Dr. Craig Nathanson, Ph.D., 2023 Human Resources Professionals Award

Dr. Craig Nathanson, Ph.D., 2023 Human Resources Professionals Award

Dr. Craig Nathanson, Ph.D., 2023 Human Resources Professionals Award banner

The quality of instruction at Johnson & Wales is essential to JWU’s mission to provide students with an exceptional education that inspires professional success and lifelong personal and intellectual growth. The university places a priority on having industry experts and leaders heading up our in-person and digital classrooms. Exposing students to real-world applications, challenges, and cutting-edge innovation across subjects ensures they have the network and know-how to feel prepared and confident for their careers. An educator, author, speaker and Leadership Coach, Dr. Craig Nathanson exemplifies the quality of instruction, support and mentorship that the university is committed to providing students during their time at JWU.

Congratulations to Dr. Craig Nathanson, who was recently recognized by North Bay Business Journal as a 2023 Human Resources Professionals Awards winner! An Adjunct Professor at Johnson & Wales College of Professional Studies since 2015, Dr. Nathanson teaches multiple online courses for JWU in human resources, leadership and related areas.

According to the North Bay Business Journal, “This award aims to recognize the outstanding contributions and achievements of HR professionals (in the San Francisco Bay Area) who have gone above and beyond in shaping the future of the workforce.” Dr. Nathanson earned the award for his work in the areas of humanistic leadership and Joyful Work, in addition to the four certification programs he runs: Human Resources, Advanced Human Resources, Humanistic Leadership and the certificate in Professional Sustainable Skills at Sonoma State University.

Dr. Nathanson holds a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems, M.A. in Human Development, and M.S. in Telecommunications Management. He has been teaching on-site and online graduate and undergraduate programs since 2001 at several universities in North America, Europe, China, and Vietnam. Teaching online asynchronous programs during the past 15 years, he has worked with a variety of learning platforms including Blackboard and Canvas.

Dr. Nathanson is the creator of the Humanistic Leadership Model© and the Joyful Work Model© now taught around the world to global students and clients. As a consultant, Dr. Nathanson works with organizations to develop humanistic leadership approaches to working with people. In this work, he integrates his professional experience in various senior management positions in U.S. Fortune 500 companies and over twenty years of research on the intersection of work and mid-life.

Author of multiple books on personal and mid-life development and management, including “The Best Manager: Getting Better Results Through People,” Dr. Nathanson’s book “Joyful Work in the Second Half of Life: The Five Stages” consolidates twenty years of research on the intersection of work and mid-life.

When asked why he chose to teach for JWU CPS, Dr. Nathanson responded, “After doing some research, I was impressed with the rigor behind the school’s programs, the leadership, the range of programs offered and the investment in instructional design and support for faculty.”

The North Bay Business Journal emphasizes the important role HR plays in today’s business world. “Human resources professionals have a crucial role in driving organizational success, fostering company culture, and propelling employee engagement.” An evolving field, students in human resources have the opportunity to explore and identify areas that are well matched to their interests, personal values and temperament (your work preferences, how you interact with others, what motivates you).

Dr. Nathanson advises, Right now, it is essential to select a niche that interests you the most and focus all your energy on learning and obtaining practical experience. Exciting HR areas are emerging, such as people’s well-being, learning and development, remote work and teams, data analytics, digital transformation, communication, and accommodation of future ways of work.

“Traditional HR areas will always be relevant, such as employment law, compensation, recruitment, and the subject of my research — humanistic leadership and enabling joy at work.

Joy is where your energy is. That is, what gets you excited to get up in the morning? Where do you want to contribute to the world? What deeply interests you? What work would you do for free? You should not have to do this, but it is one way to get you thinking about the RIGHT work.

The Humanistic Leadership Model© focuses on how to lead oneself and others, so this applies in all areas of our curriculum. Since we all will spend most of our (adult) life working, those years should be joyful and not wasted, so the concept of Joyful Work applies to all working adults.

Joyful Work is the energy of life itself. It occurs through self-exploration, self-awareness, and self-discovery. Humanistic leaders can enable joyful work. But one must lead themselves before leading others. Thus, it becomes a complete cycle.”


Often moving into a new career, or a new position, raises self-doubts — we may even experience imposter syndrome — and feel unworthy of our new role, even though others see us as competent and successful. Important to becoming a leader is developing confidence in oneself. Dr. Nathanson counsels, “I think it is essential to become your own best friend! Understand your purpose in your life and where your energy is right now. Define your core values and understand what behavior daily is needed to follow versus not follow your values. Then align long term (2-3 years), medium term (1-2 year) and short term (less than a year) goals to your values. When your goals are aligned to your core values, you will then have an authentic roadmap for your life and work.”

Recognizing that online students are balancing work, school and family, Dr. Nathanson remarks, “It is essential to be disciplined. Schedule school activities including study time just like you would schedule any other meeting.  Identify a process and tool for keeping organized, so as to prioritize your work. I find the practice of mind-mapping a useful process for being creative and for planning.”


Dr. Nathanson explains, “Our programs will offer networking opportunities, opportunities to use your own voice, learn from others and most important try out new ideas in class. Our classes are like labs, where you can bring in challenges from outside of class into our online classroom and get valuable ideas to apply.

“Most essential is that I tell all my students, to have big dreams, as your mind can’t tell the difference between big dreams and small dreams when thinking about the future — so have big dreams!

“Here at JWU CPS, we will enable you to move closer to those big dreams, and in class I will be cheering for you each step of the way!”

If you would like to learn more about the Joyful Work Model© and the Humanist Leadership Model©, Dr. Nathanson, teaches online courses through JWU CPS at the graduate level, including Strategic Compensation and at the undergraduate level, including Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior.

Ready to start or elevate your career journey in the dynamic human resources field? Johnson & Wales offers 100% online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in human resource management. For more information about completing your degree online, fill out our Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

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