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The NYU Leadership Initiative defines leadership as the process of working with others to envision a better future, build commitment and align people’s actions toward shared goals, and ultimately, to produce results that make the envisioned future a reality.

By integrating scholarly research, undergraduate and graduate level courses, and co-curricular activities across the University and multiple disciplines we offer a world-class, comprehensive leadership hub for the NYU community. Our mission is to inspire and develop a lifelong practice of ethical and inclusive leadership by engaging students in exploring the diversity of ways people are leading today.

The transformation of communities across the globe – due to the spread of technology and information, the interdependence of economies, the transnational nature of major human challenges, and an increasing embrace of diversity – demands new approaches to leadership that reflect our global interconnectedness and enable breakthrough thinking and action across fields. Today’s world requires leadership that is inclusive, distributed, and ethical.

Get Involved

The Leadership Initiative aims to create a space for conversation across the Global Network University about how best to equip students to meaningfully contribute to global public discourse, apply ethical leadership principles and practices to complex problem solving, bridge divides, and set a course of continual discovery and innovation.

We hope you will join the conversation »

Meet Our Team

Melody C. Barnes

Melody C. Barnes

She is responsible for developing a wide-ranging set of initiatives across our campuses to prepare our students more fully for leadership roles – to arrange opportunities to interact with world leaders who visit us, to ensure that our most outstanding students are successfully availing themselves of opportunities for major scholarships and fellowships, and to look for areas of collaboration among our existing programs to recognize and cultivate student merit and leadership. As a Senior Fellow at NYU Wagner, Melody's deep experience and expertise in policy innovation will add immensely to the breadth of research and practice for which NYU Wagner is well known.

A former Assistant to President Barack Obama and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Melody has most recently been working as a private consultant and as chair of a new initiative at the Aspen Institute. From January 2009 to January 2012, she provided policy and strategic advice to President Obama and worked closely with members of the Cabinet coordinating the domestic policy agenda across the Administration. Prior to her work in the White House, she served on the leadership team for the Obama-Biden Transition Project and as Senior Domestic Policy Advisor to the Obama for America campaign. From 2003 to July 2008, she worked at the Center for American Progress, a progressive research institute and think tank, where she was named Executive Vice President for Policy in 2005. From 1995 to 2003, she worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee, serving as his chief counsel from 1998 onwards. Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York City.

Melody received her bachelor's degree in 1986 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated with honors. She received her law degree in 1989 from the University of Michigan Law School. 

Jordan Baile-Hoover

Jordan Bailey-Hoover

Originally from Atlanta, Jordan graduated from the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies at NYU in 2007. From 2007-2009, she worked on a public advocacy campaign around issues of interrogation and torture at Human Rights First in New York. From 2010-2013, Jordan worked for NYU Abu Dhabi, including two years at the Center for Technology and Economic Development, a multidisciplinary research effort looking at how technology can solve problems facing the developing world.

Concurrently, Jordan works in the film industry, collaborating with a group of friends from her undergraduate days at NYU. Jordan started in film as the unit production manager on A LITTLE CLOSER (Rotterdam) in 2009. Currently, she is a producer on HIDE YOUR SMILING FACES (Berlinale, Tribeca) and was selected to the 2012 IFP Producer of Marketing and Distribution Labs. Jordan plans to continue exploring her dual interests in film and public policy in the future.

This is an image of Corey Blay

Corey Blay

While a student at NYU, Corey served as president of the Government and Business Association, VP of Stern’s Student Government, Senator At-Large and Chief of Staff of the Student Senators Council, and graduate student representative on the University Space Priorities Working Group. He was given the Stern Service Award and President’s Service Award for his efforts and named the 2014 All-University Commencement Student Speaker.

Corey began his career at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, an K-12 independent school in New York City, where he worked on the founding team for its new middle school, taught 7th grade history, and designed diversity and inclusion programming for students, faculty, and staff. Outside of the classroom, Corey managed political campaigns, served on the board of a national leadership development organization, and co-founded a youth advocacy organization in Harlem that partnered with Columbia University and the White House to develop leadership programs for low-income youth. He was a 2011 Management Leadership for Tomorrow MBA Prep fellow, and as a 2012 Education Pioneer fellow, created a mentorship program for staff of color and of low-income backgrounds at Teach For America.

Corey received his BA in African-American Studies and Public Policy from the University of Chicago, an MBA from the NYU Leonard N. Stern School of Business, and MPA from the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Grisel Caicedo

Grisel Caicedo

Grisel is passionate about creating opportunities for individuals and organizations to develop talent and contribute to growth in the communities where they live and work. As Program Administrator for NYU Wagner’s Research Center for Leadership in Action, Grisel helped design and deliver customized leadership development and capacity-building programs, recruit and select participants, and manage activities and capture learning in partnership with diverse public service organizations, including the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Communities In Schools and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Her expertise in program design and project management was critical in the successful launch of RCLA programs including the Global Social Change Leadership Institute for emerging leaders and the Ghanaian Women’s Social Leadership Program for women in civil society organizations. From 2007-2010, Grisel worked at the NYU Stern Office of Career Development, where she coordinated the MBA on-campus recruitment process.

Prior to joining NYU, Grisel was a Program Advisor for the Organization of American States Scholarship program administered by LASPAU, an affiliate of Harvard University. In this role, she managed scholarships for graduate studies in Latin America and Canada, advised students on their scholarship experience and developed relationships with diverse academic institutions to support scholars.

Grisel is also interested in international development and migration. In graduate school, she was part of a team that conducted research on the requisite features of migration skill development systems to maximize migration’s development impact – findings they presented to the World Bank.

Grisel holds an MPA in International Policy and Management from NYU Wagner and a BA in Economics and International Relations from Boston University.

Bethany Godsoe

Bethany Godsoe

Previously, Bethany served as NYU Wagner's Assistant Dean for Enrollment and Student Services and Director of Admissions from 2003 to 2007. Prior to joining the NYU Wagner administration, she served as Associate Project Director for the Research and Documentation component of Leadership for a Changing World, a national effort to build knowledge about social change leadership. She began her career in HIV services developing and managing youth programs and serving as a director of development.

Bethany is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Administration at NYU Wagner where she teaches strategic leadership to the Executive MPA students. She received her BA in Anthropology from Cornell University and her MPA from NYU Wagner.

Jenni Quilter

Jenni Quilter

She directs the Office of National Scholarships, which is mostly known for its support of prestigious scholarships like the Rhodes, Fulbright, Marshall, and Gates (which generally offer full financial aid to graduate study in universities in the United Kingdom, particularly Oxford and Cambridge), along with Truman (for those ultimately interested in public service in the U.S.) and the Fulbright (which offers a range of international year-long research and teaching grants). The Office is dedicated to strengthening NYU’s record of achievement, but also to reframing the notion of scholarship in general. The common perception seems to be that scholarships like the Rhodes are rewarded to students who had it all mysteriously worked out before they even left middle school, who are destined for some form of charismatic leadership. There’s some truth to this, but the more stereotypical this vision of leadership becomes, the more students self-select out of the application process, thinking they could never become the image of perfection a selection committee might reward. Worse still, they contort themselves and their interests into a mold that no one is interested in them fitting. Scholarships however, need not be thought of this way. Instead, they could be considered the recognition of potential and determination, of people who think big, and who unabashedly want to transform one corner—large or small—of the world. What that change looks like is a matter of our imagination rather than any pre-determined route or shape. Generally speaking, it simply takes time and commitment. Accordingly, the Office of National Scholarships is also dedicated to developing this kind of potential in the NYU student community, in widening the scope and understanding of what scholarship implies in general, and in reconsidering the relationship between personal responsibility, agency, community building, and issues of leadership.

For the last seven years, Jenni taught at the Expository Writing Program at NYU, working first with CAS and then Tisch students. She was appointed Senior Lecturer in 2012, and this past year, won a coveted Golden Dozen teaching award for her sustained commitment to teaching and students. She has also taught personal essay writing workshops for scholarship, pre-med and pre-law students, worked as a Critical Thinking & Writing Instructor at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Summer Academy (which is a bridging program for high-achieving Emirati high-school students interested in an international university education), and has developed writing classes and lecture series for a number of study-abroad programs across the Global Network University. All told, she is extremely interested in encouraging students to develop their own writing voice as thinkers rather than as only learners; in constructing for themselves a narrative of their education, an intellectual myth of origins that for the rest of their lives they can subtly embroider and improve upon.

Prior to working at NYU, she taught at Oxford University, where she also obtained her M.Phil and D.Phil in English Literature as a Rhodes Scholar from New Zealand. Her academic research is in contemporary collaborations between artists and writers. She is the author of Neon in Daylight: New York School Painters and Poets (2014). Other publications include Jane Freilicher (2103) and Painters & Poets: The Tibor de Nagy Gallery (2012). Her essays have been published in Poetry, Agni, and The Southwest Review. She is currently working on a collection of essays, which are about (in no real order), Norway, bodybuilding, Zeno’s paradoxes, the NYPD, and the development of ASL and silent cinema.


Leadership is about how we shape futures that we truly desire.

- Peter Senge



Deborah J. Borisoff
Professor of Media, Culture and Communication
NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

Erica Gabrielle Foldy
Faculty Co-Director, Research Center for Leadership in Action, and Associate Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management
NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Elizabeth Wolfe Morrison
Vice Dean of Faculty, ITT Harold Geneen Professor in Creative Management, and Professor of Management and Organizations
NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Sonia M. Ospina
Faculty Co-Director, Research Center for Leadership in Action, and Professor of Public Management and Policy
NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Wendy A. Suzuki
Professor of Neural Science and Psychology and leader of the Suzuki Laboratory
NYU’s Center for Neural Science

A professor and students in discussion in NYU Shanghai

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