The Program

The Leadership Dialogues speaker series is a fireside chat-style event featuring accomplished industry, political, and non-profit leaders discussing the latest ideas in organizational research and ongoing practice with U-M faculty. Speakers share advice on topics including how to develop leadership skills, lead purpose-driven organizations, and manage crises. All dialogues are free and open to the entire U-M community.

Get Involved

Registration is now open for our next session. Details below.


Program Type

Speaker Series

Matt Gutman, Chief National Correspondent at ABC News with Dr. Ethan Kross, Professor of Psychology and Management and Organizations, University of Michigan

This event is in partnership with the Eisenberg Family Depression Center

Key Dates

October 24, 2023 | 4:30-5:30 PM

Followed by a public reception | 5:30-6:00 PM


Robertson Auditorium at Michigan Ross, 701 Tappan St, Ann Arbor

Participant Requirements

The Leadership Dialogue events are open to the entire community.


Kofi Bruce - CFO of General Mills

What does it take for a leader in a 150-year-old company to navigate change and build community with 40,000 employees?

General Mills Chief Financial Officer Kofi Bruce, MBA ‘98, is a distinguished leader with senior management experience in a broad range of industries. In addition to his role at General Mills, he is also a board member at Lifeworks, Electronic Arts, Aspen Finance Leaders Fellowship, and Partners in Food Solutions.

During his leadership tenure, Bruce has responded to and managed through times of high inflation, supply chain disruption, racial violence and unrest, and a global health crisis. In this session, Bruce described how he views his role not only as the company’s CFO, but as a leader who has driven employee engagement through inclusion, empathy, and transparency when times were tough. 

Robin Washington - Former CFO of Gilead Sciences

What does it take to lead and inspire others at the intersection of science and business?

Robin Washington, BBA ’84, board member of Alphabet, Salesforce, and Honeywell, and former chief financial officer of Gilead, joined Professor Yesim Orhun to talk about leading as a woman in complex environments. Washington, who ranked sixth on The Wall Street Journal’s 2014 list of Top Performing CFOs, has also been named one of Treasury & Risk’s 30 Outstanding Women in Finance and Black Enterprise’s 75 Most Powerful Women in Business.

Paul Polman - Former CEO of Unilever

How can business leaders take action to create a positive impact on the world?

Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and co-author of Net Positive, joined Professor Andrew Hoffman to discuss how business can be a force for good, accelerating action to tackle climate change, inequality, and other important issues facing society. To create what Paul calls a “net positive world,” Polman and Hoffman discussed, not only how business practice is changing, but how business education must change to bring about this important shift.

Mary Barra - Chair & CEO, General Motors

What does it take to inspire over 150,000 employees at a 100+ year old company to lean into an all-electric future?

On April 12, 2022, Mary Barra, General Motors Chair and CEO, joined Professor Lindy Greer to talk about leadership through radical change and her plans to have GM launch 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025. Barra described her leadership journey and the leader behaviors and practices that she views as most critical in helping her move her company toward this bold future. Professor Greer, an expert on how to lead adaptive teams and organizations, explored how insights on leadership scholarship relate to Barra’s vision and practice of leadership. 


April 18, 2023 in Leading Organizations, Sanger Programs, Leadership Dialogues

CFO of General Mills, Kofi Bruce, Discusses Workplace Culture and Professional Pivoting During Leadership Dialogues Session

Maize and blue Nikes, storytelling, empathy, and sustainability: four topics that came into conversation on April 10, 2023, during a chat with the chief financial officer of General Mills, Kofi…
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November 16, 2022 in Leading Organizations, Sanger Programs, Leadership Dialogues

Former CFO of Gilead, Robin Washington, Discusses Leadership, Learning, and Inclusivity During Leadership Dialogues Session

On November 10, Robin Washington, BBA ’84, board member of Alphabet, Inc., Honeywell International, Inc., and, and former chief financial officer of Gilead, joined Professor Yesim Orhun at Michigan…
Read More