Kathleen Kelley Reardon is Phi Beta Kappa and professor emerita of management at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
Kathleen earned her Ph.D. summa cum laude and with distinction at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and won the National Communication Association’s Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Dissertation of the Year award. She received her BA degree with honors from the University of Connecticut at Storrs. She was also elected to the honors societies of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Mortar Board. She also received the 2013 University of Connecticut alumni Humanitarian Award.
Her primary areas of scholarly interest have been communication, persuasion, politics in the workplace, leadership, and negotiation. Public Opinion Quarterly described her first book, Persuasion in Practice, as ”a landmark contribution to the field.”
At The Marshall School, Kathleen has taught negotiation in the MBA, Executive MBA and International MBA programs. For 15 years, she served on the Preventive Medicine faculty where, as a National Cancer Institute postdoctoral fellow and as a professor, developed interventions aimed at changing dangerous health habits among high-risk populations. She has been principle and co-principle investigator on federal and private grants supporting this work. She also served as director of USC’s Sample Presidential Fellows Program and of the USC Leadership Institute.
Kathleen was the first woman to rise through the ranks to tenure and then promotion to full professor at the USC Marshall School of Business. Before joining USC, she was associate professor of communication sciences at The University of Connecticut. She was also a visiting scholar at Stanford University, University College and Trinity College in Dublin and Distinguished Research Scholar at the Irish Management Institute.
Kathleen’s work includes influencing the careers of women through her research and writing, such as the Harvard Business Review case reprint bestseller, “The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk.” This led to her book, They Don’t Get It, Do They? Communication in the Workplace — Closing the Gap Between Women and Men, which explored how women and men don’t “get it” when conversing and working with each other. It was recently rereleased as an e-book.
She and Betty Friedan developed and team-taught “Leadership Diversity” at USC. Together they developed conferences focused on improving women’s representation at higher levels of business, education and government.
Kathleen was invited to join The Huffington Post as a featured blogger in August 2005, two months after its founding by Arianna Huffington and now contributes to Thrive Global.
Early in her career, Dr. Reardon’s seminal research on the role of gift giving in international negotiation resulted in International Business Gift-Giving: A Guide for American Executives (1981) sponsored by Parker Pen Co. and later published as Gift-giving Around The World (Passepartout, 1985). During the Reagan Administration she was consulted by the U.S. Chief of Protocol office, and later spoke to U.S. protocol officers at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The book has served as a primary source for the selection of State Department and Presidential gifts to visiting dignitaries and for official visits to other countries. It has influenced all subsequent work on international gift protocol and legalities.
Kathleen was a founding board member and Distinguished Fellow of First Star, a Washington DC-based nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of America’s abused and neglected children. While researching and writing Childhood Denied, she originated the concept of university campus-based residential academies for high school foster children, to help raise their acceptance and graduation from college above the current and unacceptable 3 percent rate. She has been instrumental in establishing foster youth academies at UCLA, the University of Connecticut, the University of Rhode Island, and George Washington University, with more academies in development.
Earlier she was co-principal investigator of the feasibility study for the Starbright Foundation. Her work in communication led to the design and development of a computerized, long-distance social network linking together terminally and seriously ill children to help them cope (years before the advent of facebook!). Starbright was initially chaired by Steven Spielberg, with the late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf as campaign chair, and is now The Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Kathleen also developed, produced and wrote the award-winning documentary “How Will I Survive?” along with Academy Award winning executive producer Mark Harris. The documentary followed five women with breast cancer as they coped in different ways with this challenging disease. ‘How Will I Survive?’ was aired on PBS stations in the United States and on NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization.
Her research and books have resulted in Kathleen appearing on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, Bloomberg TV, National Public Radio and many other electronic media. Her work also has been covered by The London Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Delhi Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald and hundreds of newspapers and magazines throughout the world.
Kathleen has served as a consultant, a speaker and an executive coach for numerous private individuals and such enterprises as Siemens, News Corp., CIGNA, Loewe of Madrid, Epson, IBM, Pfizer, Toyota, Moog Aircraft, Sony Entertainment, The Conference Board, Hewlett-Packard and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs.
She has authored 10 books and numerous articles, including three for The Harvard Business Review and is an HBR blogger. Her 2001 book The Secret Handshake: Mastering the Politics of the Business Inner Circle (Currency, Doubleday) became an Amazon.com nonfiction and business best seller. It was followed by The Skilled Negotiator (Jossey-Bass, 2004), It’s All Politics: Winning in a World Where Hard Work and Talent Aren’t Enough (Currency, Doubleday, 2005), Childhood Denied: Ending the Nightmare of Child Abuse and Neglect (Sage, 2008), and Comebacks at Work: Using Conversation to Master Confrontation (Harper Business, 2010).