America's Best Leaders is a collaboration between U.S.News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The honorees were selected by a committee of academic, government, business, and nonprofit leaders convened by the center. U.S. News did not have a vote.
The panel accepted nominations from a wide range of sources and compiled research on each one of the candidates. The committee defined a leader simply as a person who "motivates people to work collaboratively to accomplish great things." It selected 24 winners, including four partnerships, from a field of more than 100. The panelists rated the nominees from to 1 to 5 based on how well they met the following criteria:
Sets Direction (25 percent): By building a shared sense of purpose; by setting out to make a positive social impact; by implementing innovative strategies.
Achieves Results (50 percent): Of significant depth and breadth; that have a positive social impact; that are sustainable; that exceed expectations.
Cultivates a Culture of Growth (25 percent): By communicating and embodying positive core values; by inspiring others to lead.
The panel focused on a nominee's recent accomplishments and preferred that the nominee still be doing the work for which he or she was being considered. The panel also determined that, while a nominee's work could be global in scope, it should have substantial impact inside the United States.
Warren Bennis Distinguished professor of business administration, University of Southern California David Gergen Director, Center for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
John Alexander Isabella Cannon distinguished visiting professor of leadership, Elon University School of Law Donald Berwick President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement Jim Campbell Professor of American civilization, Africana studies and history, Brown University Geoffrey Canada President and CEO, Harlem Children's Zone Rev. Richard Cizik Vice president for governmental affairs, National Association of Evangelicals Beth Dozoretz Vice chair, Center for Public Leadership advisory board Ken Duberstein Chairman and CEO, the Duberstein Group Charles Elachi Director, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Kenneth Fisher Chairman and CEO, Fisher House Foundation Inc. Walter Fluker Executive director, the Leadership Center, Morehouse College Bill George Professor of management practice, Harvard Business School Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. United States Navy (retired) Helen Greiner Cofounder, iRobot Corp. Paul Grogan President and CEO, the Boston Foundation Chris Howard Vice president for strategic and leadership initiatives, University of Oklahoma Shirley Jackson President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Rosabeth Moss Kanter Ernest L. Arbuckle professor of business administration, Harvard Business School Barbara Kellerman James MacGregor Burns lecturer in public leadership, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University Daniel Kahne Professor of chemistry and chemical biology, Harvard University Donna Kalikow Executive director, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University Alan Khazei Founder, Be the Change Inc., and cofounder, City Year Rakesh Khurana Professor of business administration, Harvard Business School Jim Yong Kim Founding trustee, Partners in Health, and director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health Rod Kramer William R. Kimball professor of organizational behavior, Stanford University Georgette Mosbacher CEO, Borghese Gama Perruci Dean, Marietta College McDonough Center for Leadership and Business Kenneth Ruscio President, Washington & Lee University Paul Saffo Distinguished visiting scholar, Stanford Media-X research network Donna Shalala President, University of Miami David Shaw Managing partner, Black Point Group Bill Shore Founder, Share Our Strength Michael Useem Director, Center for Leadership and Change Management, the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania Linda Whitlock Former Nicholas president and CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston David Yepsen Reporter, Des Moines Register Andy Zelleke Codirector, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University