• Our Faculty: Best in the World

    A lot of schools say they have top-ranked faculty.

    But we’re No. 1.

    Why? Our professors are teachers first — and they take a lot of pride in that. Poets & Quants called our faculty “world-class master teachers, arguably the best collection of teaching talent at any business school in the world.”

    You’ll not only learn from them in the classroom, you’ll have a level of access that’s nearly unprecedented at other universities.

    Our faculty may be some of the greatest minds in the world, but they keep their doors open (literally — it’s a Darden tradition), host dinners for participants at their own homes and stay connected after the program.

    • Prepare to lead the workforce of the future with Ed Hess, a leading expert on innovation in the Smart Machine Age.
    • Study team dynamics and negotiation with Melissa Thomas-Hunt, one of the six original experts tapped for the Lean In movement.
    • Learn about ethical leadership from Bobby Parmar, named one of the Top 40 Best B-School Professors in the World.
    • Drive innovation and strategic planning by leveraging design thinking with Jeanne Liedtka.
    • Envision what's possible with Alec Horniman, who has taught thousands of executives over his career and has received UVA's highest faculty honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award.

    Learn more about our faculty.

    Our Advisers & Program Designers

    Our strategic advisers serve as your point of contact during the entire process: from initial inquiry to final success metrics. They bring decades of experience in curriculum design, learning and development, and industry specialties, and are happy to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact them with any questions about Darden Executive Education or your business challenge.

    Nicola Barrett

    Managing Director

    Nicola’s career includes executive and senior management positions in business development, sales and marketing, strategic planning and new service development within corporate, professional services, business schools and start-up organizations in Australia and the U.S. She works with clients to ensure the investment made in developing leaders and managers is targeted to the business challenges experienced, is matched to the learning needs of participants, and drives real organizational impact.

    Nicola began her career at IBM Australia in sales and marketing and built on this with strategic planning roles at both Bankers Trust and Ernst & Young LLP in NYC. She experienced the “dot com” boom at AllAdvantage.com where she built the global account management and advertising back-office functions. She has also started several successful family-based businesses. Her experience working with Executive Education clients began ten years ago at Melbourne Business School.

    Education: MBA, Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University; Bachelor of Rural Science with honors, University of New England, Australia

    Heather Huff

    Senior Director
    +1-434-297-7948 (office)
    +1-434-825-1442 (mobile)

    Heather is an executive business development professional with 15+ years experience and a proven track record for establishing and maintaining global partnerships. As a Senior Director for Executive Education at Darden, she collaborates closely with senior and c-suite level clients to develop custom educational solutions for their teams that are hands-on and applicable to the real-world challenges each organization faces. With a focus on healthcare, she builds partnerships with healthcare organizations and other health-related educational partners around the world to integrate business and leadership training, helping to optimize efficiency and teamwork while driving industry-wide culture change. She played an integral role in establishing an innovative new partner program with UVA’s School of Nursing to help train physician and nurse pairs to lead collaboratively, called LeadershipPartners in Healthcare Management.

    Education: MBA, Darden School of Business; B.S., Biochemistry, University of Virginia

    Larenda Mielke

    Senior Director 
    +1-434-924-3904 (office) 
    +1-618-520-2340 (mobile) 

    Larenda's 20+ years of experience in both executive development and business leadership makes her uniquely suited to understand the challenges facing today's businesses and their leaders. She has a wide range of experience in developing and delivering successful executive training, including programs both domestic and international in corporate, government, medical, and academic organizations. Concurrently, she served as Managing Partner and co-owner of three LLCs focused on real estate investment.

    Before coming to Darden, Larenda served as the Assistant Dean of Executive Education and Career Services at the Lubar School of Business. Prior to that, she served as the Managing Director of the Executive MBA program run jointly between Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School and the School of Management at a top Chinese university. As such she managed a multi-million dollar P&L internationally, developed a depth of Asian contacts, and brought the EMBA program ranking to #6 in the world (Financial Times). 

    Education: MBA, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis; MA, Wheaton Graduate School (Magna Cum Laude)

    John Sullivan

    Senior Director 
    +1-434-243-5560 (office) 
    +1-919-236-3246 (mobile) 

    John has a diverse background in executive development, PR, and journalism. He is  motivated by helping individuals develop their ability to lead and make better decisions that empower others and their organizations to move forward. Prior to joining Darden, he spent seven years at Duke Corporate Education and two at the Center for Creative Leadership, helping design, develop and deliver customized solutions and strategies for clients and program participants all around the world.

    Before his executive education career, John worked as Director of Public Relations for a leading marketing agency, creating and executing strategic public relations plans for clients such as Lockheed Martin, Bombardier Learjet, BMW, Michelin and Porsche. He also spent 12 years as a broadcast journalist, including seven at CNN in Atlanta as an anchorman reporting on the top stories of the day from around the world.

    Katie Wiesel

    Senior Director 

    Katie is Darden’s director of business development for the D.C. region. In this role, she is responsible for building relationships with clients and prospective partners in the Washington, D.C., area, and designing and implementing customized programs for a portfolio of D.C.-based clients. Before joining Darden in 2011, Katie was a director of custom programs at Wharton Executive Education, responsible for designing and delivering a portfolio of tailored programs for clients in the financial services, technology and defense industries. Katie also served as director of program development for Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, where she oversaw design and delivery of customized and open-enrollment programs, and marketing for MSB’s executive degree and non-degree programs.

    Education: B.A., English Literature and Rhetoric & Communications Studies, University of Virginia; MLA in Creative Writing, University of Pennsylvania