May 20, 2024
Lessons in Leadership

Photo: Morgan Givens

Retired Navy Capt. Timothy Kinsella led Naval Air Station Pensacola through a terrorist attack, the COVID-19 pandemic and a major hurricane. As the head of University of West Florida's executive leadership program, he's focused on building the region's next generation of leaders.

MBA Programs

Lessons in Leadership

Carlton Proctor | 3/22/2024


Launched in the fall of 2023, the University of West Florida’s executive leadership MBA program is being led by retired Navy Capt. Timothy “Lucky” Kinsella, a man whose leadership skills have been tested to the extreme.

As the former commanding officer of Naval Air Station Pensacola, he was at the helm in December 2019 when a foreign terrorist attack on the base killed three Navy sailors and injured eight others. Kinsella also saw the training installation through the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastation caused by a direct impact from Hurricane Sally in September 2020.

Kinsella is a former submariner, pilot and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He retired in early 2022 and chose to remain in Pensacola.

When it came time for UWF President Martha Saunders and Business School Dean Rick Fountain to choose someone to lead the new executive leadership program they looked no further than Kinsella.

“It will enhance the College of Business’ graduate programs to have a marquee leadership program with Captain Kinsella’s national and international contacts,” Fountain said last summer when the program was announced. “Leaders are made, not born, and students will learn to be leaders with an executive MBA from UWF. This prestigious degree program will be a difference maker in the region and an excellent addition to our nationally ranked graduate programs.”

In addition to serving as executive director of the university’s new Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz Center for Leadership, Kinsella will collaborate with internal and external stakeholders and aims to build the program into a regional go-to resource for fostering leadership.

“The importance of strong leadership in the civic setting — in schools, local government and other institutions — as well as in private sector businesses, has never been greater,” says Justin Witkin, a founding partner of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz, the Pensacola law firm that contributed a $2.5-million gift to support the leadership center that bears its name.

Kinsella says the program, which will be offered fully online, will provide students with “acute business acumen” as well as leadership skills. “We want to create leaders of character, leaders of principle that are encouraged to make a positive difference in the world that we live in today. And that starts right here with our community.” 

Tags: Education, Feature, MBA Programs

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