The Warren Bennis Award for Excellence in Leadership


Having been called the “Dean of Leadership Gurus” by Forbes magazine, Warren Bennis stands out to academics and practitioners alike as an exemplary leader—one who has practiced leadership, studied it, written about it, and taught about it, for decades. In addition to his many accolades, Linkage honors its partner of almost two decades by awarding the Warren Bennis Award for Excellence in Leadership every year at its Global Institute for Leadership Development™, of which Warren is a co-chair.

The Warren Bennis Award for Excellence in Leadership is bestowed annually to one or more exemplary leaders. The purpose of the award is twofold:

  1. To honor the courage, the endurance, the capability, and the success of the recipient
  2. To highlight the recipient as an inspiration and a role model for current and aspiring leaders around the world

Every year, members of the GILD Advisory Board and senior executives within Linkage work through a nomination and selection process which identifies highly accomplished leaders who are deserving of the award.


Past award recipients of this award include: 


Tom Kolditz, author of In Extremis Leadership: Leading As If Your Life Depended On It and founder of Rice’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders


Alan Webber, former Editorial Director and Managing Director of Harvard Business Review and co-founder of Fast Company


Tom Zenty, President and CEO of University Hospitals Health System


Ken Blanchard, author and Founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author and Harvard Business School Professor


Ronald Nelson, Chairman and CEO of Avis Budget Group, Inc.

Bernard Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente


Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer prize-winning presidential historian

Tom Peters, an internationally renowned author and consultant, recognized by Fortune as the “ur-guru” of management.

AG Lafley, Former Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer of P&G. Recognized by Chief Executive Magazine as “CEO of the Year 2006” and recipient of the Edison Achievement Award in 2010.

Anthony von Mandl, Proprietor, Mark Anthony Group and Mission Hill Family Estate.

Bill George, Former Chairman and CEO, Medtronic; Harvard Business School Professor and best-selling author on leadership.

Daniel Vasella, Chairman, Novartis AG; author, Magic Cancer Bullet; listed among Time magazine’s “100 most influence people” in 2004.

Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks. Fortune’s “2011 Businessperson of the Year” and recipient of the “National Leadership Award” for his efforts in the battle against AIDS.

John Surma, CEO, US Steel. Appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Phil Swift, Founder, Co-Chairman and Director, ARC Financial

John Hammergren, CEO of McKesson, a Fortune 15 healthcare information technology firm, and co-author of Skin in the Game.

Paul Rusesabagina, Rwandan humanitarian who hid and protected refugees during the Rwandan Genocide. His actions were the basis for the film Hotel Rwanda.

Mikhail Gorbachev, former President, Soviet Union.

Dave Liniger, CEO and Co-Founder RE/MAX, a nationally recognized expert in time management, sales training, recruiting and motivation.

Marian Heard, CEO of United Way of Massachusetts, internationally regarded for her work with children.

Betsy Holden, former CEO, Kraft Foods in North America; lead the transition following Kraft’s accusation of Nabisco

Paul Tellier, CEO and President, Canadian National Railroad; Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in 1979 and Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources in 1982; former Chairman of the Railway Association of Canada, and a Vice-Chairman of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives; Companion of the Order of Canada;

Rudy Giuliani, Mayor of New York, for his committment to nurturing and empowering New York City’s children

Benazir Bhutto, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

Benjamin Netanyahu, Former Prime Minister of Israel and international author.

Billy Starr, Founder and Executive Director of the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge; recipient of the Tom & Jean Yawkey Memorial Award and the Sidney Farber Medical Research Award.

Geoffrey Canada, CEO of Harlem’s Children’s Zone; member of 2011 Time Magazine 100; educational reformer; and author of Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America and Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America


To nominate someone for the Warren Bennis Award for Excellence in Leadership, please write to us at

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