The professional world is changing faster than ever, and investing in continuing education and self-development is a critical requirement for success. Whether you're preparing to enter the workforce, pursue a graduate degree, or looking for a change in your career, The Franklin Leadership Foundation Professional Development Series offers valuable insight and resources from renowned professionals with a myriad of experiences.

An online video series with the impact of a live presentation, you're invited to watch The Franklin Leadership Foundation Professional Development Series live or later to learn how to navigate these challenges. The 2020 Franklin Leadership Foundation Professional Development Series will feature five sessions exploring job searching and networking in a pandemic, choosing your path after graduation, transitioning from student to professional, and developing an entrepreneurship mindset. The speakers for the series, each with a breadth of experience, will share their stories and provide practical advice and guidance applicable for all levels of professionals.

To watch and participate in a live session, use the following link: The link is for the WebEx of Stacie Hays, Associate Vice President of Career Services and Professional Development at Morningside College, who will be moderating each presentation. Each session will be recorded and available on the Morningside College YouTube page following the presentation.

WebEx LinkMorningside College YouTube

2020 Series Schedule

  1. Wednesday, June 24, 2020, at 12 pm CST
    Topic: Grad School, Gap Year or Go Professional – What is right for me?

    Presenter: Dr. Scott Davis, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Houston, Downtown - Marilyn Davies School of Business
    Watch Dr. Davis' video here
  2. Wednesday, July 1, 2020, at 12 pm CST
    Topic: Applying an Entrepreneurial Mindset in Life and Work

    Presenter: Dr. Patrick Murphy, Goodrich Endowed Chair of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Watch Dr. Murphy's Video Here
  3. Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at 12 pm CST
    Topic: What to Expect in a COVID-19 Economy and How to Successfully Execute a Job Search

    Presenter: Fred Lange, Head of Talent, HR & Founder – HR Architect
  4. Wednesday, July 15, 2020, at 12 pm CST
    Topic: Networking in a Pandemic and COVID-19 World

    Presenter: Aaron Alejandro, Executive Director, Texas FFA Foundation & Kari Spaan, Founder/CEO - IYOTAH Solutions
  5. Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at 12 pm CST
    Topic: From Dorm Room to Conference Room – Proven Strategies to Help You Transition from Student College Life to a Professional Career

    Presenter: Tony Thelen, VP Global Strategy - John Deere


Scott Davis

Dr. Scott Davis is an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Houston-Downtown. Specializing in experimental methods, Davis has published consumer research in the Harvard Business Review and other academic journals in the marketing field and teaches several hybrid and online courses for undergraduate and graduate students. He hosts the podcast and video series "Marketing Mixtape" which has appeared in the top 10 iTunes podcasts for marketing and management. Prior to his academic career, Davis developed Walt Disney's first mobile websites and led technology projects for NASA and the Department of Defense. He is passionate about helping students discover and develop real-world applications of marketing education and routinely engages with industry experts, practitioners, academics, and students to continue his scholarship contributions.


Patrick Murphy

Dr. Patrick Murphy joined The University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2018 as the Goodrich Endowed Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a full professor in the Collat School of Business. A multi-award-winning teacher and researcher, he has designed and led many successful entrepreneurship, social enterprise, and technology programs in university and ecosystem settings. In 2017, Future Founders selected Dr. Murphy as its inaugural "Entrepreneurship Professor of the Year" across all colleges and universities in Illinois. In 2016, he was named to AmericanInno's "50 on Fire" for his impact on the Chicago innovation ecosystem. His research focuses on entrepreneurial growth, history, and social enterprise. Dr. Murphy is a veteran of the US Navy. He speaks Mandarin Chinese and is the former President of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Cultural Alliance. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Morningside College, his undergraduate alma mater. He is also a thoroughbred racehorse owner and is active in racing and aftercare.


Fred Lange 

Fred Lange has served as a strategic advisor, with extensive experience in high growth and startup initiatives for pre-IPO to Fortune 500 companies. In the area of strategic advice and counseling, Mr. Lange has facilitated and designed long-term workforce planning programs for internet startups as well as large organizations. He has assisted employers in making key business acquisitions and divestitures and facilitated smooth, cost-efficient workforce transitions.


 Aaron Alejandro

Aaron Alejandro is Executive Director of the Texas FFA Foundation located in Austin, Texas. In his non-professional hours, Aaron consults with businesses, organizations, education, and youth clubs about ways to improve organizational and individual performance. He has more than 30-yrs of experience in management, personal, and professional training. As an inspirational speaker, his unique style of delivery transcends all age groups and corporate cultures offering a clear message of personal dynamics for success.


Kari Spaan

Kari Spaan is a driven senior executive and entrepreneur with proven experience building strategic relationships and effectively managing and growing business. She currently holds the role as Founder and Chief Executive Officer at iYOTAH Solutions, Inc. - a global software as a service company that empowers the animal protein supply chain to build smart, agile, and efficient businesses to produce more with less. Responsible for managing the overall operations and resources of the company, acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors and corporate operations, and acting as the public face of the company, Kari keeps her days filled with things she loves doing.


 Tony Thelen

Tony Thelen is the Vice President for Global Strategy Development at John Deere. He started at John Deere in 1988 as a Chemical Engineering Intern. Tony earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at Iowa State University, Master of Business Administration at the University of Northern Iowa, and Diploma in Strategy and Innovation at Oxford University.