Educated Woman of the Week- Dr. Susan Madsen

Orin R. Woodbury Professor of Leadership & Ethics, Utah Valley University

Professor of Management

Director, Utah Women and Education Initiative

Director, Utah Women and Leadership Project

Fellow, The Leadership Trust Foundation (Ross-on-Wye, England)

Visiting Fellow, Faculty of Economic and Business (University of Zagreb, Croatia)

Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Lancaster Leadership Centre (Lancaster University, U.K.)


Briefly tell us about your academic/professional life:

Dr. Susan R. Madsen is the Orin R. Woodbury Professor of Leadership & Ethics in the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University. Susan has been heavily involved for over a decade in researching the lifetime development of prominent women leaders, as well as studying many aspects of women and leadership more broadly. In the past few years, Dr. Madsen released eight briefs and five snapshots through the Utah Women & Leadership Project, which she founded, on Utah women and leadership in all sectors and settings. Overall, Susan has authored or edited six books and has published well over 100 articles, chapters, and reports. She is a sought-after speaker in local, national, and international settings. She has presented in NGO sessions at the United Nations and in such places as the New York Times, the Argentina Parliament Palace, the House of Commons in England, and in many countries around the world. In addition to a host of awards and recognitions, Susan has most recently been recognized as the recipient of the 2016 YWCA Utah Outstanding Achievement Award in Education, Community Legacy Impact Award from People Helping People, as the 2016 “Distinguished Woman of the Year” by the Wasatch Chapter of AAUW, a 2016 honoree of the Sundance Film Festival’s Utah Women’s Leadership Celebration, and the 2014 “Women and Leadership Scholar of the Year” for the International Leadership Association. Since 2009, when she founded the Utah Women & Education Initiative for the state of Utah, Susan has also led efforts to determine how to get more Utah women to graduate from college. She also serves on several nonprofit and community boards, including the United Way of Utah County, Real Women Run, and the Women’s Leadership Institute. Dr. Madsen received her doctorate from the University of Minnesota in human resource development.

Briefly tell us about your life outside of School/Work:

Susan and her husband Greg have four young adult children (and one grandson), and she enjoys racquetball, soccer, snowshoeing, golf, and hiking.

How did you know your path or decide your current path?

I believe often times we are called to do the work we do. Several opportunities and experiences have lead me to women’s leadership.  I have always been interested in why women lead and was so curious to understand the origins of those transformational moments in a women’s life, that I relentlessly pursued interviewing all of the living women governors in the country.  Those interviews and further research became a book I authored, “On Becoming a Woman Leader”.

How do you de-stress?

I de-stress by exercising.  I enjoy hiking with my husband in all seasons – even winter!  I also keep regular workout appointments with a personal trainer and have a standing game of racquetball with my brother each week.

Where can we find you on the Internet?




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