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.

Student Ambassador Program

In fall 2023, the institute launched its Student Ambassador program. Part of the institute's larger interdisciplinary goal of reaching students, faculty and staff across all parts of campus, the student ambassadors gain professional experience by pursuing the following objectives:

  • Develop leadership skills and capabilities though WBLI programming. 
  • Promote WBLI events and experiences.
  • Create interdisciplinary relationships with colleges across campus.

The program consists of 8-13 students from different colleges and majors across UC. Catalysts for the leadership movement happening on campus, Student Ambassadors receive leadership training and development through:

  • Participation in unique programs. 
  • Exposure to interdisciplinary networking opportunities. 
  • Options for one-on-one coaching with the institute staff, 
  • Connecting with students and faculty from many disciplines
  • Serving as the leadership liaison between WBLI and other colleges.
  • VIP access to other WBLI offerings.

To learn more about this student opportunity, email us at

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 email us at

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. 

As a part of WBLI’s and Lindner’s commitment to experiential learning, we are partnerring with nonprofit groups and organizations on and off UC’s campus. To learn more about these partnerships and how students can be involved, visit WBLI Nonprofit Opportunities.

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 Linder'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 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.

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.