L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



Antoinette Allen

Director, Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

Millhiser House Phone: (804) 828-3698 Email: allenal8@vcu.edu


-Facilitation and Storytelling
-Leadership Development
-Arts-Based Instruction
-Systemic Forgiveness


Prior to coming to VCU, Antoinette enjoyed a 30-year public service career which began in the United States Air Force. She served as a technical advisor in the Internal Revenue Service’s Leadership Academy before joining the Wilder School. Previously, she served as a full-time faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute where she perfected the inclusion of creative arts-based learning techniques (art, dance, music, and poetry) into her design and delivery. While leading as a senior administrative manager in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Antoinette was also adjunct faculty in the leadership development program. In 2014, Allen retired from the Virginia Air National Guard.

Dr. Allen is the recipient of several awards and honors including Commissioner’s Award for leadership development innovation during the pandemic, and the Department of Justice Attorney General’s award for excellence in Equal Employment Opportunity. During her military career she was awarded the Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement medal. In 2020, she coined the term “systemic forgiveness,” to help others conceptualize the need to forgive self, others, and systems. She is an award-winning poet and sought-after international speaker. Antoinette is the author of several books to include “Black Girl in the Mirror,” which shares poetic women’s leadership perspectives.


A.A.S., Logistics Management; Community College of the Air Force
B.S., Human Resource Development; Mount Olive College 
M.S., Behavioral Science; Cameron University
Ph.D., Education (Occupational and Technical Studies); Old Dominion University