Adjunct faculty

Brian Flanagan

Lecturer in Public Policy

Brian is managing director of the Sanger Leadership Center at Michigan Ross and a lecturer in public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. In 2012, he became the school’s first managing director of the Ross Leadership Initiative (RLI), which was founded to serve the leadership developmental needs of MBA students. Working with key faculty and staff, Brian innovated action-based learning programs like the Ross Impact Challenge and Leadership Crisis Challenge that are now replicated at other business schools around the country. He led the co-creation of new and popular initiatives — including Story Lab, Legacy Lab, and Ross Leaders Academy — that now serve the leadership developmental needs of students across nine academic programs at Ross. He collaborated with Professors Scott DeRue and Gretchen Spreitzer to develop the Michigan Model of Leadership, which he now teaches to students and staff across the university.

Since 2015, thanks to a generous gift from the Sanger family, Brian has had the opportunity to build the Sanger Leadership Center. As managing director of the center, he leads an outstanding team of professionals who collaborate with Ross’s top-ranked leadership faculty to develop the leadership mindset, skill set, and personal vision of our students, from undergraduate freshman to senior leaders in the Executive MBA program.

Prior to joining Michigan Ross, Brian served at Grand Valley State University as associate director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies (2003-12), program director of the Cook Leadership Academy (2009-12), and adjunct professor of public, nonprofit, and health administration (2010-12). During his nine years at Grand Valley, Brian founded or co-founded the Cook Leadership Academy, Wheelhouse Talks, and Leadership University, an online forum where students plan, synthesize, and showcase their leadership learning. He managed leadership development for the Seidman College of Business’s full-time MBA program and taught leadership courses for public, nonprofit, and health administration students that drew insights from the liberal arts and the natural, formal, and social sciences.

Brian is an avid reader and passionate learner who holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Grand Valley State University, but he owes his steepest learning curve to his wife, Lauren, and daughters, Ella and Avery.