• The Darden Leadership Speaker Series (LSS) connects the world’s most influential business and thought leaders with the Darden and broader UVA community. Leaders share their stories, expertise and advice in a flexible one-hour format on Darden Grounds.

    We invite you to attend any of these speaker events; all LSS events are open to the public. Each LSS event will take place at Darden from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Room location will be provided to registered attendees. Lunch is provided for registrants before the event begins.

  • Fall 2019

    The Fall 2019 series lineup will be announced in Summer 2019. 

    Below are some of our featured past speakers.

    Gail McGovern, LSSGail j. McGovern
    president and chief executive officer, the American red cross

    Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, began her career as a computer programmer at AT&T. She moved up the ranks to become executive vice president for the Consumer Markets Division, a $26 billion business with 40,000 employees. In 1998, Gail joined Fidelity Investments where she served as president of Fidelity Personal Investments, a unit with 10,000 employees and a half trillion dollars of assets under management.

    Four years later, Gail joined the faculty of Harvard Business School where she taught marketing. In 2008, she accepted the position of president and CEO of the American Red Cross, a $3 billion organization devoted to alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies.  

    Since joining the Red Cross, Gail has helped to transform the 137-year old American institution into a 21stcentury emergency response and blood services organization. Her transformational initiatives have led to improved fiscal stability, and have expanded the reach of lifesaving Red Cross services. She has also overseen the enormous growth of the organization’s social media presence – including the introduction of a series of free mobile apps for first aid, hurricanes, tornadoes and other emergency scenarios that put lifesaving skills at people’s fingertips.

     Gail is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she received an undergraduate degree in Quantitative Sciences, and Columbia University where she earned her MBA. She was awarded alumna of the year from both universities. 

    Gail was recognized by Fortune Magazine in both 2000 and 2001 as one of the most powerful women in corporate America.


    LSS_Thomas FarrellThomas f. Farrell ii
    chairman, president and chief executive officer, dominion energy inc. 

    Farrell joined Dominion Energy in 1995 and has served in several senior management positions — executive vice president from 1999 to 2003 and president and chief operating officer from 2004 to 2005; in 2006, he was named president and chief executive officer and was elected chairman of the company’s board of directors in 2007.  

    Under his leadership, Dominion Energy has become one of America’s largest energy companies, with about $100 billion in assets and operations in 18 states. The company has invested more than $2 billion in environmental upgrades to its operating facilities and is committed to providing sustainable, affordable, reliable and safe energy to 2.6 million customer accounts. It is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of electric generation and natural gas and is one of the nation’s leading solar operators, committed to reducing its carbon intensity 60 percent by 2030. During Farrell’s tenure as CEO, Dominion Energy nearly doubled operating earnings per share and has increased the company’s dividend rate by 150 percent. The company has also tripled its philanthropic giving.

    Farrell’s board service is extensive. He is the presiding director of Altria Group Inc. and a member of the board of directors of AEGIS insurance company.

    He also serves on the board of directors of the Edison Electric Institute, of which he was chairman from 2011–12, and as chairman of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. 

    He is a former rector and member of the University of Virginia board of visitors, past chairman of the board of trustees of the Virginia Business Council, and the former chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education. He also served on the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.   

    In addition, he serves as a member of the board of trustees of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, chairman of the Richmond Performing Arts Center, and a member of the board of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, of which he was chairman.

    Thomas Farrell is a double Hoo, earning his B.A. in economics and his Law Degree in 1979 from the University of Virginia.


    Bob Langertbob langert
    former vice president, corporate social responsibility and sustainability, McDonald's 

    Bob joined the McDonald’s system in 1983, with management positions in logistics, packaging and purchasing and was appointed McDonald’s first VP to lead sustainability in 2006. Bob led the development of McDonald’s 2020 Sustainability Vision and Framework, including McDonald’s commitment to the environment, supply chain sustainability, and balanced menu choices. As part of this work, Bob worked with numerous organizations, including Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Protection Agency, Greenpeace, PETA and World Wildlife Fund. 

    Learn more about Bob's visit in the Darden Report


    Nathalie Corredor PhotoNathalie corredor
    senior vice president of corporate strategy, Hilton worldwide

    Nathalie leads the development and implementation of enterprise-wide strategies and initiatives to drive growth and innovation at Hilton Worldwide. Prior to joining Hilton, Nathalie spent much of her career working in Silicon Valley as Google’s global head of vertical search ad development and sales and head of sales strategy and operations. Nathalie holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  She was also a Fulbright Scholar in South Korea.

    Learn more about Nathalie's visit in the Darden Report.

    HLhal Lawton (MBA '00)
    president, Macy's inc.

    Lawton is responsible for all aspects of the Macy’s brand, including merchandising, marketing, stores, operations, technology, and consumer insights and analytics. Previously, Lawton was senior vice president, eBay North America. Prior to eBay, Lawton spent 10 years in various leadership roles at Home Depot, including as senior vice president for merchandising. Lawton was responsible for accelerating the growth of Home Depot’s internet business and building it to nearly $2 billion. Lawton serves on the board of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., Darden’s Corporate Advisory Board and the board of the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. He holds a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in addition to his MBA from Darden.

    Learn more about Hal's visit in the Darden Report

    Jim Lico Headshotjim lico 
    president and ceo, fortive

    As Fortive’s founding president and CEO, Jim drives Fortive’s overall vision, drawing on two decades of deep experience at Danaher. Jim is deeply committed to the development of Fortive’s people in a dynamic culture of unending learning and growth. He joined Veeder-Root in 1996 and was tapped for roles of increasing responsibility before being appointed executive vice president and member of the Danaher office of the chief executive. His multi-industry responsibilities focused on test and measurement, transportation technologies, and industrial technologies. Jim has also had corporate responsibility for Danaher Corporate Procurement and served as executive leader for the emerging market regional boards of China, Japan, India and the Middle East. He ran the Danaher Business System (DBS) from 2004–05 and will ensure that its key principles continue to inspire the Fortive Business System. Jim holds a BS from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Management from Northwestern University. He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and three children.

    Learn more about Jim's visit in the Darden Report. 

    Matthew KanessMATTHEW A. KANESS (MBA '02)

    Kaness joined the innovative women’s apparel company ModCloth as CEO in 2015, and helmed the company through a successful sale to Walmart. Previously, he served as chief strategy officer of Urban Outfitters, where he helped engineer significant revenue growth and oversaw a unique approach to an omni-channel customer experience. Prior to Urban Outfitters, Kaness served as a management consultant in the consumer and retail practice of PRTM. In addition to a Darden MBA, he holds an undergraduate engineering degree from Catholic University.

    Learn more about Matt's visit in the Darden Report . 

    Leeny ObergLEENY OBERG (MCINTIRE ’82)

    Oberg joined Marriott as part of its Investor Relations group in 1999 and held a number of roles with a global focus, including senior vice president, international project finance and asset management for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She has served as CFO for Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton brand and was named Marriott’s CFO in 2016. Oberg holds an undergraduate degree from UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce and an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

    Learn more about Leeny's visit in the Darden Report.

    Jim MoffattJim Moffatt
    CEO, Deloitte Global Consulting

    Since joining the Deloitte U.S. practice in 1987, Jim has earned a long-standing reputation for serving clients with distinction from strategy through execution and developing the next generation of leaders. He has served in various senior positions in Deloitte U.S., including serving as Chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting LLP from 2011-2015. Additionally, Jim has authored multiple articles on leadership, innovation, talent management, and mentoring in top tier media outlets including Bloomberg Business Week, Fox Business, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, CNBC.com, Huffington Post, and Consulting magazine.  

    Learn more about Jim's visit to Darden.

    Barbara ByrneBarbara Byrne
    Vice Chairman, Barclays Investment Banking

    Barbara Byrne is a Vice Chairman within the Investment Bank at Barclays. Ms. Byrne is a frequent speaker on behalf of women in business, social innovation, finance and leadership. In each of the past seven years, American Banker has ranked her as one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Finance.”   

    Learn more about Barbara's visit to Darden, and don't miss her Ideas to Action article.  

    Ulrich BezDr. Ulrich Bez
    former CEO, Aston Martin

    Dr. Ulrich Bez led Aston Martin as Chief Executive Officer from 2000 to 2014 and now serves as a Brand Ambassador for the company. Under Dr. Bez's leadership Aston Martin became a globally recognized luxury and cool brand standing for power, beauty and soul combined with competitive quality and an unmistakable identity. 60, 000 cars - more than four times than in the 87 years before - were built and sold in a global network of 150 dealerships.

    Learn more about Ulrich's visit to Darden.

    Tobias DengelTobias Dengel
    CEO, WillowTree

    Tobias Dengel is the CEO of WillowTree, Inc. Prior to WillowTree, Tobias co-founded Leads.com in 2003, based in Northern Virginia. He was at AOL from 1996 to 2003, with his final role as VP of AOL Local. Tobias holds a BS in Economics and a BS in Engineering, both from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Learn more about Tobias' visit to Darden.

    Muhtar KentMuhtar Kent
    Chairman and Former CEO, Coca-Cola Company

    Mr. Kent joined The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta in 1978 and has held a variety of global marketing and operations leadership roles throughout his career. In 2005, Mr. Kent was appointed President of Coca-Cola International, responsible for overseeing all operations outside of North America. In 2006, he assumed the role of President and Chief Operating Officer and in 2008 was elevated to President and CEO. He was named Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2009 and served as Chairman and CEO through April 2017. 

    Learn more about Muhtar's visit to Darden.

    Dan DanielWilliam "Dan" Daniel II (MBA '91)
    Executive Vice President, Danaher

    Dan Daniel is Executive Vice President with Danaher Corporation, a Fortune 150 global science and technology company. For over 11 years, he has led innovation across a broad spectrum of Danaher’s businesses. Prior to Danaher, Dan spent 19 years with Arvin Industries, which became ArvinMeritor, in a variety of positions including Senior Vice President and President, Light Vehicle Aftermarket. He earned his B.A. from DePauw University and his M.B.A. from Darden in 1991.

    Learn more about Dan's visit to Darden.

    John MackeyJohn Mackey
    Co-CEO, Whole Foods

    John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, has led the natural and organic grocer to a $15 billion Fortune 500 company with more than 435 stores and 85,000 team members in three countries. The company has been included on Fortune magazine’s“100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 18 consecutive years and ranked first in the food and drug store industry as part of the magazine’s “Most Admired Companies” list in 2016. 

    Learn more about John's visit to Darden.

    Kim MorrishKim Morrish (MBA '93)
    Owner and Director, Ground Control

    Kim and her husband are directors and majority shareholders of Ground Control Ltd., the UK’s largest landscaping company with over £100 million in annual turnover.  Kim has launched several start-ups, acquired five businesses and enjoys backing promising entrepreneurs in new ventures. She firmly believes that people are the most important factor in the success of any organization or venture. Kim holds a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and an MBA from UVA Darden School of Business.

    If you know someone who belongs on the Darden LSS stage, or if you belong there yourself, we want to hear from you! We are currently reviewing speakers for Fall 2018 and beyond. Please refer to our FAQ area for details on nominating a speaker.

    For Nominators

    How do I suggest a speaker?

    Use our speaker nomination form, completing as much information as possible. This form is submitted directly to Darden’s LSS Selection team.

    Can I suggest someone I do not know personally?

    Yes, please do! Include in your nomination how you learned about this person and why you think he or she should speak at LSS.

    Could I suggest someone I work for, or a client of mine?


    Could I suggest myself as a speaker?


    What is the general profile of a LSS speaker?

    LSS is not a company briefing, a discussion of company data or decisions, or industry specific discussion. 

    Rather than serve as a company spokesperson, a Leadership Speaker Series guest speaker is:

    • A C-suite or executive leader in a prominent company/organization
    • A leader whose public beliefs align with the School’s mission and strategic priorities
    • An individual willing to speak on topics of personal experience and leadership as relevant to the graduate business school audience

    Will it help if I submit multiple nominations, or have others nominate me several times?

    No. The number of nominations for an individual does not influence the LSS selection team.

    Is there a deadline for suggesting a speaker?

    We accept nominations throughout the year. Please submit nominations as early as possible for the selection team to properly research and decide on the speaker roster for the academic year.

    Who comprises the LSS selection team?

    The LSS selection team consists of senior leaders within the Darden School of Business and the Darden School Foundation.

    Is LSS open to the public?

    Yes! Attendees must register to attend. Registration links for each event can be found on the event schedule page.

    For Speakers

    What is the purpose of LSS?

    LSS provides a forum for individuals to share career lessons learned with the Darden and greater community. Leaders tell their personal stories, expertise and advice on leadership in a flexible one-hour format on Darden Grounds. For speakers, it offers a rewarding opportunity to reflect upon one’s journey to the C-suite and share advice learned along the way.

    What is the format of the presentation?

    The event is an hour in length. We ask speakers to prepare 35 minutes of content, allowing 25 minutes for questions from the audience, primarily Darden students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

    What else can I do at Darden?

    Our speakers are invited to take advantage of being on Grounds. Darden’s corporate relations team will plan, schedule permitting, an entire day or ½ day of events, including meetings with faculty, Darden leadership and students.

    Is there an honorarium?

    Darden does not offer an honorarium for our speakers. We do provide on Grounds hotel accommodations and all meals. We are committed to creating a Darden experience that is intellectually engaging and beneficial for the speaker, Darden students, faculty, staff and the community.

    What type of questions can I expect to be asked?

    Questions will be focused on your personal experiences and perspectives on your career path and leadership, such as:

    • What was the hardest decision you have had to make during your career?
    • How do you consider your own leadership style?
    • What inspires you?
    • What skills are you currently trying to acquire and hone?
    • How do you practice diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
    • How did you discover your passion?
    • Can you share with us an example of making a decision that was right for the company, but hard on the workforce?
    • For us as students, what will make us better leaders in the future?
    • How do you lead through crisis? Could you provide an example?
    • What did you do to rebound from a low point in your career?
    • What did you personally find to be your greatest career challenge?

    Please use our speaker nomination form to recommend a speaker. If you have questions or comments after reviewing our FAQ, please direct them to LeadershipSpeakerSeries@darden.virginia.edu.