The McDonough Center promotes leadership development in many professional fields. Graduates of the McDonough Leadership Program tell us that they lead in a variety of career paths. At McDonough, we focus specifically on eight leadership areas, also called Leadership Interest Sections (LIS). New McDonough Scholars are asked to become “affiliated” with one of these sections. Each LIS has a section leader who helps promote knowledge and experiences involving their particular leadership interests.

Nonprofit Leadership

Leadership is not solely the realm of the business world. Nonprofit organizations struggle with similar leadership challenges. They lead change, solve problems, innovate, and empower others to realize common goals. Students interested in the nonprofit sector have an opportunity at McDonough to see how leadership works in the nonprofit sector. Through extensive community-service experiences in local, national and global organizations, coupled with classroom discussions and projects, our graduates receive expert training in the development of nonprofit leaders.


Educators are leaders, too. They influence followers in the achievement of common goals. Both K-12 and Higher Education are rapidly realizing that if education is to be effective across the globe, teachers and administrators will have to sharpen their leadership skills. Through the McDonough Leadership Program, emerging educators will expand their tools to be change agents in the classroom and in school systems across the globe.

Business Leadership

Leadership has long been recognized as a key area in the for-profit sector. Business leaders are asked to inspire and motivate their followers to grow their organizations and achieve their goals (e.g., market share, profits, product development). Regardless of the organization's size (from small businesses to large multinational corporations), success does not come about without careful attention to leadership. At McDonough, we ask these emerging business leaders to be thoughtful, ethical and attentive to social needs and values.


Whether in the field or behind the scenes, leaders shape the world of athletics. Leadership challenges are found whenever humans seek to realize a common goal. Athletics and leadership, therefore, are closely interlinked. At McDonough, students use leadership development as a way to prepare themselves for key professional areas – sports management and athletic training. Through coursework and hands-on experiences, our graduates develop the confidence to lead others on and off the field.

Leadership Development

Leaders empower others to lead. Through coaching and training, leaders can help others emerge as leaders, too. Leadership Development has become a thriving sector in the professional world. Consulting firms and human resources departments in large organizations help individuals realize their leadership potential. At McDonough, we help students gain the knowledge, insights and experience about leadership so that they can help others in their own leadership development journey.

Public Sector

Leadership reaches across all segments of society, including government. Public officials lead complex organizations with bureaucratic and political influences. At McDonough, students develop their leadership skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making, as a way to meet the challenges of the 21 st century. Through coursework and hands-on experiences, our graduates are ready to make a contribution, which may affect millions of lives. They will need the confidence and expert knowledge to make fast and sound decisions, following the strictest ethical standards.


Lawyers are leaders, too. Law practice demands many of the leadership skills found in the McDonough Leadership Program – critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, comfort with ambiguity, communication, and conflict resolution. The art of persuasion begins and ends with the realization that human endeavors require an understanding of the rules and modes of thinking that bring people together. Whenever conflict and disputes arise, leaders trained in the McDonough Leadership Program are perfectly positioned to work with others to find fair and just solutions.

Healthcare Leadership

Leadership in the medical field is expanding rapidly as the healthcare sector becomes more and more complex in the 21st century. Medical training emphasizes technical expertise. Healthcare providers, however, find themselves increasingly focused on the administrative side of medicine. They are called to lead others while delivering quality care. At McDonough, many leadership students major in science-related fields, while pursuing a minor/certificate in Leadership Studies. Through coursework and hands-on experiences, they develop confidence and insights about the leader-follower relationship. These insights have a direct application to the services they will provide in the healthcare field.