Leadership for the Quad Cities

Leadership for the Quad Cities (LFQC) is designed for individuals who are ready to take the next step in their career and engage with their community.

Participants will engage in hands-on learning experiences which are designed to challenge them to leave their comfort zone in order to become more strategic and dynamic leaders.

Upon completion of the program, leaders will earn a Certificate in Leadership from St. Ambrose University. 

Scroll down to More Information to see dates, curriculum, and instructors.

What can you expect from LFQC?

  • Interact with a diverse network of leaders across various industries in the Quad Cities community.
  • Learn from highly-qualified St. Ambrose faculty and industry professionals.
  • Explore curriculum topics guided by the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® (researched and developed by the Leadership Practices Institute).
  • Use your current role to identify leadership challenges then discuss and share these challenges by using course concepts to create and implement strategies.
  • Become a more effective leader within your organization and community.

Register now to take the next step in your leadership journey!

Lunch and Learn

July 20

Noon-1 p.m.

Join us for lunch and learn more about taking the next steps in your career journey!

Register for this free lunch!

Fall Cohort Begins

Aug. 11

Fall Cohort Begins

Register today and begin planning for your Certificate in Leadership classes this fall!

Register to join the Fall Cohort

Thurgood Brooks

Praise From Participants

Thurgood Brooks

Thurgood Brooks, MLK Community Center
Hometown: Rock Island, IL
Education: Rock Island High School and Western Illinois University
Personal interests: Reading, working out, playing sports, hanging out with family/friends, traveling
Favorite leadership quote: "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair." -Shirley Chisholm
Leader who inspires me: Muhammad Ali

What's your favorite part about attending LFQC?
I love the different perspectives shared by the instructors and the other participants. The subjects themselves are designed to make us better leaders, but discussing different perspectives on the content is what I find most substantive.

What's your biggest takeaway from LFQC?
The best leaders are often the best team players. An individual has to be able to work with, collaborate, negotiate and provide vision within their teams. Success doesn't come from individuals. It is all about what you give and take! You've got to be willing to give up things that you may want for what is needed.


Nikki Schaul

Nikki Schaul, Technology Consulting Operations Supervisor at RSM
Hometown: Manchester, Iowa
Education: Associate's Degree in Paralegal 
Personal interests: Traveling, experiencing new things, being in the great outdoors, spending time with my dog Bella
Favorite leadership quote: Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you are a leader, success is all about growing others. –Jack Welch

What's your favorite part about attending LFQC?
My favorite part is the diversity of backgrounds of the participants. Each session is very interactive and each participant is able to share their experience within the topic of discussion. This has helped me to see each topic from several angles and deepen my understanding of the curriculum.

What's your biggest takeaway from LFQC?
My biggest take-away is that the best answer might not be the one that is in front of you. Whether it's analyzing data or brainstorming a new idea, the best way to see all aspects is to remove yourself from the situation to a neutral setting, clear your mind of all preconceived notions, and begin to let your thoughts flow. Jumping to conclusions or focusing on one outcome does not mean it is the best result in the end.

Leadership for the Quad Cities
Leadership Certificate

Watch this video to learn more about the Leadership Certificate program!

More Information


Developing Your Leadership Potential -  In this session, participants will consider their current understanding of leadership, reflect on their best leadership experiences, and engage in self-evaluation using a well-researched leadership framework, the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. We will learn about the power of modeling, how to build shared vision, and ways to equip people to chase after the vision. Since leading is about change, we will explore ways to challenge the status quo and encourage others to do the challenging and exciting work of creating positive change. Course includes a 360 degree peer evaluation feedback analysis.

Strategic Management - During this session, leaders will learn to formulate and implement business strategy in all levels of their organization. Participants will learn to build on fundamental concepts of program management and visionary leadership to propel their organization to the next level with proactive planning and thought leadership.

Analyzing Organizational Culture - Leaders will gain an understanding of organization culture and the ability to identify the defining charateristics within their current organization. Participants will be able to recognize the role of organizational culture on employee engagement, work quality, and productivity. Utilizing this knowledge, leaders will increase their ability to communicate with, understand and motivate individuals and groups.

Implementing Organizational Change - Organizations operate in an ever-changing environment. In order to remain competitive in today's marketplace, organizational leaders need to recognize the need for change as well as guide and shape their organizations through the change process. This session will examine the change process and strategies for successfully navigating organizational change to ensure buy-in from and develop adaptability in employees.

Effective Communication - Strong communication skills are crucial to effective leadership. During this session, participants will learn how to effectively utilize various mediums of communication. Session will discuss elements such as verbal and written communication, non-verbal signals, active listening, leading difficult conversations, and utilizing emotional intelligence to maximize leadership impact. 

Creating and Managing High Performing Teams - Teamwork and collaboration are the new norm. Studies show that problem solving, innovation, and profitability improve when people work in teams. However, our personal experiences show that our team experiences are somewhat inconsistent. How do we get the most out of our teams while having a more enjoyable experience? This session will engage in a hands-on experience while offering the latest insights into leading effective collaboration within teams.

Improving Decision Making with People Analytics - Decision making in modern business requires leaders to analyze critical data, come to informed conclusions, and share their results. This session will enable leaders to assess an organizations' internal environment for strengths and weaknesses, formulate strategic questions, and determine appropriate data sources including financial, consumer (marketing), and employment data to gather information. In addition, leaders will learn to utilize statistical models to answer their strategic questions, interpret their analyses, and utilize their results to answer business and strategic human capital questions to inform business decision-making, strategic planning, and financial performance.

Managing a Remote Workforce - According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost a quarter of the U.S. workforce worked from home at least part of the time in 2019. Since the pandemic began in the spring of 2020, that number has grown exponentially. Managers need to be equipped to handle the myriad challenges that remote employees face which include a lack of face-to-face supervision, lack of access to information and resources, social isolation and distractions at home. During this session, leaders will learn to provide structured support to their employees through proactive communication and expectation setting.

Creating Engagement in the Workplace - Employee engagement can lead to substantial organizational benefits, yet statistics suggest a majority of employees are still unengaged at work. In this course, leaders will be introduced to theoretical and practical perspectives on employee engagement. Challenges to employee engagement will be explored and tools and strategies to build employee engagement in the workplace will be articulated.


Dr. David O'Connell - Professor, St. Ambrose University

Dr. Dave O'Connell serves as a consultant and trainer in the areas of strategic planning, employee job satisfaction, and supervisor development. His research includes contingent employment success factors, team development, leadership, adaptability and case pedagogy. Dr. O'Connell is published in the Journal of Management Education, Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, Leadership and Organizational Development Journal, Organization Management Journal and The CASE Journal. Dr. O'Connell is actively involved in the Midwest Academy of Management, serving as chair of two tracks: Case Research and HR & Careers.

Jan Gorman - Leadership Consultant, LG Consulting

Jan Gorman has over thirty-five years of extensive human resource and management experience including project management, strategic planning, program analysis and development, leadership development, conflict resolution and mediation, performance management and employment law. Jan consults with for-profit and not-for-profit organzations and serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Iowa, teaching leadership and human relations courses. She maintains a coaching and consulting practice specializing in leadership, communication, project management and employee and human relations.

Dr. Jason Senjem - Associate Professor and Chair, St. Ambrose University

Dr. Jason Senjem is involved in non-profit and small business consulting and has worked with several local municipal hinitiatives on economic development and sustainability. His research is concerned with how organizations use innovative work practices to create economic, social, and environmental value. Dr. Senjem is published in the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, Group and Organization Management and Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research and presents papers at the Academy of Management, Strategic Management Society, British Academy of Management, and Babson-Kaufman Entrepreneurship conferences. He has presented in London, Berlin, Sweden, and Switzerland and teaches the Made in Italy study abroad program in Milan, Italy. Dr. Senjem is advisor for Circle K International and St. Ambrose Enactus and is a member of the Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, Society for Human Resource Management, and Strategic Management Society.

Dr. Jennifer Palar - Assistant Professor, St. Ambrose University

Dr. Jennifer Palar consults in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, with a primary focus on strategic planning, workforce development, HR auditing, and labor relations. Dr. Palar has over fifteen years of industry experience in Human Resources and holds multiple designations including Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the Human Resources Certification Institute and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SCP) from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Michelle Luebke - Principal HR Consultant, Highlight HR Consulting

Michelle Luebke is the founder of Highlight HR Consulting. She has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of HR, including HR process design and implementation, coaching at all levels of management, global HR management, and compliance. Prior to the consulting business, Michelle worked in a variety of HR roles at John Deere, most recently as the HR Operations Lead for the U.S. Agriculture and Turf Division. She is known for being a compassionate, collaborative, results-oriented leader with strong communication skills. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and French from the University of Iowa and a Master of Science in Business: Management, Leadership and Strategy from Michigan State. She is a certified coach from the NeuroLeadership Institute and achieved "elite coach" and mastery coach status at John Deere. Michelle earned the Certified Compensation Professional from World at Work, and is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and the Great River Human Resource Association (GRHRA).


Fall 2021 LFQC Cohort Dates: August 11, 25; September 8, 22; October 6, 20

Format: In-person, 9am-4pm on Wednesdays. Each day is broken into a morning and afternoon session, focusing on a unique topic with a subject matter expert (see curriculum and instructor information). Come early to share a light breakfast and networking, enjoy a catered lunch and downtime from 12-1pm, join your cohort for networking after hours, if desired. 

Location: St. Ambrose University Professional Development Center, 1950 E. 54th Street, Davenport, IA 52807*

Cost: Early Bird Discount $2,050; Regular Price $2,250 (begins one month before course start date). Payment plans and group discounts available upon request.

Register Now or email pd@sau.edu to learn more. 

*In person courses follow St. Ambrose University COVID-19 visitor protocols.


Megan Tarasi, Director

Professional Development
North Davenport Education Center
1950 E. 54th St.
Davenport, IA 52803

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