Brian Flanagan

Brian Flanagan

Lecturer in Management & Organizations

Master of Public Administration Grand Valley State University 2009
BA University of Notre Dame 2003

Brian Flanagan is the founder and principal at the Water’s Edge Leadership Institute, a leadership learning and development company that serves clients on five continents. As a facilitator and certified executive coach, Brian helps high-potential and seasoned leaders grow, advance, and reinvent.

Brian has deep roots in higher education and a passion for supporting emerging leaders. At the University of Michigan, he is a Lecturer in Management and Organizations for the Ross School of Business and Ford School of Public Policy. He teaches courses on leading people in organizations, human behavior in organizations, coaching and mentoring in organizations, and leadership skills for mission-driven organizations. He facilitates leadership development within the business school’s signature action-based learning courses, including Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP) and the Living Business Leadership Experience (LBLE).

Brian is also co-developer of the Michigan Model of Leadership, and an executive leadership coach in Michigan Ross's Executive MBA Program.

For 8 years (2012-20), Brian served as the Founding Managing Director of the University of Michigan’s Sanger Leadership Center. In that role, he collaborated with key faculty and staff to grow a startup initiative into one of the top leadership centers in the world for a broad and deep impact on the lives of college students. His team advanced experiential approaches to leadership development that have been replicated by leading universities in the United States and Europe. Along the way, it developed and launched popular initiatives that are rated among the university’s most impactful, including Leadership Crisis Challenge, Story Lab, Legacy Lab, and the Ross Leaders Academy.

Beyond the University of Michigan, Brian co-developed Homerton Changemakers at Cambridge University in the UK and spent nearly a decade collaborating to build the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and Cook Leadership Academy at Grand Valley State University.