About us

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association founded the George Washington Leadership Institute in 2013 to examine and teach about the leadership qualities of America’s first president. Learning from failure and mentorship, George Washington became one of the premier leaders of the young United States.


Faculty and Contributors

The following faculty members lead the Leadership Institute seminars.

Heather Soubra

Heather Soubra is the Director of the George Washington Leadership Institute, an International Coaching Federation Certified Coach, and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. A graduate of George Mason University, Soubra earned her degree in intercultural communication and received her certificate in coaching from George Mason University’s Institute for Leadership Excellence. She received her ACC coaching credential through the International Coaching Federation and her Executive Certificate in Facilitation from Georgetown University. Soubra previously served as the Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Chief of Staff, Strategist, and Consultant for the International Dairy Foods Association, where she focused on facilitating complex systems, human development, collaboration, and inclusiveness across the organization to achieve strategic goals. Her direct experiences as a senior leader supplement her education and inform her experience as a leadership and executive coach.

General John R. Allen

John R. Allen is a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general. During his nearly four-decade military career, Allen served in a variety of command and staff positions in the Marine Corps and the Joint Force. Immediately following his retirement from the military, Allen served as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense on Middle East Security and as Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. Allen is a Strategic Advisor to the Microsoft Corporation, a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the Naval Academy and a member of the Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors. He was President of The Brookings Institution from 2017 to 2022. He is the co-author of Turning Point: Policymaking in the Era of Artificial Intelligence (Brookings Press, 2020) and Future War and the Defence of Europe (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Lindsay Chervinsky

Dr. Lindsay M. Chervinsky is an expert in U.S. government institutions and presidential history. Currently, she serves as Scholar in Residence at the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College and Senior Fellow at the International Center for Jefferson Studies. She is the author of the award-winning The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution.

Peter Cressy

Peter Cressy, Ed.D., RADM (Ret.), has been the Director of Executive Leadership Programs at the Washington Leadership Institute for the past eight years. He served twenty-eight years in the United States Navy in command and senior staff positions, followed by eight years in higher education as a college president and university chancellor, where he was also a tenured professor of management. He later served sixteen years as the President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council trade association.

Rick Herrera

Dr. Ricardo A. Herrera is Visiting Professor for the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. He is the author of Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778 (University of North Carolina Press) and For Liberty and the Republic: The American Citizen as Soldier, 1775-1861 (New York University Press). Before joining the Army War College, Dr. Herrera was Professor of Military History at the School of Advanced Military Studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and served as Team Chief for Staff Rides at the Combat Studies Institute. In November 2020, Herrera was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He received his Ph.D. from Marquette University and has taught at Mount Union College and Texas Lutheran University. Before becoming a historian, Dr. Herrera spent five years in sales and served as an armor and cavalry officer in the U.S. Army.

Paul Mikolashek

Paul T. Mikolashek is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and currently serves as a Highly Qualified Expert and Visiting Professor with the U.S. Army War College Center for Strategic Leadership and the Department of Distance Education. Mikolashek served in the U.S. Army for more than thirty-five years, where he held the rank of Lieutenant General and was Inspector General. After retiring from the Army, he worked for the Raytheon Company for nine years, serving as Vice President for responsible business development and achieving international growth goals.

Scott C. Miller

Scott C. Miller is Assistant Professor and Director of the Project on Democracy & Capitalism at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. He is also Assistant Professor at the Darden School of Business. After receiving his Ph.D in Economic History at UVA, Miller completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the International Center for Finance at the Yale School of Management. He has written over 20 case studies on financial crises and economic development, has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, and is the author/editor of two forthcoming books, Can Democracy and Capitalism be Reconciled? (with Sidney M. Milkis, Oxford University Press, end of 2024) and “America Triumphant!”: Crisis, Independence, and the Rise of American Economic Power (University of Chicago Press, early 2025).

Clare Moore

Clare Moore serves as the Program Advisor for the George Washington Leadership Institute, where she previously worked as the program manager from 2017-2022. She now works as a program manager for an association focused on equitable and sustainable real estate development and is completing a Ph.D. through the University of Glasgow. She has an M.F.A. in writing from George Mason University and a B.A. in politics, philosophy, and economics from King’s College.

Carrie Smith

Carrie Smith is the Program Manager for the George Washington Leadership Institute. She has worked at Mount Vernon in various capacities for over seven years, including distilling George Washington’s historic whiskey at Mount Vernon’s reconstructed Gristmill and Distillery. Smith draws on her experience with the Distillery and the Leadership Institute to highlight George Washington’s entrepreneurial spirit as one of America’s first leading businessmen. She earned her degree in history from George Mason University.

Joseph Stoltz

Joseph Stoltz, Ph.D., served as the Director of the George Washington Leadership Institute from 2019-2023. Prior to joining Mount Vernon, Dr. Stoltz was an assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy. He received his Ph.D. from Texas Christian University and his M.A. and B.A. from the University of New Orleans. His first book, A Bloodless Victory: The Battle of New Orleans in History and Memory, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

About us

Welcome to the George Washington Leadership Institute, where we are dedicated to empowering leaders to navigate the complexities of the future while upholding the timeless principles exemplified by George Washington. With over a decade of experience, our institute offers a range of programs designed to enhance leadership skill, strategic thinking, and inspire effective decision-making in an ever-changing world. Located in the elegant Washington presidential library, our facilities and campus offer the perfect venue for board meetings, strategic retreats, and leadership development.

Our modules and facilitated discussions cover a wide array of topics, including Washington's integration of strategy, leadership, and management; his approach to leading in times of change and crisis; how Washington built and managed teams; and the importance of collaboration and character in both personal and organizational leadership. Designed for senior executives, middle managers, and emerging leaders, our sessions combine historical lessons with modern organizational models to provide valuable insights for modern leaders seeking to enhance their organizational effectiveness.

Join us at the George Washington Leadership Institute to explore the art of effective communication, the importance of strategic vision, and the enduring lessons of leadership from America’s founding father. Our interactive workshops and team building exercises offer a unique opportunity to learn from history and apply these timeless principles to propel 21st-century leaders towards success.

Whether you're interested in Washington's entrepreneurial spirit, his role as a team builder, or his vision for the nation, our programs provide a rich and immersive experience that will inspire and empower leaders at all levels.

Get in touch to start your leadership training today.