McLauchlan Leadership Series

The McLauchlan Leadership Series is a professional development program that supports graduate-level leadership education through experiential learning. The Series started in 2015 with a generous gift from Russ and Cara McLauchlan. To date, more than one hundred Jenkins MBA students from across all platforms have received the distinct honor of being named a McLauchlan Fellow.


McLauchlan Leadership Fellows master the fundamentals of personal, team, and organizational leadership through–

  • Lectures
  • Group Discussions
  • Guided Assessment 
  • Team Projects
  • Industry Guest Speakers 
  • Opportunities that allow fellows to practice their newly learned leadership and coaching techniques.

With access to corporate executives and community leaders throughout the Series, fellows build their professional network and experience unique coaching and leadership development to further career growth.  The McLauchlan Leadership Series is non-credit-bearing; students will earn a leadership certificate issued by the Jenkins Graduate School of Management and signed by the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research. Fellows are also formally recognized at the Poole College of Management spring commencement ceremony.

The Series consists of three Friday evening (4:00-9:00 p.m.) sessions, where fellows engage in the outlined activities, followed by a full Saturday (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) of programming.

Session I: Personal Leadership

Session I focuses on personal assessment activities, the development of an individual leadership model, and team building activities to engage the cohort of fellows as an interdependent group.

During this session, fellows identify a “Personal Leadership Challenge” and receive $300 each to complete that challenge during the Series.

Session II: Team Leadership

Session II engages fellows in various team-building activities and in-class training to strengthen their leadership skills, including those which are essential to maintaining relationships with peers. 

Session III: Organizational Leadership

Session III provides fellows with an opportunity to interact with executive leaders in a C-suite environment. Fellows learn about organizational leadership through case discussions and share highlights from their experience in a final presentation.

Unique Benefits

Executive Interaction

Network with and learn from corporate and community leaders through in-class discussions, panels, social networking sessions, and more.

Executive Coaching

Participate in three one-on-one sessions with a personal executive coach, who helps students create a leadership development plan.

Personal Leadership Challenge

In Session I, fellows are issued a "Personal Leadership Challenge" and provided $300 each to pursue that challenge during the course of the series.

Admissions and Application Process

Complete the McLauchlan Leadership application process in 3 simple steps.

Step 1: Review the fellowship requirements.

All Jenkins MBA students (Full-time, Professional Evening, Professional Online) are eligible to apply to become McLauchlan Leadership Fellows.

Exception: Professional Evening and Online MBA students currently participating in a corporate leadership development program are not eligible to apply.

Other requirements:

  • Currently enrolled Jenkins MBA student
  • Not currently participating in a corporate leadership development program
  • Ability to participate in all McLauchlan Leadership Program sessions, including a mid-November kick-off.

Step 2:  Prepare application materials.

Applicants will need to submit a completed application package that includes the following items: 

  • Basic student information
  • A copy of your professional resume/CV
  • Video essay

Application requirements discussed in greater detail below. 

Other Requirements:

  • Complete Online Application Form
  • Upload resume (part of the Online Application Form)
  • Create video and email it to Program Director, Leigh Shamblin at

Video components:

  • 3-5 minute video essay answering the following questions:
    • Where do we need the most leadership in the world today, and why?
    • Why I want to join this program and what I’d like to get out of it?
    • What can I contribute to the program, if selected?

Step 3:

Apply Now

Application Review & Selection

The program is competitive, and will accept 20-25 students in each cohort. The McLauchlan Leadership Committee, comprised of Jenkins Graduate School of Management faculty, administrators, and the McLauchlan family, reviews all applications.

Students should contact the Program Director, Dr. Leigh Shamblin, at or the Project Coordinator, Candise Lewis, at with additional questions and requests for assistance.

Key Dates and Logistics

Milestone Date
Online application available August 21, 2019
Application submission deadline September 29, 2019
Fellows announced October 9, 2019
McLauchlan Leadership Series kick-off celebration November 15, 2019
Session I: Personal Leadership January 24-25, 2020
Session I Inclement Weather Makeup Dates January 31-February 1, 2020
Session II: Team Leadership February 21-22, 2020
Session III: Organizational Leadership March 20-21, 2020
Closing Dinner May 6, 2020

The fellowship covers course fees and selected meals while the course is in session.

Meet the McLauchlans

Russ McLauchlan

Russ is a cultivator—evolving and refining business ventures and the talents of those around him. After 26 years of serving as a global executive leader in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, Russ founded Calvert Holdings. Through a series of acquisitions and developments, Calvert became a source of significant drug testing and development, capital investment, management, and marketing services for many promising compounds and technologies.

In addition to his leadership at Calvert, Russ also focuses his efforts on local community ventures. He supports a family foundation focused on education and diabetes research and currently serves on the Board of Advisors at NC State’s Poole College of Management. As a mentor to MBA students and alumni, Russ is an active angel investor. 

In his spare time, Russ is an avid golfer–participating in USGA amateur tournaments throughout the year and fine-tuning his game to perfection.

Cara McLauchlan

Mrs. Cara McLauchlan is the Director of Our Backyard Foundation, a non-profit organization created for the sole purpose of giving back and helping those who would not otherwise receive assistance.

She is also a successful writer who is motivated by writing inspirational essays and developing books that capture the best of life. She’s been featured in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers,” and regularly in the Carolina Parent magazine. 

Before joining the Our Backyard Foundation in 2008, Cara worked in public relations and marketing, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Masters of Advertising and Public Relations from Michigan State University.