Conference Theme & Team

The 24th Annual International Leadership Association Global Conference theme invites an inquiry into how wisdom might catalyze transformation in global systems contributing to environmental, social, economic, and political crises.

The Chinese hanzi for crisis consists of two components: danger and crucial pivot point. The crucial pivot point is a moment in time — a moment when a leader takes some action to address the crisis or challenge. In that moment, information is incomplete and/or missing, and indeterminacy prevails. In that moment, speculation on a certain outcome is futile, and it is easy to see the danger of a wrong decision. But in that moment, that crucial pivot point, a leader has the potential to make a difference. How can we help leaders — as well as followers — stand and meet that important moment?

Rumi, a renowned 13th century Persian poet, wrote about the connection between changing the world and wisdom. He was believed to have written “Yesterday, I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today, I am wise, so I am changing myself.

Hidden in that message is an implicit connection between changing the world and changing oneself. In today’s historical moment, we might think of this as the connection between our inner wisdom and our ability to wisely understand and see the systemic and reciprocal relationships between business, politics, economics, public health, the environment, and other world issues.

However, this is difficult to do. Business as usual demands leaders to make daily and often rapid decisions at work, in communities, and in schools. Leaders of various levels respond and react and engage in the dynamics of trying to meet multiple stakeholder needs. Followers also respond and react and engage in the dance of the push-pull of power and authority. These responses and reactions are based on the logics of our current economic, social, and environmental systems—and these logics, we suggest, need to change. That is where wisdom comes in.

The current logics underneath ‘business as usual’ often value human desires over planetary flourishing, economic indicators over individual wellbeing, and perpetuate a world that is becoming more and more fractured, polarized, and polluted. New logics, narratives, and qualities of leading and following are needed to heal, restore, and repair the systems that are currently in place. The new logics must rise above the either/or polarization to see the larger wholeness and interdependence of all systems, of all peoples, and of all nature.

This is where wisdom comes in. Wisdom offers us exciting possibilities to see opportunities in crises, paths forward in complex systems and unpredictable dynamics, and wholeness in times of fracturing. Wisdom is creative inner work with outward manifestations that allow possibilities for systems flourishing. Wisdom is deep listening, or what some call ‘with-nessing’ in community. Wisdom is more than intellect and cognition—it is a way of being and relating to the world and to oneself that heals, brings joy, and offers compassion and dignity to all.

Ultimately, wisdom offers hope for a better future, and we invite conference submissions to help us engage in this exciting conversation with ILA members and friends from around the world by addressing these broad questions:

  • What is the role of wisdom in leading and following in this historical moment?
  • How does one become wise?
  • What are the practices, attributes, and characteristics of wise leaders? Of wise followers?
  • What ways can leadership development increase access to and utilization of personal and shared wisdom?
  • What are the conditions that support wisdom?
  • What is the role of a leader or follower in cultivating, developing, and sustaining the conditions where wisdom can flourish?
  • Can an organization be wise? If yes, how?
  • How might Indigenous and other non-Western wisdom traditions contribute to large systems change?
  • How might we (both followers and leaders) create opportunities to cultivate, nurture, and catalyze system change? What is the role of wisdom in the emergence of these opportunities?
  • How might leaders and followers become more aware of their highest inspirations – beyond logic – that can inform creative and generative futures?

#ILA2022Global will offer an expansive space for exploring wisdom and its role in this historical moment, in this historic place. The largest gathering of those who research and study leadership, teach and develop leaders, and engage in the practice of leadership will gather to share creative new ideas, cutting edge practice and theory, hopes, innovations, and suggestions for the future. Come with your ideas and leave inspired!

Theme Statement Team

Ina Gjikondi, Conference Program Co-Chair & The George Washington University 

Julia Storberg-Walker, Conference Program Co-Chair & The George Washington University 

Karen Wilhelm Buckley, President, Communicore Consulting, LLC.

Ira Chaleff, Author, IC Publications

Nicole Dillard, Assistant Professor Organizational Leadership, Northern Kentucky University

Michael Harvey, Provost, Washington College

Crystal Hoyt, Professor of Leadership Studies and Psychology, Thorsness Chair in Ethical Leadership, Jepson School of Leadership Studies

Prasad Kaipa, CEO Coach and Advisor, Kaipa Group

Les Miles, Community Solutions Program Manager, Leadership Practice; IREX

Judi Neal, President, Edgewalkers International

Robin Roberts, Assistant Professor, Management and Technology, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Anita Sanchez, Founder, Sanchez, Tennis and Associates

Conference Chairs

Betsy Meyers
Conference Chair
Betsy Myers

Leadership expert, author, and advocate. She is consulting, speaking and leading workshops on head & heart leaders and women and leadership.

Ina Gjikondi
Conference Program Co-Chair
Ina Gjikondi

Director of Executive Education & Coaching & Founder & Director of the e-Co Leadership Coaching Program and the One Humanity Lab at the George Washington University’s Center for Excellence in Public Leadership.

Julia Storberg-Walker
Conference Program Co-Chair
Julia Storberg-Walker

Chair of the Human and Organizational Learning Department, Program Director of the Organizational Leadership and Learning Program, and an Associate Professor at the George Washington University.

Betsy Myers is a leadership expert, author, and advocate. She is consulting, speaking and leading workshops on head & heart leaders and women and leadership.

Myers’ experience spans the corporate, political, and higher education arenas. Most recently, as founder and director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University and executive director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

A senior adviser to Presidents Clinton and Obama, Myers served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chair of Women for Obama during President Obama’s 2008 national presidential campaign. During the Clinton Administration, Myers launched, and was the first director of, the White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach. She also served as the director of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the SBA.

Her book, Take the Lead — Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You, was released in September 2011 and named the Washington Post’s Best Leadership Book that year.

She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of San Diego and her master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School, where she was also a Public Service Fellow.

Ina Gjikondi is a teacher, speaker, mother, creative thinker, innovator, poet and co-curator of creative learning experiences that expand consciousness in the world. Ina serves as the Director of Executive Education & Coaching, as well as the Founder & Director of the e-Co Leadership Coaching Program, and the One Humanity Lab at the George Washington University’s Center for Excellence in Public Leadership.  

Ina works with people across the globe to awaken the leadership capacity through whole-system knowing and being, mobilizing the capacities of spaciousness, perception, imagination, inspiration, intuition and creativity. Ina believes that our work as humanity is not about finding answers, it’s about getting very clear in our questions and getting ourselves out of the way, allowing the collective field to emerge in active experimentation and action.  

Ina holds two Master’s Degrees from George Washington University, one in Political Management and the other in Human resource Development. She is currently working on her doctorate in Human and Organizational Learning focusing on new materialist pedagogies and Goethean science.  

Prior to moving to the US, Ina was an active United Nations advocate, political campaign professional and founder of several nonprofit organizations in her native home of Albania. She is inspired by her son Hadrian, who teaches her to slow down and show up for life with genuine curiosity. Ina’s calling for the world is summed up in four words, two of which have been attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as the last pronounced words before his death, “More Light and Love!”.  



e-Co Leadership Coaching Program: 

Hadrian Series: 

Julia Storberg-Walker is Chair of the Human and Organizational Learning Department, Program Director of the Organizational Leadership and Learning Program, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Learning in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the George Washington University.  

After serving in various leadership capacities at Deloitte & Touche and Deloitte Consulting (1985-1999), Julia received her PhD in Work, Community, and Family Education from the University of Minnesota in 2004. She has been recognized for her critically-informed teaching, research, and activism/service as the recipient of multiple awards including the R. Wayne Pace Book of the Year Award by the Academy of Human Resource Development (2019), the Laura Bierema Critical HRD Award (2017); and the Outstanding Research Award from the International Leadership Association (2015).

Julia was inducted into the Academy of Outstanding Faculty Engaged in Extension by North Carolina State University; while there, she was the recipient of over $1.2 million dollars in grants and created the Master’s of Science in HRD program. She is a former Vice President and Board member of the Academy of Human Resource Development, former Editor-in-Chief of the scholarly journal Human Resource Development Review, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Management, Spirituality and Religion Interest Group of the Academy of Management.  

Her activist/scholar work is generative and aims to develop equitable and compassionate frameworks, models, and processes for the purpose of catalyzing whole planet interdependence and flourishing. This work is transdisciplinary and grounded in contemporary philosophical perspectives including posthumanism, new materialism, quantum field theory, and wisdom traditions spanning diverse cultures and historical moments. 

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