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2016 Leader Character Conference

October 27, 2016 - October 28, 2016

Thumb Spencer Leadership Centre

The Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadershipwill host an invitation-only Leader Character Conference in London, Ontario on Thursday, October 27 and Friday, October 28, 2016.

Why a leader character conference? The 2008 - 2009 financial and economic crisis provided an opportunity, indeed the obligation, for business schools to re- evaluate their role in teaching leadership and in developing leaders. Researchers at the Ivey Business School initiated a close examination of leadership failures and successes relating to the crisis. We posed one major question to 300 leaders worldwide: Would better leadership have made a difference?  The answer we received from these senior executives was unambiguous: Yes!

A main theme during our conversations with leaders in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors was character. Typically, two questions came up: What is character? And can character be taught? Leaders expressed strong views about this and in particular the challenge it poses to business schools.  However, the overall consensus was that character is a fundamental requirement of good leadership and thus it behooves business schools to determine how to properly address it.

We are pleased that considerable progress has been made in the areas of character research, teaching and practice, solidifying the importance that character plays in leadership and organizational performance. Building on the success of last year’s conference, we will bring together academics and practitioners to participate in a variety of sessions.  

Conference Overview: The conference sessions include an open dialogue on current research being undertaken in the area of leader character, along with the challenges and promising directions of research.  Our primary aim is to share insights and forge connections that can foster future collaboration.

Our objective during sessions on day two will be to bridge research and practice and delve into concrete ideas for bringing leader character into organizations. Representatives from organizations will share their first-hand experience in character implementation and learnings from the world of practice.

Conference sessions will be led by: Mary Crossan, Distinguished University Professor of General Management at the Ivey Business School; Bill Furlong, Executive-in-Residence at the Ivey Business School and Commissioner at the Ontario Securities Commission; Gerard Seijts, Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the Ivey Business School; and Thomas A. Wright, Distinguished Professor, Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business.

Ms. Eileen Mercier, M.A., MBA, keynote speaker at the conference, will present “Leadership in the Garden of Good and Evil".

For more information, contact Karen Conway at the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at Ivey at


  • Tags:
  • Leadership
  • Leader Character