Anthony Tjan

Good people and good values are the most critical competitive advantage that exists—period.

Author of Good People and Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck | CEO and Managing Partner, The Cue Ball Group

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Anthony Tjan | Author of Good People and  Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck | CEO and Managing Partner, The Cue Ball Group
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

We’ve all heard that a company is only as good as its people. But in his new book Good People, Anthony Tjan actually proves it. This entrepreneur and venture capitalist shows leaders how to put goodness into practice in order to deepen relationships and revive the purpose of our work. For Tjan, goodness is also a way to boost the bottom line—a harmonious union of happiness and success.

Anthony Tjan is an entrepreneur, strategic advisor, venture investor, and a World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow. He is the author of the upcoming book Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters (April 2017) and co-author of Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck: What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur and Build a Great Business—a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller, and one of Fast Company’s “Best Business Books” of the year. He is also CEO of The Cue Ball Group, a private investment firm based in Boston. Tjan leads the firm’s overall direction and deal development activities, including providing ongoing guidance and mentorship to the leaders of Cue Ball’s portfolio companies.


“Tjan shows us that the power to transform business relationships at every level starts with this: goodness. Thought-provoking and genuine, Good People is a must read for anyone interested in creating a prosperous, wholesome and resilient teams and businesses.”

— Beth Comstock, Vice Chair, GE

Tjan is the chairman and co-founder of MiniLuxe, a retail services and lifestyle brand that is transforming the nail care industry. Prior to Cue Ball, Tjan was the youngest elected senior partner of The Parthenon Group—a strategic advisory and investment firm—where he served as vice chairman for nearly 15 years, leading digital media and information client relationships. And as chief strategic counselor to the Thomson Corporation (now Thomson Reuters), Tjan collaborated on growth and transformation strategy that led to a four-fold increase in cash flow, the acquisition of Reuters, and the creation of the world’s largest information media company.


Tjan was a pioneer in the Internet’s commercialization; in 1996, he founded and was CEO of the Internet services firm ZEFER, which grew to more than $100 million in annual revenues and over 700 professionals. He began his career with McKinsey & Company and holds AB and MBA degrees from Harvard University, where he has served as a Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government and an Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School. Tjan contributes regularly to Harvard Business Review and sits on several boards, including the Advisory Council for the MIT Media Lab.

Speech Topics

Corporate Culture
The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters Creating a Culture of Good People in Your Organization

Even today, many professionals assume that social skills—like empathy and self-awareness—have no place in business. We measure employees by what we can measure—like profits and accomplishments—and leave the so-called ‘soft skills’ out. But to Anthony Tjan, this approach overlooks the fundamental ingredients of real success. He knows that good people and good values are your organization’s best assets. In fact, choosing to work with good people is the only leadership decision that truly matters.


In this keynote, Tjan explains why people matter most. Drawing upon his success as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, as well as nearly 100 interviews and many more relationships with an extraordinary cast of innovators, executives, artists, and role models, Tjan proposes a new framework to evaluate, develop, and lead with goodness. When we invest in relationships, Tjan shows, we create enduring cultures that people actually believe in and valuable organizations that do more than maximize profits—they instill positive, widespread change in their employees and communities. When we lead with our values and invest in genuine mentorship, we rediscover joy in our work and unlock long-term satisfaction. Competence is always necessary, but with Tjan, you’ll learn what it really means to be ‘good.’

Business Strategy
Growing Business with ‘Goodness’ A People- and Values-Driven Advantage

Over the course of his career, Anthony Tjan has committed to a simple theme: work with good people, strive to embody good values, and help others succeed. He’s made mentorship and compassion his highest priorities—over ideas, products, and profits—because he knows that financial results are more a function of people than of anything else. 


With this mindset, he helped build two major strategic advisory firms—the most people-centric of businesses—and spearheaded a massive cultural shift in a 45,000-person, Fortune 500 business. He serves as chairman of a lifestyle retail services looking to redefine the nail care industry and positively impact countless nail technicians and clients. With Cue Ball, he’s spreading a new model for venture capital based on that same people-first philosophy. 


In this keynote, Tjan will help business leaders become human-capital centric in everything they do. He’ll introduce audiences to his “Good People Mantra”—five common sense principles about leadership and communications for everyone looking to start or scale a business. With his guidance, you’ll discover that being people-first means helping others, giving back, and finding balance while still enjoying financial success. After all, the pursuit of ‘good’ isn’t a trade-off; ultimately, it’s good for business, too.