National leader pursues an executive doctoral degree at the University

December 19, 2014

Kathy Hannan, CVDL executive doctoral studentLisle, Illinois ~ Kathy Hopinkah Hannan of Wheaton, Ill., an executive doctoral student within Benedictine University’s Center for Values-Driven Leadership (CVDL), recently was named national president and chairman of the board for Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA).


Hannan, GSUSA’s first Native American president, will oversee the 30-member board and manage the organization’s governance, legal and fiduciary responsibilities. She brings to the position a wealth of leadership experience, and is currently national managing partner of diversity and corporate responsibility and global lead partner at the audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG.

Hannan plans to augment both roles with further insight and new approaches to leadership by earning a Ph.D. in Values-Driven Leadership from Benedictine. The doctoral program is designed for senior executives like Hannan, and offers a unique combination of research, theory, practice and action-based learning to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to lead strategically at the intersection of business and society. It is designed to be completed in three years and is tailored to meet the exacting standards and demanding schedules of senior leaders who work full-time.


“I was looking for a program in leadership and ethics, and I came upon Benedictine’s program,” Hannan said. “So far, it has also enriched my life outside of my roles with KPMG and GSUSA, not just in an isolated experience but every day. That is the beauty of learning at such a deep level.” Hannan’s experience with GSUSA dates back to her childhood and when her two daughters, Emily and Madeline, joined a troop of their own.

Her future plans include growing and advancing the historic organization so that it can continue to provide even more positive experiences for future generations of young girls. “We have exciting opportunities today to leverage our tremendously rich history and culture, being true to our mission while leaning into the future and seizing opportunities to address the needs of girls today,” she said. “Tell me what can’t be done and I will not stop asking, ‘Why?’ I will challenge the status quo until I help discover the solution. Our girls demand this.” 

Hannan has been recognized as an advocate for women in the workplace throughout her career. In 2011, the Illinois Diversity Council honored her with the “Most Powerful and Influential Women Award,” and in 2012, YWCA Chicago honored her with the Outstanding Business Leader Award. Recently, she was the recipient of Diversity Woman Magazine’s annual “Mosaic Woman Leadership Award.”

Established in 2008, the CVDL at Benedictine University offers research, education and outreach opportunities to help business leaders forge new paths to profitability. It is a gathering place where top executives, entrepreneurs and thought leaders come together to innovate at the forefront of values-driven business practice. For more information about the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, please visit call (630) 829-6225, visit or contact Amber Johnson at


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 15 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the fourth consecutive year in 2014. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the sixth largest in the Chicago area in 2014.

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