Former Commander, USS Benfold and Author, It’s Your Ship
SUMMARY: Mike Abrashoff was the most-junior officer in the Pacific Fleet when he took command of the near-worst performing ship. Twelve months later, the USS Benfold was the best ship in the entire Navy – using the same crew. The story of that stunning transformation has lessons for every organization: leadership matters – and culture is everything. Mike’s written three books – his first, It’s Your Ship, has sold over 1 million copies. His Leadership Roadmap offers clear, battle-tested, and actionable steps. Mike shows people at every level of the organization how to engage and take incremental steps toward change that can make a dramatic difference at work. Mike is clear, “I didn’t turn the ship around – my crew did that. What I did was to create an environment where they felt safe, empowered and supported.
When you do that, anything is possible.”
When Mike Abrashoff took command of the USS Benfold, morale was low, turnover was high and the ship’s performance ranked near the bottom of the Pacific Fleet. Just twelve months later Benfold was ranked #1 – using the very same crew. The lesson was clear – leadership matters and culture is everything. This inspiring talk is for every individual and organization looking for practical and usable ways to take organizational performance to new heights. In Mike’s case, he realized that before the ship’s performance could change, he had to change his leadership style. Mike worked to create a culture of trust and empower his crew to take charge and use ingenuity and initiative to improve every aspect of the way things were done. Top down leadership is dead, so when the crew would present a problem, Mike became famous for responding “What would YOU do? It’s YOUR ship!” Mike’s presentation leaves audiences with the tools and inspiration to accomplish big goals.
Senior Editor-at-Large, Fortune and Bestselling Author; Helping Leaders Confront Trends Driving Disruption
SUMMARY: The best companies and leaders win by confronting reality faster than the competition. Geoff Colvin of Fortune delivers valuable insights to help them do just that. His unique perspective stems from unparalleled access to top global business leaders who tell him what they’re seeing, thinking, and doing. As a result, Geoff can provide audiences with a clearer path for an uncertain future. Geoff unpacks actionable insights on the economic, market, political, and technological forces driving disruptive change. Geoff’s columns and cover stories in Fortune have earned him millions of loyal fans, many of whom also hear him on the CBS Radio Network, where he reaches seven million listeners each week. Geoff Colvin is author of four books including the groundbreaking international bestseller Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else. His latest book is The New York Times bestseller Humans are Underrated which looks at the future of work and how humans will fit into a workplace filled with robots and smart technology.
Every day can bring harsh new surprises. Economic and policy change. The competitor or new business model you never saw coming. Game-changing technology. Competing in the friction-free economy has leaders worrying most about what they don’t know. In his talk, Geoff Colvin leverages nearly 40 years at Fortune to arm audiences with valuable perspective on the trends driving business disruption, revealing how top leaders are confronting them right now. Economic growth, consumer demand, interest rates, taxes, employment costs – these issues are transforming the business environment daily, and Geoff provides unparalleled insights in terms you won’t hear elsewhere. And while political winds may blow toward protectionism, the market trends powering the friction-free economy are technological and going strong, requiring swift and full attention. As a result, winning in business today demands extraordinary leadership acting on the best intelligence it can find. Geoff’s message is optimistic and energizing: opportunity is more widely available than ever and there will be winners – why shouldn’t it be you?
Lead Anchor, BBC World News America and Bestselling Author; Insights on American Politics, Global Affairs and Issues for Women
SUMMARY: Washington, D.C.-based British news anchor Katty Kay brings a fresh perspective to the reporting of American politics and global affairs. Katty’s insights reflect a global mindset that is a natural offshoot of having grown up in the Middle East and worked as a journalist in Europe, Africa, and Asia before coming to Washington in 1996. The award-winning journalist is currently co-anchor of Beyond 100 Days, a one-hour news program that covers Washington politics and its impact globally. The show airs to an enormous audience worldwide. Katty is also a regular guest and substitute co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program. When she’s not busy making sense of the news from Washington and around the globe, Katty writes on the art and science of women and self-assurance - helping them turn thoughts into action to master a more confident mindset. She is co-author (with Claire Shipman) of three New York Times bestsellers: The Confidence Code; The Confidence Code for Girls; and Womenomics.
SPEECH OFFERING: THE CONFIDENCE CODE
Confidence! With it, we can take on the world; without it, we don’t ask for raises, request that important meeting or take risks. In the success equation, research shows that confidence is even more critical than competence. But what is confidence? Where does it come from? Are we born with it or do we acquire it? And why do women have less of it than their talents deserve? This speech can be tailored to women or girls/parents and is based on Katty’s two bestselling books on the subject. Katty Kay inspires audiences with the latest scientific research and anecdotes from her own career and the many women and girls she interviewed. “Neurologists have isolated a ‘confidence gene,’” says Katty “and when I was tested, I learned I am not genetically predisposed to being confident.” Her experience is like that of so many women, even senior women, whose lack of confidence is what really holds them back. But confidence is also art – impacted by how we choose to live with our genes. The good news then is that being confident is a choice. Katty’s talk inspires audiences to take action – to go outside their comfort zones, to try new hard things, to take risks, to be prepared to fail and to discover the secret to success.
Co-author, Mavericks at Work; Co-founder, Management Lab; Founding Writer, Fast Company
Helping Leaders & Organizations Become More Resilient, Innovative & Inspiring
SUMMARY: All change goes against the rules. Polly LaBarre arms leaders with a Maverick Manual to hack the status quo and ramp up originality, invention and game-changing disruption. The true work of leadership, she says, is inspiring, unleashing, and amplifying human creativity, passion, and resourcefulness - creating a cultural DNA where the response to change happens almost as fast as change itself. Co-author of Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win and founding team member of Fast Company magazine, Polly is co-founder of Management Lab, the think-and-do tank where she consults with top global brands. Polly is also a top speaker who leaves audiences with actionable lessons from organizations and leaders who are transforming their cultures and industries by breaking the rules and harnessing the human element. She inspires people to engage and reimagine the challenges they face, become fearless experimenters,
and rethink the work of leadership.
SPEECH OFFERING: LIBERATION LEADERSHIP - A NEW WAY OF LEADING CHANGE
The era of the heroic, all-knowing, all-powerful leader is over. Leadership is no longer a function of your title or where you sit in the organization. It’s a consequence of your capacity to get things done with other people. But as disruptive forces have transformed the workplace, the practice of leadership has lagged behind; stranded in outmoded mindsets, processes, and organization structure. In this presentation, Polly shows audiences a path to transforming the organization by rethinking how leadership is done. She reveals what new leadership models look like in practice at bold and successful organizations that have reshaped their leadership mindset and reaped the rewards. Polly’s vivid storytelling highlights how top leaders pressed the reset button on their leadership style to lead change in completely new ways. Audiences walk away understanding the most important things that need to be done to “leader-proof” the organization.
First Woman Thunderbird Pilot, Combat Veteran, Fighter Squadron Commander, White House Fellow & Adviser, and Indomitable Spirit
SUMMARY: Col. Nicole Malachowski, USAF (Ret.) defies stereotypes. Yes, she was a jet fighter pilot, but if you think you know her based on that, you’d be wrong. A leader, a combat veteran, the first woman pilot on the Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron, a White House Fellow, and an inductee into both the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame, Nicole’s distinguished 21-year Air Force career exceeded her wildest dreams. But the dream came to an end when a devastating tick-borne illness left her struggling greatly to speak or walk for almost nine months. An indomitable spirit, Nicole fought back against overwhelming odds and prevailed. Drawing on stories from her career and personal life, Nicole inspires audiences to rethink the challenges they face every day. She urges them to go beyond resilience and become resurgent. Nicole empowers people with three key beliefs: failure and risk is the price of entry for achieving something great; sometimes you need to yield to overcome; and her personal mantra – “nobody wants to lead a scripted life.”
SPEECH OFFERING: HARNESSING HEADWINDS OF CHANGE
In flying, headwinds slow you down. At their worst, they cause you to change your plans and impact the effectiveness of weapons in combat. Headwinds demand that pilots be resilient and resourceful, literally on the fly. “Headwinds are the perfect metaphor for the change impacting organizations and individuals today,” says 21-year Air Force veteran Nicole Malachowski. A former fighter squadron commander and mission-ready pilot in three operational fighter squadrons and the first woman to fly on the Air Force Thunderbirds, Nicole has the perfect message to inspire audiences to think differently about the headwinds of change they face – organizationally and personally. Drawing on her extraordinary Air Force career, Nicole offers lessons on leadership, followership, and overcoming adversity. She weaves storytelling with breathtaking video from the cockpit of her jet as the Thunderbirds execute precision turns, rolls, and loops – all just 36” from one another at 400 mph and just 300 feet off the ground. Nicole’s keynote helps audiences ignite their own indomitable spirit in order to succeed far beyond what they might dream. “Failure isn’t fatal,” she says, “it’s the price of entry if you want to achieve something great.”
Entrepreneur & Innovator; Co-founder, Fast Company; Bestselling Author: Simply Brilliant, Practically Radical, and Mavericks at Work
SUMMARY: Bill Taylor shows business leaders a path to go from now to next in a world filled with nonstop disruption. As a young entrepreneur, Bill co-founded Fast Company, the bold business magazine that redefined the genre and chronicled the tech-fueled revolution that transformed business and work. Highlighting free-thinking leaders and companies that are upending their organizations and industries is Bill’s passion – and he had a front-row seat. After selling the magazine, Bill has continued to inspire a generation of executives and company-builders to think differently about leadership, change, culture, and the new world of work. He’s written three bestselling books filled with examples of new ways to innovate and succeed: Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways, Practically Radical, and Mavericks at Work. Bill also writes regularly for the Harvard Business Review. In a business environment where ordinary is not an option, Bill Taylor is a natural storyteller who inspires people to avoid the experience trap and not allow what they know to limit what they can imagine about the future.
SPEECH OFFERING: SIMPLY BRILLIANT LEADERSHIP: THE ART OF GOING FROM NOW TO NEXT
Don’t Let What You Know Limit What You Can Imagine
As the world is being remade before our eyes, the leaders who make a difference are the ones who can reimagine what’s possible at their organization and in their field, and who can turn bold strategies into relentless execution. And they’re not just CEOs; they’re executives running business units, managers in charge of key departments, engineers or marketers running project teams, entrepreneurs building a company from scratch. Regardless of their formal role or title, high-impact leaders make sure their expertise doesn’t get in the way of innovation. They champion provocative thinking that energizes their colleagues, and create organizations where people get the chance to be at their best every day. Put simply, the best leaders are the most insatiable learners and the most authentic mentors. Bill Taylor offers hands-on thinking gleaned from the extraordinary leaders he’s studied over the last 25 years—leaders who are as competitive as they are human, and as creative as they are consistent.
Basketball Legend, Broadcaster, Humanitarian, and Survivor
SUMMARY: Basketball legend Bill Walton is one of sports’ most recognizable and beloved figures. His success on the court is well-documented; the nation’s top college basketball star at UCLA under legendary coach John Wooden, he then played for two NBA Championship teams – the Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics. But Bill’s nightmarish challenges off the court are less known. He stuttered so badly he couldn’t say a simple “thank you” until he was 28 years old. And a foot disorder led to 37 surgeries on his feet, legs, and back – keeping him sidelined over half of his NBA career. Armed with grit and a positive outlook, Bill improbably overcame it all. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and named to the “50 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time” list. After his playing career, Bill pursued broadcasting; he is currently covering Pac-12 games on ESPN. Bill Walton has led a life of humility in service of inspiring others. His autobiography, Back from the Dead, was a New York Times bestseller and he is perhaps the best-known Deadhead, having seen over 900 shows.
SPEECH OFFERING: WHAT GREAT COACHES TAUGHT ME ABOUT LEADERSHIP
Basketball icon Bill Walton was part of legendary college and NBA championship teams: UCLA, the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers. He was also part of the last place San Diego Clippers. According to Bill, the difference between winning and losing was leadership. The best coaches knew how to get the best out of their players. In Bill’s career no one was better than legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. An English teacher who coached on the side for extra money, Wooden focused on the fundamentals. He never talked about winning – and rarely even mentioned the opposing team. Wooden did insist that players work together, not be selfish, execute flawlessly, and be accountable for doing their best. Armed with that approach Wooden went on to win 88 consecutive games (a men’s collegiate record which still stands) and ten national championships. Bill, the consummate storyteller, shares tales that are as insightful as they are entertaining – about lessons of leadership he learned from John Wooden, Red Auerbach, Jack Ramsey, and others during his storied career. Bill provides an inside look at how world-class performance is really achieved on the basketball court - leadership and teamwork lessons based on principles that transfer off the court, too.