Indiana University


Tobias Center Vision

The enduring mission of the Tobias Center is inspiring leadership excellence on a national scale.  Special access to the Center’s work will be furnished to Indiana citizens for the distinct purpose of enhancing leadership within the state.


2016 Tobias Leadership Conference: April 7-9, 2016 at The Alexander Hotel in Indianapolis, IN

Click HERE to register for the 2016 Conference  

The 2016 "Tobias Leadership Conference: A Multi-Sectored Forum on the Theory and Practice of Leadership" will be hosted April 7-9, 2016 at The Alexander hotel in downtown Indianapolis.

April 7-9, 2016
Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
The Alexander hotel
Indianapolis, IN
Time: 6:00pm Thursday – 12:00pm Saturday

The Conference brings together scholars and practitioners from the entire spectrum of leadership including corporate leadership, not-for-profit leadership, religious leadership, educational leadership, medical leadership, and political leadership. The Forum will feature papers and panels from all academic disciplines. A primary purpose of this conference is to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and facilitate the exchange of ideas on the broad subject of leadership.

The Conference will begin the evening of April 7. Multiple sessions will be held Friday and Saturday consisting of speaker presentations, panel discussions, and research presentations concerning the broad topic of leadership. Additionally, there will be a gala dinner on Friday evening.

Conference Registration Fees:

The $295 registration fee includes all conference sessions, Thursday's reception, two continental breakfasts, two lunches, and the gala dinner.

The student rate of $45 is for the conference sessions only; no meals are included.

Click HERE to register for the 2016 Conference

Conference Hotel: The Alexander

Nestled in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, The Alexander features outstanding business amenities, 157 guest rooms, 52 extended stay suites, and an emphasis on art and design. Guests can take advantage of a fitness center, multiple restaurants, and 16,500 square feet of indoor/outdoor event space. The Alexander offers a refreshing dose of local color and flavor and promises a unique experience for Tobias Leadership Conference attendees. Click here to make your reservations at the Alexander for the 2016 Conference.


2016 Conference Agenda - To Be Announced


2015 Conference Agenda

Click here to view the entire program

Click here to watch videos from the 2015 Conference

Thursday, April 30, 2015
5:00 - 5:45pm

Lying to Ourselves

Leonard Wong
Research Professor of Military Strategy, Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College

Leonard Wong is a research professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College. He focuses on the human and organizational dimensions of the military. He is a retired lieutenant colonel whose career includes teaching leadership at West Point and serving as an analyst for the Chief of Staff of the Army. Dr. Wong’s research has led him to locations such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Vietnam. He has testified before Congress, and his work has been highlighted in news media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, CNN, NPR, PBS, and 60 Minutes. Dr. Wong is a professional engineer and holds a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Texas Tech University.

6:00 - 7:30pm Reception
Poster Session
Book Fair
Music by Artists in Residence David Frantz and Lee Krahenbühl


Friday, May 1, 2015
6:30 - 8:00am Breakfast at Market Table
8:00 - 8:45am

Leadership and the Meaning of Work

Joanne B. Ciulla
Coston Family Chair in Leadership and Ethics, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond

Joanne Ciulla is one of the founding faculty members of the Jepson School. Her academic appointments have included the UNESCO Chair in Leadership Studies at the United Nations International Leadership Academy in Jordan and appointments at La Salle University, the Harvard Business School, The Wharton School, University of Fort Hare in South Africa and Oxford University. She currently holds a visiting appointment with Nyenrode University in the Netherlands. Dr. Ciulla’s areas of interest are leadership ethics, business ethics, international leadership and the philosophy of work. Her books include Ethics, The Heart of Leadership; The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work; and The Ethics of Leadership. She co-authored a business ethics text titled Honest Work: A Business Ethics Reader and co-edited a collection of essays on The Quest for Ethical Leaders: Essays in Leadership Ethics. The book critics at ranked The Working Life as No. 2 in their list of the 10 best business books of 2000. Her latest publication is the three-volume set Leadership Ethics. Her Ph.D. in Philosophy is from Temple University.

9:00 - 9:45am

Allan Aubrey Boesak
Desmond Tutu Chair of Peace, Global Justice and Reconciliation Studies, Christian Theological Seminary

Allan Aubrey Boesak is the Desmond Tutu Chair of Peace, Global Justice, and Reconciliation Studies at Christian Theological Seminary and Butler University. He was an influential activist against racial apartheid in the 1980s in South Africa, where he worked closely with Archbishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela, the country’s former president. He has served South African churches and the worldwide ecumenical movement in various senior capacities since 1978, including serving as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. He has recently served as theologian-in-residence at the International Institute for the Study of Race, Reconciliation, and Social Justice; as Extraordinary Professor of Public Theology at Stellenbosch University; and as an honorary Professor of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has received numerous awards, including the Robert Kennedy Human Rights Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award. His publications include Black and Reformed: Apartheid, Liberation and the Calvinist Tradition (Orbis, 1984); If this is Treason, I am Guilty (Eerdmans, 1987); Farewell to Innocence: A Socio-ethical study of Black Theology and Black Power (Orbis, 1976); Running with Horses: Reflections of an Accidental Politician (Joho, 2009); The Fire Within: Sermons from the Edge of Exile (New World Foundation, 2004). He holds a B.A. from the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa, and a Ph.D. in Theology (Social Ethics) from the John Calvin Foundation at the Theological University in Kampen, Netherlands.

10:00 - 11:00am Concurrent Sessions
11:15am - 12:00pm

Leadership Plus Ten

Ambassador Randall L. Tobias
Chairman Emeritus, Eli Lilly and Company

Randall L.Tobias is retired chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company. He is the current Chair of the Indiana University Board of Trustees. Prior to his work at Lilly, he was chairman and CEO of AT&T International. Following his corporate career he was appointed the nation’s first U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator with the rank of Ambassador. Later, he became the first Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Among his many honors, he was named Pharmaceutical Industry CEO of the Year by The Wall Street Transcript in 1995, and CEO of the Year in 1996 by Working Mother magazine. In 1997, he was named one of the "Top Twenty-Five Managers of the Year" by Businessweek. He was also named the "Norman Vincent Peale Humanitarian of the Year" in 1997. He received the "Positive Ally Award" from the National Association of People with AIDS in 2005, and in 2006 he was named an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He holds a B.S. from the IU Kelley School of Business, an honorary LL.D. from IU and five other honorary degrees. He currently serves as a director of the IU Foundation and has served as a director of the Varsity Club and as chairman of the Kelley School’s Dean’s Advisory Council. He received the IU Distinguished Alumni Service Award and was inducted into the Kelley School’s Academy of Alumni Fellows. He served on Duke University board of trustees for 13 years and was chairman of the board for three of those years. He was presented the NCAA’s Flying Wedge Award for his leadership and service. His book on leadership lessons learned, Put The Moose On The Table, was written with his son, Todd Tobias. In 2004 he founded the Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence with a $5.25 million contribution to Indiana University.

12:00 - 1:00pm Lunch at Market Table
1:15 - 2:15pm Concurrent Sessions
2:30 - 3:15pm

Leadership - A System, Not a Person!

Barbara Kellerman
James McGregor Burns Lecturer in Leadership, Center for Public Leadership, The Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Barbara Kellerman is the James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She was the Founding Executive Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. She was a cofounder of the International Leadership Association (ILA), and is author and editor of many books including Leadership: Multidisciplinary Perspectives; The Political Presidency: Practice of Leadership; Bad Leadership; Followership; Women and Leadership (co-edited with Deborah Rhode); Essential Selections on Power, Authority, and Influence (2010); and The End of Leadership (2012).The End of Leadership was long listed by Financial Times as among the Best Business Books of 2012. She speaks to audiences all over the world. She was ranked by as among "Top 50 Business Thinkers" (2009). Her most recent book, Hard Times: Leadership in America, was published by Stanford University Press in 2014. She received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and her M.A. (in Russian and East European Studies), M.Phil., and Ph.D. (in Political Science) degrees from Yale University.

3:30 - 4:15pm

Dare to Serve - How to drive superior results by serving others

Cheryl Bachelder
CEO of Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.

Cheryl Bachelder is CEO of Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. This operation includes over 2,248 restaurants operated by 338 franchisees and more than 60,000 restaurant employees in the United States, three territories and 27 foreign countries. At Popeyes, she promptly established a Road Map for Results that focused on four key tenets of growing a restaurant chain: build a distinctive brand, run great restaurants, grow restaurant profits and ramp up new unit growth. This strategic framework led to market share gains of six points, improved guest ratings and increased restaurant margins (400 basis points in five years). In the last six years the enterprise market cap has grown from $300 million to over $1 billion. She created a culture based on the Popeyes Purpose: to inspire servant leaders to achieve superior results. This purpose is expressed in the six principles of how we work together. This has produced exceptional performance results. Her book chronicling the tenets of the Popeyes turnaround, entitled Dare to Serve - How to drive superior results by serving others is scheduled for release in March. Cheryl holds an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

4:30 - 5:30pm Concurrent Sessions
6:00 - 7:00pm Reception
7:00 - 9:00pm Dinner


Saturday, May 2, 2015
6:30 - 8:00am Breakfast at Market Table
8:00 - 9:00am Concurrent Sessions
9:15 - 10:00am

What Really Mattered to Indiana's Richest Man

Richard Gunderman
Chancellor’s Professor Radiology, Pediatrics, Medical Education, Philosophy, Liberal Arts, Philanthropy, and Medical Humanities and Health Studies, Indiana University

Richard Gunderman is Chancellor’s Professor of Radiology, Pediatrics, Medical Education, Philosophy, Liberal Arts, Philanthropy, and Medical Humanities and Health Studies at Indiana University. He received his A.B. Summa Cum Laude from Wabash College, M.D. and Ph.D. (Committee on Social Thought) with honors from the University of Chicago, and M.P.H. from Indiana University. He was a Chancellor Scholar of the Federal Republic of Germany and received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Garrett Theological Seminary at Northwestern University. He is a nine-time recipient of the Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award, and in 2015 received the Indiana University School of Medicine’s inaugural Inspirational Educator Award. He was named the 2008 Outstanding Educator by the Radiological Society of North America, the 2011 American Roentgen Ray Society Berlin Scholar in Professionalism, and the 2012 Distinguished Educator of the American Roentgen Ray Society. In 2012, he received the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Award for Teaching Excellence, the top teaching award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. In 2013, he was the Spinoza Professor at the University of Amsterdam. He serves on numerous boards, including the Kinsey Institute for the Study of Human Sexuality, Christian Theological Seminary, and Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Medical Society. He is the author of over 470 articles and has published eight books, including We Make a Life by What We Give (Indiana University, 2008), Leadership in Healthcare (Springer, 2009), Achieving Excellence in Medical Education (2nd edition, Springer, 2011), X-ray Vision (Oxford University, 2013), and Essential Radiology (3rd edition, Thieme, 2014). He is also past president of the faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine and both a columnist for The Conversation and a correspondent for The Atlantic.

10:15 - 11:15am Concurrent Sessions
11:30am - 12:15pm

Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz

Frank Barrett
Professor of Management and Global Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School

Frank Barrett is an accomplished jazz musician and Associate Professor of Management and Organization Behavior in the Department of Systems Management at the Naval Post Graduate Academy. He is also a faculty member of the Human and Organizational Development Program at Fielding Institute. His professional interests and expertise lie in appreciative inquiry, improvisation and organizational innovation, organizational learning, spiritual development, social impact of information technology and information revolution, and global studies. He is a consultant to organizations in profit, non-profit, and governmental sectors. He has written and lectured widely on social constructionism, appreciative inquiry, organizational change, jazz improvisation and organizational learning. He has published articles on metaphor, masculinity, improvisation, organizational change and organizational development in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science; Human Relations; Organization Science, and Organizational Dynamics as well as numerous book chapters. He wrote Generative Metaphor Intervention: A New Approach to Inter-group Conflict (with D. Cooperrider) which won the award for best paper from the Organizational Development Division of the Academy of Management in 1988. He was co-author of a paper that won the best paper award in the Organizational Development and Change Division of the Academy of Management in 2003. The paper was titled, Planning on Spontaneity: Lessons from Jazz for a Democratic Theory of Change. He is co-editor of Appreciative Inquiry and Organizational Transformation (Vermont: Greenwood Books, 2001). Frank is also an active jazz pianist. In addition to leading his own trios and quartets, he has traveled extensively in the United States, England, and Mexico with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. He is author of Yes to the Mess; Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz.

12:15 - 12:30pm Closing Remarks
12:30pm Lunch at Market Table


Click HERE to register for the 2016 Conference

For More Information:

Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence
Phone: 317-278-2800


Click on the following to view:

Past Tobias Leadership Conferences

Past Multi-Sector Forums