Lifetime Achievement Awards

Each year, ILA honors individuals from the field of leadership with ILA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, inducting them into the Leadership Legacy Program at our annual global conference. Honorees are selected based on their significant lifetime contributions including prominent published works, influential support of the body of leadership knowledge and practice resulting in significant contributions to the field of leadership studies.

2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Nancy Adler

Nancy J. Adler, S. Bronfman Chair in Management at McGill University

Nancy J. Adler is the S. Bronfman Chair in Management at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She received her B.A. in economics, M.B.A. and Ph.D. in management from UCLA. Adler conducts research and consults on global leadership, cross-cultural management, and the arts and leadership

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Adler has authored more than 150 articles, produced several films, and published 10 books and edited volumes, including From Boston to Beijing: Managing with a Worldview, International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior, Leadership Insight, Women in Management Worldwide, and Competitive Frontiers: Women Managers in a Global Economy.

Adler consults to private corporations and government organizations on projects around the world. She received McGill University’s first Distinguished Teaching Award in Management and was one of only a few professors to receive it a second time. Honoring her as one of Canada’s top university professors, she was named a 3M Teaching Fellow.

She has received many awards, including the Prix du Quebec, Doctor Honoris Causa from (Slovenia’s IEDC Bled), Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Center for Creative Leadership’s Applied Research Award, the World Federation of People Management Associations’ Georges Petitpas Award. ASTD’s International Leadership Award, SIETAR’s Outstanding Senior Interculturalist Award, the YWCA’s Femme de Mérite Award, the Academy of Management’s (AMLE) outstanding article award and Decade award, and the Sage Award for scholarly contributions to management. She was elected to the Fellows of the Academy of International Business, the Academy of Management, the International Academy of Management Fellows, and was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada.

Adler is also a visual artist known for her paintings, monotype prints, and ceramics. Her “Serendipity Suite” and “Reality in Translation: Art Transforming Apathy into Action” exhibitions were held at Banff Centre and her “Going Beyond the Dehydrated Language of Management” exhibition opened in Montreal. Her artwork is held in private collections worldwide.


Juana Bordas, President of Mestiza Leadership International and Lideramos

Juana Bordas is president of Mestiza Leadership International – a company that focuses on leadership, diversity, and organizational change. The first Latina to serve as a faculty for the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) she taught in the Leadership Development Program –the most highly utilized executive program in the world.

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As founding President/ CEO of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, the only program in America that prepared Latinas for national leadership,  Bordas forged partnerships with Harvard’s JFK School of Government and CCL to provide training for Hispanic women.

Bordas was one of 50 leaders chosen by the Colorado Legislature to design the state’s future plan and elected by Colorado Business Magazine as one of 100 influential persons in the state. In 1977, she was a founder of Denver’s Mi Casa Women’s Center and served as executive director until 1986. Today, Mi Casa is recognized as a national model for women’s empowerment and is the largest Latino serving organization in Colorado. In 2001, she founded the Circle of Latina Leadership to train the next generation of Latina Leaders in Colorado–165 young women have completed the program. In 2015, Bordas launched Lideramos – The National Latino Leadership Alliance with a mission of enhancing and initiating Latino leadership programs across the US. For her extensive work with Latinas, Latina Style Magazine commended her for “Creating a nation of Latina Leaders.”

Bordas has authored ground-breaking work in diversity and leadership. Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age published by Berrett-Koehler won the International Latino Book Award for best leadership book. The Power of Latino Leadership by Berrett-Koehler was awarded the Nautilus Award for best indigenous book. Her contributions include: “Passion and Power: Finding Personal Purpose”–essay in Reflections on Leadership (John Wiley & Sons) and “Latino Leadership: Building a Diverse and Humane Society” published by the Journal for Leadership Studies. In 2015 she was a contributor the NY Times best seller, Peter Drucker’s Five Most Important Questions.

Bordas served as advisor to Harvard’s Hispanic Journal on Public Policy and the Kellogg National Fellows Program. She was vice president of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership Board and was a trustee of the International Leadership Association.

A dynamic speaker and trainer, Bordas weaves leadership, diversity, and community building into a multicultural tapestry. Her awards include: The Wise Woman Award from The National Center for Women’s Policy Studies; A Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee; Denver Business Journal 2003 Outstanding Women in Business; Spellman College’s Center for Leadership 2006 Leadership Legacy award; and Denver’s 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Business Responsibility Award.

Richard Couto

Richard Couto (posthumously) had a background of practice and scholarship in community leadership.

Richard A. Couto (Ph.D., Political Science, University of Kentucky) taught at the Union Institute and University and was a founding faculty member of the Antioch University PhD Program in Leadership and Change.

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Prior to that he was a founding faculty member of the Jepson School at the University of Richmond, where he held the George M. and Virginia B. Modlin Chair in Leadership Studies, 1991-2002. During that period, he spent two years as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Maryland James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership. At the Jepson School, Couto helped develop a curriculum that integrates classroom instruction with community service. He also taught at Tennessee State University Institute of Government in the fields of community leadership, social movements, public policy, politics, and experiential education. He began his academic career directing Vanderbilt University’s Center for Health Services from 1975 through 1988. That center combined university resources with community assets―including local, grassroots leadership―in low-income areas of Appalachia and the rural South.

Couto is considered a pioneer in the service-learning movement and a champion of the social change emphasis within it. His Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, 1982-1985, recognized his work and permitted him to extend his studies at the international level. His work has won numerous national awards, including best book in transformational politics from the American Political Science Association, twice, the Virginia A. Hodgkinson Research Prize of the Independent Sector, 2000, and outstanding paper at the annual conference of the International Leadership Association in Amsterdam, 2005.

Couto grew up in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and received a BA from Marist college and an MA from Boston college. Being a Boston Red Sox fan since birth prepared him for the vocation of politics, which Max Weber described as “a strong and slow boring of hard boards. It takes both passion and perspective.”

Richard Couto Awarded the Marist College Distinguished Alumnus Medal.


History of the Leadership Legacy Program

As part of its 10th Anniversary celebration in 2008, ILA began work on a new program that carries into both the future of the ILA and the future of leadership studies: The Leadership Legacy Program. Each year the ILA confers individuals from the field of leadership with ILA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, inducting them into the Leadership Legacy Program at our annual global conference. Honorees are selected based on their significant lifetime contributions including prominent published works, influential support of the body of leadership knowledge and practice resulting in significant contributions to the field of leadership studies.

During the conference, honorees host special sessions with conference attendees that allow the Leadership Legacy Program inductees to explore the conference theme from their own unique perspectives. The ILA thanks Larraine Matusak for her leadership in creating this project and for her founding sponsorship. We also wish to thank the Tobias Leadership Center for conducting oral histories with our recipients, and to students at the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College for contributing research to each recipient’s biography.

Since 2008, thirty-seven internationally renowned thinkers have been inducted into the project. Learn more about the contributions each have made to the field of leadership by clicking on their name above.

Leadership Legacy Committee: David Collinson (Chair), Scott Allen, Kisuk Cho, Kevin Lowe, Gill Robinson Hickman, Georgia Sorenson.

Click here to learn more about ILA’s Leadership Legacy Program, past honorees, and see oral histories and videos of many of these Lifetime Achievement winners.