A Conversation with Sian Leah Beilock, President-elect of Dartmouth, and Liz Lempres ’83 TH’84, Chair of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees

Renowned cognitive scientist, Dr. Sian Leah Beilock, begins her tenure as President of Dartmouth in the 2023-24 academic year. She is the first woman elected to serve in this role, and currently serves as the eighth President of Barnard College at Columbia University. Join us as Board Chair Liz Lempres facilitates a discussion with Dr. Beilock about her research, what excites her about Dartmouth, and more! 

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About the Speakers

Dr. Sian Beilock
Dr. Sian Leah Beilock


Sian Leah Beilock is the president-elect of Dartmouth. She is the first woman to be elected president of Dartmouth by the Board of Trustees and will begin her tenure in the 2023-24 academic year.

Beilock currently serves as the eighth president of Barnard College at Columbia University. One of the most selective academic institutions in the world, Barnard is devoted to empowering exceptional women to change the world and the way we think about it.

During her tenure at Barnard, Beilock has enhanced Barnard's STEM research and teaching programs to parallel the college's renown in the arts and humanities; implemented Feel Well, Do Well, a campus-wide health and wellness initiative; and launched Beyond Barnard, a one-stop shop for career resources at Barnard and beyond. Building on Barnard's relationship with Columbia, Beilock has established options for students to transition directly from Barnard into a range of master's programs at Columbia through unique five-year BA/MS degrees. Beilock has also led Barnard to record fundraising, increased applications for admission, and increased diversity among students, faculty, and staff. Almost half of Barnard students identify as women of color.

Before joining Barnard, Beilock spent 12 years at the University of Chicago, where she was the executive vice provost, serving as an officer of the university, and the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology. As executive vice provost, Beilock oversaw and had budgetary responsibility for major academic centers including the university's library system, the University of Chicago Press, the university's art museum, and its professional theater. Beilock was also responsible for campus-wide space allocation and oversaw several major building projects. She played the lead role in developing a system to account for how income (such as tuition and grants) and expenses flowed across the undergraduate college, the graduate, and professional schools, and UChicago Medicine. She created and led UChicagoGRAD, a university-wide initiative designed to prepare the university's 10,000 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for leadership roles in academia, government, industry, and the nonprofit sector.

Beilock is one of the world's leading experts on the brain science behind "choking under pressure" in business, education, and sports. In the last several years, her research has focused specifically on success in math and science for women and girls and on how performance anxiety can either be exacerbated or alleviated by teachers, parents, and peers.

She is the author of the critically acclaimed Choke and How the Body Knows Its Mind, which have been published in more than a dozen languages, and she has published 120 peer-reviewed scientific papers. She works closely with individuals, Fortune 500 companies, sports teams, and government organizations to help them build high-performance teams and use research-driven strategies to create environments that attract, retain, and get the best out of their talent. Beilock is an independent director on the Bridgewater Associates Operating Board of Directors and serves on the Board of Advisors for C Street Advisory Group.

Beilock's research has been featured in media outlets including The Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesThe Washington PostTime, and CNN. She was chosen as one of 25 "Women to Watch" by Crain's Chicago Business and won several awards from national and international societies devoted to psychology, sports psychology, and education. Most notably, Beilock is the recipient of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and, in 2017, she won the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences for her "fundamental contributions to our understanding of human skill learning and performance breakdowns in high-pressure and anxiety-provoking situations." Her 2017 TED Talk has been viewed more than 2.5 million times.

Beilock earned her bachelor of science in cognitive science from the University of California, San Diego, and doctorate degrees in psychology and kinesiology from Michigan State University.

For more information about president-elect Beilock, please visit her website at president-elect.dartmouth.edu.

Elizabeth Cahill Lempres '83 Th'84

Elizabeth ("Liz") Cahill Lempres is a Senior Partner Emeritus of McKinsey & Company, a global management consultancy. During her 28-year tenure, she worked on strategy, organization and performance improvement issues across industries in 20+ countries. She led McKinsey's Global Consumer and Retail practice, the Global Private Equity Practice, was the Managing Partner of the Boston Office and served on McKinsey's Board of Directors. She also led McKinsey's partner election and performance evaluation process globally and its global Women's Initiative.

Ms. Lempres currently serves on the boards of General Mills, Axalta, Traeger and Culligan International. She served on the Thayer School Board of Advisors from 2012-2022.

Ms. Lempres graduated cum laude with an AB in Engineering and earned her BE at the Thayer School. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School where she was designated a Baker Scholar.