Welcome to your knowledge center for women and leadership!


Hi, I’m Lisa.

I’m an award-winning author, professor and director of Leadership Studies at West Virginia University, a Fulbright Specialist Scholar, a speaker and a thought leader on women and leadership.  

My life’s work is dedicated to empowering women leaders and popularizing the conversation around the value of women leaders and the positive impact we have on workplaces and society. Contact me to speak at your next conference or event.

Scholar | Author | Speaker | Coach

Lisa DeFrank-Cole

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”—Eleanor Roosevelt 


I followed Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice and I have thought a good deal about the happiness that I am able to give. I get the most joy, and I think I give the most joy, when helping women to flourish, to find purpose, to be happy and fulfilled—as leaders.   

Early in my career as a doctoral student, I worked in student affairs at a private, research university. I became a research assistant for a state governor and then the outreach coordinator and ultimately the executive director of a $40 million state scholarship program. From state government I returned to academe, this time to a flagship, public, land-grant university where I have risen through the ranks from assistant to associate to full professor of leadership studies and currently serve as the director of the leadership studies program.   

As a faculty member, I have taught leadership studies courses to graduate and undergraduate students, written and co-written numerous articles and books on women and leadership, and helped to create and implement an ongoing leadership development program for women at my university. I have been a Fulbright Specialist Scholar working on women’s leadership in the Middle East, I have held an endowed professorship in women’s and gender studies, and I am an alumna of leadership and professional development programs at Carnegie Mellon University and Rice University. I have chaired the Women and Leadership Member Community for the International Leadership Association, the largest worldwide organization committed to leadership scholarship, development, and practice.    

I have gained and grown so much since those early days as a doctoral student to become what I am today: a leader, a scholar, a speaker, an author, an advocate, and a coach. I share my professional experiences because I believe everything I have done during the last 25 years has led me to one fundamental realization: I want to inspire women to reach their own leadership goals.  

I look forward to using my experience and expertise to help you to reach your leadership goals and to achieving your full leadership potential. Let’s begin our journey together today! 


Today’s organizations need more diversity and inclusion–consider women and leadership as a focus. I have studied leadership for more than 20 years and would enjoy sharing key concepts with your group. Click the button below to learn more about engaging with me for your next event!

“Lisa’s passion and commitment to women and leadership has established her as a well-respected scholar and thought leader. She has made great contributions to the scholarship of women and leadership through her writing, books, workshops, and speaking engagements. Lisa is a dream partner due to her great work ethic, collaborative spirit, and innovative ideas.”

– Sherylle Tan, Ph.D.
Director of Internships and KLI Research, Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College


Women and Leadership: Journey Toward Equity

A Research Agenda for Gender and Leadership


Women’s Leadership Journeys