Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series

The Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series is made possible by a gift from alumni Steve and Ellen Cunanan (pictured right) of Richboro, Pennsylvania. Matching funds are also provided by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation.

The Series brings distinguished leaders to Greenville, representing for-profit and non-profit firms, entrepreneurial activities, government, and public affairs. Topics highlight leadership, professional development, ethics, and the role of business in modern society.

Past Speakers
Dan Neil
Dan Neil

Nov 3, 2016

Dan Neil, Auto Columnist for The Wall Street Journal spoke at ECU on Thu, Nov 3, as part of the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series hosted by the College of Business.

Dan Neil is the author of the "Rumble Seat" column, which runs Saturdays in The Wall Street Journal. Previously, Neil was the auto columnist for the Los Angeles Times from 2003 to 2010. He also wrote the syndicated column "800 Words," a column about pop culture that was syndicated by Tribune media in 2005 and ran until it was discontinued in 2008. Neil began his professional writing career with the Spectator, a local free weekly, and began working for The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., as a copy editor in 1989. In 1991 he began the paper's weekly automotive advertising section. In 1994 he was recruited by Auto Week magazine as a senior contributing editor and in 1995 he began contributing to The New York Times which continued until 2003. He went to work as a contributing editor at Car and Driver. In 2004 he won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism for his column and to date, is the only car columnist ever to win a Pulitzer. In awarding Mr. Neil, the Pulitzer board praised his "one-of-a-kind reviews of automobiles, blending technical expertise with offbeat humor and astute cultural criticism." In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize, Mr. Neil also won the Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, from the International Motor Press Association, in 2001. He also was selected for Houghton Mifflin's Best American Sports Writing, 2002. Neil received a B.A. degree in Creative Writing in 1982 from East Carolina University and an M.A. in English Literature from North Carolina State University. He is married and has twin daughters and a son.

Bob Lintz
Nov 12, 2014

Bob Lintz, Cleveland Clinic Trustee and retired plant manager of General Motors, spoke at ECU on Wed, Nov 12 as part of the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series hosted by the College of Business.

A native of Flint, Mich., Lintz retired from GM in 2000 after 36 years of service. He is a nationally renowned leader, especially known for his efforts that helped turn a distressed GM stamping plant in Parma, Ohio into one of the company's most efficient stamping plants worldwide. Lintz began his GM career after graduating from Michigan State University in 1963. He first joined as a College Graduate-in-Training at the Flint Metal Fabricating Plant. After holding various positions, he was named Superintendent of Inspection and Quality Control at the GM Bay City, Michigan Plant in 1972. In 1974, he was transferred to the GM Parma Pressed Metal Plant as General Superintendent Manufacturing, and in 1980, he was promoted to Plant Manager of the Pressed Metal operation. In 1987, he became Manager of the entire Parma Complex. He also chaired the GM Public Affairs Committee in addition to his service on numerous civic oriented boards. The book "Becoming a Trustworthy Leader," written by Dr. Aneil Mishra, the Thomas D. Arthur Professor of Leadership in the ECU College of Business, highlights Lintz's leadership journey.

James Morgan
Feb 19, 2013
James Morgan, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, presented "Pursuing a Passion" as part of the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series hosted by the College of Business.

Morgan was named president and CEO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. in Jan. 2008. He has been a member of the Krispy Kreme board of directors since 2000 and was elected its chairman in 2005. Prior to joining Krispy Kreme, Morgan was chairman and CEO of Wachovia Securities following the acquisition of Interstate/Johnson Lane Inc. by Wachovia Corporation. Before it was acquired by Wachovia Corporation, Morgan served as chairman and CEO of Interstate/Johnson Lane, Inc. He has more than 37 years of business experience and is a 1969 graduate of Vanderbilt University. He also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.

For more information about Krispy Kreme, please visit
Lee Cockerell
Oct 29, 2012
Lee Cockerell, former executive vice president of operations for Walt Disney World® Resort presented "Lessons in Leadership - You Too Can Create Disney Magic" as part of the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series hosted by the College of Business.

As the senior operating executive for 10 years, Cockerell led a team of 40,000 employees and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping and entertainment village, and a sports and recreation complex ‒ in addition to the ancillary operations that supported the number one vacation destination in the world. He has also held various executive positions in the hospitality and entertainment business with Hilton Hotels for eight years and the Marriott Corporation for 17 years before joining Disney in 1990 to open the Disneyland Paris project. He retired in 2006 and authored a book on leadership, management, and service excellence.
Peter Post
Mar 21, 2012
Peter Post, director of The Emily Post Institute and author of five etiquette books, presented "Why Etiquette Matters to You in the 21st Century" as part of the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series hosted by the College of Business.

One of renowned author Emily Post's four great-grandchildren, Post writes the "Etiquette at Work" column for the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe. He is author of the bestselling books "Essential Manners For Men" and "Essential Manners For Couples," and he co-authored "The Etiquette Advantage In Business," which is in its second edition and is used in the College of Business' junior-level leadership course.

As the creator and primary presenter of Emily Post Business Etiquette programs, Post leads business seminars for companies both in the U.S. and abroad. He has more than 25 years of experience in marketing, communications, design, and education.

Gen. Gary North
Nov 10, 2011

ECU alumnus and U.S. Air Force General Gary L. North presented "The Leadership 9-Line" as part of the College of Business Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series.

General North is Commander, Pacific Air Forces; Air Component Commander for U.S. Pacific Command; and Executive Director, Pacific Air Combat Operaitons Staff, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. PACAF is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports 45,000 Air Force people serving principally in Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Korea and Japan.

Sam Parker
Nov. 10, 2010
The College of Business hosted bestselling author Sam Parker as its eleventh speaker in the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series. Parker presented his book "212° the extra degree". Parker is also the author of "Smile & Move" and "Sales Tough".

In 1998, Parker cofounded Richmond-based Give More Media, Inc., a group that produces and publishes information, ideas, and inspirational content. Prior to this, he worked as a salesman for more than a decade in various industries - including office products, financial services, pharmaceuticals, joint replacements, and software.

For more information about Sam Parker, visit his web site at
Laura Browder
Sept. 27, 2010

Laura Browder, nationally renowned author, presented her book "When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans," a multi-media initiative that presents a portrait of service women returning from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the College of Business Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series.

Browder is the author of "Rousing the Nation:Radical Culture in Depression American," named a Choice Outstanding Book; "Slippery Characters:Ethnic Impersonators and American Identities;" and "Her Best Shot:Women and Guns in America." The latter two were published by the University of North Carolina Press. She is the writer/co-producer of the documentary "Gone to Texas:The Lives of Forrest Carter," which she completed with support from the Indepent Television Service and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Browder is currently a professor of American Studies and English at the University of Richmond.

Greg Mortenson
Mar. 1, 2010

Greg Mortenson, internationally renowned humanitarian and co-founder of the Central Asia Institute, was the ninth speaker in the College of Business Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series. Mortenson's presentation titled "Promoting Peace through Education" was held Monday, March 1st.

For more than 15 years, Mortenson has advocated education and literacy in rural parts of the world. In 1996, he co-founded the Central Asia Institute, a non-profit organization that promotes and supports community-based education in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He also founded Pennies for Peace, an international service-learning program. Mortenson's best-seller book, Three Cups of Tea, recounts his journey that started with a failed attempt to climb Pakistan's K2, the world's second tallest mountain, and ended with successfully building schools in remote regions of Central Asia. To date, Mortenson has established more than 90 schools that have educated more than 34,000 children.

Betsy Myers
Jan. 26, 2010

Betsy Myers, a senior advisor to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, presented "Leadership and the Moments that Matter" at East Carolina University's Wright Auditorium on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010.

Myers has served in executive leadership positions in the public sector for more than two decades. Most recently, she was chief operating officer for Barack Obama's presidential campaign and represented the campaign as Chair of Women for Obama. Prior to this appointment, she was executive director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She also served as President Clinton's senior advisor on women's issues and was the first director of the White House Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach from 1995 to 1997.

Steve Farber
Sept. 24, 2009

The College of Business hosted bestselling author and "leadership guru" Steve Farber as its seventh speaker in the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009.

Farber serves as president of Extreme Leadership, Incorporated, an organization devoted to the cultivation and development of Extreme Leaders in the business community. His latest book, "Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson In Leadership," was a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller. He has also written two other critically acclaimed books: "The Radical Edge: Stoke Your Business, Amp Your Life, and Change the World" and "The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership." The latter received Fast Company magazine's Readers' Choice Award and was named one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time. Farber also serves on ECU's National Leadership Advisory Council.

Erik Peterson
Apr. 2, 2009

On April 2, 2009, the College of Business presented Erik R. Peterson as its sixth speaker in the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series. His presentation was titled " Seven Revolutions: The Promise and the Peril of the Future."

Peterson serves as senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan and non-profit think tank on foreign policy and national security issues. He also serves as director of the Global Strategy Institute - a "think tank within a think tank" he established at CSIS in 2003 to assess long-range trends.

Roy Krause
Feb. 12, 2009

Roy G. Krause, president and chief executive officer of Spherion Corporation, was the fifth speaker in the College of Business Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series. Krause's presentation, titled "The Emerging Workforce," was held on Feb. 12, 2009.

Since 2004, Krause has served as president and chief executive officer of Spherion Corporation, a leading recruiting and staffing company in the U.S. and Canada. Krause initially joined the organization as executive vice president and chief financial officer in 1995. Prior to Spherion, Krause served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for HomeBanc Mortgage Corporation and HomeBanc Federal Savings for 15 years. He was previously associated with the accounting firm of KPMG Peat Marwick, LLP.

David Walker
Nov. 5, 2008

The College of Business hosted The Honorable David M. Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General, as its fourth speaker in the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series. Walker's presentation, titled "Keeping America Great," was held on Nov. 5, 2008.

In March 2008, Walker left his position as U.S. Comptroller General - serving as the nation's top auditor as well as head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). He held both presidential appointments for 10 years. Walker now serves as president and chief executive officer of the newly-established Peter G. Peterson Foundation, an organization dedicated to increasing public awareness and action regarding several key issues facing the U.S. - including health care, energy, education, entitlement benefits, and national debt.

Ted Childs
Mar. 19, 2008

The College of Business - in partnership with the Office of Equal Opportunity & Equity and Office of Institutional Diversity - featured former IBM executive J.T. (Ted) Childs, Jr. as its keynote speaker for the third Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series on March 19, 2008. More than 400 students, faculty, and community members attended Childs' presentation, titled "Workforce Diversity: A 21st Century Global Issue."

Recognized globally for his workforce diversity programs and policies, Childs retired from IBM in 2006 after a 39-year career in human resources. During his tenure, Childs oversaw a comprehensive campaign that increased the number of women and minority executives at IBM. Upon retiring, he founded Ted Childs, LLC, a diversity consulting firm based in South Salem, N.Y., where he works today.

Cynthia Cooper
Jan. 17, 2008

On Jan. 17, 2008, the College of Business hosted internal auditor and consultant Cynthia Cooper as its second speaker in the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series. Cooper is known for her role in uncovering the corporate fraud at WorldCom - to date the largest corporate fraud in history. She was named one of Time Magazine's 2002 Persons of the Year after detecting and reporting the fraud at WorldCom. Currently, she is president of a firm that provides consulting and training in internal audit, internal controls, governance and ethics.

Cooper's presentation was titled "WorldCom Warnings: What Went Wrong and Corporate Governance Lessons Learned."

Juan Enriquez
Oct. 3, 2007

Best-selling author and businessman Juan Enriquez presented "Genomics, Knowledge, Polarization, and the Future of America" for the College of Business' first Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series.

Enriquez serves as Chairman and CEO Biotechonomy LLC, a life sciences research and investment firm based in Boston. He is widely recognized as a leading authority on the economic and political impacts of life sciences. He is also an expert on the dynamics of the knowledge economy and the other social and political forces that are driving change in America and the world today. He is the author of "As the Future Catches You," an analysis of the impact of genomics on business and society, as well as "The Untied States of America," which explores why, as technology advances, some countries are successful while others disappear.