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Bonnie A. Curtis, Ph.D. is a 2022 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Bonnie Curtis at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Harriet L. Schwartz, Committee Member, Dr. Mitch Kusy, Committee Chair, Dr. Ronald E. Riggio, Committee Member.

Dissertation Committee

  • Mitch Kusy, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Harriet L. Schwartz, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., Committee Member


boss, business, change, consumer product group, company, corporate, CPG, COVID-19, direct report, frontline leader, frontline manager, grounded theory methodology, GTM, leader, leadership, manager, pandemic, supervisor, supply chain, support, team, VUCA

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Strategic business change in the 21st century has been fraught with issues, resulting in failure for more than half of all attempted efforts to transform companies. Frontline managers (FLMs) are key to successful corporate change, transforming a company’s direction into action and results and the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique business challenge for every Consumer Products Group (CPG) company and FLM by interrupting supply chains. The aim of this grounded theory study was to create theory by conducting open-ended interviews with 20 frontline managers to determine how they viewed themselves and their roles, teams, and bosses during change. Results demonstrated that the FLMs viewed themselves as protectors of their teams. The FLMs were competent, resilient leaders who loved the work of managing a team to deliver daily results. Unfortunately, many FLMs were required to navigate bosses that ranged from negligent to abusive. Even the FLMs who described having great bosses asked for something more, declaring a need for help. They called for bosses to provide four elements of leadership: Delivering clarity on the role, expectations, and escalation channels, quickly producing requested resources, hosting regular one-on-one meetings to discuss issues and career, and engaging with empathy and support while giving the FLM autonomy to do the role. When the boss delivers on the four requests, the frontline manager will likely have the autonomy, confidence, and partnership to fully engage in their challenging work. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( ) and OhioLINK ETD Center (


Bonnie A. Curtis

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0001-9848-6187

Bonnie Curtis, PhD, has a long track record of accelerating growth for both a Fortune 50 consumer products company and a privately held distribution and trucking firm. Notably, she lived in Guangzhou, China for eight years where she led the largest Procter and Gamble plant in Asia. Dr. Curtis is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree in Chemical Engineering and also holds a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. As the CEO of Golden Spike LLC., with expertise in leading change for the supply chain, human resources and sales, Bonnie shares her passion in the areas of leadership and process, with focus on frontline and mid-level manager coaching.

Bonnie has had a total of five national and international moves that have taught her the power of understanding cultural dimensions of people and work. Raising four children over the course of her career, Dr. Curtis has mastered the ability to multi-task with success, unleash people from status-quo thinking both at work and home--bringing out their best and driving an inclusive culture. She is an honest and direct talker, and enjoys sharing her insights with universities, businesses, and non-profits.