Darden Speakers and Events

Leadership Unscripted


Thursday Jul 21, 2022

Joe Thomas, the Director of the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy, talks to Professor Tim Laseter about the vital role of empathy and cultural competency in leadership.  

Wednesday Mar 16, 2022

How can the government effectively support outcomes in a market economy? DJ Nordquist, former executive director for the United States at the World Bank Group and former chief of staff at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and Darden Professor Dan Murphy bring their unique backgrounds and perspectives to an unscripted conversation on this critical question. Nordquist and Murphy discuss the capabilities and limitations of the private and public sectors in areas such as infrastructure, foreign affairs, influence on policy and more.

Wednesday Dec 15, 2021

How can society effectively eradicate complex social problems like poverty and hunger, racial injustice, human trafficking, and the opioid addiction crisis? Baroness Philippa Stroud, CEO of the Legatum Institute and a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, and UVA Professor Lucy Bassett discuss how to confront social challenges through different organizational systems, and the levers that lead to effective social change. From grassroots organizing to legislative and policy changes, Stroud and Bassett explore how it takes the collective work of multiple systems — including government, think tanks, nonprofits, and businesses — to create meaningful, long-term change.

Tuesday Nov 30, 2021

Speaking at a Leadership Unscripted event hosted by the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, Michael Finnegan, president of Atlantic Media (MBA ’07), and Michael Suarez, UVA professor and director of the Rare Book School, discussed recent changes in modern media and examined how content innovation from the past may hold the key for understanding the future. As the head of a leading media company, Finnegan has had a front row seat to the dramatic shifts in media distribution and consumption in recent years. For more Leadership Unscripted: https://www.darden.virginia.edu/about/locations/dc/leadership-unscripted

Tuesday Apr 20, 2021

Dr. Jerome Adams, 20th Surgeon General of the United States, and Darden Professor Greg Fairchild discuss the mutual linkage between community health and economic prosperity in contemporary America, and the risks we face in failing to engage the business sector. They will also share anecdotes and reflections that help explain their deep commitments to encouraging action. Dr. Adams is an anesthesiologist and a former vice admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who served as the 20th Surgeon General of the United States from September 2017 until January 2021. Adams was the head of the Indiana State Department of Health prior to becoming Surgeon General. In addition to his recent COVID-19 work, Adams has partnered with and assisted organizations as they navigate the opioid epidemic, maternal health, rising rates of chronic disease, the impacts of rising suicide rates in our nation, and how businesses can become better stewards and stakeholders in promoting community health.

Thursday Apr 08, 2021

Challenges and opportunities for the U.S. health care system were on the examination table during this Leadership Unscripted event hosted by the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, as were the leadership traits health care industry executives will need to improve a system in desperate need of change and how to overcome personal challenges. Dr. Patrick Conway, CEO of Care Solutions at Optum, and Vivian Riefberg, Professor of Practice and David C. Walentas Jefferson Scholars Foundation Chair at the Darden School, explore the topic: Caring for the Health System, Caring for Yourself. With all the challenges facing the health care system, they discuss the key innovations and approaches to be scaled, and how to ensure the system truly meets the needs of individuals and families.

Tuesday Dec 08, 2020

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science are becoming an intrinsic part of our personal and professional lives, helping many lead healthier, happier and more productive lives. For AI to fully fulfill its promise, however, it must help all humans, regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion or economic background. For this vision to materialize, diversity in the field is more crucial than ever, and must be prioritized. While we have made some strides, there is still a lot of work to be done — we need to ensure that the teams creating, deploying and improving these AI systems are diverse from the very beginning. Hosted by UVA Darden Professor Yael Grushka-Cockayne, this discussion features Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder and CEO of Affectiva. This session will dig deep into the question of why diversity and inclusion are so critical to the tech industry specifically, and to society in general. 

Thursday Nov 19, 2020

Hosted by UVA Darden Professor Peter Debaere in a Leadership Unscripted session, this discussion features Fernando Mercé (MBA ’98), CEO of Melissa & Doug and former president and CEO of Nestlé Waters North America. Water is what connects Mercé and Debaere. When Mercé served as CEO of Nestlé Waters North America, he and Debaere, an international economist and water expert, started a conversation about America’s water infrastructure crisis, the quality of drinking water, the price of water and the role of private business. Mercé has since become CEO of toy manufacturer Melissa & Doug, but the conversation continues. Debaere and Mercé revisited key topics on the current state of water and look toward the future.

Monday Jul 13, 2020

Dr. Vivian Pinn said “social determinants” — factors such as wealth, profession and access to health care — have been among the key drivers of who gets sick and why. Pinn was interviewed at the virtual Leadership Unscripted event by Professor Lalin Anik, whose research in the marketing area often considers the role of social connection on human behavior. A pioneer in the field of medicine, Pinn was the inaugural full-time director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and associate director of NIH for women’s health research from 1994 until her retirement in 2011. 

Wednesday Jun 17, 2020

A Conversation with former President of Ireland Mary Robinson and Halla Tómasdóttir, a former candidate for president of Iceland and CEO of The B Team.

Tuesday Mar 31, 2020

Speaking at a Leadership Unscripted event at UVA Darden DC Metro, Darden Professor Laura Morgan Roberts, incoming Wharton Dean Erika James and Airbnb Head of Global Diversity and Belonging Melissa Thomas-Hunt discuss the connection between identity and experience in the workplace and what it might take to achieve a truly inclusive professional environment.

Friday Jan 03, 2020

In this episode, Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles (MBA'88) discusses the role of women in the developing world and the ability of women and girls to change the trajectory of a country's development towards a more equal and democratic society.  Leadership Unscripted is a Darden speaker series hosted at UVA Darden DC Metro in Arlington, Virginia. To learn more, visit us at: www.darden.virginia.edu.  Recorded 6 November 2019.

Tuesday Dec 10, 2019

In this episode of Leadership Unscripted, Case Foundation CEO and National Geographic Society Chairman Jean Case discusses the importance of taking risks, being fearless, and leveraging difference in order to change the world.  Leadership Unscripted is a Darden speaker series hosted at UVA Darden DC Metro in Arlington, Virginia. To learn more, visit us at: www.darden.virginia.edu.  Recorded 10 October 2019

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