Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow to speak on civility and respect

Davenport University will welcome Dede Thompson Bartlett as its third Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow March 12 to 16. She will speak to students, employees and the public on topics surrounding civility and respect.

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program — offered through the Council of Independent Colleges — brings prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders and other nonacademic professionals to campuses across the U.S. for substantive dialog with students and faculty members.

Bartlett was a Fortune 25 executive, having served in roles at ExxonMobil, Mobil Corporation, Mobil Foundation, Philip Morris and Altria Group. She will be the third fellow to visit DU since 2017.

“The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow program is a prestigious opportunity for Davenport University,” said Dr. Pamela Imperato, Dean for the Donald W. Maine College of Business at Davenport. “All the Fellows in this program have risen to the top of their fields and Dede Bartlett is no exception. Our students will benefit greatly from her expertise and experience.”

Funding is provided by a grant from the M.E. Davenport Legacy Endowment.

Throughout the week, students, faculty and staff will have opportunities to engage with Bartlett on topics of civility and respect at events on the W. A. Lettinga, Warren, Lansing and Great Lakes Bay (Midland) Campuses. Her presentations will be live-streamed to faculty and staff throughout the DU system.

From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, Bartlett will address an audience of students, faculty and the public to discuss the value of collaboration and shared visioning in establishing respectful organizations and communities. Her presentation, “Creating a Culture of Safety and Respect: One Town’s Story,” will take place in the Wilbur & Sharon Lettinga Auditorium in the Robert W. Sneden Center.

When Dede Bartlett, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in French literature and a master’s in American history, her father thought her education amounted to career suicide. She thought otherwise.

Bartlett leveraged her communications skills into jobs in marketing and public relations and landed a job at then-Mobil Oil’s Manhattan headquarters. While at ExxonMobil, she held nine positions — rising to senior leadership roles and eventually to Corporate Secretary of Mobil Corporation and President of Mobil Foundation.

In 1990, Bartlett joined Philip Morris and later became Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris, where she developed the company’s worldwide domestic violence prevention programs for its 150,000 global employees.

Having built a successful career as a Fortune 25 executive, Bartlett turned her focus to working with communities and organizations to develop new initiatives in the areas of her passions: career resiliency, increasing the number of women in STEM careers and ending domestic partner violence.

A past president of the Women’s Forum of New York, Bartlett is a recipient of the Women Who Make a Difference Award from the International Women’s Forum. She has been honored for her work in helping victims of domestic violence by the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Lifetime Television, the National Center for Victims of Crime, the DAR and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  She co-chairs the Jim and Dede Bartlett Foundation, dedicated to increasing the number of women pursuing degrees in mathematics, computer science and engineering.

Successful Leadership Traits on and off the Field
2 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 12
Sneden Auditorium – W.A. Lettinga Campus
Open to all DU student-athletes

Great leaders do not simply garner respect, they extend it. Student-athletes have many opportunities to develop and enhance leadership skills in their teams and in the classroom. This session is an exploration of the key elements of any successful leadership path grounded in the principles of respect and civility. Bartlett’s own career path, as a part of an under-represented population at the leadership table of some of the largest Fortune 25 corporations, can serve to guide a discussion on the challenges of leadership.


Establishing a Culture of Respect on Campus, in Careers and in Relationships
3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 13
Open to all faculty
Live-streamed to other campuses

Faculty are great influencers of culture — in the classroom and the university as a whole. Faculty can foster a learning environment of respect and civility that will serve as a template for their students’ lives for years to come. In this session, Bartlett will share key aspects of civility and respect that can be enhanced on campus and within personal and professional relationships. She also will facilitate a discussion about the particular questions and concerns that academics hear from students and faculty regarding civility and respect.


Creating a Culture of Safety and Respect: One Town’s Story
6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 13
Sneden Auditorium – W.A. Lettinga Campus
Open to students, faculty, staff and the public Live-streamed to other campuses 

When individuals feel safe, respected and supported, they are able to be their most creative and productive selves. This mindset fosters not just economic growth, but also spurs innovative solutions to larger issues that may be facing an organization or a community. Bartlett will share the deep work one community has engaged in to build new collaborations and skills that curb violence and promote respect. The story is inspirational and can serve as a template for fostering civility in organizations of any size.


Respect, Passion and Survival in the Workplace Lunch and Learn
11:30 to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 14
Warren Campus and live-streamed to the Great Lakes Bay Campus (Midland)
Open to College of Health Professions students

Share lunch with Bartlett and discuss the key initiatives that lead to career passion and survival among healthcare professionals, as well as how self-care leads to career fulfillment.


Empowering Yourself in the Workplace: Building Careers That Reflect Your Passion
6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14
Lansing Campus Room 305
Open to Lansing Campus students, faculty and staff

Bartlett has counseled students across the nation on the foundational processes that lead to alignment and passion with work-life. She will discuss the key initiatives that lead to career passion and what leads to career fulfillment.


Building Resilience and Surviving Career Catastrophes
11:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15
Maine College of Business Building – W.A. Lettinga Campus
Open to RSO Student Leaders. RVSP required. Lunch included.

This interactive workshop for student leaders is designed to build career resiliency. Careers rarely go as planned and sometimes a catastrophe can catalyze the change needed to move to the next level of productivity and leadership.


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