Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum

Developing and enhancing the journey of incoming generations of leaders.

Frances Hesselbein Frances Hesselbein

About the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum

The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum reflects the vision of a university-based center for teaching, applied research, and public service where leaders and aspiring leaders from around the world can gather to advance the art and science of leadership and put these principles to practice in public service.

Our work continues the living legacy of Frances Hesselbein, a University of Pittsburgh Distinguished Alumna and Legacy Laureate who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 for her service as “a pioneer for women, volunteerism, diversity and opportunity.” Mrs. Hesselbein has received 22 honorary doctoral degrees, has written three autobiographies, and has co-edited 35 books in 21 languages. She is considered one of the country’s most respected experts and greatest leaders in the field of contemporary leadership development. 

Leadership Program in International Affairs

The Hesselbein Forum Leadership Program in International Affairs is an extracurricular program designed to empower GSPIA students with the skills they need to be effective leaders throughout their careers in international affairs. Directed by Julia Santucci, a former senior advisor in the U.S. Department of State, the program is a leadership development initiative for GSPIA students from all degree programs who want to pursue careers in the international arena.

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Leader to Leader Journal

The Hesselbein Forum publishes a quarterly leadership Journal featuring world-class executives from the nonprofit, public and private sectors, bestselling management authors, top consultants, and respected social thinkers.

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Transformational Leadership

We are living in unprecedented times. But this is not the time to despair. Rather, it is a time to seek out competent, ethical leaders who can guide us through this era of change to create a healthier, safer, more equitable world. Nothing short of transformational leadership will get us through.

For this academic year we have centered our activities around the theme of transformational leadership, and we have made valuable contributions to this effort.

- Director Julia Santucci


Lecture Series

The Hesselbein Forum Lecture Series features proven leaders and thoughtful scholars presenting state-of-the-art ideas focused on today’s key management challenges and opportunities.

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Executive Coach Program

The Hesselbein Forum Executive Coach program brings to campus established leaders who partake in a residency with GSPIA for one or more semesters, serving as a mentor/coach to students and counsel to faculty and staff.


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  • Winter 2021 Leader to Leader Journal

    The articles in the Winter issue offer wisdom on leading in unprecedented times. In Frances Hesselbein’s column “The Leadership Landscape in a Time of Uncertainty,” we share the results of a survey of fifty leaders—student activists to chief executive officers—who were eager to discuss their own challenges and digital opportunities in this uncertain time.

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  • Fall 2020 Leader to Leader Journal

    All of the articles in the Fall issue provide crucial insights on today's most pressing challenges, beginning with Frances Hesselbein's powerful column, "Battling Racial Injustice." Mary Frances Winters discusses the effects of racism on individuals, organizations and society; Marilyn Gist focuses on the fact that dignity matters, and that a leader's biggest challenge is to inspire enthusiastic engagement.

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  • Spring 2021 Leader to Leader Journal

    The spring issue is the 100th issue of Leader to Leader, and it is one of our best.  Each of the articles focuses on the theme “The Future of Leadership,” with distinguished authors from across sectors considering the forces that will shape leaders during the next 25 years.  As Frances Hesselbein notes in her opening column, “together, the articles provide solid strategies and crucial perspectives for leaders navigating our multiple challenges and crises, today and into the future.”

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Leaders in Action Profiles

In collaboration with executive coach and author Jason Womack, we feature leaders who inspire great ethical leadership in Q&A format. These interviews reveal values-based leadership insight from diverse leaders in diverse sectors.

Featured Interviews

  • Brigadier General Troy E. Dunn serves as the Director of Military Force Management Policy, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, for the U.S. Air Force in Arlington, Virginia. 

    In this interview, he shares his “battle rhythm,” a morning routine that leaves him energized for the day’s challenges and opportunities; his favorite books on leadership; and a family motto that has been passed down for generations. 

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  • Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the University of Pittsburgh, Eva Tansky Blum, was the first woman chair in Pitt’s 228-year history. She retired from PNC Bank where she was executive vice president and director of community affairs and former president of the PNC Foundation.

    In this interview, Blum shares her passion and encourages leaders to ask questions, and listen actively. 

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  • Sasha Dichter is the Co-Founder of 60 Decibels, a company that helps anyone, anywhere, listen to their customers to create more social impact, and former Chief Innovation Officer at Acumen, a global organization changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas.

    In this interview, Dichter shares the importance of creating opportunities for learning and growth along the way.

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  • With 25 years of business leadership experience, Joanne Rencher served as the Chief Business and Talent Officer at the Girl Scouts of the USA. With her passion for developing business leaders across the HR field, Joanne founded Who’s Got Next in HR?, Inc. - a membership based organization challenging conventional wisdom around career paths for HR professionals who dare to ask ‘what’s next?’ 

    In this interview, Joanne shares insight on a disciplined process to failing; the importance of asking ‘Why?’; and the concept of ‘White Space.’

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  • Jimmy Lee is the former Executive Director of RESTORE NYC, a non-profit working to end sex trafficking in New York and restore the well-being and independence of foreign national survivors. 

    In this interview, Lee describes his "defining moment" and routines as an effective leader. 

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