An ILA Leadership Perspectives Webinar

Still Surprised – A Life in Leadership

Presenter: Warren Bennis

Date: 25 August 2010


Warren Bennis, a giant in the leadership field, has written his definitive autobiography; his last word on a career in leadership spanning more than fifty years. This memoir – entitled Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership – provides insight into the compelling life that has paralleled the rapidly changing times in America over the last century. Attend this webinar as Warren shares highlights from his memoir and to join in the conversation between Warren Bennis and Jean Lipman-Blumen as they trace the development of leadership studies through Warren’s Bennis’ role as one of the world’s pre-eminent thought leaders and practitioners in this crucial field. Participants in this webinar will also receive a special discount code to purchase Warren’s book at 25% off.

A renaissance man in the then-nascent field, Bennis’ unparalleled perspective on leadership has been informed by successful careers as both scholar and practitioner and by key, formative experiences both at home and abroad. His tenure at MIT exposed him to a bevy of notable, forward thinking scholars, which prepared him well for his experience teaching abroad at IMEDE in Switzerland, one of Europe’s pioneers in executive education. Still “hungry to…lead with the passion and skills of a change agent,” Bennis then served as acting executive vice president at the State University of NY at Buffalo before becoming president of the University of Cincinnati in 1971. In his youth, Bennis served as a 19-year-old second lieutenant in Germany during the final days of World War II and participated in the early days of T-group sessions and befriended social psychologists Abraham Maslow and Erik Erikson.

Together, these experiences made the man who predicted the huge shift from hierarchical, top-down leadership to today’s more team-oriented approach and who helped move the field of leadership from obscurity in theory to a topic discussed daily by individuals in all professions and regions of the world. In the last three decades, Bennis has continued to spearhead the evolution of good leadership practice through his work at USC (including founding The Leadership Institute there), his consultation with CEOs of major companies (like Howard Schultz at Starbucks) and political figures (including former Vice President Al Gore), and his numerous books and groundbreaking essays in major publications.

Speaker Information

Warren Bennis is an organizational consultant and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at USC and is the Founding Chairman of The Leadership Institute at USC. He has served in an advisory capacity to four U.S. presidents and written 29 books, including the perennial bestseller On Becoming A Leader. In the first part of this decade, he served as chairman of the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government working with David Gergen.

In 2007, Business Week named him one of ten business school professors “who have had the greatest influence on business thinking.” The Financial Times recently declared his classic book, Leaders (co-written with Burt Nanus), one of the top fifty books of all time.