Diana Petty Named Inaugural Director of Leadership & Society Initiative

Diana Petty, an experienced leader in urban innovation and cross-sector partnership, has been named the inaugural director of the University of Chicago’s Leadership & Society Initiative (LSI).

LSI is a new, yearlong, cohort-based initiative for senior executives seeking a transformative higher education experience to prepare for their next chapters in leadership, service, and philanthropy. The initiative has a two-part mission: to help individuals live more meaningful, connected, and fulfilling lives and to help society by equipping these individuals with the knowledge, tools, and networks to drive significant, positive societal impact.

Drawing on eminent faculty and resources from across the University’s Schools and Divisions, the initiative will offer immersion into the University’s unparalleled environment for rigorous inquiry to support highly-accomplished leaders committed to using their talents toward a better world.

“Through the Leadership and Society Initiative, we strive to activate a new source of talent to help address society’s most intractable challenges,” said Seth Green, Dean of the Graham School. “Diana is an accomplished leader in social impact and program design who can help bring our ambitious vision for LSI to life.”

Petty brings extensive experience helping mission-driven organizations deepen impact in their communities to this newly established role. Most recently, Diana served as Associate Director of the University’s Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, leading program design, implementation, and continuous improvement. While there, she launched multiple experiential learning and professional development programs showcasing the University’s field-defining leadership in the study of cities.

“Diana’s fresh take on educational programming and her keen interest in leadership development brought so much to Mansueto’s community of urban scientists,” said Anne Dodge, Executive Director of the Mansueto Institute. “In addition to her capacity for organizing people and ideas, she showed real curiosity and a drive to help others achieve their goals. We’re really looking forward to seeing what she will bring to LSI.”

Prior to Mansueto, Petty worked as senior consultant at Public Works Partners, helping government and nonprofit clients conceptualize new programs, secure stakeholder buy-in for organizational change, and implement program enhancements. She also held positions in communications, strategic planning, and public-private partnership management for the City of New York in the Bloomberg administration.

Petty received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Media Studies from Macalester College. She is a graduate of the New York Urban Fellows Program, the New York University Wagner School’s Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service, the StartingBloc Fellowship for Change Leaders, and the University of Chicago Booth School’s Executive Program for Emerging Leaders.

“I am fortunate to have experienced first-hand how powerful cohort-based education, guided self-reflection, and facilitated community building can be for individuals seeking to drive positive change in the world,” said Diana Petty. “I look forward to building LSI and creating space for distinguished executives to reflect on their lives, discern their purpose, and lean into their next chapter of impact.”

LSI will open applications later this year for its autumn 2023 cohort. Additional details on the initiative will be announced in summer 2022.

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