Barbara Doster

Barbara G. Doster speaks at the 2011 leadership forum bearing her name. (Photo provided by SMC)

Lasting Legacy

Doster Leadership Forum builds on success

Almost everyone who has earned a bachelor’s degree from Krannert over the last 30 years remembers Barbara G. Doster.

Having retired as the longtime director of undergraduate programs for the School of Management in 1998, Doster continues to extend her legacy through a biennial forum that bears her name and shares her vision for student success.

Organized and run entirely by students serving on the School of Management Council (SMC), the Barbara G. Doster Leadership Forum (BGDLF) debuted in 1999 as a weekend-long leadership conference focused on developing management students’ interpersonal skills to complement the analytical and quantitative skills they gain in the classroom.

It has since evolved into one of Krannert’s premier leadership and professional development events, teaming 100 top undergraduates with corporate representatives and sponsors to refine and improve the students’ abilities in communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, etiquette, creativity and motivation.

An SMC committee assembles the program and hosts the event every other year in downtown Indianapolis. Each day includes a different speaker, as well as workshops, discussions, team-building exercises and sessions related to the forum’s goals.

With a theme derived from sports, “Game Plan For Success: Leadership That Wins,” the 2011 forum strove to educate participants through presentations and activities reinforcing the strong sense of leadership observed in athletics, say James Norris and Caitlin McPherson, Krannert seniors and event co-chairs.

Doster Leadership Forum

With a theme derived from sports, the 2011 forum strove to educate participants through presentations and activities reinforcing the leadership observed in athletics. (Photo provided by SMC)

“Our big event at every forum is the Olympics on Saturday night, which tied in well with our sports theme,” Norris says. “We built up everyone’s competitive spirit from the first day by awarding bonus points in other activities. We also gave out custom headbands and encouraged participants to dress up and have fun with the event.”

Other activities at this year’s forum, held in February at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, included a jingle contest and the “Pringle Drop,” which challenges a team's ability to be innovative and to make decisions as a group. These were balanced with more serious events such as a case discussion among student participants, sponsors and company representatives that addressed five different issues related to corporate ethics and leadership.

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