Making the Speaking Business More Customer Focused

10 Breakthrough Speakers

August 26th, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment granting American women the constitutional right to vote. Designated “Women’s Equality Day” in 1973, we want to take an opportunity to celebrate Ten Breakthrough Female Speakers.

We’ve selected these speakers because they are leaders in their fields, from science to media; the military to business; geopolitics to outer space; comedy to sports.  These speakers have one thing in common: they have broken through barriers to achieve their incredible results and use those experiences to inspire audiences around the world with their live & virtual presentations.


Katty Kay – Insights on American Politics, Global Affairs, and Issues for Women

katty kay international speaker 300x180 - 10 Breakthrough SpeakersKatty Kay proclaims that “when something happens in America, my first reaction is to ask ‘How does this connect to other countries?’…because stories from this city, Washington, D.C., – ripple out, right around the world.” She is a Washington, D.C.-based British news anchor, who 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 best-sellers: The Confidence Code for GirlsThe Confidence Code; and Womenomics.

Watch Katty Kay’s Video  


Kathy Buckley – Hearing-impaired Award-Winning Comedienne

kathy buckley inspirational speaker 300x180 - 10 Breakthrough SpeakersKathy Buckley is a gifted comedienne, award-winning actress, accomplished author and renowned inspirational speaker – who is a force like no other. Billed as ‘America’s First Hearing Impaired Comedienne‘, Kathy is also a five-time American Comedy Award Nominee as Best Stand-Up Female Comedienne. As an actress, she is known for her guest starring roles on shows such as Touched by an Angel, and for her critically acclaimed one woman Off-Broadway show, Don’t Buck with Me/Now Hear This!. As a motivational speaker, she inspires hundreds of thousands of people around the world, sharing her story of overcoming some of the most difficult obstacles one can imagine in life – and how she met those challenges with dignity, courage, and laughter.

Watch Kathy Buckley’s Video


Vernice Armour – First African American Female Combat Pilot and Motivational Speaker

vernice armour leadership speaker 300x180 - 10 Breakthrough SpeakersOnce you are CLEARED HOT, now what? Known simply as “FlyGirl”, Vernice ignites her audiences with a dynamic spark that can’t be extinguished. Soar through the execution of any plan by harnessing the power of a “Breakthrough Mentality” mindset! From the moment she leaps into the audience, she shows attendees how to go from “Zero to Breakthrough” and create a personal flight plan utilizing her candid strategies to help win on the battlefield of life! Leveraging her “Breakthrough Mentality” mindset, she propelled herself from beat cop to combat pilot in a record-breaking three years and became the United States Marine Corps’ first African American female pilot and, shortly after, she was recognized as America’s First African American Female Combat Pilot by the Department of Defense. Vernice ultimately impacts organizations and individuals with an understanding of the passion and leadership required to excel. Through her keynotes, executive and group coaching, seminars and executive retreats, Vernice conveys messages of Zero to Breakthrough™ through her unique insight and life strategy: “You HAVE permission to Engage!”

Watch Vernice Armour’s Video


Robyn Benincasa  – Firefighter, CNN Hero and Motivational Adventure Racer

robyn benincasa motivational speaker 300x180 - 10 Breakthrough Speakers

Robyn Benincasa – NYT Best-Selling Author of How Winning Works: 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth and World Champion Adventure Racer – accepts full blame for inspiring people to do insane things like climb Mount Kilimanjaro, run their first triathlon, start their own adventure racing teams, or start their own businesses. This is, after all, who she is and what she does: Robyn Benincasa inspires people to do amazing things. Her unforgettable presentations have taught countless high-performance leaders all over the world about Building World Class Teams and the followership skills necessary for dynamic role shifting and true teamwork.

Watch Robyn Benincasa’s Video



Lisa Bodell – Global Leader on Culture Change Focused on Simplification and Innovation and Best-Selling Author

Lisa Bodell Innovation Speaker 300x180 - 10 Breakthrough SpeakersLisa Bodell is a global leader on behavior change, whose skill-building firm has transformed hundreds of thousands of employees from Fortune 500 companies by showing them how to eliminate the complexity that holds them back and get to the work that matters. Her talks offer a roadmap to eradicate the workplace complexity that is killing organizations’ ability to be agile, fast and innovative. In order to experience this trifecta of competitive advantage, organizations must embrace simplicity as a basic operating principle, and Lisa’s content and energy move them to action.

Watch Lisa Bodell’s Video



Amy Edmondson –  Speaker and Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management

amy edmondson leadership speaker 300x180 - 10 Breakthrough Speakers

Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School. The Novartis Chair was established to enable the study of human interactions that lead to the creation of successful business enterprises for the betterment of society. Edmondson’s research examines leadership, learning and innovation in teams and organizations, and has been published in numerous academic and managerial articles. Her book Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate and Compete in the Knowledge Economy (Jossey-Bass, 2012) emphasizes managing the activities that enable collaborative work across boundaries, rather than designing and managing stable teams.

Watch Amy Edmondson’s Video



rhea seddon leadership speaker - 10 Breakthrough Speakers

Dr. Rhea Seddon – NASA Astronaut, Medical Doctor, Author and Speaker on Leadership & Teamwork

Dr. Rhea Seddon is a woman of many firsts, was one of only six women in a class of 100 in medical school – and the first woman ever accepted to her General Surgery Residency Program. As one of the first six women accepted into the Astronaut Corps, her marriage to fellow Astronaut Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson produced the first astronaut couple – and the two of them produced the first official “astrotots.” She was the eighth woman accepted to the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Besides her space career, Rhea’s life experiences have led her from surgeon to licensed private pilot, to healthcare executive, entrepreneur, business owner, author and now inspirational public speaker.

Watch Dr. Rhea Seddon’s Video


 Dr. Dambisa Moyo – Global Economist, Author & Distinguished Scholar:

dambisa moyo economy speaker 300x180 - 10 Breakthrough Speakers

Dr. Dambisa Moyo is a pre-eminent thinker, who influences key decision-makers in strategic investment and public policy. She has earned a strong reputation as a top-tier opinion-former and trusted advisor on MacroeconomicsGeopoliticsTechnology and Millennial themes. She is respected for her unique perspectives, her balance of contrarian thinking with measured
judgment – and her ability to turn economic insight into investible ideas. Dambisa is a Board member of Barclays Bank. She holds a PhD in Economics from Oxford, a Masters from Harvard – and is recognized for fresh and innovative ideas as the author of four New York Times best-selling book, including Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth and How to Fix It (2018). Dambisa was named to the list of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World

Watch Dr. Dambisa Moyo’s Video


liz wiseman leadership speaker - 10 Breakthrough SpeakersLiz Wiseman – Leadership Speaker & Bestselling Author

Liz Wiseman  is CEO of the Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm headquartered in Silicon Valley, California. Some of her recent clients include: Apple, AT&T, Disney, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Nike, Salesforce, Tesla, and Twitter. Liz has been listed on the Thinkers50 ranking and named one of the top 10 leadership thinkers in the world. She has conducted significant research in the field of leadership and collective intelligence and writes for Harvard Business ReviewFortune, and a variety of other business and leadership journals. A former executive at Oracle Corporation, she worked over the course of 17 years as the Vice President of Oracle University and as the global leader for Human Resource Development.

Watch Liz Wiseman’s Video


Carey Lohrenz – First Female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot, Author and Motivational Speaker

carey lohrenz motivational speaker 300x180 - 10 Breakthrough Speakers

Carey Lohrenz knows what it takes to win in one of the highest pressure, extreme environments imaginable: in the cockpit at Mach 2. The same challenges are found in business: markets change, customer needs evolve and if you do not adapt quickly your company is at risk.As the first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy, having flown missions worldwide as a combat-mission-ready United States Navy pilot, Lohrenz is used to working in fast moving, dynamic environments, where inconsistent execution can generate catastrophic results. Carey is a powerhouse in the field of delivering engaging leadership, high performing organizations and diversity training – that directly impacts a company’s ROI and bottom line. Her experience in the all-male environment of fighter aviation and her ability to pass on the lessons learned in her career allow her to deliver insight and guidance from a credible platform on women’s leadership issues.

Watch Carey Lohrenz’s Video



To Learn more about any of these Inspiring Speakers contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]



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