Meet the people who have helped create the Growing Systems of Success Concepts, Tools and Practices

Growing Systems of Success Influencers


Meet the people who have made the Growing Systems of Success (GSS) work possible.  I am grateful to the support and insights of many who have contributed to the development of GSS concepts, tools, and practices.  In particular, each of the contributors on this page have made significant contributions that have helped me and Ananth create a GSS toolkit. In the absence of immersion experiences such as the PhD Project conferences, the Growing Systems of Success toolkit is critical to the adoption and effective use of the Growing Systems of Success approach.



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Bernard J. Milano
July 2017

Bernard "Bernie" J. Milano is president and trustee of the KPMG Foundation. He is also president and a board member of The PhD Project, a diversity initiative that has more than quadrupled  the number of minority business professors in U.S. colleges and universities.  Bernie serves on the Board of Points of Light Foundation, Campus Compact, Enactus (US) and other nonprofit organizations.  He has also served as the President of Beta Alpha Psi.  


Bernie has been the driving force behind the Growing Systems of Success (GSS) work for over a decade.  GSS emerged from my efforts to identify a few core constructs that capture the essence of The PhD Project.  Bernie's initial vision for this work was to articulate the value provided by The PhD Project to help  participants pay it forward to others.  While many new applications of the GSS model are taking shape now, pay it forward is a core value that continues to inform my thinking and actions.  As an example, developing a “GSS Top Contributors” section of this website comes from this pay it forward orientation.  My goal is to make the contributions of leaders like Bernie visible on this site so we can learn from their work and pay it forward by encouraging, supporting, and guiding others. Another important value that underlies the GSS model is that of encouragement.   Bernie explicitly framed the idea of The PhD Project being about encouraging and not recruiting at the 2013 Annual Conference of The PhD Project. Since that time I have explicitly included encouragement as a core component of the GSS model. 

 My initial interactions with Bernie were in the service-learning arena.  I served as the editor of a monograph on service-learning that was co-sponsored by The KPMG Foundation.  Gradually, my involvement shifted to The PhD Project.  Looking back on my work over the past few years, I realize that the nature of The PhD Project itself made it an ideal setting for the GSS model to take shape.  The PhD Project prepares prospective Ph.D. students and Ph.D. students for a multi-year journey with uncertain outcomes and numerous challenges!  

While I initially saw The PhD Project as a large scale, national diversity initiative, over the years my focus shifted the lessons that The PhD Project model had for a variety of applications including self-directed learning.  The PhD Project for All concept is intended to convey the idea that The PhD Project model offers many insights that apply in a wide variety of contexts.  The GSS vision is to develop concepts, tools, and practices to disseminate The PhD Project model  and extending and enriching it through application.


The GSS model has taken many years to develop and refine.  Throughout this period, I have had access to The PhD Project.  I have attended annual meetings and a Doctoral Student Association meeting.  I have conducted surveys and interacted with many faculty, students, and administrators over the years.  I appreciate the opportunities to share my work through The PhD Project's social media channels and look forward to continued interactions with PhD Project administrators, staff, and participants in the future.

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Dr. Martin Dias

Dr. Martin Dias has made many insightful comments during the PayitForward Conference calls. I expect his recent framing of the value of The PhD Project in terms of the 4Ss (Selection criteria, Success heuristics, filter Signals from noise, Status/milestones)   to be an important part of my PayitForward repertoire in the future.

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Dr. Lucy Reuben

I met Dr. Lucy Reuben at the PhD Project Funders' meeting when the Six Cs were just beginning to take shape.  Her willingness to explore paying it forward at The PhD Pipeline Opportunity Program's Summer Conferences for the last three years has provided us with many opportunities to test and refine the Six Cs model.

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Dr. Laura L. Trevino

Dr. Laura Trevino has been involved with The PhD Project since its inception.  Hence, her feedback has been invaluable for me.  Her willingness to take the model apart and put it together in different ways gave important insights at a critical point in the development of the model.  Another important contant contibution is a case study that she wrote reflecting on her experiences using the Six Cs.

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Peter Jones

Peter Jones, a consultant in U.K. has been an active contributor to ADDIT Together for several months.  He has tested ADDIT Together story-telling in many settings and shares ideas and insights in several online groups.  Peter's contributions have helped me make numerous decisions as I move from The PhD Project for All concept to implementation.

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Rajiv Vasudevan

Rajiv Vasudevan, CEO of Ayurvaid Hospitals ( has played an important role in the ADDIT Together journey.  His primary contribution has been in helping me take the conceptual models and find ways to take them to varied audiences.  He has provided many opportunities to engage Ayurvaid physicians and staff in ADDIT Together conversations and connected me with people in other organizations. 

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Yves Muya-Benda

Yves Muya-Benda is an active contributor to the development of the Growing Systems of Success method and tools.  His ability to contribute to conceptual development while at the same time providing useful suggestions on the details of tools and practices have made his contributions invaluable.  In fact, the term Growing Systems of Success was chosen because of Yves suggestion to include the systems of success concept in framing my work!

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Dr. Deanne Butchey

Dr. Deanne Butchey has been an active contributor to ADDIT Together for many years.  Our shared interests in community engagement and service-learning led to an exploration of elements of Growing Systems of Success in this context.  Her willingness to try models and tools from the early stages of development has been immensely helpful in the development of ADDIT Together.

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Boaz Nelson Santiago

Boaz Nelson Santiago ( has made it possible for me to take the Six Cs message forward in a consistent and clear way.  By designing the website and providing guidance on establishing a social media presence, Boaz has made it possible for me to pay it forward to  diverse individuals, groups, and organizations.

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