Leisha G. LaRiviereAssociate Director of the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at Virginia Tech – Richmond campus
Leisha LaRiviere is Associate Director of the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at Virginia Tech – Richmond campus. She leads SPIA academic initiatives emphasizing community-based research, sponsored programs, and government leadership and management development programs. Leisha is an adjunct professor in the Center for Public Administration & Policy, where her teaching emphasizes personnel-related development, processes, and policies. Working cross-functionally with faculty in Blacksburg, the National Capital Region (Alexandria and Arlington), and Richmond, Leisha develops public partnerships, strategic research opportunities, and special lecture series.
Leisha is the Director of the Virginia Public Sector Leader (VPSL), programs, a theory-to-practice management and leadership multi-leveled program designed for state agencies and NGOs. Leisha also directs the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Mentoring Program for CPAP Richmond and facilitates graduate assistant-ships and internship opportunities. Before joining Virginia Tech, Leisha worked in the private and public sectors for a Fortune 100 company in NY, NY and an international NGO. Leisha is a former President & CEO of a major regional nonprofit, who successfully advocated Virginia’s General Assembly for land-use legislation turned law, in service to affordable housing efforts. Leisha currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) of Virginia, on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Leadership Advisory Council and is a Leadership Metro Richmond Graduate.
Her research interests include: policy and practice in government and NGO professional development; organizational theory and context; and, facilitative and participative leadership. Leisha is a doctoral student, and holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Virginia Tech. Her Bachelor of Science degree in general business and merchandising is from the University of Montevallo. Leisha was named to: Virginia Tech’s chapter of the International Honor Society; Pi Alpha Alpha – the honor society for public affairs and administration; Alpha Kappa Psi – the professional business fraternity; and, to the Virginia Tech Women’s Leadership Program. Past honors include Nonprofit Businesswoman of the Year by the American Business Women’s Association, and “Top 40 under 40” in Richmond, VA. Her mantra is, “Facilitating the excellence of others.”
Cecily RodriguezManager of Applied Research for the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)
Cecily Rodriguez has been developing, implementing, and evaluating programs and services that seek to reduce service delivery barriers and increase equitable outcomes for more almost thirty years. As the Manager of Applied Research at the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech, she is responsible for designing equity related projects and research, revising and further developing learning and training material and supporting the management of research initiatives related to public sector leadership and governance. In the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, she serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In this role she leads the development and implementation of strategic and operational planning, evaluation and assessment efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion for the College. She came to Virginia Tech from the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) where she was the Director of Refugee Health Services Division. She was responsible for executive leadership of grant and contract-related planning with budgets totaling more than $30 million annually. She helped to design an unprecedented model for a self-funded healthcare coverage plan operating across the nation. During previous service to the Commonwealth, Cecily was the Director of the Office of Health Equity Advancement and Workforce Development at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
Cecily is a recognized equity and diversity expert with national certification as a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE). Along with her leadership role as Director of Communications for Richmond Region LULAC, she serves on the National Network for the Elimination of Disparities (NNED) Advisory Committee, the Board of the Health Brigade, a free clinic serving the greater Richmond area, and as a member of the Virginia Department of Health Medical Reserve Corp.
Amanda FawkesProgram Coordinator (SPIA)
Amanda Fawkes is a Program Coordinator in the School of Public and International Affairs. She provides leadership for the business and administrative operations for programs based at the Richmond, VA campus. In addition, Amanda leads efforts for events and programs associated with the Ridenour Faculty Fellowship. She is also a liaison for the Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Management Graduate Certificate. Amanda joined Virginia Tech in September 2007 and her immediate past positions managed business affairs for the Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience, and the Office of the Senior Fellow for Resource Development.