Connected Conversations: Leadership Lessons for a VUCA World

by Smith Family Business Initiative


Wed, Jun 17, 2020

12 PM – 1 PM EDT (GMT-4)

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Join the Smith Family Business Initiative as we host “Connected Conversations”, a bi-monthly webinar series that explores topics relevant to family business owners, members, advisors, students, and alumni. We invite you to join us as we navigate the current uncertainty in our global economy, and its impacts on family businesses. 

On June 17 from 12-1pm EDT, General George Casey, Jr., Distinguished Senior Lecturer at Cornell University, will lead a discussion on "Leadership Lessons for a VUCA World." He will provide insight on leading national and multi-national companies. 

Today, more than ever, we live, work and compete in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world.  Leading during these uncertain times is challenging business and requires leaders with the vision to see opportunities in volatile and ambiguous situations, the courage to act in the face of uncertainty and complexity and the character and resilience to make hard decisions in order to rebound from unexpected setbacks. Discuss the bias VUCA leaders have towards action, even in the face of uncertainty, and how they leverage this as a strategy for success. 

Please submit questions you would like General George Casey to address in advance of the webinar to Hannah Barends at


General George W. Casey, Jr.'s profile photo

General George W. Casey, Jr.

Distinguished Senior Lecturer

Cornell University

General George W. Casey, Jr. served 41-years as an American soldier following his commission as a second lieutenant of Infantry from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1970. He is an accomplished leader and an authority on strategic leadership.

As the 36th Chief of Staff of the US Army from April 2007 to 2011, General Casey led what is arguably the world’s largest and most complex organization — 1.1 million people strong, with a $200+ billion annual budget — during one of the most extraordinary periods in military and global political history.    He is widely credited with restoring balance to the war-weary US Army, leading the transformation to keep the Army relevant in the 21st Century, and ensuring the force deployed in the war on terror was the best this country ever fielded.  On the home-front, General Casey took on the tough issues of suicide, combat stress and reducing the stigma attached to mental health care.  He was also a stalwart advocate for military families, wounded Soldiers, and survivors of the fallen.

Prior to this, from July 2004 to February 2007, he commanded the Multi-National Force – Iraq, a coalition of more than 30 countries.  General Casey guided the Iraq mission through its toughest days, driving significant change in the US Armed Forces and building the Iraqi security institutions while battling a difficult insurgency and sectarian violence.

He currently serves as a Distinguished Senior Lecturer of Leadership at the SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University and as a Dean’s Fellow at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.  He lectures on leadership internationally at business schools and to the leadership of numerous organizations, most notably, Coca-Cola, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola Bottling, Africa, the National Australian Bank, the states of Victoria and New South Wales, Australia, Amazon, TDAmeritrade, Pentagon Federal Credit Union and General Electric.

He also teaches international relations at the Korbel School, University of Denver where he is the Rice Family Professor of Practice.

He has published a book, Strategic Reflections, Operation Iraqi Freedom, July 2004-2007, about his experiences in Iraq, and several articles on leadership, including, “Leading in a ‘VUCA’ World”, Fortune Magazine, April, 2014.

He is Chairman of the Board of Governors of the USO, the preeminent support organization for the men and women of our Armed Forces, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Georgetown University, Leonardo DRS, Colt Holding Company, LLC, and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, an organization that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination and improve race relations, and the Center for Global Development.  He is also a member of the Board of Advisors for Streetshares, a crowd-sourcing firm for Small Businesses and veterans, RallyPoint, a network for veterans and military professionals, and Sarcos, a global leader in dexterous robotic systems.

He is committed to ensuring the contributions of the men and women of our Armed Forces are not forgotten.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of Student Veterans of America, an organization committed to providing veterans the tools to succeed in higher education; ThanksUSA, an organization that provides post-secondary scholarships to the children and spouses of our servicemen; and the Army Historical Foundation, an organization committed to the development of the National Museum of the U.S. Army. 

General Casey holds a Masters Degree in International Relations from Denver University, and he served as a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States, a foreign policy think-tank.  He has broad international experience.  Born in Japan, he served in operational assignments in Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East.

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Smith Family Business Initiative | Website | View More Events
Co-hosted with: MBAI, MBAII, One-Year MBA Program

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