Announcing the Warren Bennis Leadership Initiative

University of Cincinnati launches new interdisciplinary home for leadership

The University of Cincinnati has launched the Warren Bennis Leadership Initiative (WBLI), an interdisciplinary home for leadership study, development and programming.

The WBLI builds on the legacy of UC’s 22nd president and the “Father of Leadership,” Warren G. Bennis, PhD. Bennis served as UC’s president from 1971-77 and is credited with transforming UC into a major research-oriented institution after heading UC’s admission into the University System of Ohio. Moreover, Bennis dedicated his life to leadership study, authoring nearly 30 books, while also contributing to countless other books, periodicals, journals and works on leadership.

While UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business will serve as host for WBLI’s website, the initiative — and the eventually the Warren Bennis Leadership Institute — encompass and are open to the entire UC community.

"Leadership is very big tent. Its power and potential require interdisciplinary collaboration. We look forward to serving as that hub for UC and to furthering our shared commitment to developing future leaders," said Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis, PhD, and professor of management. "I’m proud to host the Bennis Initiative and developing Institute at Lindner. Given our emphasis on leadership development across research and programs, we will provide a strong academic base."

By combining Bennis’ transformational leadership lessons and UC’s strategic direction, Next Lives Here, WBLI aims to accomplish the following goals:

  • Energize stakeholder interest, both on campus and in the Cincinnati community, in the formulation of an interdisciplinary leadership institute at UC. 

  • Curate existing UC leadership capabilities (e.g., programming, thought leadership, related center/initiatives), while pursuing further opportunities.

  • Build sustainable revenue-generation through executive education leadership offerings. 

  • Continue the momentum of the annual Warren Bennis Leadership Experience.

A man in a shirt and tie speaks.

Warren G. Bennis served as president of the University of Cincinnati from 1971-77.

WBLI is a place where individuals will come to think of themselves as leaders, and there are many ways to participate. Members of the UC family can complete an inventory to make the WBLI team aware of co-curricular and extracurricular leadership development programming at UC.

“We are just getting started and have lots of ideas about how to engage students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community partners with WBLI,” said WBLI Thornburgh Academic Director Donna Chrobot-Mason, PhD, and associate professor, psychology.

Future programming will include "Breakfast with Bennis," a series for students to apply Bennis’ teachings to their own leadership journey, and a speakers’ bureau, which will “provide Cincinnati-area organizations with a preview of the many experts in leadership and leader development at UC to help with their training, keynote speaker, coaching and consulting needs,” said Chrobot-Mason. 

“We will also be developing open-enrollment cohort leadership training opportunities for Cincinnati organizations with the first offering focused on inclusive leadership training,” added Chrobot-Mason, who plans on teaching a “leadership accelerator” course with Lewis in the fall 2022 semester for undergraduates. The class will be modeled after a class Bennis taught at UC.

As Bennis said, “Leadership development is a journey. It starts early and lasts a lifetime.” WBLI hopes those interested in leadership will join them on this journey.

Featured image: Warren G. Bennis. Photo courtesy of Bruce Jackson.

Support the Warren Bennis Leadership Initiative

Honor a legacy of leadership and help develop the leaders of tomorrow by contributing to The Warren Bennis Leadership Institute Fund.