Monica Sacristan and 20 Years at UNICON

Monica Sacristan and 20 Years at UNICON

To kick off her new role as the UNICON Leadership Academy’s Program Director, we wanted to introduce and welcome UNICON Member and Dean of University Extension and Executive Development at ITAM Monica Sacristan to those who may not know her. Monica designed, developed and last month launched the new virtual Leadership Academy, an eight-month development program designed specifically for university-based executive education professionals seeking to transition into leadership roles within member schools. Monica has extensive experience in the executive education industry and we at UNICON would like to thank Monica for her leadership and continued invaluable contribution to the UNICON community over the past 20 years.

Monica first joined UNICON 20 years ago after being referred by another UNICON member. She had been traveling for the past year visiting other institutions when a friend told her about UNICON, an organization that brings executive education professionals together in one place. She attended her first conference in China and has been involved in UNICON ever since.

As Dean of Executive Development and University Extension at ITAM since 1999, Monica is responsible for over 120 non-degree programs at the University and Continuing and Distance Education. ITAM is consistently ranked as a leading provider of Executive Education in Mexico and Latin America. With her background in consulting, she has additionally designed, coordinated and lectured in several open enrollment and custom executive education programs for the Mexican branches of international companies, including the Coca Cola Company, Citigroup, Novartis and Siemens, as well as Mexican corporations, including Grupo Peñoles, Jumex, Grupo Nacional Provincial, Grupo Modelo, Grupo Bimbo and Grupo Bal and others.


“Monica is a highly experienced professional in the executive education landscape, with broad expertise on conducting both open enrollment and custom programs for executives and organizations in national and international contexts. In addition to this, Monica has led individuals and teams within our industry to succeed at such endeavors. She is a thoughtful, structured and engaging leader.”

– Marco Serrato, Associate Provost at the University of Chicago


Monica has served for six years on the UNICON Board, where she at different times chaired the Membership, Research and Continuity Committees. In 2006 she served as Vice-chairperson of the Board and as Chairperson in 2007. She is now an Emeritus Board member of UNICON, serves on the Continuity and Research Committee and is spearheading this year’s Leadership Academy. Throughout her time on the Board over the years, Monica helped to push inclusivity and diversity initiatives to transform UNICON from being a US-centric organization to a truly globally focused community.


As one of the veteran leaders of UNICON, Monica has distinguished herself over the years as someone who is always building for the future of Executive Education. She has successfully led ITAM during every imaginable cycle over the past 20 years so has much wisdom and insight to share about running an Exec Ed unit. She has also consistently given back to the greater UNICON community by hosting and co-hosting conferences and with her service on the board and as chairperson of the board and as an active member of the research and continuity committees. I had the pleasure as serving as her vice-chair when Monica was Chair of the UNICON board, and she remains one of my go to people whenever I’m at a conference or when I need trusted advice.”

– Mike Malefakis, Associate Vice Dean at Wharton Executive Education


Over the years in the industry, she has seen many changes develop and evolve over time. With the recent pandemic, Monica has noticed the ability to adapt quickly and effectively has become extremely important. She has had to adapt ITAM’s programs, as did other institutions, to an online format. Now they are working toward a future hybrid model to satisfy their customers’ desire for face-to-face learning and communication. The pandemic has taught her that in our learnings, we will find that there are some things we will toss and some important things we will learn to treasure, and that is the key to success.

UNICON has experienced similar obstacles, in shifting all conferences and the Leadership Academy fully online. Monica has been involved with the Leadership Academy since its inception and knew that they had to rethink how they were going to deliver it this year. Monica decided to revamp the Leadership Academy virtually, using the business model canvas as a thread throughout the whole program.


“By developing UNICON´s Leadership Academy into a high quality, 100% online program, Monica Sacristan has made a significant contribution to both the member schools and their high potential leaders (or leadership candidates). Monica has substantial industry and leadership experience that she willingly continues to share, and her online learning know-how has come in extremely useful now. I regard her work for UNICON as invaluable.”

– Lise Hammergren, Executive Vice President at BI Norwegian Business School and UNICON Board Chair


Over the past 20 years, Monica has left immeasurable impact on UNICON and on the executive education industry throughout her career. Looking ahead, Monica has emphasized the importance of a hybrid learning model and the opportunity to adapt and build upon what we have learned to impact the future of the industry in the years to come.


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