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Furman elevates talent development, launches Center for Innovative Leadership

Bell tower at Furman University.

Last updated March 20, 2023

By Tina Underwood

Furman University has launched the Center for Innovative Leadership (CIL), a talent development initiative aimed at supporting mature and growing businesses in Greenville and the greater Upstate region.

white man with beard wearing sport coat, Garrett Stern

Garrett Stern, Center for Innovative Leadership

The CIL leverages Furman’s expertise and community outreach already in play through four institutes on campus, and combines that with key global partners to provide best-in-class leadership and business innovation programming, said Garrett Stern, executive director of the CIL. Stern came to Furman in August 2022 from the University of Richmond, where he built professional programs and forged community relationships for more than seven years.

“The CIL is designed to meet professionals at any point along their journey,” Stern said. “We aim to provide transformative learning that will alter career trajectories, whether through certificate programs, short courses or one-on-one coaching. We want to serve the broader Upstate community by doing what Furman does best, providing impactful education and building community leaders.”

To that end, Stern has developed strategic relationships with Global Leadership Services in Spartanburg, South Carolina, UX Design Institute in Dublin, Ireland and Peak Performance in Richmond, Virginia.

Global Leadership Services, an Upstate-based leadership development firm, is the preferred channel partner for the Center for Creative Leadership, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, providing globally recognized leadership curricula.

Clemson Turregano, chief executive officer of GLS, said, “Furman’s Center for Innovative Leadership represents an exciting opportunity for the Greenville region. Together, we’ll provide world-class leadership development, customizing programs to employers’ needs, and allow participants to immediately test and use new leader skills in their workplaces.”

As UX Design Institute’s first U.S. partner university, Furman will offer courses to foster business innovation and build tech talent.

“UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) design make up one of the fastest growing fields in tech,” Stern said. “The partnership with UX Design Institute allows us to address a key talent need that aligns with the expertise found in our master of strategic design program. We’ll be offering professional certificates for both UX and UI.”

“Our mantra at the UX Design Institute is that everyone deserves meaningful and rewarding careers,” said Colman Walsh, chief executive officer of UX Design Institute. “We are delighted to partner with Garrett and the team at Furman to create opportunities for meaningful, rewarding and long-term careers in UX and UI.”

The CIL is working with Peak Performance to bring DEI leadership coaching and amp up Furman’s long-running Women’s Leadership Initiative, which debuted in 1998.

“Peak is proud to partner with Furman’s Center for Innovative Leadership on the Women’s Leadership Initiative. We are committed to the vision of the Center and thrilled to bring our high caliber coaches and services to the Upstate,” said Yuri Tuppince, founder and chief learning officer at Peak.

Furman’s reach into the Upstate runs deep through The Hill Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, The Riley Institute, The Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities, and The Institute for the Advancement of Community Health. The Center for Innovative Leadership is one more example of how Furman is committed to its mission of being Greenville’s university.

The CIL is currently accepting applications for the Women’s Leadership Initiative, which starts on April 27th.

Visit the website for more information on all of the Center for Innovative Leadership’s program offerings or contact Stern at 864-294-3160, and

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