Profile: Dr. Marlene Janzen Le Ber

Empowering the Bold Female Leaders of Tomorrow

When Dr. Marlene Janzen Le Ber began to teach in the Dimensions of Leadership Program at Brescia this January, she was already poised for the position and passionate about the possibilities of teaching in the program. Marlene LeBer

For Dr. Le Ber, the teaching of leadership is based on two core elements – the interdisciplinary knowledge and theories of leadership, and the practice of leadership through skill development and experiential learning. She sees learning outcomes as the bedrock of these concepts and will be helping to develop learning outcomes that will underline everything leadership students do in their courses at Brescia.

Dr. Le Ber brings a wealth of experience to the position – in teaching, in research, in community involvement, and through the variety of professional and leadership roles she has held in her career to date. Together, these experiences make her an ideal teacher and role model for students. She holds a PhD from the Ivey Business School (Strategic Management), an MScN from the Faculty of Nursing at Western and a BScN, also from Western. She began her career in Nursing (mental health and public health) followed by over 20 years of progressively more responsible health management positions – where she was known as a leader and change maker and spearheaded numerous hospital wide changes and new clinical and research programmes. In terms of her academic career, she has been both an Adjunct Professor/Clinical Associate and Assistant Professor at Western; a lecturer at Ivey; a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow; a Visiting Scholar at the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan; and an Assistant Professor and Associate Director at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, where she was recruited to design a new Interfaculty Program in Public Health. She now has enthusiastically assumed the position at Brescia in the Dimensions of Leadership Program.

Her research record is equally stellar. She has over 50 articles, papers and book chapters she has written, co-written or presented in the past five years alone. She has earned over $365K in funding and scholarships from various well-known funding bodies, including SSHRC, and over $11 million as a co-collaborator, coordinator or research assistant. Her passion, dedication, and hard work have led her to earn her over 20 academic honours and awards.

Dr. Le Ber looks forward to combining her research interests and her interest in experiential learning in the development of the program. “Although I love developing theory, I am grounded in practice,” she says. “And the practice of leadership requires context, whether it be in the business world or the not-for-profit sector. We will be developing our own framework to guide our courses and that is very exciting. Brescia students are taught to lead with wisdom, justice and compassion in a changing world, as our mission statement affirms, and I see that mission put into action in my classes. The young women I teach are empowered to speak and are not worried about expressing their views, whether those are about spirituality or our place in society. As a result, I am a different and – I hope – a better teacher because of them.”

Dr. Le Ber has been working with a network of women from around the world, exploring the development of women’s leader identity. This research reinforces her already well established vision for Brescia. She says, “The Dimensions of Leadership program fosters this notion of women’s leader identity and my students are already showing me how engaged they are in exploring this and putting their leader identity and voice into practice. It’s about developing that voice from within – finding the right environment, where you can blossom and grow in your potential. I think we have that here, at Brescia.”