The Sweeney Agency can help you find the right Speaker on Diversity for your event. Please tell us about your event objectives, your audience dynamics, and your expected outcomes. We can then use your input to do the research to provide you with list of great Speaker ideas that meet your criteria. We will work closely with the Diversity speaker you choose, to make sure they deliver a customized presentation that informs, inspires, and entertains.
America’s First Black Female Combat Pilot, Former Marine & Cop, Author and Consultant to Business
Combat tests you. Being a beat cop tests you. Life tests you. Three brothers and being the only girl...tests you. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour has been tested her whole life. A gutsy trailblazer, her resume is an impressive collection of “firsts” including America’s first Black woman combat pilot. She served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine. She was also a diversity liaison officer to the Pentagon for Headquarters Marine Corps. After her military service, FlyGirl revved up her career in the private sector as an entrepreneur, consultant to business, and author of Zero to Breakthrough, The 7-Step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals that Matter. As a speaker, FlyGirl unleashes hard-hitting advice and amazing anecdotes from her adventures on the battlefield and in business. She helps individuals and organizations Get Gutsy and build a sustainable inner force and conviction, that results in accomplishing significant goals.
In 2007, FlyGirl launched VAI Consulting & Training, LLC. Through that work, she helps individuals and organizations make gutsy moves and create breakthrough results by applying her “Zero to BreakthroughTM” Success Model –a mindset that helped to propel her career and kept her safe in air combat. FlyGirl regularly takes her message to premier meetings and conferences worldwide and is a Gutsy Confidence Mentor for elite senior executive Women in Tech.
As her newest business venture, in 2020 FlyGirl started FlyGirl Construction, a General Contracting Firm in the Atlanta, GA area.
As a Black gay woman and single mom, FlyGirl brings vital experience to her role as a member of the Forbes School of Business & Technology Board of Advisors and COMCAST/NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council.
FlyGirl has two honorary doctorates and has received numerous awards as a pioneering pilot, including honors for her commanding role in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour’s story has been featured in the media including on CNN, MSNBC, The View, FOX News, Oprah Winfrey and many more, along with being a running back for the San Diego Sunfire professional women’s football team and two-time title holder of Camp Pendleton’s Strongest Warrior Competition.
She is currently working on her next book, The Gutsy Move.
Consultant and Speaker on Leadership, Peak Performance, and Change Management
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
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.
5 Tips to Book your Next Great Speaker
Did last year's speaker knock your socks off? Not sure where to go next? Let our team of experienced professionals help you find your next great speaker.
Here's a quick guide to help you get started:
Decide on a theme or topic for your event.
Going through a period of transition? Looking to shake up your creative? Building trust within your teams? We have great speakers on all of those topics.
Having trouble? Check out our IDEA GENERATOR for inspiration.
Get in touch with your Event Date & Theme.
We will ask you some key questions to find the perfect speaker for your live or virtual event.
We pride ourselves on our personal touch. We are small team of dedicated professionals with over 20 years experience. When you call us, you speak to us directly... and quickly.
By now, we have a great idea of what you are looking for and will send you a shortlist of exceptional speakers.
Each speaker will be vetted with YOUR event in mind, along with our personal thoughts on how that speaker can inspire your attendees.
From the shortlist, you've narrowed it down to two great speakers. Let's discuss your needs to help make the final decision.
With over 20 years experience, you can trust us to provide all of the information you need to choose the right speaker.
We work with you to find the best format for your presentation, including live streams, Q&A sessions and even follow up programs to ensure maximum engagement for your key stakeholders.
We will facilitate a call with your leadership team & our speaker to do a deep dive into your business to make sure their presentation really hits home.
As trusted experts, you can rest easy knowing our experience will guide you every step of the way.
get in touch
Hearing-impaired Comedienne, Inspiring and Entertaining Speaker and author.
Kathy 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.
Kathy's book If You Could Hear What I See will have you laughing and crying as you experience the amazing story of her life. She has received thousands of letters and emails of thanks and praise, regarding both her book and her original PBS special, No Labels, No Limits! She was awarded the CINE Golden Eagle Award as the writer and executive producer of the special, and the Media Access Award for Outstanding Television Special. Her highly acclaimed autobiographical theater play, Now Hear This! had its Off-Broadway premiere at New York's Lamb's Theater - and not only brought the comic actress a legion of faithful new fans, but a wealth of critical praise from New York media.
In record time, she became one of the most popular comediennes in the country with material based on, among others things, her hearing loss. That impairment, however, is only one of the many hurdles Kathy has encountered in her life. Her poor performance in second grade landed her in a school for mentally and physically impaired children. It took school administrators, psychologists, and audiologists nearly a year to discover it was just a hearing loss - and not a lack of mental acuity that was impeding her speech and language development. Today, Kathy shakes her head as she quips to amazed audiences, '... and they called me slow?'
She was featured in the HBO Television Special, 'Women of the Night', shot on location at the U.S. Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colorado. She was included in the E! Entertainment Television Special, The World's Most Intriguing Women. Kathy was also the focus of I Can Hear the Laughter, an Emmy award-winning documentary.
A pioneer in the frontier of commercial space sector, former astronaut and International Space Station commander Leroy Chiao captivates audience with his amazing stories on space exploration and brings unparalleled insights on leadership, innovation and technology trends .
A veteran of four space missions and a fifteen-year career with NASA, Dr. Chiao most recently served as Commander and NASA Science Officer of Expedition 10 aboard the International Space Station. He has logged over 229 days in space – over 36 hours of which were spent in Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA, or spacewalks). From June through September 2009, he served as a member of the White House appointed Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee, and currently serves on the NASA Advisory Council.
Leroy holds appointments at Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine, and is the special advisor for human spaceflight to the Space Foundation. He has worked extensively in both government and commercial space programs, and has held leadership positions in commercial ventures and NASA. Chiao has extensive experience as a NASA Astronaut and prior to that, as a Research Engineer. Dr. Chiao is a fellow of the Explorers Club, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and the Committee of 100. Chiao also serves in various capacities to further space education,
A native English speaker, Dr. Chiao also speaks Mandarin Chinese and Russian. He has flown space missions and worked closely with Russian, Japanese and European Astronauts and their affiliated space agencies. Dr. Chiao is uniquely qualified to speak about the United States, Russian, Japanese, European and Chinese Space Programs. A Space Station Commander and Space Shuttle Mission Specialist, Dr. Chiao was also a certified Co-Pilot of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. He is an expert in all facets of U.S. and Russian EVA hardware and operations and is EVA certified in U.S. and Russian spacesuits, tools, and training programs. In September 2006, Chiao became the first American to visit the Astronaut Research and Training Center of China. There, he met the first two national Chinese astronauts, Yang Liwei and Fei Junlong.
Dr. Chiao studied Chemical Engineering, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1983. He continued his studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, earning his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 1985 and 1987. Prior to joining NASA in 1990, he worked as a Research Engineer at Hexcel Corporation. and then at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Virtual Events can:
- Reach a wider audience
- Offer a great experience at a much lower cost
- Create long term impact with recorded elements that allow for content to be watched over a period of time
- Have an increased impact over time, as viewers re-watch, discuss and connect over social media and other channels
And, most importantly: offer the ability for inspiring and impactful presentations to connect in a one-on-one way, directly to the attendee.
WHO is your audience?
Who are your virtual event attendees? Are they across a specific group within your organization, or are you serving clients across a wide range of levels? Determining who you are speaking to will help you determine a format for your event that will captivate your audience.
WHAT is your key message?
Are you focusing on change? Innovation? Leadership?
Creating a single focus or mission will allow you to hone in on the type of speaker(s) you need to engage your audience and help event producers to format the event into a dynamic program that balances inspiration with information and audience interaction.
WHAT type of event suits your audience?
- Virtual Conference
- Hybrid Event
Virtual event technology has come a long way over the last few months, offering a huge range of different options from pre-recorded webinars, to multi-day virtual conferences, to hybrid events with some attendees in the audience while the event is live streamed.
A COMBINATION of live and pre-recorded elements will allow your virtual event to run smoothly and stay on time.
Many of our clients are also opting for multi-day virtual conferences with shorter segments spaced over a few days.
This allows some flexibility for attendees in different time zones and accommodates different teleworking situations for attendees, allowing them to tune in when it is convenient.
WHERE? It’s all about Tech.
Virtual meeting technology has exploded over the last few months as teleworking became the norm.
Consider your needs:
- Interactive elements like breakout rooms, polls & Q&A
- Seamless blend of live & pre-recorded elements
- Ability to replay segments
- Live tech support
If you plan for rain, it’s likely the sun will shine…
Tech isn’t perfect so don’t forget to test, rehearse and have a back up plan ready to go for your virtual event.
Pro Tip: Think of a virtual presentation like a podcast. Viewers can view the content multiple times and refer back to it.
WHEN? A Date… or Dates?
As we have all noticed, our attention spans for meeting in real life versus meeting online are a lot longer.
When deciding on a date, consider spreading your virtual event out over a few days, with a variety of speakers, interactive elements and information.
The benefits of a multi-day format:
- Viewers watch content fresh for a short period every day
- Allows attendees in different time zones to stay on top of the content
- Attendees can review & re-engage with content
Virtual Event Checklist:
Is your event?
- Able to be rewatched?
WHY? Pandemic 2020
Just because you are online instead of in person, it doesn’t mean you are missing out on connection.
Using the technology that we have become so accustomed to over the last few months, our keynote speakers have the ability to connect to your viewers one-on-one, in a way that was impossible in live events.
FIND YOUR WHY…
What do you want the audience to leave thinking at the end of the presentation?
Apply this question to all the presentations and segments in your event to create a cohesive, impactful virtual event.
HOW? Virtual Event Checklist
To wrap it all up
- TECH: Find the right tech platform & don’t forget to test drive before your event
- AGENDA: Use a mix of live and pre-recorded segments, mixed with interactive elements, to ensure a smooth flow of events & audience engagement
- ANTICIPATION: Build up your event with emails, teasers and sneak peeks into what content will be offered
- NETWORKING: Create and encourage online chat functions, an event specific hashtag or even a dedicated event page to allow attendees to network virtually. Maximize the networking opportunities offered by your tech platform.
- EXTEND YOUR IMPACT: A dedicated social media page is a great place for attendees to connect after an event to discuss ideas and implement some of the learnings from the event.
Offer a password protected, limited time recording of keynote presentations to continue the conversation long after the virtual event has ended.
Continue the conversation with post-event touch points like emails or questions based on the key presentations.
Pandit Dasa is a Mindful Leadership expert, author and motivational keynote speaker. His inspirational speeches aim to create a more mindful workplace culture which increases productivity and improves retention. He encourages leadership and co-workers to appreciate and celebrate the success and contributions of others. This attitude fosters trust, enhances teamwork and greatly impacts employee performance. He emphasizes the importance of leading without ego and highlights the importance of cultivating self-awareness and personal growth and development.
Pandit captures the audience's attention by sharing his journey on how and why he spent 15 years living as a monk in New York City, the incredible life and leadership lessons he learned from that experience and why he's no longer a monk. His story is chronicled in his book, Urban Monk.
Some key messages the audience will take away are:
- Understanding how our mind, thoughts and emotions impact our reactions and behavior
- Tools for managing one's emotions and staying calm and collected before pressing the "send" button
- The value of consistently appreciating our colleagues
- Attendees will be encouraged to lead by example by setting a proper leadership model
- Learn breathing and focusing techniques that can reduce stress, improve productivity and boost emotional intelligence
Pandit Dasa has spoken to many Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. Some of the organizations he has spoken to are: Google, Citibank, IBM, State Farm, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Nationwide Insurance, SAP, Bank of America, AMC Theatres, Intel, WeWork, Royal Bank of Canada, AMC Networks, Novartis, Comcast, TD Ameritrade, JPMorgan Chase, The World Bank, World Government Summit, SHRM National Convention, Oracle HCM Convention and many others.
Inspirational Speaker, Emergency Medicine Physician, New York Times Best-selling Author, and Frequent Medical Expert on TODAY and CNN
Dr. Sampson Davis spends his time practicing medicine and traveling the country delivering inspirational keynote speeches with timely messages. Dr. Davis believes that it's important to give education a sense of style and fashion - to glorify and glamorize education is the key. A face must be present, a concrete image - that all individuals across America can draw inspiration from. Dr. Davis considers his 3 D’s: Dedication, Determination and Discipline - the necessary ingredients to success.
Dr. Davis was raised as the fifth of six children in Newark, one of New Jersey’s poorest cities. As a child - Dr. Davis grew up in cramped living quarters, surrounded by fragmented families, crime, and drugs. Still, he was a good student, able to strike the fragile balance between being smart - yet socially acceptable on the streets. It was this combination of skills, Dr. Davis says - that were most critical to his survival.
While attending University High School in Newark, Dr. Davis met Dr. Rameck Hunt and Dr. George Jenkins - two fellow students who together made a promise to become doctors. Dr. Davis and his two childhood friends each successfully fulfilled their pact - and today Dr. Davis is a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician.
In February 2013, Dr. Davis released his book Living & Dying in Brick City - An E.R. Doctor Returns Home. The book was reprinted in 2014 under the title Living and Dying in Brick City: Stories from the Front Lines of an Inner-City E.R. In addition to discussing Dr. Davis’ riveting experiences as an ER physician - the books also offers preventative guidance as a means of supporting healthier communities.
Dr. Davis has appeared on numerous talk and radio shows including Oprah, Dr. Oz, The Today Show, The View, PBS News Hour, Tavis Smiley and NPR - as well as print publications including but not limited to Readers Digest, O Magazine, People, Washington Post, NY Times, USA Today, Vibe and Black Enterprise.
Ms. Winfrey also delivered the highest honour - naming Dr. Davis “One of The Premiere Role Models of the World.”
Dr. Davis was honoured in 2000 with the Essence Lifetime Achievement Award - and also named one of their forty most inspirational African Americans in the country. He is the youngest physician to receive the National Medical Association’s highest honour The Scroll of Merit - and was previously honoured on the 2009 BET Awards.
Graduating with honours, Dr. Davis received his Bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, his medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School - and completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at the same hospital where he was born, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
Today, Dr. Davis is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician at St. Michaels Medical Center in Newark NJ. He has been a weekly correspondent on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and a frequent guest on CNN - where he focusses on prevalent and life-changing medical topics. Dr. Davis has also co-authored New York Times best-selling books: The Bond: Three Young Men Learn to Forgive and Reconnect with Their Fathers (2008); We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success (2006); The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream (2003).
In 2000 during his residency, Dr. Davis along with his best friends felt the burning need to give back to communities in need - and together created The Three Doctors Foundation. This non-profit organization offers a series of free public programs focussed upon health, education, leadership and mentoring.
About Daryl Davis – Musician, Author, Compelling Unifier, Klan Whisperer, and Award-winning Conflict Navigator
“How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?” As the only Black Cub Scout marching in an otherwise all-White parade, Daryl Davis formed that simple yet powerful question after he was pelted by rocks, bottles and soda pop cans by a handful of White spectators. This was his first encounter with racism at age ten. Pursuit of an answer led this career performing musician on a surreal journey stemming from a chance encounter with a man who turned out to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Seeking to understand, not to change minds or judge, Daryl actually built bridges with leaders from a group that professed hatred for him. Some came to quit the Klan and gave Daryl their robes and hoods when they did. In the process he has unearthed truths about conflict, hate, intolerance, and communication that are valuable today. His extraordinary journey is chronicled in his first book, Klan-Destine Relationships and the documentary about his encounters, Accidental Courtesy. As a speaker, Daryl’s impact on audiences is profound –his TEDx talk has over 10 million views.
Daryl graduated from Howard University with his Bachelor of Music Degree. He has performed extensively with Chuck Berry, The Legendary Blues Band (formerly The Muddy Waters Blues Band), and many others. While music is his profession, improving race relations is his obsession. He is known to many as “The Rock'n'Roll Race Reconciliator.”
It started during a break between performances with a band at a bar one night. A man approached Daryl and remarked that this was the first time he had ever seen a Black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. Daryl explained that both he and Lewis were influenced by Black Blues & Boogie-Woogie pianists, from which Rock'n'Roll and Rockabilly evolved. The man did not believe in the Black origin of Daryl’s piano style even after he said that Lewis was a friend who had shared this news with him. The man then shared news with Daryl –he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
This meeting, and those that followed, would lead Daryl on a journey all over America, meeting and interviewing leaders and members from KKK, neo-Nazi and Alt-Right groups at both his and their homes as well as their rallies. With his highly acclaimed, nonfiction book, Klan-Destine Relationships, Daryl become the first Black author to write a book on the Klan from in-person interviews. The award-winning documentary, Accidental Courtesy, details his journey and has been shown frequently on PBS. Daryl, who has been to 57 countries on 6continents, is often selected by the U.S. State Department as a highly respected expert on race relations and conflict, to present programs in various countries around the world dealing with similar situations. His next book, The Klan Whisperer will be released in 2021.
Daryl has been doing this work since 1983 and has become the recipient of numerous Klan robes & hoods and other racist symbols, given to him by people who once hated him when they didn't even know him. Now many of them have become his friends and supporters of his work. On the other side of spectrum, for his work in bridging race relations he is the recipient of numerous awards such as the American Ethical Union's prestigious Elliott-Black Award, Carnegie-Mellon's Carl Sagan Award & Prize, Tribeca Disruption Innovation Award, MLK Award, Search for Common Ground Award, Washington Ethical Society Bridge-Builder Award, among many others. He is often sought for commentary by CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, People magazine, and many other media sources.
In Daryl’s words, “Ever since I graduated from college in 1980 with my degree in music, I’ve been a full-time musician, traveling and performing all over America and around the world. What I’ve come to find to be the greatest, most effective, and successful weapon we can use to combat ignorance, racism, hatred, and violence, is also the least expensive weapon –and the one that is least used by Americans. That weapon is called communication. We can communicate with people in space but many of us have difficulty talking to the person who lives next door because of the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion, their orientation, their politics, etc. We are living with 21stcentury technology in Space Age times, but there are still too many of us with Stone Age minds.”
Daryl has come in closer contact with more members of the Ku Klux Klan than most White people, and certainly most Blacks, short of being on the wrong end of a rope. What's more surprising? He intentionally continues to do so because as he says, “Ignorance breeds fear. If you do not keep that fear in check, that fear will breed hatred. Because we hate those things that frighten us.
If you do not keep that hatred in check, that hatred in turn will breed destruction because we want to destroy those things that we hate. Why? Because they frighten us.” When he speaks, Daryl Davis’s impact on an audience is sobering yet inspirational. More than a few members in every audience remember and ask him about the fictional character in Dave Chappelle’s comedic skit in which he plays a blind Klansman who didn't know he was Black and attends Klan rallies. Daryl shares stories that would be comical, if he weren’t putting his life on the line for a purpose. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction might ever be in Daryl’s case. People will also point out how courageous Daryl was to actually turn up at Klan rallies himself. Inevitably they bring up Spike Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman. That film depicts a Black police officer who infiltrated the KKK over the telephone and would send a White subordinate officer to Klan rallies in his place to gather damning intelligence against the Klan. The difference is not lost on the audience. Daryl had his feet on the ground in the lion's den and tells the story first-hand.
Through his work, Daryl has discovered a successful method of transforming enemies into friends. His stories of his encounters with –and transformations of –White supremacists have inspired people all over the U.S. and abroad. His audiences leave his presentations empowered to:
- Overcome Their Fears
- Confront Their Prejudices
- Recognize Similarities
- Appreciate Differences
- Navigate Diversity
- Improve Relationships with Others
- Better Their Lives While Creating a Positive Impact on Others
In addition to his career as a performing musician, Daryl is the owner of Lyrad Music, a music publishing and licensing business. He is also an actor of stage and screen and has appeared in HBO's highly acclaimed series The Wire.
Mark DeVolder is the Change Specialist and a pioneer in the field of transition management. Unique in the industry, DeVolder is one of the few speakers who teaches leaders how to change. He is a frequent presenter at top management meetings around the world, both live and virtual … from coaching NASA rocket scientists how to re-create themselves to the cultural transformation of a $42 billion merger; from pivoting to a safety-first culture in Qatar’s oil industry to preparing Egypt’s largest company to restructure itself. Mark teaches leaders about Perpetual Pivot, the process of adapting to continuous change through reinvention, innovation and anticipation.
In addition to cutting-edge content, Mark brings high-energy, humor and audience interaction to all his presentations. He uses his skill as a master storyteller to draw people into the essence of his message. Whether live or on a virtual stage, Mark has the ability to connect deeply with people: “Mark kept us glued to our screen” and “Mark was inspiring and kept the audience charged.”
Across five continents and in over 25 countries, Mark has worked with a myriad of impressive and diverse organizations, large and small, including NASA, McDonald’s, GE, Autodesk, Coca-Cola, Marriott, Siemens, Medtronic, PepsiCo, Bristol-Myers Squibb, PWC, HILTI, Verizon, Orascom Construction and Monsanto. Mark has engaged and delighted audiences from Monaco to Dubai, from Singapore to London and from Istanbul to Barcelona.
As a researcher, consultant and author, Mark has written the multi-disciplinary book on managing change, entitled, Perpetual Pivot: How the Best Leaders Adapt to Exponential Change. His second book, Get Engaged, is a practical guide for improving employee engagement. Mark’s first publication was his doctoral dissertation which studied the elements of diversity, inclusion and teambuilding, entitled Unity in Diversity Through Synergy.
Risha Grant is Founder & CEO of Risha Grant LLC, an award-winning diversity consulting and communications firm, as well as an edgy, educational and motivational speaker - author Risha Grant is an internationally renowned diversity, inclusion and bias expert. She covers these topics as NBC KJRH TV News 2 for You community correspondent and host of the JustUs series, through her Tulsa World column, Risha Talks, as a columnist for Black Enterprise Magazine and in her book, That’s BS! How Bias Synapse Disrupts Inclusive Cultures.
Risha is motivated by her passion to correct societal 'isms' - like racism, sexism, classism and plain old stupidism! It is her personal mission to expose the value of Diversity & Inclusion - while shining a light on the economic impact it creates. From her race, gender and lifestyle choices, to growing a small business and tackling economic issues - every area of her life intersects diversity.
Featured in Forbes, The Financial Times, Off Script, Bloomberg Media, Black Enterprise, Radioactive Radio, Take the Lead Radio and WURD Radio among other podcasts, local and national media. Risha has also been awarded numerous honours such as being named a 2019 Top 100 HR Influencer by Engagedly, a 2018 Inclusive Leadership Award Winner and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.
Through her interactive keynotes and deep-dive training sessions, Risha teaches and empowers attendees with D&I tools to increase their bottom line - and permission to get rid of their BS.
Author of The Medici Effect, speaks on Diversity and Innovation.
Frans Johansson is the best-selling author of The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts and Cultures (Harvard Business Press, Republished 2017). Translated into 22 languages, The Medici Effect was named one of the top 10 best business books by Amazon.com. His acclaimed follow up, The Click Moment (Penguin Portfolio, 2012), obliterates the idea that in business we can plan and strategize our way to success. Known for his provocative, high-octane delivery style, Johansson is a widely sought-after leadership speaker. His presentations cover topics such as:
- how to successfully execute innovative ideas
- leverage different perspectives in an organization to create and execute new ideas
- how to apply ideas from other industries and cultures to drive innovation, growth and profit
- why and how diversity drives innovation
In his role as thought leader and CEO of The Medici Group, Frans has advised executive leadership at Fortune 500 companies such as Disney, IBM, Nike, and Synchrony (formerly GE Financial).
Johansson has lived all his life at the intersection where ideas from different fields and cultures meet and collide. He was raised in Sweden by his African- American-Cherokee mother and Swedish father. Johansson earned his B.S. in Environmental Science from Brown University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He founded both a Boston-based software company and a medical device company operating out of Baltimore and Stockholm, Sweden. He has written articles on healthcare, information technology and the science of sport fishing and has been featured on CNN's AC360, ABC's Early Morning Show and CNBC's The Business of Innovation series along with Jack Welch and Muhammad Yunus. Frans currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the New York Hall of Science.
The Click of the Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World is Johansson's latest book.
Culture, Diversity, Marketing and Branding Speaker, Former CMO at Beats by Dre, and Former VP of Marketing at Apple
As the former Chief Marketing Officer at Beats by Dre and former VP of Marketing at Apple, Omar Johnson has created strong consumer connections with the brands he’s represented. He drove explosive growth at Beats, leading groundbreaking campaigns with celebrities such as LeBron James, Chris Rock, and Eminem – helping to take a $20 million company to a $1.1 billion dollar global icon and category leader.
Johnson drove explosive growth in the headphone category through groundbreaking campaigns including #ShowYourColor Solo Campaign, Powerbeats starring LeBron James and The Pills featuring Chris Rock and Eminem. He used “ambush marketing” and influencers to expand the brand—giving athletes and musicians free headphones at private company parties—which helped turn Beats into the headphone of choice for the best musicians and athletes in the world.
Previously, Johnson led innovative marketing programs for international brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and Campbell Soup. As an advertising lead at Nike, Johnson produced some of Nike’s most memorable TV commercials including “Rise,” starring LeBron James, “All Together Now,” featuring Kobe Bryant, and “The Most Valuable Puppets”.
Johnson also built the Nike+ sports music platform, establishing Nike’s first revenue-generating relationship with record labels. Johnson and his team created an industry-first sports music program with Universal, Interscope, Sony, Capitol, Def Jam and more than 25 independent labels. This collaboration sold +5 Million tracks and deepened the connection between music and sports.
Johnson is from Brooklyn, NY. He received a BS in Biology and Chemistry from Georgia State University and an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.
There are many motivational speakers, and then there is the one, the only, the incomparable Dr. Willie Jolley. He has been described simultaneously as a world-class, award-winning speaker and singer, best-selling author and media personality.
Dr. Willie Jolley has achieved remarkable heights in the speaking industry, having come from humble beginnings as a fired singer, who was replaced by a karaoke machine! He has gone on to be named “One of the Outstanding Five Speakers in the World” by the 175,000 members of Toastmasters International, inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame and achieved the distinction of Certified Speaker Professional by the National Speakers Association.
He’s the recipient of the Ron Brown Distinguished Leadership Award, named “One of the Top 5 Leadership Speakers” by Speaking.com and Business Leader of The Year by The African American Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Jolley uses his public platform to pursue his mission of empowering and encouraging people to rise above their circumstances and maximize their God-given potential! Many know him as the speaker Ford Motors called on when they were on the brink of bankruptcy. His work helped Ford reject a government bailout and go on to Billion Dollar profits!
Dr. Jolley has built a reputation of being captivating, compelling and life changing! No matter the venue, from his iHeartRadio Willie Jolley Wealthy Ways podcast to his SiriusXM Radio show, to his audiences like Walmart, Comcast, Verizon, Marriott or The Million Dollar Round Table, Dr. Jolley keeps it moving with high energy, high content and great enthusiasm.
He delivers memorable nuggets and usable strategies on how every person can live a better life, one day at a time!
Dr. Willie Jolley is the author of several international best-selling books including It Only Takes A Minute To Change Your Life, A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback, Turn Setbacks Into Greenbacks and An Attitude of Excellence, endorsed by Dr. Stephen Covey and Alan Mulally (former CEO of Ford Motors).
He has also written a very popular new marriage book, co-authored with his wife of over 34 years, Dee Taylor-Jolley. The book is entitled, Make Love, Make Money, Make It Last!
Dr. Jolley holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Faith-Driven Achievement from the California Graduate School of Theology, a master’s degree in Theology from Wesley Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from The American University. Dr. Jolley resides with his family in Washington, DC.
Emmanuel Kelly is not your ordinary speaker; he is a self-professed “differently-abled" musical artist who won the hearts of millions with his rendition of "Imagine" by John Lennon on Australia's X-Factor. (Even Yoko Ono tweeted about it - saying John would have been proud). He always shares some of his music, even during his speaking presentations (to music tracks, no fuss).
Born without formed arms and legs but with a beautiful voice and indomitable spirit, he’s faced more challenges since his birth than most, yet has never wavered in his love and passion for empowering others. Emmanuel has a beautiful story to tell and tells it without shame; abandoned in warzone and witness to unspeakable human atrocities, Emmanuel inspires with his message of perception and optimism; we are all beautiful and we are all able. Emmanuel Kelly uses his voice to make a difference in others, and he has inspired and entertained people worldwide with his performances.
His primary topic focus is teaching individuals and businesses that limitations are only perception, and his speaker reel is linked here. Emmanuels' story resonates with groups interested in discrimination, inclusion, perception, motivation and inspiration.
Perception is everything in people, business and life. How to re-wire those perceptions for your business, to gain diverse clients & customers, and increase your employees motivation in creating a stronger more inclusive family work environment is something Emmanuel has learned and is continuing to master. Emmanuel Kelly's dynamic presentations are the highlight of any business conference; his voice and spirit transport the audience to a place of possibilities.
First Female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot, Author and Motivational Speaker on Leadership & Teamwork
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.
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.
Carey has been requested by name from some of the top Fortune 100 businesses. Her ability to connect with both an audience and on a one-on-one level, coupled with her knowledge and experience in leading high-performing, diverse teams, has made her highly sought after as a business consultant and speaker.
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.
In her motivating and engaging keynote presentations, Carey shares her fascinating experiences operating in one of the world's most challenging environments - an aircraft carrier. She is uniquely qualified in the fundamentals of winning under pressure, reducing errors and overcoming obstacles. Her mastery of these fundamentals can help your team triumph in this high-risk, time crunched world.
Carey Lohrenz's timely message about high performing teams and developing a culture of learning is based on the best-practices of high reliability organizations. The process 'prepare, perform, prevail' helps businesses manage risk while becoming a high performing organization. This message resonates with diverse audiences at every level of the company.
Carey has delivered her leadership and strategy experience to such companies as Cisco, Dell, TEVA, Deloitte, Underwriters Laboratories, Verizon, AT&T, Kimberly Clark, State Farm Insurance and Sea Ray Boats, to name a few.
Carey graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she was a varsity rower, also training at the pre-Olympic level. After graduation, she attended the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School before starting flight training and her naval career. She is currently working on her Master’s in Business Administration in Strategic Leadership.
While most speakers have a story to tell, there are a select few with one so impactful and poignant that the audience is forever changed. That is what happens when Allison Massari speaks. She has been named one of the Top Ten Best Motivational Speakers in North America by Meetings and Conventions Magazine and has forged her path to success with creativity, tenacity, and deep gratitude.
Having survived two devastating and near fatal car accidents, one where she burned alive and suffered severe burns on over 50% of her body, Allison views her experiences as a tremendous gift that allowed her to find strength and a fiery passion to reach pinnacle achievements both in business and personally.
Allison has dedicated her career to catapulting individuals and organizations toward total success, mastery, and fulfillment. As an international keynote speaker, executive coach, and interdisciplinary artist, Allison provides an exceptional blend of business acuity, clarity, creative perspective, and real understanding. Her highly effective methods have enabled her to form bonds as a trusted confidante to CEOs, executives and entrepreneurs.
As an international keynote speaker, executive coach, and award winning visual artist, Allison Massari ignites vitality, inspires confidence, and offers essential tools for self-mastery to audiences worldwide. Prepare to be inspired, moved, and energized. Prepare to be taken on a journey.
Internationally Acclaimed Best-selling Author, Motivational Speaker, Career Consultant, Founder of The Kaplan Mobray Leadership Institute
Kaplan Mobray was recognized by Meetings & Conventions Magazine as "one of the nation’s top business speakers.” He is one of the world’s most dynamic and inspirational speakers and best-selling author of The 10Ks of Personal Branding - (K)reate a Better You. An innovative mastermind, Kaplan has inspired and transformed countless lives through his insightful and groundbreaking approach to personal branding and leadership development. Kaplan inspires audiences with practical strategies, “ah-ha moments”, that powerfully create real results to immediately elevate one’s career and improve one’s life.
A highly sought after, vibrant and energetic business speaker, professional musician and entrepreneur - Kaplan Mobray learned early in his career that “to master quality of life you must first master quality of effort”. He uses this personal philosophy to develop his extraordinarily creative insights and unique presentation content. Wharton-educated, Kaplan draws from his over 15 years of corporate experience as a successful business executive - where he led corporate marketing, advertising, and brand development initiatives for Fortune 500 companies. Through his unconventional and innovative presentation style - he teaches organizations how to transform their business, increase their brand reputation and motivates individuals to become effective leaders at all levels.
Kaplan has received worldwide acclaim and numerous awards for his leadership and branding insights. He has been featured on CNN, FOX, Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, Ad Age and shared his message to NFL players at Super Bowls forty-four and forty-five. Through his latest venture - Kaplan is revolutionizing high performance online learning with his virtual interactive Kaplan Mobray Leadership Institute. All of his innovative presentations have been described as life changing events.
Celebrated Performer, International Expert and Keynote Speaker on Business & Communication
Freddie Ravel is the GRAMMY-nominated Keynote Maestro - who combines his expertise for business breakthroughs and virtuoso piano performances with a clear and concise application of music’s communicative and scientific powers to inspire, ignite and lift the minds, hearts and potential of audiences around the world.
Backed by number one hits and collaborative successes with Madonna, Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince and Carlos Santana to leading the teams of J Lo, Jimmy Kimmel and Lady Gaga - the #1 chart-topping composer is the Founder of “LIFE IN TUNE," a worldwide program that delivers customized peak performance experiences - to reveal how the structure of music enhances leadership, innovation and productivity for entrepreneurs to major corporations alike. Dubbed the “Keynote Maestro” by the City of Los Angeles, Ravel received the city’s Award of Recognition for creating a music-based system to “renew the national and international economy” - while his film, TV, radio and recording credits include CBS, FOX, CW, Universal, iHeart and XM Sirius. Straddling sectors across Media, Tech, Healthcare and Wellness, Diversity and Inclusion, Communications, Social Impact and Financial Services - clients refer to him as “The ideal balance of Entertainment and Content”.
These include IBM, Toyota, Red Bull, NASA, Apple, Blue Cross, Prudential, Google and Citi where he continues to serve as a captivating access point through which to transform corporations, education, entertainment and the human condition. Based on decades of entrepreneurial and corporate training, scientific research and directing and performing with many of the music legends of our time - conference planners often engage Freddie and his team in the program planning process to help design and incorporate their meeting objectives into a rich, harmonious and rewarding experience. Having performed in over eighty countries, Freddie is in tune with cultural nuances and sensitivities delivering the universal language in both English and Spanish - as well as collaborating with translators to uplift your audience to success.
About Shola Richards – Bestselling Author & Expert on Workplace Culture:
Most organizations have a version of "joyful peak performance" somewhere in their mission statement. But how many are actually achieving it? Across the US, 65M people are experiencing some form of toxicity at work every day. Many of these employees resign themselves to the pitiful fate of spending each day dodging the bullies, accepting deep-seated job dissatisfaction, fighting back clinical depression, or worse, succumbing to it.
Shola Richards was one of them. The workplace bullying he experienced, which went unaddressed even after he complained to HR, drove him into clinical depression, and the unimaginable. Shola intentionally swerved off the interstate in an attempt to take his own life. As his car clipped the guardrail on I-405, something changed...
This catalyst has since become Go Together™ Movement - a transformational roadmap of mindset, behaviors, and tools that transform workplace cultures. Sholas mission is to help every workplace in America become one where joyful peak performance is lived every day and where engagement and satisfaction become the new norm.
Shola Richards’ life’s mission is an ambitious one: To end generations of professional suffering, simply by changing how we treat each other at work.
Shola is an advocate, a one-man counsel, and a humanitarian hardwired for positivity, who (ironically) speaks, coaches, consults, and authors books on the shadowy, often underground, and underestimated subject of workplace bullying, a pernicious reality that, when overlooked, corrodes trust, distorts communication, and ultimately usurps equity from the bottom line by using up a company’s most valuable resource: its people.
His approach is to open eyes to the staggering price we pay for normalized, toxic behavior, because we can’t address what we don’t see. His result is people equipped with tangible, doable solutions because we can’t accomplish what we can’t make actionable. His conviction is that everyone deserves a healthy work environment because the quality and meaning of our work suffers when we do.
Through his books--Go Together and Making Work Workand featured articles that have reached readers in over 160 countries, and through his presentations with institutions that range from Silicon Valley businesses to the Department of Homeland Security, Shola is spearheading a timely revolution that teaches us how to protect the professionalism of our company cultures, the preciousness of our time, the strength of our talents, the dignity of ourselves, and the mutual respect of one another.
Founder of ‘because I said I would’, a Humanitarian, Social Entrepreneur, Leader and TEDx Speaker
Alex Sheen is the founder of because I said I would, an international social movement and non-profit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Sparked by a tragedy in his life, Alex created a concept called the Promise Card, and began mailing cards to anyone who requested them at no cost. Since 2012, over 9.81 MILLION Promise Cards have been distributed to over 153 countries. In 2013, Alex left his Corporate Strategy Lead position at a leading software company to dedicate himself entirely to the non-profit.
Alex authored his first book because I said I would (Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press), released in January 2019. Noted as an Amazon best-seller in Philanthropy & Charity.
Alex’s unique perspective on accountability, leadership, commitment, and self-control developed both from his responsibilities in leading a global effort about keeping promises -- and his personal experience fulfilling his own promises.
Alex’s personal promises include:
- Walking 245 miles across the entire state of Ohio in under 10 days to fulfill a promise to the three Cleveland women who were held captive for 10 years
- Volunteering at 52 different non-profit organizations in a single year
- Promising children with cancer trips to Disneyland and personally delivering 100 tickets
Alex’s work has been featured on CNN, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, TODAY Show, Good Morning America, NPR, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, CBS Nightly News, and many other programs. He has been featured on the cover of Spirit Magazine, and honoured as a Steve Harvey “Harvey’s Hero”. Alex’s efforts in social media have been featured in BuzzFeed’s annual “Most Important Viral Videos”, and his viral posts have made the #1 spot on the front page of Reddit.com over 10 times. As a nationally respected thought-leader who has been featured at multiple TEDx conferences, Alex has spoken at over 527 events since 2013.
Marilyn Tam, Ph.D. is a Speaker, best selling Author, Consultant, Board Certified Executive/Corporate Coach, CEO of Marilyn Tam & Co. and Founder and Executive Director of Us Foundation. She was formerly the CEO of Aveda Corp., President of Reebok Apparel and Retail Group, Vice President of Nike Inc. and also a successful entrepreneur who has built four companies.
Inc Magazine ranks her as one of the top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world. She has been selected as one of the Top 10 inspirational business speakers by one of the best professional speakers bureaus. Brand Channel lists her as one of the four most prominent names in Ethical Business globally. Marilyn is a contributing writer to Thrive Global/Medium on how to live a successful, happy, healthy and dynamically balanced life.
Her life is an inspiring example of what can be achieved if one followed their dreams. She grew up as an abused and neglected child in Hong Kong. She left home as a teen to come to America alone. Following her life mission, she achieved international business and humanitarian success.
Marilyn is now speaks, facilitates workshops and consults with corporations, organizations and people to achieve greater success and happiness. She helps people and organizations find and fulfill their life purpose, and provide them with the principles and actions steps to take them their goals. Her NPR (Net Promoter Score) from her clients, the industry standard for measuring customer satisfaction, is among the highest rated of all speakers.
Marilyn was recognized as one of the Top 30 Female Entrepreneurs in the USA by Fempreneur magazine. Jack Canfield detailed her work in his book on the strategies for success, “The Success Principles”.
Among her numerous recognition and awards is the Artemis Award from the Greek Government and Euro-American Women's Council, with her image on a Greek postage stamp. Marilyn is featured in many documentary movies including GLOW Project, The Compass, Tapping the Source, and FEMME for her accomplishments and inner wisdom.
Marilyn’s book, “The Happiness Choice”, was the top 3 most read book by businesses according to the leading business book supplier. The book won the Silver Medal of the Global eBook Awards. The book shows how and why happiness is crucial for business productivity and success, and for your physical, emotional, spiritual and financial health.
Inspiring Speaker on Diversity, Resilience & Overcoming Adversity
Heather Younger’s expertise in adversity started early. As the only child from an interracial and interfaith marriage, she was shunned and excluded by extended family. While it left her with a lot of questions growing up, it led her to develop a high level of resilience and a deeply inspired commitment to advocate for the voiceless. Heather is dedicated to creating opportunities for people to learn strategies for reframing their own adversities and stories to lead more productive and joyful lives.
With humor, warmth, and an instant relatability – she helps organizational leaders, teams, and individuals create a laser-focused clarity into what makes them tick. She shows why that’s important while delivering clear and purposeful strategies for embracing change and recognizing the tremendous strength in diversity.
As a champion for positive change in workplaces, communities, and our world at large, Heather inspires others by teaching the kind of intentional leadership that drives real business results such as increased employee engagement, loyalty, collaboration, and connectivity.
- Team members feel heard, seen, and valued
- Companies create safe environments and a culture of trust
- Diversity and creativity are celebrated
- Resilience rises
- Stress falls
- Productivity goes through the roof
- Customer retention and referrals soar
Everyone wins – sometimes in ways they didn’t even realize possible
Heather is the founder and CEO of Employee Fanatix, an International TEDx speaker on Adversity, Leadership Podcast Host, Business Coach, Facilitator and Attorney, who has earned a reputation as “The Employee Whisperer”. She holds a law degree, is a regular contributor to "Forbes" and "LinkedIn" and is the best-selling author of The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty, which hit the top of the "Forbes Must-Read List for HR Professionals." Her upcoming book, The Art of Caring Leadership, was picked up by Berrett Koehler Publishers and teaches the radical power of caring support in leadership and in the workplace. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, on the boards of Mile High SHRM, National Speakers Association of Colorado, and the American Cancer Society.That’s a lot of accolades and titles – but what is most important to know about Heather is that she brings a breadth of experience, extensive quantitative and qualitative research, and a truly deep passion for advocacy, resilience, human relations, and connection to every audience, every workshop, every consultation.
She’s also a mother of four who, like so many parents and business professionals, gets just how difficult and challenging everything can be – and she’s bringing the solutions and strategies to make change less scary, more manageable, and sometimes – even adventurous!
Ready to create a win-win for your team, organization, and customers? Invite Heather to speak to your next audience.