Mike Dilbeck

Leading a revolution to equip students with the strengths and actions necessary to make a positive impact on campus and personal issues, overcome bystander behavior and demonstrate courageous leadership!

Mike stresses the importance of standing up, stepping in and speaking out based on your values and core strengths. He truly believes that seizing an opportunity to act can dramatically change the campus community and allow all of us to make the difference we want to make.

Mike helps your students understand the far-reaching impact of being a bystander to problem behaviors and empowers them to tap into their core strengths and show courageous leadership. In his interactive keynotes and workshops, he equips students with easily digestible knowledge and actions to challenge the negative behaviors they see around them every day—and to inspire others to do the same.

In 2008, in a partnership with renowned academic and researcher Dr. Alan Berkowitz, Mike released an educational, reality-based film on bystander intervention entitled, RESPONSE ABILITY. This project caused a flurry of activity and requests around this phenomenon. The program is used on over 250 campuses and in the programming for 43 NIC/NPC/PFA groups, and went on to win awards within the higher education community (2009 Laurel Wreath from NIC and 2009 Fellow from FEA) as well as the International Telly Award. It has now evolved into an educational and empowerment initiative which includes a comprehensive website, workshops, certification trainings, DVD package, book, and this keynote speech.

Mike has now launched the latest evolution of this message: The Revolution for Courageous Leadership—a blend of leadership and bystander intervention. A movement away from the shame, regret and guilt we all feel from being a bystander to any injustice or wrongdoing. A movement towards a whole new world where people are standing up, stepping in, and speaking out against inappropriate, abusive, or unhealthy behaviors. A movement based on a creed that challenges, inspires, and moves people to action.

“Mike is a professional first, and then dynamic speaker second. He earns his credibility by citing research, telling a personal story as a great example of what not to do in a situation, and then provides momentum that builds until the very end. Mike was able to help many find their voice.”

– BrianTenclinger, Triangle Fraternity

“Mike was the ultimate professional and speaker through and through. Our students were engaged from start to finish during his keynote, and many students expressed that it changed their perception of their role and responsibility in situations where they can intervene and have a positive impact. We are thrilled the impact that The Revolution for Courageous Leadership had on UAB’s fraternity and sorority community.”

– Kaitlin Kirk, University of Alabama at Birmingham

“Mike is easy to work with, reliable, asks for candid feedback and puts that feedback into immediate action (when he can). He’s a pleasure to work with and is obviously very passionate about the courageous leadership message he has to share with students.”

– Tara Schuster, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

“Mike’s keynote helped the students look to the future and reflect on how the actions they take today can determine the legacy that they create for others who may stand where they once did. It was important for me that the fraternity/sorority students have the tools so that they can be role models and leaders of change for not only their chapters, but their greater campus community and world.”

– Elizabeth Doyle, Elmhurst College

RESPONSE ABILITY: The Revolution for Courageous Leadership

Courageous leadership is not a place to get to—or a title to attain—it’s a way of being. When we are going past our fears and shame to take actions for others in moments of need and for what is right, we are being courageous leadership.

In this galvanizing keynote, Mike reveals the nature of being a bystander and the barriers many of us feel when we consider whether or not to act—those that get in the way of showing courageous leadership for other people, organizations and issues. Students from all walks of life will then understand how seizing the opportunity to act can dramatically change their campus, and how it can allow them to make the difference they already want to make. Mike concentrates on giving his audience the six core strengths and three powerful actions to use whenever they see unhealthy or negative behavior among their peers, in their classes, on their campuses and in their lives.

With The Creed for Courageous Leadership serving as the blueprint from the beginning of the keynote, Mike engages the audience and reveals how we all participate in bystander behavior. He also emphasizes how these strengths and actions go beyond the campus, and students will be equipped for life to deal with problems as they see them happening around them.

RESPONSE ABILITY: The Revolution for Courageous Leadership is appropriate for all student groups, and it has been especially popular for fraternity and sorority leadership training. Consider it also for residence life training, student-athletes, emerging leaders events, peer education groups, wellness programs and more.

This is our opportunity to empower the 80 percent of students who make the right choices. It’s time for them to stand up, step in, and speak out when they see the other 20 percent making choices that bring down their communities.

Before the audience leaves, they are given the opportunity to recite the Creed and join the revolution and receive ongoing materials to support them in showing courageous leadership throughout their lives.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the impact of bystander behavior in all of our lives.
  • Become reacquainted with personal strengths and external actions that make a difference.
  • Gain the social awareness and personal power to intervene in problem situations and show courageous leadership.

Mike’s Bio

Mike is a Chicago-based filmmaker turned advocate. Since 1990, he has created educational projects aimed at empowering young people. He has produced more than 60 educational and promotional film projects for higher education organizations over the past three decades, earning awards and a reputation for challenging negative social norms in college student communities. He now dedicates himself full-time as the leader of RESPONSE ABILITY: The Revolution for Courageous Leadership. He is a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity and founded his chapter at Texas Christian University. He also served his international fraternity as Assistant Executive Director. Mike is a member of the National Speakers Association and holds the designation of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP). The CSP is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform competence and is held by less than 12 percent of speakers worldwide.

To visit Mike’s personal website, click here.


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