Elizabeth A. Powell

Julie Logan Sands Associate Professor of Business Administration
Associate Professor, School of Nursing
Director, Compassionate Care Initiative

Hear my name


FOB 297

Academic Area

Areas of Expertise

Communication and Leadership, Mindful Leadership, Leadership Presence, Corporate Communication, Women in Leadership, Leadership in Healthcare

Education: B.A., MA, University of Virginia; Ph.D., Northwestern University

Lili Powell holds a joint appointment with the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and the School of Nursing. At Darden, she serves as the Julie Logan Sands Associate Professor of Business Administration. At Nursing, she serves as an Associate Professor, as well as the Director of the Compassionate Care Initiative. Through this unique combination of roles, she applies her interests in mindful leadership and communication to the challenges of leading in healthcare organizations. Prior to her joint appointment, she co-founded the Leading Mindfully executive education program. She also heads the Communication area at Darden, which aims to set a new standard for teaching and learning communication in business education.

Professor Powell has taught many courses at Darden, ranging from the required Leadership Communication course in the MBA and EMBA programs to innovative electives, most recently including Communicating through Leadership Presence and At Your Best: Resilience, Communication and Leadership. Through the School of Nursing, she teaches Leading with Presence in Healthcare, a course designed for future and current nurses, physicians, scientists, and administrators who want to be more mindful, compassionate, and effective in their leadership roles. The course attracts students from nursing, medicine, business, law, and education, enabling crucial inter-professional conversations aimed at ensuring healthier work environments that lead to improved patient outcomes, organizational results, and system-wide change. Before joining the Darden faculty, Powell taught public speaking, rhetoric, interpersonal communication and leadership at Northwestern University.

Powell's influence and expertise also stretches more widely beyond the University. For example, she has written numerous business case studies and technical notes. Her thought leadership has appeared in articles for academics, business practitioners, and the general public. She has co-authored Women in Business: The Changing Face of Leadership (Greenwood, 2007). She has presented at the Academy of Management, the Conference on Corporate Communication, the Association for Business Communication, the Management Communication Association, the National Communication Association, and the Reputation Institute's Conference on Reputation, Image, Identity and Competitiveness. Recently, she  spoke at the Mindfulness for Healthcare Summit and the Schwartz Center Compassion in Action Healthcare Conference. She is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, whose mission is dedicated to uploading the highest ethical and effective practices among professional communicators.

As a consultant, facilitator, instructor and coach, Professor Powell has assisted in industries ranging from banking to biotech. She has worked with national and international businesses, organizations, and universities, including: American Medical Association; Annenberg Foundation; Council for Public Relations Firms; Hilton Worldwide; IAE Business School (Argentina); IBMEC Sao Paul (Brazil); KPMG; Lagos (Nigeria) Public Schools; National Industries for the Blind; Providian Corporation; Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden); United Technologies; University of Virginia; US Air Force; US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and the World Bank.

Professor Powell's diplomas from the University of Virginia include undergraduate degrees in psychology and communication studies, and a master's degree in rhetoric and communication studies. She earned the Ph.D. in communication studies from Northwestern University. In 2006, she completed her first yoga teacher training, which informs her personal and professional life. She gives back by teaching weekly yoga classes for beginners at a community center dedicated to bringing yoga to all income levels in Charlottesville.

Elizabeth A. Powell's Ideas to Action Posts


Selected Publications

Powell, Lili. "Showing Up with Grit and Grace: How to Lead Under Pressure as a Nurse Clinician and Leader." Self-care for New and Student Nurses. Eds. Dorrie Fontaine, Tim Cunningham, and Natalie May. Sigma Publishing. Forthcoming April 2021.

Powell, Lili and Jeremy Hunter. "How to Recapture Leadership's Lost Moment." Leader to Leader., 2020 (98), 51-57. First online: June 26, 2020. Issue: September 16, 2020.

Powell, Lili. Leading Mindfully: COVID-19 and the Big Human Pivot, Part 1-3. Darden Ideas to Action. March-May 2020.


Selected Books

Werhane, Patricia Hogue, Margaret Posig, Lisa Gundry, Laurel Ofstein, and  Elizabeth A. Powell, with a foreword by Margaret Heffernan.  Women in Business: The Changing Face of Leadership. Praeger, 2007.


Case Studies

Advancing knowledge through research that shapes business, Darden professors are recognized thought leaders in their fields. They are not only master case method teachers, they also author many of the cases used in Darden classrooms and around the world.

Elizabeth A. Powell's cases are available in the Darden Business Publishing website.