Carnegie Mellon University


As part of the Accelerate Leadership Center program's core requirements, you'll have the opportunity to work with a leadership coach to develop your personalized leadership plan.

Leadership Coaching

Unlike other schools who contract with external coaches, or don't offer executive coaching at all, we have full-time leadership coaches dedicated to you. Because we take a personalized approach to your leadership development, our coaches take the time to get to know you and your specific needs. Each coach has years of industry experience in coaching and consulting, and now they work all day, every day, to help you. 

Communication Coaching

No one knows better how to help you than someone who's been where you are right now. That's what the Accelerate Leadership Center's Communication Coaching is all about. 

Each year, the Accelerate Leadership Center carefully vets and trains a select group of students to work as Communication Coaches in the center. These peer coaches offer hour-long, one-to-one appointments that help fellow students develop the communication and interpersonal skills needed to become effective leaders, extending in-class learning to out-of-class applications. We work closely with the Tepper Masters Career Center to align our communication coaching materials and messages with their templates and protocols, while at the same time providing the unique perspective on the Tepper School experience that only a fellow student can offer. 

Communication coaches tailor each session to address your individual concerns and can cover a range of topics, including:

  • feedback on resumes and cover letters

  • practice for mock interviews and networking sessions

  • support of presentation and writing skills

  • preparation for case competitions

Meet Our Leadership Coaching Team


Jarred Lazear, Leadership Coach

For the past decade, Jarred has worked with leaders at all levels, from those in a multi-billion dollar global organization, to startup entrepreneurs, to influential leaders who have innate ability while possessing no formal title. He also brings seven years of experience teaching at three universities, including Carnegie Mellon's Heinz College. While working in the business environment, he developed a burning desire to equip the next generation of leaders with the skills necessary to successfully lead and inspire others. Jarred has certifications in multiple leadership programs and assessments, and has a master of science in industrial/organizational psychology from Marshall University.


Laura Maxwell, Leadership Coach

Laura has been a key player in the development and delivery of the Accelerate Leadership Center's offerings since its founding in 2012, serving both as instructor and leadership coach. She contributes a deep knowledge of leadership development pedagogy and understands the current leadership needs of corporations. Laura's passion is helping individuals identify their talents and discover the means to achieve success. Prior to joining the Tepper School, Laura worked as a consultant and coach with DDI, a corporate trainer with UPMC, and a career counselor at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a master of science in counseling psychology from Chatham University. 


Britnai Nunley, Leadership Coach

After pivoting from a career in law to one in leadership development, Britnai has worked in multiple sectors including business, government, and nonprofit. Through her executive coaching, immersive engagement activities, and learning and development programs, Britnai focuses on helping individuals develop their skills to become agile, effective, and inclusive leaders. She is passionate about helping people build their confidence, achieve their goals, and create a positive impact on the world. Britnai holds a J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law, earned an Associate Certified Coach credential from the International Coaching Federation, and completed the Professional Coach Certification Program at Duquesne University.

Frequently Asked Questions About Leadership Coaching

Because coaching may be new to you, below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about what our coaches do, and coaching in general.

There is only one required leadership coaching session. Its purpose is to review your leadership assessment results and help you to get a sense of what leadership coaching entails.

The shortest answer is that our coaches' primary purpose is to help you clarify your goals and then partner with you to develop a plan to achieve them.

We are here to help you gain the skills you need to be an influencer. Whether you aspire to be a formal leader or not, having strong communication skills and the ability to work with others is necessary for your professional success.

Yes! You can meet with a coach up to two times per mini during your entire MBA program.

Of course! You can view their bios above.

This can definitely happen. The good news is that you can choose to meet with other coaches to see if their styles work better for you.

How about listening? That may seem fundamental and it is. But often students' prior successes depended on being subject matter experts who are used to sharing their thoughts and opinions. An influencer/leader has to learn to gather ideas from others and this requires active listening.

No. Leadership coaching focuses on the present and the future (what and how) while therapy tends to delve into the past (why). Our coaches are able to identify when therapy may be helpful and can make that recommendation.

The Masters Career Center helps you to find career opportunities. The Accelerate Leadership Center works with you to build the skills that will help you succeed once you've landed your job or internship.

Yes! We work with you to identify your strengths and development areas so that you can find opportunities in your day-to-day life to practice leadership skills.

We understand that everyone enters the program from a different starting point. Our coaches will work with you to identify how you can further develop your existing leadership skills.

Because of our diverse student body, we hear this a lot. If the concept of seeking coaching is culturally foreign to you, please let us know so that we can be sure we are doing everything we can to make you feel comfortable. If you choose to pursue coaching after the initial meeting, great! If you decide that it's not for you, that's ok, too.