Lisa Ann Cairns is vice president of L&D at Smith University where she oversees content creation and enhances talent development for all of Smith’s global offices, operations, and distribution hubs. Prior to that position, Cairns served in many roles for Smith and Smith-affiliated entities, including as chief strategy officer for ZettaWorks and vice president of EcoStrategy for ONTILITY.
Before her tenure at Smith, Cairns was a professor of linguistic anthropology and taught at several higher education institutions, including Texas A&M University; the University of Michigan; Northwestern University; and her alma mater, the University of Chicago.
Cairns earned her doctorate and master of arts degree in linguistics from the University of Chicago, during which time she received the prestigious National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University, where she was the institution’s first woman undergraduate to receive a Fulbright-Hayes Grant for independent research prior to attending graduate school.