Lynn Perry Wooten headshot Lynn Perry Wooten headshot
Institute Fellow

Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten

President, Simmons University

Dr. Wooten is the ninth president of Simmons University and the first African American to lead the university. A seasoned academic and an expert on organizational development and transformation, Lynn specializes in crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, and positive leadership—organizational behavior that reveals and nurtures the highest level of human potential. Lynn is an innovative leader and prolific author and presenter whose research has informed her work in the classroom and as an administrator.

Lynn has also maintained a robust clinical practice, providing leadership development, education, and training for a wide variety of companies and institutions, from the Kellogg Foundation to Harvard University’s Kennedy School to Google.

Lynn grew up in Philadelphia. She is married to David Wooten, a chaired marketing professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. They have two children, Justin and Jada.

Professional Experience

Lynn first joined a university faculty in 1994 and has served in administrative roles since 2008. She came to Simmons from Cornell University, where she was the David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

Lynn started her career as an assistant professor of management at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, She returned to the University of Michigan in 1998, where she served on the faculty of the Ross School of Business for nearly 20 years. There she taught undergraduate, graduate, and executive education courses and served as Co-Faculty Director of the Center for Positive Organizations as well as Co-Faculty Director of the Executive Leadership Institute. She became engaged in student life as an associate dean, ultimately serving as Senior Associate Dean for Student and Academic Excellence. She left Michigan in 2017 for the deanship at Cornell.

Research & Publications

With leadership at the core of her work, Lynn’s research has ranged from an NIH-funded investigation of how leadership can positively alleviate health disparities to leading in a crisis and managing workforce diversity.

She is the author of two books, Positive Organizing in a Global Society: Understanding and Engaging Differences for Capacity Building and Inclusion (Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2016) and Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During, and After a Crisis (Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2010). Sharing her work at nearly 60 symposia and conferences, she also is the author of nearly 30 journal articles and more than 15 book chapters, as well as managerial monographs and numerous teaching cases.