Student Leadership Development

The Warren Bennis Leadership Institute offers a variety of interdisciplinary programming for students from across the University of Cincinnati, including workshops, mentorship and coursework.  

Warren Bennis Leadership Experience

The Warren Bennis Leadership Experience (WBLE) is an annual event designed to develop students into leaders through the teachings and principles of Warren Bennis. This event brings nationally recognized leaders and experts in management to campus to discuss leadership principles for educational and professional settings to inspire an authentic leadership movement in Cincinnati.

The 2023 Warren Bennis Leadership Experience will be held April 6 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Tangeman University Center's Great Hall.

Bennis Leadership Accelerator

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 Thornburgh Academic Director Donna Chrobot-Mason. Photo by Suzanne Buzek.

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.

Breakfast with Bennis

Breakfast with Bennis is a student leadership development cohort program sponsored by the Warren Bennis Leadership Institute. 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. This program will immerse students in Bennis' stories, teachings and wisdom.


Warren Bennis. Photo by Bruce Jackson.

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 people 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.

In this same spirit (although not at 4:30 a.m.), we wish to extend an invitation to UC students through the Breakfast with Bennis student group. Students are provided with a copy of one of Bennis’ classic books, “On Becoming a Leader,” and breakfast at each meeting. Students can expect to discuss how to apply Bennis’ teachings to their own leadership journey, and hear stories about Bennis from family members, co-authors and/or those he mentored, like Novak.

If you wish to be a part of the Breakfast with Bennis group, please RSVP to WBLI Thornburgh Academic Director Donna Chrobot-Mason at

Leader Development Workshops

Leader Identity Development: Finding the leader in you

Reflective exercises and storytelling are utilized to determine the strength of participants’ leader identity. Leadership-claiming behaviors are practiced and other strategies for enhancing leader identity development are introduced in this experiential workshop.

What’s Your Vision: Clarifying your personal leadership mission

Participants in this workshop will develop a personal leadership mission statement and clarify their leadership goals by creating a vision board.

UC Leadership Curriculum

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

Support the Warren Bennis Leadership Institute

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