Kravis Leadership Institute conference explores ‘The Spectrum of Leadership’

Kravis Leadership Institute event.

Photos by Anibal Ortiz

The 29th Kravis-de Roulet Conference, hosted by the Kravis Leadership Institute (KLI) at Claremont McKenna College, brought to campus a who’s who of leadership scholars from around the world to explore “The Spectrum of Leadership: From Virtuous to Destructive.” More than 120 people attended the event, held in person for the first time since the pandemic, on March 3 and 4, 2023.


The keynote speakers were Barbara Kellerman, Harvard University, who spoke on “Leadership and Followership — the Dark Side” and Joanne Ciulla, Rutgers University, who presented “Aesop’s Fables About Why Followers Make Bad Choices.”

Two days of talks covered a variety of topics, and workshops engaged academicians in how positive forms of leadership and followership can be promoted. The topic of avoidant leadership was addressed in a talk by Thiraput Pitichat, Chulalongkorn University, and Jeffrey Yip, Simon Fraser University. Michael Lickers, from the School of Leadership at Royal Roads University, and Lorelei Higgins Parker, Mediators Beyond Borders International and Canadian Equality Consulting, discussed leadership virtues and parallels with indigenous ways of knowing. KLI Academic Director David Day and Toby Newstead of the University of Tasmania spoke on a place-based approach to leadership development.


The conference struck to the core of CMC’s mission to educate its students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership in business, government, and the professions. It also aligned with CMC’s efforts with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching on a new elective classification designation on leadership for public purpose.

President Hiram E. Chodosh encapsulated the importance of the conference in a broader context in his introductory conversation with Day, who is also professor of psychological science, Steven L. Eggert ’82 P’15 Professor of Leadership, and George R. Roberts Fellow.

Chodosh thanked and congratulated the conference organizers and participants, explaining, 
“We have a lot to learn about how to train, educate, and develop leaders in our society … because the sustainability of our society and broader civilization really depends on it, our ability to learn in a world of increased uncertainty and rapid change.” 


When asked about the virtues of responsible leadership, Chodosh stressed “courage, empathy, and creativity.” In response to a final question about CMC’s approach to liberal arts and leadership, Chodosh characterized what he calls the elements of learning (responsibility, curiosity, community, and experience) through four mantras: “We learn when we own it. We learn through questions. We learn from others. And—a key element valued by CMC—we learn through experience.”

Day concluded: “I think you've just articulated what is the foundation of leader development, which is building the capacity to learn your way out of problems that you’ve never experienced before.”

Julie Riggott


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