Who We Are

Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership &
Wisconsin Servant Leadership

Watch our Steering Committee’s Héctor Colón and his message about the current climate in the United States.

About the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

Robert Greenleaf coined the term “servant leadership” more than four decades ago. With the goal of promoting a more just and caring society, Greenleaf created a compelling vision of individuals and institutions focused not on the accumulation and exercise of power for personal advantage, but on sharing power, placing the needs of others first, and helping people develop and perform to their full potential. Today, many of the world’s most successful organizations have embedded this vision of servant leadership at the core of their operating model.

The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership is dedicated to expanding the reach of Robert Greenleaf’s vision to as wide an audience as possible, reaching out and serving individuals and organizations in the for-profit, not-for-profit, and public sectors. Through our conferences, workshops, customized training programs, consulting engagements, research grants, and extensive catalog of publications, the Center provides information, support, and a collaborative network for those committed to living and leading with a servant’s heart.

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About the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

Robert Greenleaf coined the term “servant-leadership” more than four decades ago. With the goal of promoting a more just and caring society, Greenleaf created a compelling vision of individuals and institutions focused not on the accumulation and exercise of power for personal advantage, but on sharing power, placing the needs of others first, and helping people develop and perform to their full potential. Today, many of the world’s most successful organizations have embedded this vision of servant-leadership at the core of their operating model.

The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership is dedicated to expanding the reach of Robert Greenleaf’s vision to as wide an audience as possible, reaching out and serving individuals and organizations in the for-profit, not-for-profit, and public sectors. Through our conferences, workshops, customized training programs, consulting engagements, research grants, and extensive catalog of publications, the Center provides information, support, and a collaborative network for those committed to living and leading with a servant’s heart.

Learn More

About Wisconsin Servant Leadership

Wisconsin Servant Leadership (WISL) is spreading the good word of “Servant-Leadership” throughout the State of Wisconsin. This community of servant-minded leaders focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant-leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

With 5 cities hosting 9 – 10 sessions monthly, these all-volunteer-led Servant Leadership roundtables and meetings engage more 2,300 participants. Sessions are open to the public in-person and many are now online. WISL is an exemplary approach to how communities can come together and unite within the timeless concept of servant-leadership. Sign up for bi-weekly updates and news – https://wisconsinservantleadership.org.

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Our History

Robert K. Greenleaf founded the nonprofit Greenleaf Center (first called “The Center for Applied Ethics”) in 1964. Not long after, Greenleaf published The Servant as Leader, a landmark essay that coined the phrase “servant-leader” and launched the modern servant leadership movement.

Since its founding, the Greenleaf Center has been a thought-leader in the field of servant leadership and a good steward of Robert Greenleaf’s writings after his death. The Greenleaf Center built an extensive catalog of publications over the years and continues to add new ones each year. Our online bookstore offers these publications and other materials covering the subject of servant leadership.

For 22 years, the Greenleaf Center has hosted an international conference that connects, educates and inspires servant-leaders from around the world. Our annual conference remains the foremost event of its kind. In more recent times, the Greenleaf Center has added online learning, speaking, and workshops to its offerings of servant leadership programs.

Our History

Robert K. Greenleaf founded the nonprofit Greenleaf Center (first called “The Center for Applied Ethics”) in 1964. Not long after, Greenleaf published The Servant as Leader, a landmark essay that coined the phrase “servant-leader” and launched the modern servant-leadership movement.

Since its founding, the Greenleaf Center has been a thought-leader in the field of servant-leadership and a good steward of Robert Greenleaf’s writings after his death. The Greenleaf Center built an extensive catalog of publications over the years and continues to add new ones each year. Our online bookstore offers these publications and other materials covering the subject of servant-leadership.

For 22 years, the Greenleaf Center has hosted an international conference that connects, educates and inspires servant-leaders from around the world. Our annual conference remains the foremost event of its kind. In more recent times, the Greenleaf Center has added online learning, speaking, and workshops to its offerings of servant-leadership programs.

What is Servant-Leadership?

While servant-leadership is a timeless concept, the phrase “servant-leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970. In that essay, Greenleaf said:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them, there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?“

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant-leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

Learn More

Embody the Dash: Milwaukee-Wisconsin-USA

Aspiring and seasoned servant-leaders will gather from around the world for the 26th time at the International Servant-Leader Summit to embody the dash and make visible and tangible the philosophy, practices and methods of servant leadership. The beautiful summer shores of Milwaukee, Wisconsin on the Great Lakes of America will be the perfect setting to learn, share, discuss, develop, examine, plan and grow the servant leadership movement personally, locally and globally.

Learn More

Embody the Dash: Milwaukee-Wisconsin-USA

Aspiring and seasoned servant-leaders will gather from around the world for the 26th time at the International Servant-Leader Summit to embody the dash and make visible and tangible the philosophy, practices and methods of servant-leadership. The beautiful summer shores of Milwaukee, Wisconsin on the Great Lakes of America will be the perfect setting to learn, share, discuss, develop, examine, plan and grow the servant-leadership movement personally, locally and globally.

Learn More

Meet the Servant-Leader Committee behind the International Servant-Leader Summit

The distinguished volunteer servant-leaders of our 26th global gathering:

Héctor Colón
President/CEO

Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan

Jesse DePinto
Co-Founder & Chief Growth Officer

Frontdesk Now

Jeff Thompson, M.D.
Former CEO- Gundersen Health System

Chair of About Health

Pat Falotico
Director of Business Development

Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

Joe Goss
Senior Business Analyst & Project Manager

Division of Information Technology (DoIT)
University of Madison Information Technology

Edith Hudson
Chief of Police

Marquette Univeristy

Jim Kerlin
President/CEO

Beyond Vision

Joe Kiedinger
a.k.a. The Dignify Guy / CEO & Director of Creative Services

Prophit Marketing

Dr. Richard Kyte
Institute Director

D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership
Viterbo College

Applied Ethics in the 21st Century

Jim Lemoine
Assistant Professor of Organization and Human Resources

University at Buffalo School of Management, State University of New York

Dan Lococo
Barrier Knocker Downer

Affinity By Design, LLC

Kim Muench
Senior Director of Development

Alverno College

Doug Nelson
Assistant Professor, Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management Department

CREATE Faculty Fellow
Pieper Family Endowed Chair for Servant-Leadership
Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE)

Richard R. Pieper, Sr.
Chairman of the Board

Co-Founder Wisconsin Servant Leadership
Chair, International Servant-Leader Summit 2021

Jeffrey Russell
Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning, Dean, Div. of Continuing Studies

UW-Madison

Tom Thibodeau
Distinguished Professor of Servant Leadership

Viterbo College

Gene Wright
Faculty Fellow of the CREATE Institute

Graduate Program Director Rader School of Business
Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE)

Amanda Streicher
Senior Engineer, Baxter & Woodman, Inc.
Jeff Clark

Managing Partner

SpeculateGrowth

Chair of Social Media & Partnerships

Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership Board of Trustees

Get to know the people that are guiding our servant-leader efforts.

BRYAN C. PRICE
Founding Executive Director at the Buccino Leadership Institute at Seton Hall University
CARL CLARK
President and CEO, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health
DONNA BUCHANAN
Former Chief Operating Officer of United Way of Greater Atlanta
EDWIN GARCIA, PH.D., MBA
Executive Human Resources Strategist
GRAHAM HONAKER
Executive Director of Principal Gifts, Butler University
IAN MACFARLANE
President and CEO of EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC
JAMES LEMOINE
Assistant Professor of Organization and Human Resources at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York
JEFF BLADE
CEO of Matilda Jane Clothing
JOSEPH M. PATRNCHAK
Chief Human Resources Officer of the Cleveland Clinic Health System
MARIE FOLEY
Professor and the Dean, the College of Nursing at Seton Hall University
STEVE HARTMAN
Chief Executive Officer, Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity and Foundation

Join us at the 2021
International Servant-Leader Summit

Register Now