Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Barbara Kellerman

Barbara Kellerman is a quintessential scholar of leadership. Approaching leadership from multiple disciplines, she delights in poking and prodding to see what turns up and then synthesizing her observations and analyses into books filled with big ideas discussing overarching, sweeping trends in leadership and followership. Throughout her career her books have challenged existing orthodoxies and created new contours to guide the field forward. She wrote Bad Leadership when books promoting good leadership were de rigueur. Women & Leadership challenged male-normed leadership models. Leadership argued for and presented a canon of leadership literature going back several thousand years and the End of Leadership provided an insightful critique of the leadership industry. Her recent fashioning of leadership as an interconnected triangular system of context, followers, and leaders is explored in Followership and Hard Times.

Kellerman, who frequently earns titles like “Top 50 Business Thinkers” ( or “World’s Top 30 Management Professionals” (Ranked 13th by Global Gurus), is a sought after speaker around the world. In addition to writing her own leadership blog, Kellerman is a regular contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and the Harvard Business Review and she frequently appears on the BBC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and NPR.

Inspired and encouraged early in her career by another quintessential scholar of leadership, James MacGregor Burns, it is apropos that she holds the position of James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School where she is also the Founding Executive Director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership. Prior to her work at Harvard, Kellerman held many academic appointments including Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Leadership at the University of Maryland’s James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, where, in a monumental act of imagination mirroring her books, she cofounded the International Leadership Association.

Oral history is an excellent method for collecting and interpreting memories and fostering new knowledge. Dr. Phil Scarpino, past president of the National Council for Public History and Professor of History at IU, exhaustively researches each recipient prior to conducting his interviews and uses the highest standards prescribed by the American Oral History Association.

The Tobias Leadership Center focuses on research and programs related to the study of leadership across all sectors – including corporate, public service, education, religion, medicine, and non-profit organizations. Its focus on multiple sectors and on both the practice and theory of leadership distinguishes its agenda among leadership programs nationwide. Through ongoing research in a variety of sectors, it generates knowledge about leadership and disseminates this knowledge through a variety of programs.

Oral History with Barbara Kellerman
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Keynote session with Barbara Kellerman at ILA Atlanta 2016

Keynote session with Barbara Kellerman at ILA West Palm Beach 2018