Inspiring Story of Leadership from Former Commander of USS Benfold
Real-life Leadership advice from the former captain of the best ship in the U.S. Navy—the U.S.S. Benfold
First book, It’s Your Ship, has sold over 1.1 million copies to date
Fresh ways to build trust, harness people’s passion and achieve extraordinary results; common-sense ideas to stay focused only on the things you can control/influence
Past clients include: Cox Communications, Disney, Exxon Mobil, JP Morgan, Microsoft, Starwood Hotels, Toyota
Mike Abrashoff has a personal tagline: “You can tell people what to do but you can’t order excellence.” When Mike was the most-junior officer in the Pacific Fleet 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.”
In many ways, what Mike was able to do with the USS Benfold was an extreme example of the same problems facing many organizations today. That’s why dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and Fast Company have cited Mike’s story as an inspiring lesson for business. Leaders especially identify with Mike’s being accountable for the results in an environment where he couldn’t make the rules.
“When my crew came to me with a problem, I’d say ‘It’s your ship -- how would you fix it?’.” Mike focused on the one thing he could influence: his crew’s attitude, because culture is the ultimate competitive weapon for any organization.
Mike’s established a set of management principles that he calls The Leadership Roadmap. At the core of his leadership approach on Benfold was a process of replacing command and control with commitment and cohesion, and engaging the hearts, minds, and loyalties of workers with conviction and humility. “The most important thing that a captain can do is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. The idea is to empower every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence.”
By every measure, these principles achieved breakthrough results: turnover decreased to an unprecedented 1%; the rate of promotions tripled; and the crew slashed operating expenses by 25%. Regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness. This remarkable turnaround was accomplished by the very same crew that had performed so poorly just months before.
Mike is author of three books. His first, It’s Your Ship, has a timeless message: don’t use outside forces that stand in your way as excuses -- control the things you can influence and amazing results will happen. His next books, It’s Our Ship and Get Your Ship Together, showed how these principles have been put into action by business leaders in their own organizations.
A popular keynote speaker for audiences looking to ramp up organizational performance, Mike has spoken to every industry and kind of audience -- from board retreats to front line personnel; from sales groups to universities; from Fortune 500s to startups. He inspires audiences to rethink their beliefs about leadership and organizational culture and tailors the message to focus on engagement, execution, change, safety, diversity, leadership, teamwork, innovation, accountability and more.
Prior to commanding USS Benfold, Mike served as the Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. He also helped draft the air defense plan for naval forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990, coinciding with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait; and served as the executive officer of the Cruiser Shiloh, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
Mike Abrashoff is the founder of Aegis Performance Group, a consulting firm that works with and supports leaders as they address leadership, talent and performance challenges within their organizations. Mike and his team prompt leaders at all levels to re-imagine their leadership thinking and create new ways to elevate individual, team and organizational performance.
Consultant and Speaker on Leadership, Peak Performance, and Change Management
Speaker on Leadership and Peak Performance
Talks about: Leading Change in the New Reality & Moving to Great
Former NFL Widereceiver for the New York Jets & Green Bay Packers
Past clients include: Dunkin’ Donuts, Nationwide Insurance, AVIVA Insurance, Alaska Airlines, State Farm Insurance, Starbucks Coffee, USAA, MetLife, Novo Nordisk
Eric Boles is the president of The Game Changers Inc., a training and development company dedicated to maximizing the human asset. Through assessment, consulting, coaching and corporate training, The Game Changers Inc. has set the standard for helping organizations enhance their culture and develop greater levels of commitment and performance.
Eric Boles is also a highly acclaimed keynote speaker and consultant for some of the most recognized and respected organizations in the world. His insights on Leadership, Peak Performance, Team Dynamics, and Managing Change has been shared with clients such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Nationwide Insurance, AVIVA Insurance, Alaska Airlines, State Farm Insurance, Starbucks Coffee, USAA, MetLife, and Novo Nordisk . Eric also speaks to a variety of organizations and associations, including those in sales, education, government, healthcare, manufacturing and financial services.
Prior to becoming an authority on high performance, Eric learned many principles of team dynamics and leadership from his experience playing in the National Football League (NFL) with the New York Jets and the Green Bay Packers. While in the NFL, he had the privilege of being coached and mentored by some of the finest coaches and players in the game.
Eric is an avid sports fan, golfer and reader. He is married to his wife Cindy, and they have two daughters, Taylor and Madison.
Former NBA Athlete, Author and Speaker on Mentorship, Leadership, Teamwork & Motivation
Speaker on Mentorship, Leadership, Teamwork & Motivation
Talks about: No One Can Stop You & The Best Team Always Wins
NBA shooting guard for the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and the Detroit Pistons & Host of Food Network’s Giving You the Business
Past clients include: Accenture, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, The Dwyer Group, Allianz, Amway, GNC, Hilton, Medtronic, UPS Store, Radio Shack, Red Robin
Walter Bond is recognized as one of the world's preeminent experts on sales, motivation, high performing teams, and leadership - and has been helping people turn self-limiting beliefs into self-empowering strategies for more than a decade. Like many young men growing up in Chicago, Walter dreamed of becoming an NBA athlete. Facing injuries and other challenges with unusual determination, he rose from being a reserve player coming off the bench - to become the first rookie free agent to start for the Dallas Mavericks. This astonishing journey provides the foundation for the powerful principles Walter teaches today. Walter's stories give listeners a roadmap they can follow to reinvent themselves - and recover the confidence they need to level up in their professional lives. Drawing on lessons learned in the trenches both in sales and as an entrepreneur, Walter's presentations open up new ways of looking not only at business challenges - but also the world.
Walter's stories are rich with humour, emotions, and authentic breakthroughs. His inventive phrasing, mannerisms, body language, pacing, and wisdom exert a powerful effect on his audiences - making his message memorable for months and years to come.
Walter has impacted hundreds of thousands of people in his rapid rise to the top of the speaking industry. Through his keynotes, workshops, books and CDs - Walter teaches that when you learn to eliminate excuses, understand the power of mentorship and control your mindset - that confidence and success are possible for all who desire it.
Walter creates an experience that audiences have enjoyed worldwide - and never forget. His dynamic and compelling programs provide both the motivation and the strategies to excel in business and in life.
Talks about how great brands deliver excellence to nurture customer relationships
Audiences learn how to achieve greater results by eliminating “ordinary" thinking and mastering the habit of excellence.
Author of the bestselling, The HERO Effect; Former marketing executive who built a little-known family business into the #1 franchise in their industry with annual revenues exceeding $2 billion.
Past clients include: American Express, Delta Airlines, Nationwide, H&R Block, PayPal, New York Life, Million Dollar Round Table, Southwest Airlines, Merck, Atrium Health
Kevin’s unconventional path to business and personal success has taught him that winning in business and in life requires anything but conventional thinking. He grew up in Muskegon, Michigan where his blue-collar roots taught him the value of hard work and determination. With a streetwise aptitude and a never quit attitude, he worked his way from the front lines in business to the executive boardroom.
Kevin understands what drives organizational excellence and customer loyalty. He knows first-hand how great brands think, feel and act. He is a branding and culture expert with a 30+ year career in franchise development. He spent the last 20 years of his corporate career as part of a leadership team that built a little-known family business into the #1 franchise in their industry with annual revenues exceeding $2 billion dollars. Since 2016, he has traveled the world pursuing a mission to share The HERO Effect® message with as many people and organizations as possible.
The HERO Effect® is a simple philosophy that separates world-class organizations and high-performance people from everybody else. Kevin is passionate about helping people expand their vision, develop their potential and grow their results. And, as the father of a child with autism, he knows firsthand how the principles of true success reach beyond the boardroom and into the lives of real people facing the challenges of everyday life.
As a highly sought-after keynote speaker, Kevin has had the privilege of speaking to a wide variety of organizations including American Express, Delta Airlines, Nationwide, H&R Block, PayPal, New York Life, Million Dollar Round Table, Southwest Airlines, Merck, Atrium Health, and many more.
Kevin has received numerous honors, including being named one of the ‘Best Keynote Speakers of 2019’ by NorthStar Meetings Group; one of the ‘Top 41 Motivational Speakers Who Can Energize Any Sales Team’ by ResourcefulSelling; among the ‘Top Customer Service Speakers’ by Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau; and an elite and indemand ‘Gold Star Speaker’ by GDA Speakers.
Kevin is the author of the best-selling book The HERO Effect® - Being Your Best When It Matters the Most. Kevin entertains, inspires and challenges people to show up every day and make a positive difference at work and in life!
Thought Leader & Speaker on Organizational Accountability and Personal Leadership
Mike Evans has developed a unique perspective from 20+ years of working alongside a star studded list of world-renowned thought leaders. He served in senior leadership and consulting roles with Kotter International, FranklinCovey, and Tom Peters Company. In addition, he is a leading authority on Unleashing Personal and Organizational Accountability, clients rely upon Mike’s solutions to: Accelerate Change, Shape Their Optimal Culture, Flawlessly Execute Key Strategies, Ignite Leadership Capacity at all Levels, and Amplify Employee Engagement.
Mike works with organizations around the globe and in virtually every arena, from the tech sector to financial services, manufacturing, health care, hospitality, entertainment, retail, and the US Government. Clients include: Intel, Capital One, Apple, BNY Mellon, Pfizer, The United States Navy, Fidelity Investments, Johnson & Johnson, Symantec, Cigna Corporation, PharMerica, Oracle, Astra Zeneca, Baxter International Inc., Shell Oil, Cargill, American Airlines, DuPont USA, and NASA.
Mike consults with senior teams, facilitates custom workshops, delivers keynote speeches and provides coaching and consulting on all of these subject areas. He uses his unique insights, passion, experience, and humor to positively affect individuals, teams and organizations around the world. He is experienced with executive leadership teams and groups at all organizational levels.
His style is engaging, upbeat, entertaining, thought-provoking, compelling, and most importantly educational, relevant and impactful. Individuals, teams and organizations yield immediate results by applying what they learn.
His personal mission is to help individuals, teams and organizations accelerate their ability to achieve more than they ever believed possible. Clients describe him as inspiring, motivating and a ball of energy with an unequaled focus and passion for helping them achieve their desired results.
CEO and founder of Student Maid, a cleaning company that has employed thousands of millennials and is known for building the next generation of leaders
Kristen talks about how to build a culture of belonging with multiple generations in the workplace, and how to deliver and receive criticism as a leader.
First TED Talk has received more than two million hits on YouTube
Past clients include: Apple, Burger King, jetBlue, Ohio State University, PGA Tour, Re/MAX
Kristen Hadeed believes that authentic, human leadership can change the world.
At 19, with hardly any leadership experience, Kristen started a cleaning business called Student Maid. She never expected it to be her career; it was simply a way to earn money while she was in college. But before she graduated, her company received a contract to clean hundreds of apartments—and it changed her path forever. Kristen hired a team of 60 people help her, and within days, 75% of that team quit. That’s when Kristen’s obsession with learning how to be a leader began.
Over the next 14 years, Kristen learned a lot by screwing up. But most importantly, she learned how to lead from her heart. Doing so helped her take Student Maid from a small cleaning company to a business known on a global scale for its culture of belonging, its focus on people, and its purpose of building leaders.
Today, Kristen spends her time helping leaders, teams, and organizations around the world embrace their humanity. She’s worked with just about every industry with one purpose behind it all: To build a better world through courageous, compassionate leadership.
Kristen’s work has been featured in news outlets including PBS, FOX, Inc., NBC, TIME, and Forbes. Kristen’s book, Permission To Screw Up, has sold more than 40,000 copies worldwide. Her first TED Talk has more than three million views on YouTube
Rebecca talks about becoming self-aware to overcome instinctual limitations – the ancient, often subconscious fears -- that hold us back from our optimal performance and our happiest lives.
Audiences learn to find new ways of understanding their fears, their strengths, their shortcomings, and all of the ways that their brains keep sabotaging them from being the most effective leaders they can be.
Rebecca is the Founder and CEO of the leadership, continuous 360-review mobile application, icueity.
Past clients include: ADP, Charles Schwab, Consolidated Assurance, Global Credit Union, Lockheed Martin, Visa, and Vistage.
Rebecca knows fear. As an evolutionary biologist and stress expert, Dr. Rebecca Heiss is dedicated to helping us become self-aware and overcome our instinctual limitations – the ancient, often subconscious fears that hold us back from our optimal performance and our happiest lives. Her research has been designated “transformative” by the National Science Foundation and it is waking up audiences around the world.
As an author of the newly acclaimed book Instinct, founder and CEO of the leadership 360- review mobile application, icueity, and highly sought-after professional speaker, Rebecca has found her calling in helping others recognize the power of biological applications in their lives. A former educator, Dr. Heiss spent much of her earlier career in the classroom at both the high school and college levels and was recruited to be a founding member of an innovative charter school with a focus on entrepreneurial thinking and impact-based learning.
Today she shares her work from stages around the world as a full-time speaker and facilitator of her Fearless Accelerator program and Year of Happy – an experience that delivers programming and physical subscription boxes with challenges and community to move otherwise successful people from a state of languishing in “meh” to finally finding HAPPY.
Rebecca’s “fearless” message inspires hope and actionable insights to train our brains to work for us, rather than against us in times of uncertainty. With surprising humor and palpable energy, no matter if Dr. Heiss is delivering virtually or on stage, she wins over her audiences with interactive, inspiring, and timely takeaways.
Rebecca lives in South Carolina with her spoiled rotten dogs named Guinness & Murphy and every day tries to live her life motto: “spread happy.”
Violet talks about how past programming keeps professionals stuck in survival mode and unable to operate at their full potential using blends cutting-edge science with personal mental models in this motivating and entertaining keynote.
Audiences leave with an innovative framework to unleash their own performance, and share the gifts that they came to share, immediately after the presentation.
Violet Rainwater comes from an extensive background in corporate sales in the financial service industry and is a 9-time Million Dollar Round Table Qualifier, highly respected speaker and workshop facilitator.
Past clients include: Jackson National Life, Allstate, Dermalogica, Bysis, Paychex, Monster, Arcona, Choice Hotel, and US Bank.
Affectionately known as The Rainmaker, Violet Rainwater delivers high energy, value packed presentations that equip professionals to drive sales with ease, efficiency and extraordinary results. By teaching a modern sales system that addresses both the technical and the transformational components of selling, Violet empowers professionals to act and achieve their highest potential in their careers and in their personal endeavors.
With an extensive background in corporate sales in the financial service industry, Violet worked her way up from an assistant position to finishing first in her company year after year. She is a 9-time Million Dollar Round Table Qualifier, a designation held by less than 8 percent of all financial professionals. Using her extensive studies in sales psychology, digital technology and two decades of boots on the ground experience , she teaches teams how to plan, design, and construct sales systems that help them stand out, connect more deeply with their prospects and customers and optimize their book of business.
As a highly respected speaker and workshop facilitator, Violet delivers value-packed and engaging keynotes that fuse sales psychology, real-world experience, digital technology and high-energy fun. Participants walk away, equipped, engaged, and energized with modern day sales tools to connect and convert in the new business landscape. She has had the privilege of speaking to a wide variety of organizations including Jackson National Life, Allstate, Dermalogica, Bysis, Paychex, Monster, Arcona, Choice Hotel, US Bank, and many more.
While most of Violet’s sales education and training has come from twenty years of experience in the trenches, she also received an undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and she earned an MBA from the University of Phoenix. As a devoted yogi, avid reader, and lover of everything chocolate, when she’s not helping architect sales systems for clients or delivering keynotes, you’ll find her on her yoga mat or hiking the beautiful Rockies where she lives with her husband and 9-year-old twins.
Sought-After Keynote Speaker on Change, Communication and Leadership.
Michelle talks about how you can embrace, manage. and anticipate change with renewed confidence
Audiences learn to lead themselves and their teams with greater effectiveness in the new world of work
Michelle Ray is a Leadership & Change expert with more than 25 years of experience helping people build outstanding workplace relationships and cultures. Author of Leading in Real Time: How to Drive Success in a Radically Changing World and Lead Yourself First! Indispensable Lessons in Business and in Life.
Past clients include: Microsoft, Dell, Proctor & Gamble, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Shell, Xerox, Paypal, Qantas Airways, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
With more than twenty-five years of experience researching leadership, accountability, change and workforce trends, Michelle Ray has a deep understanding of new realities demanding the attention of leaders. Specifically: A dramatic shift in where and how we work, generational change, employee voices rising on a host of social issues, post- pandemic talent shortages and ongoing digital transformation impacting every industry. Michelle advises leaders on how to lead in real time; to remain ready, responsive, and relevant against the backdrop of a world forever changed.
How do we answer the call? How do we reset? The answers can be found through Michelle’s powerful content and real-time leadership solutions.
Michelle Ray is a Hall of Fame business keynote speaker, leadership and change expert, author and educator who has worked with renowned brands that include Microsoft, Dell, PayPal, McDonalds, Xerox, and Shell. Originally from Australia and now residing in Vancouver, Canada, Michelle is the CEO and Founder of the Real Time Leadership Academy. Michelle has taught leadership skills to the Australian Army, the FBI, and C-Suite executives in an array of industries, including financial institutions on the list of the world’s top 50 banks.
Michelle is as an unstoppable, inspiring force on stage, creating memorable experiences for her audiences, utilizing her masterful methods of audience engagement, storytelling, and dynamic stage presence to instantly build rapport. She a frequent guest on podcasts and current affairs programs and is the author of two books; her latest, Leading in Real Time: How to Drive Success in a Radically Changing World, was released to rave reviews.
Why Michelle Ray can add value to your conference:
- Proven track record as a seasoned presenter at corporate and association meetings throughout North America as well as internationally since 1995
- Renowned business motivational speaker for numerous annual conferences and professional development events
- Qualified as a “Certified Speaking Professional”, the National Speakers Association’s highest – earned designation held by less than 10% of members
- From thousands of entries received, Michelle Ray reached the Top Ten Finals of “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” Contest.
- Undertakes due diligence with in-depth research prior to every engagement
- Consistently engages audiences with humor, passion and a powerful message
- Delivers a return on investment with solid content; tailored for each client