William L. Sparks, Ph.D.

Managing Director, William L. Sparks and Associates

Will Sparks has his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Development, focusing his research on group dynamics, organizational culture, and leadership.



Based out of: North Carolina


Will Sparks is the Dennis Thompson Chair & Professor of Leadership at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte, where he also serves as the Director of the Office of Leadership Initiatives. He is a Visiting Professor of International Management with Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland. In 2008, he founded the McColl School’s M.S. in Organization Development (MSOD) Program and served as Director until 2013. He received the Fuqua Distinguished Educator Award for excellence in teaching at Queens in 2003 and 2005 and was awarded the inaugural McColl School Leadership in Teaching Award in 2009.

While on leave from Queens in 2015-2016 he served as Global Vice President of Talent with EnPro Industries, a $2B global manufacturing company headquartered in Charlotte, NC. In this role he was responsible for corporate leadership and talent management initiatives.

Will serves as the Managing Director for William L. Sparks & Associates, LLC, a professional services firm founded in 1997 focused on leader and team development, personal transformation and change management. He is serves as a Partner with Peter Browning Partners, LLC, a consulting firm providing board governance and executive coaching services to a variety of boards and senior executives. He has consulted with a variety of organizations in the public and private sectors. He serves as a Director on the boards of the Dilworth Center in Charlotte, NC, and The PAM Institute in Washington, DC.

Will has published numerous research papers and book chapters and has appeared on several Charlotte-area media outlets, including the CBS affiliate WBTV Channel 3, News Carolina Channel 14, and “Charlotte Talks” on the NPR affiliate WFAE 90.7. His TEDx Talk “The Power of Self Awareness” was released in 2018. He is the co-author (with Peter Browning) of the book “The Director’s Manual: A Framework for Board Governance” (2016, Wiley) and the author of the forth-coming book “Actualized Leadership: Meeting Your Shadow & Maximizing Your Potential” (2019, SHRM Publishing).

He holds a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from Winthrop University, an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management from Appalachian State University. He completed his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Development under the direction of Dr. Jerry B. Harvey from The George Washington University’s School of Business and Public Management, where his research focused on group dynamics, organizational culture, and leadership.


  • Actualized Leadership