Learn from business leaders and academic practitioners who bring significant experience and deep insight into the classroom.

Just as you lead by taking action, you learn by doing. Our APPLIED LEARNING MODEL puts you in the center of understanding and implementing concepts, tools and frameworks organized around ways to address and solve complex business challenges.

Through our “BLOCH DESIGN WORKS” course sequence, we’ll explore every aspect of the design-thinking process. You will learn to approach problem-solving from a customer-focused perspective and practice a methodology that employs creativity and ideation.

Next Cohort starts in APRIL 2023!


The Strategic Leadership Program features unique opportunities to explore business challenges and dive deep into a real-world project with a partner organization specially selected from the Kansas City community.

Business challenges provide real-world, hands-on, learning-application projects that are timely and of great benefit to project sponsors. You will have the opportunity to work alongside your peers on developing novel solutions to complex challenges throughout the program.

Leadership, Strategy, Customers, Data


For Participants

  • Develop a cross-industry peer network
  • Hone essential leadership skills
  • Discover new approaches to complex problem solving
  • Apply learning through hands-on project work
  • Work one-on-one with an executive coach

For Organizations

  • Develop your leadership pipeline
  • Provide challenges for project-based work and receive actionable business solutions
  • Gain access to a high-quality, regional leadership development program
  • Benefit from team-pricing discounts

Upon completion of the six-month program, you will receive a non-degree certificate of completion from the Bloch School of Management.

For those who continue their learning journey with Bloch and pursue an Executive MBA, your course fees from the Strategic Leadership Program will be applied to your tuition.

Program Details

What does it cost?



Program Format

The Strategic Leadership Program will be offered in a hybrid format, meeting monthly in both online (hosted in real-time via Zoom) and in-person formats.

2023 Strategic Leadership Program

Schedule & Curriculum

Bloch Strategic Leadership Program

During the six-month program, you will be introduced to instructors who bring real-world experience into the classroom. Through scenario-based learning across a wide-range of business and leadership topics, problem solving, and hands-on application, you will gain perspectives and approaches to leading organizations through change and towards success. The following is an overview of what will be covered in each month of the program.

Month One

In the first month of the program, participants are introduced to strategic tools and frameworks and provided the context necessary to begin approaching business challenges from multiple perspectives. Participants will be introduced to their project team and begin to address this work with a project sponsor.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 (8:30am – 4pm)
In-person Session / UMKC Bloch Executive Hall Room 413

2023 Strategic Leadership Program Kickoff (8:30am – 1pm)
Program and Project Overview & Leadership Awareness

Instructor: Ann Hackett

Strategy Frameworks and Tools (1p-4pm)
Instructor: Bryan Hong

This session introduces tools and frameworks that will be used throughout the program to identify, analyze, and address business opportunities and challenges. This session will focus on analyzing the current state of business by focusing on relevant case-based scenarios.


  • Strategically analyze real-world business examples focused on understanding the nature of business models
  • Understand the core competencies of a business and explore opportunities for leveraging these assets

Friday, April 14, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Business Landscape Analysis | A Macro Economic View
Instructor: Nathan Mauck

Macroeconomics and the state of various industries will be explored with a focus on growth, challenges, and opportunities. An introduction to market conditions, interconnections, and cause/effect relationships between policy and industry will be explored with focuses on regional, national, and international markets.


  • Explore key economic and policy relationships
  • Identify resources for gathering and interpreting key economic indicators

Friday, April 28, 2023 (9am – 3pm)
In-person Session / UMKC Bloch Executive Hall Room 413

Bloch Design Works – Design Thinking and Project Consulting & Team Working Time
Design Thinking Introduction & Empathy
Instructor: Jason Gaikowski

Building upon the Design Thinking methodology for customer-focused problem solving, this session will set the stage for identifying and approaching a business problem that will be the focus of an in-class project for the next six months.


  • Discover the stages of the Design Thinking process and begin working with a team to address a business challenge by understanding the context and roots of the problem
  • Identify key stakeholder groups and approaches for gathering research to begin defining the project focus

Month Two

In the second month of the program, participants debrief on project research and begin to apply that learning to understand the underlying causes of given challenges and create customer-informed solutions. Classroom time focused on understanding context and moving business forward through innovation and change will be introduced.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Business Insights and Analysis

This session will focus on identifying business competitors and evaluating strategies to assess the strengths and weaknesses of existing products and services. Additionally, connections between competitive analysis and marketing strategy will be explored.


  • Assess forces affecting a company, its products, and services and market position
  • Apply tools to understand the unique value and opportunities available to organizations

Friday, May 5, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Corporate Innovation Masterclass
Instructor: Wai Lee

Corporate innovation veteran, Wai Lee, will share how his incubation Labs helped Garmin survive disruption and return to sustainable growth. Participants will follow case-based examples to utilize various frameworks to discover new market opportunities and invent new product categories with confidence.


  • Discover frameworks for identifying and assessing strategic growth opportunities.
  • Explore how to minimize risks and maximize new product success rate.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Leading Yourself and Others Through Change
Instructor: Mike Allison

The only constant in the world is change. Technological advancements, unpredictable business landscapes, and shifting cultural norms are impacting work environments like never before. As such, professionals and the organizations they represent must constantly reinvent themselves or risk becoming obsolete. Doing so is not easy as changing individual behavior is difficult. Changing organizational behaviors that lead to real business results feels impossible. Today, the vast majority of individual and organizational change efforts fail. And yet, there are professionals who truly make a difference and positively impact their personal and professional surroundings. They often understand the “science” around influencing others.

Key concepts covered in the session include:

  • Learn why most change efforts fail
  • Explore best practices for engaging and leading others through change, on an ethical foundation, to achieve desired results
  • Understand why people do not truly transition without an emotional connection being made
  • Explore best practice change management models which help enable measurable results
  • Go over the “Top 7” ways leaders must get out in front of change efforts if they are to be successful

Friday, May 12, 2023 (9am – 3pm)
In-person Session / UMKC Bloch Executive Hall Room 413

Bloch Design Works – Design Thinking and Project Consulting & Team Working Time
Customer Centered Problem Definition
Instructor: Jason Gaikowski

During facilitated working time, project teams will begin to assemble initial approaches to addressing their assigned business challenges while considering various stakeholders throughout their design process. Additionally, project teams will begin to create the foundations of a business case for addressing their project.


  • Define problem statements taking into consideration multiple perspectives
  • Create plans for engaging with stakeholders to refine understanding of problem areas

Month Three

In the third month of the program, participants continue to apply lessons learned from project-related research and iterate on evolving approaches to addressing business challenges. Classroom time will focus on understanding business finance and the future of industry as well as approaches for leading organizations through influence.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Personal Brand and Executive Presence

Presence is not about acting. It is about understanding your personal brand, knowing your core values, and being relentlessly focused on allowing those components to guide your decisions and behaviors. In this session, through a series of reflective exercises and interactive assignments, participants will explore their own brand and learn to develop presence.


  • Align personal brand with values and learn what resonates to others about your brand
  • Develop executive presence through role-play and personal assessment

Friday, June 9, 2023 (9am – 3pm)
In-person Session / UMKC Bloch Executive Hall Room 413

Bloch Design Works – Design Thinking and Project Consulting & Team Working Time
Ideation and Stakeholders
Instructor: Jason Gaikowski

During facilitated working time, project teams will tap collective creativity and iterate on approaches to problem solving with a focus on developing more than one possible solution. Further work on developing the business case will include documenting research.


  • Develop and iterate on solution concepts for addressing identified problem focus
  • Synthesize and summarize project research and feedback

Wednesday, June 14, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Emotional Intelligence is the New Currency of Professional Success
Instructor: Mike Allison

Participants will explore and understand the direct link between high emotional intelligence (EQ) and leadership success. Numerous recent studies show that society’s most effective leaders cultivate strong emotional intelligence skills. In fact, one such comprehensive study carried out across a variety of organizations determined that 90 percent top performers have high EQ. Leaders who incorporate EQ techniques into their lives experience great personal and professional gain. In addition to being grounded, they more easily seize new opportunities, manage difficult situations, make sound decisions based on fact, and set an energizing tone both inside and outside the workplace.

During an interactive and multi-media driven session, participants will discover:

  • Qualities consistently possessed by great leaders
  • Distinctions between intelligence quotient (IQ), technical quotient (TQ), and emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • The four key elements which make up emotional intelligence
  • Why influence and true leadership cannot occur without high EQ
  • Steps that can be taken to enhance EQ skills

Participants will learn that in order to truly lead others and maximize results through EQ, one must:

  • Master self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationships
  • Exhibit genuine empathy. Make others feel it is about them and you have their best interests at heart
  • Thoughtfully harness individual emotions and the emotions of others

Friday, June 16, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Financial Analysis for Executives
Instructor: Nathan Mauck

This session will provide participants with an overview of the key financial reports that demonstrate the financial performance of an organization. By understanding financial performance over time, participants will assess trends, opportunities and challenges.


  • Analyze primary financial reports including cash statements and annual reports
  • Understand the drivers of financial performance and learn to recognize financial threats

Month Four

In the fourth month of the program, participants will move forward with a problem solution and begin to build out a project approach and plan. Classroom time will focus on the business of decision making, driving product creation and implementation, as well as developing presence as a leader.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Risk Analysis and Decision Making
Instructor: Nathan Mauck

Risk can be hard to spot, let alone prepare for and manage. This makes Risk Analysis an essential tool when your work involves making decisions that affect business performance. This session will focus on tools and frameworks for assessing risk and making informed business decisions.


  • Uncover analysis tools to assess the risk of business positions and decisions
  • Apply decision making methodologies to contemporary business examples

Friday, July 28, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Planning for Projects and Change
Instructor: Ann Hackett

The old adage is as true today as ever, ‘the devil is in the details,’ and in the case of developing and implementing projects within an organization of any size, small mistakes can have unforeseen repercussions. In this session, participants will explore tools to help manage both the organization of projects as well as the implementation of change plans designed to integrate projects across existing operations.


  • Explore the vital role that effective and consistent communication has across project and change management
  • Analyze project and change plans to identify risks, dependencies, assumptions, and to develop implementation timelines and resource budgets

Wednesday, August 2, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Harnessing the Power of Influence and Persuasion
Instructor: Mike Allison

Leaders who move the meter understand how to authentically influence others. They shape the opinions of peers, stakeholders, clients, and direct reports. Without influence, you cannot be successful in advancing the businesses, organizations, and people you serve. During this interactive session, you will learn how to more effectively persuade others while exploring multiple dimensions of power and political agility. Discussions and activities will include a focus on the state of internal and external networks.

You will specifically learn that in order to influence and persuade others:

  • Solidifying trust must be a primary focus
  • Your network must be defined, cohesive, and flourishing
  • You must focus on servant leadership and instilling reciprocity
  • The four keys to the “Necessary art of Persuasion” must be leveraged

Friday, August 4, 2023 (9am – 3pm)
In-person Session
/ UMKC Bloch Executive Hall Room 413

Bloch Design Works – Design Thinking and Project Consulting & Team Working Time
Instructor: Jason Gaikowski

During facilitated working time, project teams will choose one project solution and begin to build their project plan. The business case will evolve and include additional structure on what will be needed to develop and implement the chosen solution.


  • Practice low fidelity prototyping and various approaches for sharing product or solution concepts
  • Further refine business cases and gather additional feedback from identified stakeholders

Month Five

In the fifth month of the program, participants will continue to build out their problem solution and refine the associated project plan. Classroom time will focus on tools for managing project and change initiatives, understanding marketing strategy, and developing executive level communication skills.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In today’s dynamic and diverse workplace, managing can be an increasingly difficult task. To optimize business performance, diverse and inclusive environments must be cultivated. Leaders get best results when they build and foster diverse teams that include different backgrounds, unique identities and values. Mastering the skills to lead diverse teams is an essential element for success in today’s business world.


  • Learn to be more thoughtful about team culture
  • Get grounded in what environments help diverse teams reach their full potential and deliver better outcomes

Friday, August 11, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

How Leaders Create Passionate and Meaningful Cultures
Instructor: Mike Allison

Noted researcher, author, and “culture guru” Edgar Schein famously stated that the only thing of importance leaders do is create and manage culture. Leaders who create fulfilling work environments foster positive mindsets, actions, and real results. They know that if they do not develop culture, it will develop itself. Culture does not happen by accident.

In this interactive and multimedia-driven session, leaders will begin by diagnosing culture in their current organizations. They will explore why vision, strategy, and values by themselves are not enough to propel a workforce forward. Ultimately, participants will understand how to create and sustain a desirable culture.

Specific topics include:

  • A look at the definition of culture along with an exploration of what fuels passion and meaning
  • How leaders must exercise “cultural intelligence” in understanding current cultures and sub-cultures
  • Utilizing a “Culture IQ” assessment to determine existing culture characteristics
  • A deep dive into how great leaders create passionate and meaningful cultures
    • Start with a personal “WHY” and connect that to the organization’s values
    • Build trust across all levels
    • Understand the behavior science behind inspired communication and storytelling
    • Remain grounded at all times
    • Create transparency

Wednesday, August 16, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

From Ideation to Execution
Instructor: Wai Lee

Organizations are optimized for running and sustaining existing businesses, but often not well set up well for incubating new ones. Participants will follow case-based examples to understand the complexity of driving new ideas through corporate hurdles and discover practical guides to overcome them.


  • Evaluate the organization structure and support needed to bring new ideas to markets.
  • Evaluate the essential tools and mindset required to drive execution.

Friday, August 18, 2023 (9am – 3pm)
In-person Session
/ UMKC Bloch Executive Hall Room 413

Bloch Design Works – Design Thinking and Project Consulting & Team Working Time
Beta Testing and Feedback
Instructor: Jason Gaikowski

During facilitated working time, project teams will test their project solutions through teamwork and consumer testing. The business case will continue to evolve and include beta test results and refinements.


  • Conduct Beta Testing of primary solutions through team and consumer feedback
  • Further refine business case to represent test results and solution refinement

Month Six

In the sixth and concluding month of the program, project teams will deliver a project pitch to an audience of executives and submit their final business case plans.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Executive Storytelling | The Art of the Presentation
Instructor: Mike Allison

Professionals are continuously assessed by how well they can communicate information both formally and informally. Studies show that those who are able to clearly articulate facts and points of view often enjoy greater professional success. In this session, participants will take part in a half-day master class that will provide ample opportunity for developing executive communication skills.


  • Developing high interest presentations which “stick” with participants
  • Incorporating attention grabbing techniques to stimulate the minds of those in attendance while maintaining focus on key points
  • Establishing executive presence through proper body language, tone, and word choice
  • Building confidence and remaining calm under pressure
  • Closing with actionable next steps
  • PowerPoint do’s and don’ts
  • Virtual communication (Zoom, etc.) do’s and don’ts

Friday, September 15, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Creating an Applied Learning Plan
Instructor: Ann Hackett

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 (8:30am – Noon)
Zoom Session

Final Project Feedback and Working Session
Instructor: Ann Hackett

Friday, September 22, 2023 (9am – 3pm)
In-person Session
/ UMKC Bloch Executive Hall Room 413

Client Presentations and Project Debrief
After receiving final feedback from peers, sponsors, and instructors, the project teams will present their final project proposals and deliver final project plans. This culminating presentation will be an opportunity to both pitch an innovative solution and to demonstrate executive communication skills.


  • Deliver a high-quality, rehearsed, professional presentation to a senior level audience
  • Produce an informed, researched, and creative business plan that incorporates tools and considerations learned throughout the Strategic Leadership Program

Featured Program Instructors

Mike Allison, M.P.A.
Select topics: Emotional Intelligence, Communication, Influence and Persuasion

M.P.A., Brigham Young University
B.A. International Relations, Brigham Young University

Mike is a professor and Bloch Executive Education instructor within the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC. In that capacity, he teaches EMBA courses on international business, influence and persuasion, and advanced presentation skills. He also instructs business leaders on diverse topics such as change management, emotional intelligence, holding difficult conversations, presentation techniques, building trust, and executive presence. Prior to his current academic focus, Mike accrued nearly 20 years of healthcare IT leadership experience working at Cerner Corporation. While at Cerner, he held executive responsibilities within both the client and associate learning organizations. His award-winning learning teams, many of which were internationally based, provided practical and effective end-to-end learning solutions to Cerner clients and associates around the world. Mike also spent a year as the Vice President of Learning & Development at AMC Theatres. There, he led a team of learning professionals who focused on building, supporting, and retaining talent across multiple guest-facing brands. Mike is a graduate of Brigham Young University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in Public Administration.

One more thing:
Mike’s favorite leadership book: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek.


Ann M. Hackett, Ph.D.

Select topics: Team Building and Engagement, Difficult Conversations, Change Leadership

Ph.D., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Kansas State University
M.A., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Kansas State University
B.A., Psychology, Central Michigan University

Ann has more than 20 years of corporate leadership in organizational development and talent management, including work with Accenture, H&R Block, DineEquity and HumanRoot.

One more thing:
Qualities Ann loves to see in leaders: optimism, tenacity, empathy.


Bryan Hong, Ph.D.
Ph.D. & M.S., in Business Administration, Business and Public Policy, University of California – Berkeley, Haas School of Business
B.S., Finance and International Studies, Indiana University – Bloomington, Kelley School of Business

Bryan is an Associate Professor in the Entrepreneurship and Management Department. Prior to joining the Bloch School, he was a visiting assistant professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an assistant professor at Ivey Business School in Canada. He completed his PhD in Business Administration at the University of California-Berkeley.

Professor Hong’s current research examines the implications of robots and artificial intelligence as the next engine of innovation and productivity growth for firms. As these technologies continue to proliferate across the global economy, their effects on employment, organizations, and firm strategy has become a subject of growing importance.

In his teaching, Professor Hong covers a wide range of topics central to firm strategy, with particular emphasis on how firms can adopt strategies to deal with an uncertain future. He has published a number of cases to address this issue, including examples from the film, e-commerce, and Korean pop music industries.

Prior to beginning his academic career, Professor Hong previously worked in investment banking (Citigroup), corporate strategic planning (Burger King), and strategy consulting (Bain and Company).


Nicole Price, MA

Select topics: Executive Presence, Managing Diverse Teams, Unconscious Bias

M.A., Adult Education, Park University
B.S., Chemical Engineering, North Carolina A&T University

Nicole Price understands that if leadership is anything, it is personal and that everyone can be a great leader. So, she gets personal. Nicole’s transparency allows others to learn from her mistakes and helps them avoid the same pitfalls. She gets real. She will tell you, yes, having significant differences within a team can be harder, but that hard work can really pay off — both professionally and personally.

One more thing:
She’ll tell you, in a heartbeat, how she’s gotten a few things wrong over the years, but a little grace and some solid coaching saved her. Through leadership development, coaching, consulting and other resources, Nicole encourages and enables others to live their lives in excellence.


Phillip Gonsher

Assistant Director – Mentor Program Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator, Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
M.A. Marketing, Webster University
M.L.A., Baker University
B.A. Management, Ottawa University

Phillip is a full time instructor at UMKC Bloch School, teaching courses in the Entrepreneurship and Marketing Departments with a focus on Entrepreneurial Marketing, Creativity and Innovation and survey entrepreneur courses. He completed a 24-year career with Sprint in leadership marketing positions. Phillip started his career as an entrepreneur in Phoenix, Arizona in the retail soft goods clothing industry.


Jason Gaikowski

Chief Experience Officer, VMLY&R
CXO | Global Lead | Chairperson 4A’s CX Council

Jason integrates the practices of Design Thinking, Behavioral Economics and Brand Strategy to unlock. transformative value for people, brands and business.

Passionate practitioner, teacher and coach with a knack for demystifying abstract concepts and clarifying emerging insights and ideas, Jason has spent the past several years working across VMLY&R to accelerate the development and elevate the impact of Customer Experience capabilities, including:

  • Lead teams to develop solutions for some of our clients most ambiguous and transformational opportunities.
  • Develop and codify the theories, methods, and toolsets that form the basis of VMLY&R’s award winning CX and Design Practices.
  • Design and deliver of hands-on learning experiences for nearly 2000 executives and professionals across Asia-Pacific, The Americas, and EMEA.

Jason joined VML in 2000, leading Colgate Palmolive’s Global Digital Marketing transformation and serving multiple client teams as Innovation Strategist. He later lead a consulting team to develop and apply new models for unlocking brand equity and economic value utilizing Y&R’s BrandAsset® Valuator

Moving client-side in 2010, his team lead the transformation of a domestic wholesale distributor into an award-winning global product innovation and consumer brand business. During this time brand revenue accelerated from less than 9% to more than 25% with increasing Margins, Pricing Power, Sell-in, Sellthrough, and Loyalty.

Jason returned to VML in 2014 to stand up the VMLY&R Human Centered Design Practice and advance the CX and Business Transformation Practice.

Time, Location, Parking
Online classes will be held via Zoom and hosted from 8:30 to Noon. In-person classes meet at the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus from 9:00am to -3:00pm at the Bloch Executive Hall (5108 Cherry Street, Kansas City, MO 64110). Note: The April 12th Kick-off session will be held in-person at the Bloch Executive Hall from 8:30 to 4pm. Parking is included in course fees and a parking pass for the first day of program will be mailed to you along with parking instructions.

Light breakfast, lunch, and refreshments will be provided during each day of in-person class.

Photo & Video Policy
By attending the event, you are giving the Bloch School of Management permission to use any photos, videos, or images captured on site for future promotional purposes.

Cancellation & Transfer Policy
Program participants (or their organizational representative) should call or email Bloch Executive Education in order to change or cancel registrations.

  • Cancellations made prior to 30-days from the first day of the program are eligible for credit towards participating in the next year’s program or full refund.
  • Cancellations made between 30-days and 14-days from the first day of the program are eligible for credit towards participating in the next year’s program, or a 50% refund.
  • Cancellations made fewer than 14-days from the program start date are non-transferable and non-refundable.
  • Seminar registrations may be transferred from one individual to another any time up to 14-days before the first day of the program.
  • “No-shows” are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

Available Discounted Programs

Are you a UMKC Alumni, Central Exchange member or a program partner in the Bloch community?
If the answer is ‘Yes’ then you may qualify for discounted registration.

Are you interested in organizing a group registration?
If you are considering signing up more than one individual we are happy to extend discounted pricing.

Contact us at or 816-235-2892 if you have any questions.

perspective picture showing behind the instructor and students in front of him discussing