the main concepts of the book and how they applied to leading at UF.