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William Sparks, Ph.D.

Professor, Business & Behavioral Science
Dennis Thompson Chair & Professor of Leadership
McColl School of Business


Will Sparks is the Dennis Thompson Chair & Professor of Leadership at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte, where he also serves as the Director of the Office of Leadership Initiatives. In 2008, he founded the McColl School’s M.S. in Organization Development (MSOD) Program and served as Director until 2013. He received the Fuqua Distinguished Educator Award for excellence in teaching at Queens in 2003 and 2005, and was awarded the inaugural McColl School Leadership in Teaching Award in 2009. He was awarded both the McColl School Leadership in Teaching and Research Awards in 2020.

Will has published numerous research papers and book chapters and has appeared on several media outlets, including the CBS affiliate WBTV Channel 3, News Carolina Channel 14, The Washington Post, and NPR. His TED Talk “The Power of Self Awareness” was released in 2018. He is the author of “Actualized Leadership: Meeting Your Shadow & Maximizing Your Potential” (2019, SHRM Publishing), which debuted as an Amazon #1 Best Seller and is based on the “Actualized Leader Profile,” a leadership assessment that he designed and validated and that has been translated into nine languages. He is the co-author (with Peter Browning) of the book “The Director’s Manual: A Framework for Board Governance” (2016, Wiley).

He completed his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Development from George Washington University’s School of Business and Public Management, where his research focused on group dynamics, organizational culture, and leadership. He resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife, Erin, son, Bennett Lee, and Cavapoo, Shelby.


Ph.D., Organizational Behavior and Development, George Washington University
M.A., Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management, Appalachian State University
B.A., Psychology and Philosophy, Winthrop University