Vyla Rollins

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Vyla Rollins
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Born (1962-06-20) June 20, 1962 (age 59)
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
CitizenshipUnited States
  • Organisational psychologist
  • Consultant
  • Screenwriter
Years active1986–present
  • Executive Director of the Leadership Institute at the London Business School
  • Programme Director & Executive Coach at the London Business School
Partner(s)Edward R.M. Hilllyer
  • Edward Cecil Rollins
  • Ethel Eugenia
Academic background
Alma materOccidental College
University of Bath
ThesisBeyond the Till: Behavioral Implications of Electronic Management Information Systems on Retail Operations at W.H. Smith (1994)
Academic work
InstitutionsLondon Business School

Vyla Lejeune Rollins is an organisational psychologist, educator, researcher, and management consultant. She is the Executive Director of the London Business School’s Leadership Institute. She is known in business and academic circles for her impactful and innovative applied work in the areas of organisational behaviour, leadership, team, and individual effectiveness and change in VUCA environments. Her area of expertise is in working with organisations to systemically diagnose organisational performance and implement organisational/development interventions at individual, team, divisional, organisational and board levels. Her expertise has been gained by working as an advisor with, and for, a range of UK, European, North American, EMEA, and other Global organisations.

Early Life

Rollins was born on June 20th 1962 in Dayton, Ohio to Edward Cecil Rollins, a mathematician and computer specialist for the United States Air Force, and Ethel Eugenia (nee Grant), a psychiatric social worker and past lecture in Social Work at the University of Denver in the late 1970’s. Her parents both graduated from Jarvis Christian College in 1954, her mother is also a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work where she obtained her Master of Social Work in 1954.

Her paternal grandmother, Cecila Peters Rollins, attended Xavier University Preparatory School in the early 1920’s and upon graduation attended the University of New Orleans (formerly known as Louisiana State University in New Orleans), obtaining a degree in Education in 1926[1]. After a number of years holding teaching positions in local high schools, she was appointed Principal of Hansboro Junior High, the only teacher holding a degree in the school at that time. She went on to accept a senior position at Southern Christian Institute, which she held for 12 years, and went on to be appointed as Dean of Women at Dillard University in New Orleans. Her sister RoJeune Bali Monroe (nee Rollins), born in 1969 holds an Associate Degree in Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, in Los Angeles, and a BA in Psychology from Arizona State University.

Education and Professional Bodies

Vyla received her BA in Industrial/ Organisational Psychology from Occidental College in the U.S. and her MPhil in Organisational Behaviour from the School of Management at Bath University in England. She also holds a Certificate in Counselling and Psychotherapy, a Certificate in Board Dynamics from the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a Fellow of Royal Society of Medicine and a Member of the Association of Business Psychologists.

Both Vyla and her sister were educated in the public school system in Denver, Colorado. Vyla attended Cherry Creek High School (CCHS) where she gained class officer roles such as Junior Class Vice President, and Co-President (Head Girl) with Tom Magill (Head Boy) in 1980. Rollins was the recipient of a number awards during her time at Cherry Creek, including the Danforth Foundation Award (1980), funded by National Youth Foundation[2], and CCHS Exceptional Quality Award (1980). Rollins started singing at the age of 13 and a member of several audition-only singing groups at the high school, including Girls 21 (1977-78), The Meistersingers (1978-80), and the Colorado All State Choir (1979, 1980). Rollins was also a varsity letter recipient for her competition awards as part of the CCHS Speech Team (1979-80). In 1979, Rollins was also selected by the Faculty of CCHS to receive an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Masonic Officers Association for demonstrated Excellence in Scholarship and Leadership, with special acknowledgement for her school and community activities. She was also crowned “Miss Desert of Colorado”, representing the State in the 33rd Annual Imperial Talent and Scholarship Finals held by the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine of North and South America. In 1980 she was presented to Denver society at the 1980 Owl’s Club[3] Debutante Ball. The Ball, started in 1951, honours prominent young women in Denver known for their character, scholarship, leadership and community service.

Between 1980 and 1984, she attended Occidental College, a private liberal arts college in Los Angeles. In 1982, she pledged to the Alpha Lambda Phi Alpha sorority. The Alpha Lambda Phi Alpha sorority, founded in 1900[4], began as a literary club for women at the college. Then, in 1905, the club became the first sorority at the college and was named after the first letter of the Greek alphabet. The word 'alpha' represents the Greek word 'arete,' which means virtue, womanhood, dignity, character and excellence of every kind.

During her time at Occidental College, Rollins was the recipient of two Richter Foundation Fellowships (Domestic and International). The Richter Scholars Fellowship Program is funded by the Paul K. and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Trusts. These fellowships are awarded to a small number of undergraduate students enrolled at twelve selected colleges and universities in the United States, and provide funding for research proposals deemed creative as well as meaningful and significant to a wider community. Rollins's research fellowships were carried out in San Francisco, California (1982) and London, England (1983). In 1985 she was accepted into the Master of Philosophy programme, at Bath University’s School of Management, and graduated in 1986. Her, thesis “Beyond the Till: Behavioural Implications of Electronic Management Information Systems on Retail Operations at W.H. Smith”, was embargoed until 1994, given its contents were deemed of “strategic importance” to W.H.Smith


Early Career

Rollins, started her career in consulting with The Wyatt Company (now known as Willis Towers Watson[5]). She went on to gain her consulting experience through working with a number of consulting firms in the U.S. and the UK, including Mercer Delta, KPMG[6], Kinsley Lord[7], Towers Perrin, The Alexander Partnership and Corven Consulting Ltd (now part of Oliver Wyman[8]).

In the early 1990’s Rollins became an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, prompted by her work, and subsequent book chapter, "Sick Building Syndrome – Psychological Issues: A Multi-faceted Problem, a Multi-dimensional Approach”[9], which she worked on whilst working for the late Honor Chapman (founding CEO of Think London (then called London First Centre (LFC), and now part of London & Partners), a Partner at Jones Lang Wootton (now known as Jones Lang LaSalle), and head of JLW’s then Consulting and Research Department in the late 1980’s. This work also led to an invitation for Rollins to be inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2007.

In the mid-1990’s, Rollins was one of three individuals commended for consultancy work undertaken with the Board of the Institute of Management Consultants, working with them to develop their strategy, vision and subsequent organisational change programme. She has also had an interest and experience in utilising applied psychological techniques in the area of Project Management. In the early 1990’s she was awarded the Currie and Brown/Association of Project Managers prize in London for an article entitled “Project Management: A Perspective on a Behavioural Based Approach”, which was designated as a topic of general interest in the field of Project Management and published in “Project” a project management industry magazine. Her interview with John D. Allen, Editor of Construction News on the article also won a national award in the same year.

In 2004, Rollins was invited to work with Harvard professor Ronald Heifitz, author of “Leadership without Easy Answers” and co-author of “Leadership on the Line” and his consulting team on collaborating on a ground breaking leadership initiative for a major UK telecommunications firm. She was also subsequently invited to act as a facilitator on his Harvard Kennedy School’s 2006 “Art and Practice of Leadership Development” programme, after completing the programme herself as a participant the year before. It was her introduction to Heifitz work, working with him and her experience on his APLD programme which has proved a strong and formative influence on her passion and consulting on leadership, change, and strategy execution in complex organisational systems.

Career at London Business School

In 2007, Rollins was invited to join the exclusive Executive Coaching community that supports London Business School's (LBS) “open enrolment” Executive Education Programmes and degree programmes (MBA, Global EMBA), and custom programmes.[10] In 2008, she became a Programme Director at LBS. In this role she is responsible for designing and orchestrating the delivery of bespoke educational programmes commissioned by organisations from London Business School's Executive Education Department. Rollins was the first individual in the history of the School to work in these multiple capacities. She is also a Tutor on one of London Business School’s flagship open enrolment Strategy programmes, as well as a Learning Facilitator and/or Coach on other LBS bespoke leadership programmes. In 2014, she took up the position of Executive Director of London Business School’s new Leadership Institute. She was also invited to collaborate on a piece of research led by Professor Julian Birkinshaw[11].

During the 2016-17 Academic year, Rollins hosted a podcast series for the LBS Leadership Institute[12], where she interviewed a variety of academics and practitioners on their research and applied work.

Research and Writing

Rollins’s insights and book reviews have been featured in a number of publications such as the Financial Times, The Guardian Management Today, the Institute of Directors Magazine, Global Banking, Psychodynamic Practice[13], HR Magazine, and British Airways’ Business Life Magazine. Given her experience with the NHS, in 2013 Rollins was invited to be one of the founding collaborators in the award winning Pearson Lloyd team, who were selected by the Department of Health and Design Council to develop and implement a set of design and “team/people” solutions that have been proven to reduce levels of violence and aggression in Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments in the UK. As part of this work, she was invited to work with St. George's Hospital's Accident & Emergency Department lead, Dr Sunil Dasan, who specialises in the care and treatment of patients in the emergency department and has a particular interest in developing robust and sustainable systems for the delivery of safe, high quality emergency care[14]. In November 2014, the Royal Television Society award-winning documentary series “24 Hours in A & E” featured St George’s in south west London in its seventh series, which has one of Britain’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments.

Community Work

Rollins is a past board member for the Prince’s Trust in East London. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Clore Social Leadership Foundation.[15]


  1. Rollins, V. "photo of certificate". Twitter.
  2. "National Leadership Award". American Youth Foundation.
  3. "Owl Club".
  4. "About Us". Alpha Lambda Phi Alpha.
  5. "Our History". Willis Towers Watson.
  6. The Psychologist. British Psychological Society. 1997. p. 38.
  7. The Psychologist. British Psychological Society. 1997. p. 38.
  8. "Our History". Oliver Wyman.
  9. Rostron, Jack (1997). Sick Building Syndrome: Concepts issues and Practice. London: E & FN SPON.
  10. "Leadership Institute". London Business School.
  11. Birkinshaw, J; Rollins, V; Turconi, S (2011). "Employee-centred management: Creating a workplace where employees are able to deliver their best work". London: London Business School. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. "Organisational change". London Business School.
  13. "List of Contributors". Psychodynamic practice. 13 (1): 109–111. 2007.
  14. "A Better A&E". Creative Review. 34 (5). 2014.
  15. "Who's Moving: Brain Tumour Research, Shine, Yorkshire Cancer Research and more". Civil Society.

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