LeAD Research Lab

The LeAD research lab, directed by Dr. Becky Reichard, brings together theory, research, and application of leadership evaluation, assessment, and development. We are research-based practitioners and practitioner-based researchers, who believe in evidence-based practice and bridging the research-practice divide.

About LeAD LeAD Research Lab Team
Research Questions Current Projects Leadership Development Opportunities

About LeAD Labs

Members of the LeAD research lab work collaboratively to formulate research questions, design applied research studies, and publish and present our findings to expand the body of knowledge on leader development and provide essential guidance to leader development practitioners. Operating at the core of LeAD Labs mission, our central focus is on developing excellent applied researchers through the creation of evidence-based leadership research.

LeAD Labs Mission Statement

LeAD develops leaders, researchers, and practitioners through the creation and application of evidence-based leadership research to help society pursue its full potential.

LeAD Labs Vision

To advance and align the research and practice of leader development

LeAD Labs Values

  • Continuous Growth: striving to improve ourselves and others
  • Honesty: acting with authenticity and transparency in all interactions
  • Client Focus: prioritizing the needs and satisfaction of clients and client organizations
  • Teamwork: being professional, courteous, and supportive to others
  • Engaging through Strengths and Passions: seeking opportunities to meet our responsibility to contribute based on our skills and strengths and passions so that together we maximize overall performance
  • Results-orientation: working intelligently, diligently, and with integrity to produce the highest quality products and services and pursue organizational goals

Our Beliefs about Leadership Evaluation, Assessment, and Development

  • Leadership is a process of influence, not a formally assigned role or position. We believe that leadership can occur from any member at any level of an organization with or without a formal supervisory position.
  • Leaders, who step up in their immediate surroundings, whether that is an organization, community, or home, have the potential to benefit from leader development and to make the local community a better place.
  • Leaders are both born and made, and as such, develop non-linearly over the lifespan. The development of leaders can be accelerated through external supports such as leadership evaluation, assessment, and development.
  • Basing leadership evaluation, assessment, and development on the best-available evidence is the most effective strategy for leader development. Evidence for leader development practices may take several forms with rigorous, academic research being preferred.
  • Leaders must be committed to their own long-term leader development journey. Some leaders are ready for leadership assessment and development and some are not. We can use and build upon existing evidence to assess and facilitate developmental readiness, but ultimately it is up to individual leaders to take responsibility for their own development.
  • Leader development begins with self-awareness. The role of accurate leadership assessment is critical in providing valuable awareness-building knowledge to leaders.
  • During the assessment process, leaders naturally gravitate toward remedying their weakness and this limits their ultimate leadership potential. We believe in balancing the traditional deficit model by framing leadership assessment and development around a strengths-based approach.


LeAD Research Lab Team

  Hunter Black, PhD student in Positive Organizational Psychology. Hunter is currently involved in the LeAD coaching initiative, a member of the marketing committee, and facilitator and assessor for the role-play simulation for the LeAD assessment center. His main research interest is leadership coaching, specifically in relation to positive psychological capital, developmental readiness, and self-awareness. Hunter is currently working to develop the LeAD coaching methodology and training procedures, as well as building a study to investigate whether coaching can increase positive psychological capital. Hunter is also a SCCA certified racecar driver.
  Nick Lamel, Dual MBA/PhD student in Organizational Behavior. As a founding member, Nick currently serves as an adviser/consultant to LeAD. Nick's academic interests have been many and varied, but he brings to LeAD a passion for increasing (and quantifying!) the value that leaders can bring to individual followers, teams, and organizations as a whole. Currently Nick is working with Dr. Reichard on a paper analyzing the effect of time in leader development initiatives and working on his dissertation, which focuses on the bottom-line impact of C-level leader turnover. Nick had a key role in the development of the LeAD assessment center and has served as a facilitator and assessor for the one-on-one role play simulation. Though Nick's focus on leadership can certainly be traced to influential leaders in his life or early experiences leading group projects in various classes, few know that one of his formative leadership experiences was as the leader of a 40-person raid group in the video game World of Warcraft. Nick misses the days when the effects of leadership changeover could be operationalized with something as simple as a differential in the number of bosses killed in a given night!

Amber Kea-Edwards, PhD student in Positive Organizational Psychology. Amber is currently working under Eric Middleton on a meta-analysis on ethical leadership. Her main research interest is leadership development. She is currently focused on building her knowledge and experience with leadership development research. In her free time, Amber likes to practice yoga and can perform amazing jump rope tricks.


Eric Middleton, PhD student in Organizational Behavior. Eric works as an actor, assessor, and data manager on the LeAD assessment center. His research interests include studying the development of leader identity, and ethical leadership. He is currently working with Dr. Reichard and Dayna Walker on a validation study of a new measure of leader developmental efficacy. He is also currently working on his master's thesis, which focuses on antecedents to self- and group- serving leader behaviors.
Kim Perkins, PhD student in Positive Organizational Psychology. Kim has played a key role in the strategic planning process for LeAD. She is a motivation and peak performance researcher who develops and delivers leadership training. She has recently delivered training to leaders at Genentech, Abbott Labs, Tory Burch, American Express, and Shire Pharmaceuticals as a trainer with The Mind Gym, a London-based firm delivering targeted, interactive workshops to top international companies. Kim is co-designer of the Total Question Workout, a daylong strategy workshop for C-suite executives; major clients include Sony Pictures Entertainment and Adobe India. She helped Patton State Hospital, California’s largest mental institution, implement strategies from positive organizational psychology to transform worker engagement. Kim studies competitive engagement in sports and organizational settings, with special attention to how competitive situations affect motivation and performance. The book chapter on flow she co-authored with Dr. Jeanne Nakamura is due out from Sage Publications this year. Kim holds a BA in English from Oberlin College and an MA in Evaluation and Research Methods from Claremont Graduate University. A former pro athlete and sports coach, Kim is a three-time champion of the world’s longest inline skating race, the 87-mile Athens to Atlanta. Kim is also a 20-year veteran of the publishing industry, including positions at Penguin USA and several magazine startups. She lives with her husband in Pasadena.

Lisa Soto is an organizational consultant, certified coach, and training facilitator. Having worked with private and public organizations in Puerto Rico for the last 12 years, she has vast experience in human talent development, organizational design, work processes improvement, coaching and emotional intelligence assessment for the workplace. Her executive coaching experience focuses on leadership development, with clients in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Lisa also has experience in outplacement coaching, and coach-mentoring for coaches in training. Lisa is an Industrial Organizational (I/O) Psychologist licensed in Puerto Rico. She has a Master’s Degree in I/O Psychology from the Universidad de Puerto Rico. In 2009, she was certified as a Professional Business and Life Coach by Coaching for Wellness. In 2013, Lisa returned to graduate school to further her professional development. Currently, she is a graduate student in the Positive Organizational Psychology Program at Claremont Graduate University (CGU), and a part of LeAD, an organization focused on leadership evaluation, assessment, and development.


Sam Spurlin is a PhD student, coach, and entrepreneur whose professional and research interests align in the realm of self-development. He earned his BA in Secondary Education from Bowling Green State University in 2009. After brief stints as a high school social studies teacher and as the head coach of the men’s hockey team at the University of Detroit Mercy, Sam returned to school to earn his MA in Positive Developmental Psychology at CGU. In 2011, prior to his first semester at CGU, Sam started a personal development coaching practice that has continued to grow. He works with his clients from around the world, including Romania, Venezuela, and across the United States. His coaching approach pulls heavily from positive psychology with an emphasis on identifying strengths and harnessing them to reach new levels of success. He’s particularly interested in self-management and how individuals experience the actual day-to-day reality of work. He is now in the Positive Organizational Psychology PhD program at CGU.



Josh Villanueva, PhD student in Organizational Behavior. Josh heads up the strategic planning process at LeAD. He serves on LeAD’s strategic planning, finance, and marketing committees. He started his works with LeAD as as an assessor for the LeAD assessment center. Josh’s research focuses on evidence-based practice.
Dayna Walker, PhD student in Organizational Behavior. Dayna is currently working with Dr. Reichard and Eric Middleton on validating a measure of leader developmental efficacy. She has served as a recruiter and assessor for the LeAD assessment center. Dayna is currently working on her master's thesis, which assesses the roles of self-regulation, individual differences in approaches to learning, and organizational support in implementation of leaders' self-development strategies. When she needs a break from research, Dayna loves to play volleyball, both at the beach in Santa Monica and with the undergraduate women's club team.
If you are interested in learning about becoming a member of the LeAD research lab, review the research assistant expectations for MA students and PhD students.


Current Research Questions

  • How well are current organizational interventions aimed at developing leaders working? What are the characteristics of effective leader development interventions?
  • What motivates individuals to improve their leadership? What makes one developmentally ready?
  • What are the influential early life experiences that result in adult leader emergence and effectiveness?
  • Based on extant knowledge of leader development theory and research, what are some effective leader development strategies that LeAD can contribute to organizations that need them the most?


Current Applied Research Projects: 2013-14

  • Examining the role of developmental readiness in the implementation of leader development following assessment center feedback (funded by the Kravis Leadership Institute and the Blais Foundation)
  • Defining and measuring leader developmental efficacy: An examination of construct and predictive validity (in collaboration with Stefanie Johnson and Steph Putter of University of Colorado-Denver)
  • The role of early active-recreational family environment and adolescent sports participation in adult leader emergence (in collaboration with the Fullerton Longitudinal Study)
  • Increasing cultural competence using a PsyCap development framework in the U.S. and South Africa (in collaboration with Joha Louw-Potgieter at the University of Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Learning to learn: Self-regulation for leader self-development and its interaction with learning goal orientation and organizational support
  • Timing of leader development support and developmental trajectories in undergraduate leadership education
  • Development of self-awareness and purposeful passion through a 9-month college Freshman leadership class (funded by the Soaring with Eagles Foundation)
  • Validation of an implicit measure of leader self-definition (in collaboration with Kerry Priest at Kansas State University School of Leadership Studies)
  • Meta-analysis on timing and leader development • Impact of coaching on positive psychological capital and developmental readiness


Claremont Leadership Assessment Center

Most commonly used for selection, promotion, and development of executives, an assessment center is a method of accurately evaluating leaders’ knowledge, skills, and abilities using simulated scenarios. Due to the labor-intensive process of coding leaders’ behaviors, assessment centers cost an average of $500-$1,000 per participating leader. An assessment center provides a much better measure of leadership than self-report surveys or 360-degree ratings because the leader’s actual behavior is assessed. By providing participating leaders with feedback on their leadership behaviors, the leaders’ self-understanding will be increased providing them with a clear direction for their future self-development efforts.

The Claremont Leadership Assessment Center has been designed to assess managers’ and supervisors’ leadership behaviors in various life-like situations that leaders are likely to encounter and must be responsible for on a daily basis. Upon completion of the assessment center, the research team’s trained personnel will review the recordings (written and audio/visual) looking for specific and explicit behaviors displayed by the participating leaders during the simulations. This rating process will provide an accurate and reliable evaluation of participating leaders and ultimately allow us to provide participants with helpful, developmental feedback that they can use to improve their future leadership development experiences. We have categorized the leadership behaviors to be assessed based on leadership theory and research into the following four overarching categories: Executing, Strategic Thinking, Relationship Buliding, and Influencing.

Participating non-profit organizations include All Our Children International Outreach, Boys and Girls Club of Redlands, Bright Prospect, Claremont Community Foundation, David and Margaret Youth and Family Services, Family Service Association of Redlands, House of Ruth, Inland Valley Hope Partners, Inland Valley Humane Society, Kiwanis, LMWS Inc. Pacific Lifeline, Pomona Valley Workshop, OPARC, Shoes that fit, and Trinity Youth Services. We are currently accepting nominations from additional non-profit organizations.

Click here for an in-depth executive summary, including information about the training format and content and a sample feedback profile.

For more information, or to register, please contact Dr. Becky Reichard at Becky.Reichard@cgu.edu or (909) 607 - 0457.

Claremont Cross-Cultural Interaction Skills Training

While valuable, the typical diversity training or cultural etiquette training, which usually consists of memorizing customs and facts of a specific cultural group, falls short in preparing employees who need to effectively interact with customers or fellow employees from a wide variety of cultural groups and sub-cultures on a daily basis. While your employee may know how low to bow when interacting with a Japanese colleague, do they have the self-awareness and cross-cultural skills to in one meeting conduct negotiations with a middle-eastern client, place an order with a French-Canadian sub-contractor over the phone, and then resolve a complaint from a Hispanic employee that afternoon?

The Claremont Cross-Cultural Interaction Skills (CCCIS) training takes a new approach to preparing you and your employees for success in diverse cross-cultural interactions by building general competencies and psychological resources such as motivation, optimism, confidence, and resilience when engaging in cross-cultural interactions. Building these generalizable skills results in more flexibility and adaptability when interacting with individuals from a variety of different cultural backgrounds.

The CCCIS has been successfully pilot-tested demonstrating strong results in increasing participants’

  • Confidence in their own cross-cultural skills
  • Motivation to work with diverse cultures
  • Overall understanding of different cultures
  • Ability to overcome obstacles faced in cross-cultural situations

Our trainers have many years of both cross-cultural and organizational consulting experience and training. They have lived in at least two different countries and conducted hundreds of training sessions throughout their careers. For a limited time, the CCCIS will be provided to a select number of local organizations and their employees free of charge and as part of an applied research study conducted by a Claremont professor.

Here is the list of organizations we have worked with:

Universities: Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College, Non-Profits: LA Care, SBC Global, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, ChildShare, PVW Online, Salem Christian Homes, Lincoln Training Center, Exceed, Industrial Support Systems, House of Ruth

Click here for an in-depth executive summary, including information about the training format and content, a sample personal profile, and sample cross-cultural scenario.

For more information, or to register, please contact Dr. Becky Reichard at Becky.Reichard@cgu.edu or (909) 607 - 0457.


Self-Regulation Training for Leader Self-Development

This online self-regulation course equips managers to self-develop as leaders using their own experience and according to their own pace. Most managers have the foundational self-management skills (e.g., time-management, planning and organizing) to operate in a dynamic and complex environment. However, even high-level executives may not possess the skills necessary to not only operate with existing leadership skills, but to improve their leadership capability. In this training, managers will learn actionable strategies for setting developmental goals that actually work, getting feedback on how current behavior is affecting performance, and evaluating that information to inform future behavior. Leader self-development is ultimately about improving how you lead others by changing your own behavior, but self-directed behavior change is notoriously challenging. These proven strategies have helped people overcome challenges such as quitting smoking and losing weight and are just beginning to be applied to leader development.

Traditional leader development programs are designed, administered, and evaluated by contracted facilitators who expect managers to sit passively and learn about leadership from “the experts”. However, research and common sense both suggest that leaders only truly develop when they own the process and can tailor it to their own needs.

This innovative training consists of one podcast and two one-hour videos that provide ready-to-implement strategies. This take-anywhere format fits into busy managers’ schedules, and offers a more flexible and adaptable leadership development program than a one-size fits all book or class. In order to keep up with the demands of today’s organizations, leaders need to be able to self-develop rather than waiting for someone else to develop them using leadership concepts that may already be obsolete. Self-regulating a personal leadership development plan meets that need, and encourages ongoing leadership development in your organization.

For more information, or to register, please contact Dr. Becky Reichard at Becky.Reichard@cgu.edu or (909) 607 - 0457.