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The 2023 Warren Bennis Leadership Experience.

The Warren Bennis Leadership Experience (WBLE) is an annual event designed to inspire students to become leaders through the teachings and principles of Warren Bennis.

This event brings nationally recognized leaders to campus to discuss leadership principles in educational and professional settings to inspire a leadership movement in Cincinnati. WBLE is the centerpiece program for the Institute, impacting over 300 people each year.

The Warren Bennis Leadership Experience student organization is comprised of and led by students. Each year, members of the team are selected to ensure the interdisciplinary student cohort has the necessary skills to lead a successful experience. Visit WBLI's GetInvolvedUC page to learn more about becoming a part of this organization.

Student Ambassador program

In fall 2023, the institute launched its second student cohort program, the Bennis Student Ambassador program. This program is led by an institute staff member and works closely with the Academic Liaisons group to ensure that each college's voice is well-represented within the institute. In this way, the student ambassadors act as liaisons to connect the institute to all parts of campus to fulfill our mission as an interdisciplinary institute serving students, faculty and staff across all parts of campus.  

In addition to representing students within the institute, Ambassadors meet regularly to engage in their own leadership development through personal and leadership development activities, public speaking and other professional skill development opportunities, mentoring, workshops, and guest speaking.

Ambassadors gain exposure to interdisciplinary networking opportunities, options for one-on-one coaching with the institute staff, and VIP access to other WBLI offerings. Ambassadors are trained to present workshops, recruit students, engage in tabling and showcasing institute events, representing their respective colleges, interviewing Deans and UC leaders, and creating new programs and opportunities to engage students.


The first ambassador cohort for the 2023-24 academic year.

The first cohort of Ambassadors included 12 students from seven colleges and 11 different majors. This group, led by Alex Mason, founder of the Ambassador program, conducted interviews with Deans and students from every college, ultimately using this data to aid in the creation of new programs and initiatives at the institute.  

Individuals interested in joining the next Ambassador cohort are committing to a year-long engagement with bi-weekly meetings. Applications for the Ambassador program open at the beginning of the fall semester. Email us to learn more about this unique program.

Breakfast with Bennis

Breakfast with Bennis is a student leadership development program that features free breakfast, engaging discussion, an inside look at the 1819 Innovation Hub and an introduction to the Bennis Leadership Institute. It is open to students from any college, major and year of study.  

Students can expect to discuss how to apply Bennis’ teachings to their own leadership journey, hear stories about Bennis from those who knew him and learn more about how they can be involved in leadership development opportunities and resources offered through the institute.


Warren Bennis. Photo by Bruce Jackson.

During his time as UC's president, Warren Bennis regularly held meetings at 4:30 a.m., invited student body presidents into his budget meetings and opened his office and home to anyone who wanted to see his process. He knew how to mentor and provide leadership lessons to those around him, especially young people.

One of those young leaders was Bennis' student driver, Neal Novak, A&S ’73, Law ’77, who lived at the Bennis home. Novak recalled how he never wanted to sleep for fear of missing something, like when political activist Daniel Ellsberg showed up at midnight to talk to Bennis several days after the Pentagon Papers were released or the time noted psychologist Abraham Maslow visited for lunch.

Bennis’ gift was his ability to transform the experiences of influential people from a variety of disciplines into wisdom, and to make it accessible to all through his writings. The Breakfast with Bennis program will immerse students in Bennis' stories, teachings and wisdom. In this same spirit (although not at 4:30 a.m.), we wish to extend an invitation to all UC students to join us in this unique program!

If you wish to be a part of the Breakfast with Bennis group, please email us or visit our GetInvolvedUC page.

Leader Development Workshops

The Warren Bennis Leadership Institute offers evidence-based interactive workshops designed for student organizations, corporate retreats, undergraduate classes, department meetings and more. The following workshops can be requested for your team and each range from 60-90 minutes.  

In this interactive workshop, you will have the opportunity to identify what Warren Bennis called ‘crucible moments’ and reflect on how they shape your identity as a leader. You will also be able to identify ways you engage in leadership behaviors today — perhaps without even realizing it — and strategies for developing a stronger leader identity. 

Personal vision and mission statements provide direction and drive the realization of our goals and dreams. In this workshop, you will be guided through a series of activities to craft your own personal leadership mission statement and vision board.  

In this workshop, you will: learn how imposter syndrome is defined and how common it is, and identify examples of when you might have experienced imposter syndrome. Plus, receive tips and tactics to overcome imposter syndrome and explore strategies to mitigate and prevent it. 

To honor our commitment to experiential and service learning, we actively partner with nonprofit groups and organizations at UC and in our community and the Cincinnati region. To learn more about these partnerships and how students can get involved, visit WBLI Nonprofit Opportunities.

Bennis Alumni Program

The Warren Bennis Leadership Institute prepares students to enter the workforce as leaders in different disciplines and a variety of industries and organizations. As institute gains alumni who participated in our signature cohort programs (Warren Bennis Leadership Experience team and Bennis Student Ambassadors), we want to ensure they can continue to engage with one another and be provided updates and special opportunities through the Institute.

As such, we invite institute alumni to remain involved post-graduation. WBLI alumni are encouraged to email us to get in touch with the Bennis Alumni program leaders Alex Mason and Matthew Toigo. Alex and Matthew will grant alumni access to a LinkedIn page, help them stay current with the institute and learn more about alumni programming.

International Leadership Conference Presentations


Student fellows and WBLI staff at the 2023 ILA Conference.

In 2022 and 2023, four student leaders from the Warren Bennis Leadership Institue were given the opportunity to attend and present at the International Leadership Association (ILA) Conference in Washington, D.C. and Vancouver respectively.

UC Leadership Curriculum

Those interested in more in-depth leadership education are encouraged to explore the Organizational Leadership degree program, which has in-person and online options, or Lindner's department of management.

For more information on leadership-focused courses, certificates or degrees at the University of Cincinnati, visit UC's eCurriculum page.

Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis, PhD, and Donna Chrobot-Mason, PhD, build on the wisdom of Warren Bennis in ORGL 3009 and MGMT 3009 (Bennis Leadership Accelerator), which seeks to accelerate student’s leadership development.


WBLI Academic Director Donna Chrobot-Mason.

Open to all University Honors Program and Lindner Business Honors students that are at or above a sophomore level, this course is intellectually challenging, incorporating multi-disciplinary research (building your toolkit), exemplars (exploring varied role models) and personal reflection (growing awareness of your strengths and values, biases and blind spots).

This course is for the leaders of tomorrow. And tomorrow’s leaders must develop the knowledge and skills to foster an inclusive work environment based on core values to fully leverage potential, ignite innovation and achieve success. The course learning objectives include:

  • Developing an exceptional awareness of oneself.
  • Building a deep appreciation of and ability to harness diversity of others.
  • Developing the capacity to comprehend systems and adapt.

Contact Us

Warren Bennis Leadership Institute 
1819 Innovation Hub
Suite 350D
2900 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45206