5th alumni class graduates from ASU Leadership Institute

ASU Leadership Institute class stands together on the steps of Old Main.

The 26 members of the ASU Leadership Institute's fifth cohort at their graduation ceremony. Photo courtesy Tim Trumble


The Arizona State University Alumni Association announced the graduation of 26 Sun Devil alumni from the 2022–23 ASU Leadership Institute program earlier this month.

This is the fifth cohort to complete the nine-month personal and professional development program that takes an in-depth look at the New American University; provides thought-provoking conversations with faculty, staff, deans and leaders throughout the four campuses; and builds a network among a group of alums.

Participants in Class 5 represented varying personal and professional backgrounds, including business leaders, nonprofit executives, community leaders, entrepreneurs, developers and educators. The alums were sponsored by their companies to dedicate one Friday a month to immerse themselves in the ASU Innovation Days. 

During the Innovation Days, key ASU leaders shared conversations about varying aspects of leadership and what it means to be a leader. Speakers included ASU President Michael Crow; James Rund, senior vice president, Educational Outreach and Student Services; Ray Anderson, vice president, University Athletics; Christine Wilkinson, president and CEO, ASU Alumni Association; and Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, special advisor to Crow for leadership initiatives and co-founder of the ASU Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab. 

The program aims to inspire participants and enhance their leadership development; it also prepares them to serve on ASU boards and councils, mentor students and serve as community ambassadors.

During the graduation ceremony held on Friday, May 12, in the Carson Ballroom of Old Main, the class nominated Abhay Khaire, ‘15 MS, to give the graduation remarks on behalf of his cohort. Khaire spoke of his journey to America, attending ASU for his master’s degree in engineering and Class 5’s experiences over the past nine months. 

Ellyse Crow, ASU Alumni association director of affinity programs and ASU Leadership Institute lead, said at the graduation: “Throughout our time together, it has been impactful to watch you grow professionally in your network, personally in your leadership and passionately about your alma mater — Arizona State University.”

Congratulations to the graduates of the ASU Leadership Institute Class 5:

Megan Cesiel, Salt River Project.

Kristina Chumpol, Fiesta Bowl.

Jana Crum, Welby Health.

Wesley Despins, Sundt Construction.

Shannen Falkenrath, LinkedIn.

Chrystine Geele, Sundt Construction.

Angela Gonzales, Bell Bank.

Philip Hensley, JE Dunn Construction.

Christina Hudson, Find180 LLC.

Danita Jackson, Arizona Birth Network.

Amy Johnson, Khan World School at ASU Prep Digital.

Ryan Johnson, Salt River Project.

Maureen Jorden, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center.

Abhay Khaire, Dibble.

Anne Landers, Junior Achievement of Arizona.

Thomas Maynard, Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Adam Mims, Oak View Group.

Thomas Myzia, Kitchell.

William Nolde, DraftKings.

Andrew Ostrander, Ostrander Real Estate Group.

Jared Phelps, Alliance Bank of Arizona.

Jennifer Rearich, Maricopa County Assessor’s Office.

Debbie Smith, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Arizona.

Kelley Tucker, Baker Bros Flooring.

Kaitlyn Wittig, Lauren’s Institute for Education.

Marge Zylla, city of Tempe.

To learn more about the ASU Leadership Institute, visit alumni.asu.edu/engage/leadership-institute. Applications are closed for ASU Leadership Class 6, but the application process for Class 7 will open January 2024.

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