Leadership: A relational process of inspiring, empowering, and influencing positive change.

Exclusive to the Chancellor's Leadership Academy are fireside chats with leaders. Fireside chats are sessions built into the academy to allow a guest speak give his or her take on leadership.  Listed below are extraordinary leaders that have taken the time to impart knowledge, wisdom, and insight on what it takes to be a leader with participants of the Leadership Academy.


Steve Ballard

Steve Ballard
Steve Ballard served as East Carolina University’s tenth chief executive.  Before coming to East Carolina, Ballard served as provost at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Previous academic appointments had taken him from Oklahoma to the East Coast.

Ballard spent his childhood in Galesburg, Illinois, then attended the University of Arizona, where he graduated with distinction in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in history. As shortstop and captain of the University of Arizona baseball team, he earned three varsity letters and played in the College World Series during his senior year.

After earning his doctorate in political science from Ohio State University in 1976, he spent the next two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oklahoma. He spent thirteen years on the faculty at Oklahoma and, in 1987, he was named director of the prestigious research center, the Science and Public Policy Program. During the 1980’s, he served on the City Council and in 1986 was elected Mayor Pro-Tempore of Norman, Oklahoma.

His teaching and research have centered on leadership in the public sector, research and development and the innovation process, public policy, and the utilization of scientific and technical knowledge. He has authored five books and more than one hundred professional articles and manuscripts on such topics as the innovation process, energy and natural resources, and managing growth and change.

Kris Carroll

Kris Carroll
Kris Carroll came up through the ranks at Grady-White Boats, starting as a production control clerk in 1975 and eventually was promoted to vice-president of engineering and manufacturing in the late 80’s. In 1993 Kris was promoted to president of Grady-White Boats. She was the first woman to ever hold this position in the boat manufacturing industry. Kris has led Grady-White to the front rank of the industry through her steadfast belief in putting the customer first, and through building a great management team. Under her guidance, Grady-White’s mission of customer satisfaction is achieved through building one-to-one customer relationships.

Carroll holds active leadership roles in the industry and her community; she is currently serving on the board of the NMMA, the board of the Center for Coastal Conservation, and is on the board and Advisory Council of the Boat Owners’ Association of the Boat United States (Boat U.S.). She is past chairwoman of the NMMA Boat Manufacturers’ Division Board. Kris’s ability to assemble and inspire the best managers, her steadfast beliefs, and her hard work continue to set quite an example for the entire industry. Kris is a former board member of Pitt County United Way and has a heart to help those who struggle, actively supporting many initiatives for those in need in the community

Eva Clayton

Eva Clayton
Eva Clayton, former Congresswoman of the 1st congressional District of North Carolina, was the first African American to serve as a U.S. Representative for the state since 1898. From the beginning of her public career as a member of the Warren County Board of Commissioners to her history-making election as the first woman and the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Congress from North Carolina, Clayton has sought to improve the lives of the citizens of North Carolina. Clayton was elected President of her Democrat Freshman Class; she was the first woman ever to hold the office. Clayton retired from Congress in 2002. A native of Savannah, she earned a baccalaureate degree from the Johnson C. Smith University and a master's Degree from North Carolina Central University.

Deborah Davis

Deborah Davis
Deborah Davis has served since 2007 as the chief operating officer of the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals within the Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems Authority. She is a former president of Pitt County Memorial Hospital and was appointed to the ECU board by the UNC Board of Governors. Davis holds bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from East Carolina University, and she serves as treasurer of the Board of Directors of the ECU Women's Roundtable.

Janice Faulkner

Janice Faulkner
Janice Faulkner enrolled at East Carolina a week after her high school graduation and earned both a B.S. and the M.A. in English from what was then East Carolina College. After post-graduate work at the famous Breadloaf School of English in Vermont, she joined the ECU faculty. During her tenure at ECU, she was an English professor, director of alumni affairs, chairman of the board of the ECU Credit Union, director of the Regional Development Institute and Associate Vice Chancellor for Regional Development. She also published two English textbooks and numerous articles on folklore, local history, historic preservation and economic development.

She served a term as the first female executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party. In 1993 Governor Hunt appointed her as North Carolina's Secretary of Revenue. In April 1996 he appointed her as Secretary of State with a mandate to restore that troubled office to health and a position of public trust. Yet a third time Governor Hunt called her into a leadership role when he appointed her as Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles. She served in this role from April 1997 to April 1991. She retired from government service following this appointment.

Since her retirement, she has served East Carolina University as a member of the University Foundation, was the inaugural chair of the university's Board of Visitors, served as the founding chair of the ECU Women’s Roundtable in 2003 and served on the ECU Centennial Task Force and its steering committee.

William Friday

William C. Friday
William C. Friday (July13, 1920 – October 12,2012), the first president of the UNC system who served for three decades, was born in Raphine Virginia and raised in Dallas, North Carolina. He attended North Carolina State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Textile Manufacturing. He went on to earn a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Friday’s entire professional life was spent in higher education. He served as assistant Dean of Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Secretary of the University of North Carolina System, then as acting president before he was chosen to take the position permanently. After retirement, Friday remained an influential voice and hosted the public television show, North Carolina People. His legacy continues as several educational institutions are named in Friday’s honor. A middle school in his home town of Dallas, N. C bears his name. North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have facilities that honor the name of William and Ida Friday.

Jim Hunt

James Baxter "Jim" Hunt
James Hunt was born in Wilson, North Carolina. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and a Master’s degree in agricultural economics. Hunt is an American politician who was the 69th and 71st Governor of North Carolina. He holds the distinction of being the longest serving governor in the state’s history. He is tied for the fourth longest gubernatorial tenure in post-Constitutional U. S. history at 5840 days. While serving as governor, Hunt focused on education. He is famously known for the quote, “Education is our future. It is everything! We must not settle for anything short of excellence in our schools.” He is credited with a variety of efforts to promote technology and technology-based economic development, including the establishment of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the North Carolina School of Math and Science.

Howard Lee

Howard Lee
Howard Lee is an American politician from the state of North Carolina. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Fort Valley State College and went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was the first member of his family to receive a college diploma. In 1969, Lee was elected mayor of Chapel Hill. He was the first African American to hold this position. In the 1990’s Lee was elected to the North Carolina Senate. While in the Senate, he concentrated primarily on issues affecting public education. In 2003, the State Board of Education for North Carolina elected him as chairman. Now in retirement, Lee oversees the Howard N. Lee Institute. The institute focuses on erasing the achievement gap and improving academic performance of minority males.

Valeria Lee

Valeria Lee
Valerie Lee, a Native of Halifax County, is a leader in North Carolina’s nonprofit community. She matriculated through North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and Ohio University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business, a Master’s of Education and a Master’s of Arts in Radio, Television and Film Management, respectively. Valerie had an advocacy centered career. She spent more than a decade as a program officer for one of the state’s largest philanthropic organizations, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. She served as the vice chairwoman of the NC Rural Economic Development Center. She was chosen as the first president of the Golden Leaf Foundation.

Chief Justice Henry Frye

Henry Frye
Chief Justice Henry E. Frye is a native of Ellerbe in Richmond County. He was his high school valedictorian, a Summa Cum Laude graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, and an honor graduate from the UNC-Chapel Hiss School of law. He practiced law for several decades before he was admitted to the Federal District, Fourth Circuit Court of appeals. In 1983, he became the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court of North Carolina where he later was appointed Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. 

Judge Frye also had political ambitions. In 1968, Judge Frye became the first African –American to serve in the North Carolina House of Representatives in the Twentieth Century. He later gained a seat in the North Carolina Senate. Judge Frye’s leadership was evident in both the judicial and political arenas as he inspired, empowered, and influenced positive change. 

Judge Frye’s awards and commendations include the UNC- Chapel Hill Distinguished Alumni Award, North Carolina A&T State University Alumni Excellence Award, The Charles D. McIver Medal, an honorary doctorate from East Carolina University, The National Bankers Association R.R. Wright Award, The Association of Black lawyers “ Lawyer of the Year Award”, and the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyer’s Appellate Judges Award. He currently resides in Greensboro and is in private law practice where he is an “of counsel” member of the Brooks Pierce Firm.

Edith Warren Marian McLawhorn

Edith Warren and Marian McLawhorn
(joint session)
Edith Warren is a native of Edgecombe County, North Carolina. She was born on Jan. 29, 1933 in a little community called Mayo Crossroads. She obtained a degree from ECU where she went on to be an educator and business owner. She was a teacher then later became the principal of Sam Bundy School in Farmville, North Carolina from which she retired. Warren was the first female principal of a school for Pitt County Schools. Edith was president of the District Classroom Association.

Warren served as a Democratic North Carolina Representative for the 8th district from 1999 until 2012. There she represented the western side of Pitt, most of Greene and part of Edgecombe counties. During her tenure in politics, her focus was education. She served on many committees where she provided valuable input regarding education initiatives in our state. She later served on the Pitt County Board of Commissioners.

Marian Nelson McLawhorn was a Democratic Member of the North Carolina General Assembly. She represented the state’s ninth House district beginning in 1999. She came into the house by defeating Republican incumbent Henry Aldridge. She served as the Democratic Whip for the House during the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 sessions. Some of her focus caucuses included the House Small Business Caucus, Military Legislative Caucus, Municipal Government Caucus, and the NC Domestic Violence Commission. She served in the House till 2012. She was defeated by Brian Brown in the 2012 election.

Prior to her service as a State Representative, McLawhorn served as Mayor for the town of Grifton. She is a former librarian. One of her key political issues was education.