Warren Bennis Leadership Experience


Lindner dean Marianne Lewis (first row, far left), WBLI Academic Director Donna Chrobot-Mason (first row, far right) and WBLE keynote speaker Raj Sisodia (second row, middle) with the 2024 WBLE student team.

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. WBLE brings nationally recognized leaders to the University of Cincinnati’s campus to discuss leadership principles that can be applied 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.  

This experience, established in 2016 by Jack Fitzgerald (BA ‘17, MA ‘20), has been an annual staple at the University of Cincinnati. FitzGerald wanted to connect UC students with the spirit and principle of Warren Bennis and his leadership teachings. This wide-reaching experience is open to all UC students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.  

From its founding, this experience has been student-run and student-led, and this continues to be the case almost 10 years later. As different students have taken the reigns, and the legacy of Warren Bennis continues to be passed on, we have seen an increase in attendance and impact each year. The student-led organization that drives this event includes students from different UC colleges and majors.

To learn more about the student organization including how to get involved, please visit the GetInvolvedUC page.

2024 Warren Bennis Leadership Experience

A man in a gray suit stands on a stage and speaks to a crowd.

Raj Sisodia, author and co-founder of the nonprofit organization Conscious Capitalism, Inc., delivered the keynote address for the 2024 Warren Bennis Leadership Experience.

The 2024 WBLE was held on April 8 in Tangeman University Center's Great Hall. The keynote speaker was Raj Sisodia, author and co-founder of "Conscious Capitalism Incorporated." Sisodia, author of 10 books and more than 100 academic articles, is known for "The Healing Organization," "Firms of Endearment" and other leadership-focused books.

Kate Bennis, daughter of Warren Bennis and chair of the Warren Bennis Leadership Council, also moderated a panel discussion with Sisodia and three leadership council members to cap off the seventh annual event.

The 2023 WBLE was held in Tangeman University Center’s Great Hall and featured keynote speaker Betsy Myers, a leadership author and consultant who worked for two U.S. presidents. Myers is also the founding director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University.


From left: Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis, PhD; Kate Bennis; 2023 WBLE keynote speaker Betsy Myers; and Thornburgh Academic Director Donna Chrobot-Mason, PhD. Photo by Lauren Meisberger.

The Warren Bennis Leadership Institute awarded three scholarships, followed by a comprehensive, leadership-focused discussion from Myers and Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis, PhD. Prior to the experience, a women's leadership event “Building a Culture of Collaboration — Women Supporting Women,” took place in Lindner Hall.

The 2022 WBLE, planned by 13 undergraduate students, was held at Lindner Hall on April 4. The event brought 150 student leaders from across campus together in breakout rooms of 15. Each breakout room had an engaging discussion inspired by a conversation between WBLE co-founder Jack FitzGerald and renowned psychologist Daniel Goleman, PhD.


WBLE student team member Matthew Toigo (far left) and WBLE co-founder Jack FitzGerald (far right) pose with 2022 WBLE attendees. Photo by Suzanne Buzek.

Goleman is an internationally known psychologist whose 1995 book, “Emotional Intelligence,” was on The New York Times' bestseller list for a year and a half, with more than 5 million copies in print worldwide in 40 languages. Goleman also wrote a book with Bennis — “Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor” — which was just one of the subjects covered in the conversation between Goleman and FitzGerald.

Students gained insight from Goleman’s groundbreaking work as well as from Bennis’ rich legacy, which they can use to advance their UC organizations and communities.

Four male students stand in front of a sign.

Student organizers of the 2021 Warren Bennis Leadership Experience, from left to right: Lou Langen (BUS ‘23); Alex Mason (A&S ‘23); Tyler Durr (BUS ‘22); and Nick Albers (BUS ‘22, ‘23).

Speakers such as Howard Schultz, former CEO and chairman of Starbucks; Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times No. 1 best-selling author Doris Kearns Goodwin; David Gergen, a political analyst for CNN who has worked for four U.S. presidents; and Paul Polman (BUS '79, HON '09), co-founder and chair of IMAGINE and the former CEO of Unilever, have attended previous Warren Bennis Leadership Experiences. Attendees have benefitted from meaningful discussions around how to apply Bennis’ lessons on leadership. 

Since 2016, the WBLE has hosted an annual event planned and led by students.

Learn more about past WBLE events and WBLE co-founder Jack FitzGerald's story from UC Magazine, Centennial Inc., the Cincinnati Business Courier and TEDxUCincinnati.

Contact Us

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