Higher Calling Series: True Leadership

True Leadership Cover 2

What is true leadership? Is it based on someone’s personality, style or influence? Is it measured by power, popularity or financial gain? Or, is there more to it?

Date & Time:

Monday, November 14, 2016
5:00 PM - 9:00 PM


Woulfe Alumni Hall, Anderson Student Center

Join us for an evening of exploration and inspiration about what it means to truly lead and to better understand the impact of leaders who anchor themselves in sacred principles, goodness and the Kingdom of God. What does this approach mean for those leaders, their communities and the world? 


Brian Wenger, executive vice president, chief legal officer, Optum

Brian Wenger joined Optum in 2014 as executive vice president, chief legal officer. He oversees all legal matters for the company, plays a central role in developing and guiding Optum’s strategic growth initiatives, and participates in key enterprise initiatives across UnitedHealth Group.

Before joining Optum, Wenger served as chair of Briggs and Morgan, where he practiced law for more than 25 years. He provided leadership in several areas for Briggs and Morgan during his career at the firm, notably as chair of the firm’s commercial practice and chair of the business law section. Wenger supported regional and national clients in civil law matters ranging from complex business and commercial transactions, joint ventures and mergers.

Wenger applies a unique, interdisciplinary approach to his work through his expertise in health care, finance, intellectual property, contracts, taxation, employee relations, governance and corporate strategy. He earned his B.A. from Marquette University and his law degree from Villanova University, where he was a member of the Villanova Law Review.

Wenger serves as vice chair of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, is a member of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees and serves on the University of Minnesota Foundation’s Board of Trustees. He is also Chair of Board Affairs at The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity.

Alessandro Marchetti, financial advisor, Kolenberg Group

Alessandro Marchetti ’16 M.B.A., was introduced to business leadership while growing up in a large entrepreneurial family that owns and operate several restaurants in the Fairfield County area of Connecticut. In June 2016 Marchetti joined the Kolenberg Group, the Stamford, Conneticut-based Merrill Lynch office, as a financial advisor. Before joining the Kolenberg Group, Marchetti worked in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Catholic Studies at St. Thomas as the director of marketing and recruitment. While at St. Thomas, he provided leadership consulting for the Fraternity of Saint Michael, the Center for Catholic Studies Habiger Institute’s Catholic Studies Leadership Intern program and other St. Thomas student groups. He earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas, where he also earned undergraduate degrees in philosophy and catholic studies. He lives with his wife Monica, also a St. Thomas graduate, and his family in Stamford.

Meg McDonnell, executive director, Chiaroscuro Institute

Meg McDonnell is the executive director of the Chiaroscuro Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to relinking the goods of sex, marriage and children, especially but not exclusively among disadvantaged populations, in order to promote the flourishing of women, men, children and whole communities. In 2011, McDonnell was a recipient of a full-time Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship for her project, “Marriage and Young Adults: Understanding the Struggle to Get to 'I Do.'” Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, National Review Online, The Public Discourse, MercatorNet.com, Verily Magazine, The International Business Times, CatholicVote.com, Our Sunday Visitor, Family Foundations (a magazine for Couple to Couple League), and other secular and religious news outlets. She earned a Master of Arts in teaching, as well as undergraduate degrees in catholic studies and psychology, at the University of St. Thomas.


Registration: 5-5:30 p.m.
Dinner, presentations and guided discussion: 5:30-8 p.m.
Social hour with cash bar: 8-9 p.m.

St. Thomas students: Free
St. Thomas staff/faculty: $20
General public: $25
Table sponsorship (seats 6): $150

Individual Registration

Group/Table Registration

Dinner will be provided as part of the roundtable discussion, followed by a cash bar reception.

Read about the featured speakers here.

For accessibility requests, please call (651) 962-6315.

The deadline for registration is November 8, 2016.

About the Higher Calling Series:

The Higher Calling Series at the University of St. Thomas is a collaboration between the Opus College of Business’ Veritas Institute and the College of Arts and Sciences Center for Catholic Studies’ Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought and Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership. The series explores the intersection of organizational life and faith through a progressive dinner format of expert presentations, personal reflection, and group discussion. 

The 2016 Higher Calling dinner is inspired by the Habiger Institute of Catholic Leadership’s publication True Leadership, which provides an integrated approach to Christian leadership rooted in theology, philosophy and real-world examples. Copies of the book will be for sale at the event.

Download a free PDF of the book in advance of the evening here. (Reading the book is not a requirement to attend the event.)

All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.