Dr. Riordan is a highly experienced President and current public company and non-profit board member. Known as a strategic, results-oriented leader, Dr. Riordan has a strong track record in driving growth and leading large-scale change. She is a proven leader in managing and solving strategic, financial and operational issues. Dr. Riordan is also an internationally recognized expert in leadership, talent development and career success, and diversity, equity and inclusion. For more than twenty-five years, she has designed leadership programs, diversity and inclusion programs, and consulted with and served as an executive coach for senior-level executives within a variety of industries.
Dr. Riordan is currently the president of Adelphi University in New York, a top 150 ranked comprehensive University, and the first woman to serve in this role in the University’s 125-year history. Adelphi has more than 2,200 employees, 7,600 students, an operating budget of $250 million and an endowment of approximately $200 million. Since joining Adelphi in 2015, Dr. Riordan has led the University through two major turnarounds, one in 2015 in response to declining enrollment and one in response to COVID-19. Reopening a university through COVID-19 is a complex undertaking analogous to opening a small city and included designing protocols for not only instruction, but protocols for dining, living, transportation systems, retail operations, theatres, religious centers, gyms, daycares, and health centers. COVID-19 had a dramatic financial impact on the University, and Dr. Riordan, with her team, has led both the financial and operational planning for recovery.
In 2015, Dr. Riordan led a major strategic planning initiative and positioned the University for growth. Since the start of Adelphi’s new strategies, enrollment grew by 10 percent, and the University has admitted the four most diverse classes in its history. U.S. News & World Report ranked Adelphi as a Best College among national universities, a Best College for First-Year, a Best College for Veterans, the Best Value School, and a Best College in Social Mobility. With Dr. Riordan’s leadership, Adelphi has launched 17 new academic degree programs and 11 accelerated dual degree programs, completed a $50 million renovation of the student center, and opened the 100,000 square-foot academic Nexus Building. Dr. Riordan also established the highly regarded Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and initiated a Diversity Certificate training program for faculty, staff and a growing number of local school districts. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education named Dr. Riordan, one of its “25 Top Women in Higher Education Who Are Making a Difference.”
Before joining the Adelphi community, Dr. Riordan served as provost of the University of Kentucky, which had more than 30,000 students, 19,000 employees, and a budget of $3 billion. She was also the dean of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, a U.S. News & World Report-ranked Best Business School.
Dr. Riordan is a seasoned public company board professional and serves on the board of directors of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: RMAX) – a leading real estate and franchise company. She is chair of the nominating and governance committee, serves on the compensation committee and was previously on the audit committee. At RE/MAX, Dr. Riordan has helped lead the development of the governance initiatives, moving from a founder-led company to a best-practice approach for public companies. Dr. Riordan is a National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Board Leadership Fellow and has developed with NACD a yearly in-boardroom training program for RE/MAX. Dr. Riordan also serves on a variety of non-profit boards and has held various positions, including chair of the board and audit committee chair.
Dr. Riordan is also an expert and influencer in the areas of leadership, talent development and career success, and diversity, equity and inclusion. For more than twenty-five years, Dr. Riordan has researched, written about, and consulted with corporations, senior executives, and executive teams on leadership development, strategy, talent management and career success, team performance, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Dr. Riordan served as a consultant and executive coach for fifteen years with State Farm Insurance Companies, working with senior executives and their teams to maximize performance and lead through change. She has led the design and development of leadership programs for students, Universities, executives and corporations. Dr. Riordan has also used her ground-breaking research and expertise to design and deliver diversity training programs, improve diversity climate, conduct diversity audits, evaluate and develop policies to support diversity and inclusion and establish diversity metrics at universities and companies.
Dr. Riordan has published nearly 70 academic and business press articles and is authoring Shift Happens: How to Adapt and Thrive in a Rapidly Changing World of Work—a book on helping employees adapt to the changing workplace www.shifthappensbook.com. Dr. Riordan’s TEDx talk, “Dare to Be Extraordinary,” has received more than 25,000 views. Dr. Riordan has been interviewed by and written articles for media such as the Financial Times, the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, HuffPost, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch, CareerBuilder and Psychology Today. Her work has been cited more than 6,000 times by other authors, and she has appeared in the press more than 180 times.
Dr. Riordan received an MBA and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Georgia State University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Textile Engineering (now called Materials Science Engineering) from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dr. Riordan is married to Robert D. Gatewood, Ph.D., author of Human Resource Selection (9th ed.) and professor emeritus at the University of Georgia. They have two twenty-somethings making their way in the world, and an Olde English Bulldogge named Georgia, who is the queen of the household. Dr. Riordan enjoys biking and reading, and she has perfected the art of smoothie-making.
Connect with Dr. Riordan on LinkedIn and Twitter @chris_m_riordan.
Georgia, the Bulldog
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