• business strategy

Strategy Speakers

The business challenges of today are daunting. And invigorating. Lavin’s strategy speakers are up for them. Drawing on real-world experience, each speaks on the best practices that improve much more than just the bottom line. 

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Laura Huang

Harvard Business School Professor | Author of EDGE (2020)

In the elusive pursuit of success, you need an edge, says Harvard professor Laura Huang, one of the top business school professors in America. Huang’s talks show how you can make your hard work “work harder for you” by comprehending the factors that have little to do with your talent and effort—and everything to do with making the most of them.  
 
Safi Bahcall

Award-Winning Biotech Entrepreneur | Author of Loonshots

Author of Loonshots, the book Daniel Kahneman calls “Not to be missed by anyone who wants to understand how ideas change the world,” Safi Bahcall shows how we can stoke innovation, create better leaders, and support “loonshots”: the imperfect but ingenious ideas that have the potential to change the world. 
Ajay Agrawal

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Expert | Founder of the Creative Destruction Lab | Author of Prediction Machines

Artificial Intelligence researcher and economist Ajay Agrawal’s talks illuminate the incoming realities of AI: how machine prediction is on the verge of presenting us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the way we do business, “drive” cars, run governments, and provide healthcare. 
 
Ellen Bennett

Culinary Entrepreneur | Founder and CEO of Hedley & Bennett

Ellen Bennett is a self-starting culinary entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Hedley & Bennett, an apron company/brand beloved by the likes of Martha Stewart and Momofuku’s David Chang. In her charismatic talks, Bennett explains how you can jumpstart your own idea, whatever it may be. 
András Tilcsik

Co-Author of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It

Due to their incredible complexity, our modern systems—from healthcare to travel, finance to media—are primed for failure. In his fiercely anticipated book Meltdown, András Tilcsik offers a timely remedy. Not only a convincing diagnosis of why complexity creates failure in systems, it’s a practical guidebook to preventing the next disaster—before it strikes.
 
Welby Altidor

Former Executive Creative Director at Cirque du Soleil | Author | Group CCO, Cityneon

As Executive Creative Director for Cirque du Soleil, Welby Altidor was responsible for groundbreaking live events at one of the world’s most creative companies. His leadership there taught him that creativity isn’t reserved to a happy few, but the result of intentional practice: it can be found within us all. 
Rainn Wilson

Three Time Emmy-Nominated Actor | Founder of SoulPancake

For nearly a decade, Rainn Wilson endeared himself to millions on the hit American edition of The Office, earning three Emmy nominations with his portrayal of Dwight Schrute. As a speaker, Wilson draws on the offbeat genius behind his on-screen characterizations, showing audiences how creativity isn’t simply for artists. It’s for everyone. 
Bassam Tariq

TED Fellow and Award-winning Director of The Ghosts of Sugar Land

Bassam Tariq is the director of the acclaimed film These Birds Walk. Through his work—as a filmmaker, blogger, and halal butcher shop owner—he shares intimate stories of Muslims from around the world. A captivating storyteller who recently received a standing ovation at TEDGlobal, Tariq talks about social entrepreneurship, overcoming stereotypes, and what it’s like to be a Muslim in America today.
 
Ryan Holiday

Author of Perennial Seller, Ego Is the Enemy, The Daily Stoic, and more

With bestsellers like The Daily Stoic, Ego Is the Enemy, and Perennial Seller, Ryan Holiday is a motivational speaker on everyone’s mind. The New York Times calls him “a sought-after guru to NFL coaches, Olympians, hip-hop stars and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.”  

Susan Pinker

Psychologist and Author of The Village Effect and The Sexual Paradox

Psychologist and award-winning author Susan Pinker is a seasoned observer of modern communication and social contact. Whether writing on gender differences or on why face-to-face contact should be a priority, Pinker’s evidence-based insights help us improve the ways we work, play, and relate to each other. 
 
Charles Fishman

Author of The Big Thirst and One Giant Leap (Forthcoming June 2019)

If we want to achieve near-impossible outcomes, under tremendous pressure, we can. That kind of innovation exists. The story of NASA’s moon landing—coming up on its 50th anniversary—shows us how. In his new book, One Giant Leap, #1 New York Times bestselling author Charles Fishman demonstrates why these lessons are more applicable today than ever.  
 
Anders Ericsson

Author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

The world’s foremost authority on peak performance—the expert other experts turn to—is Anders Ericsson. His concept of deliberate, purposeful practice, honed over decades of trailblazing research, offers a science-backed way to correct mistakes, overcome plateaus, adopt new skills, and achieve mastery in any field.
 
Amber Mac

Relentless Adaptation & Digital Innovation Speaker | Co-Host of The AI Effect

Amber Mac is a writer, podcaster, entrepreneur and digital maverick whose understanding of disruptive technologies helps companies anticipate lightning-quick changes as they come—from Artificial Intelligence, to social media, to Amazon-era retail. No matter how confident and established the company, everyone needs a blueprint—and Mac’s talks provide you with just that.  
Diane Francis

Bestselling Author and Editor-at-Large at The National Post

Creating a robust agenda for the development of emerging tech isn’t a frill, but a necessity in the 21st century. An award-winning, bestselling author and futurist, Diane Francis argues for a more effective innovation policy and cultural shift—to build the vibrant venture capitalist infrastructure we need, and to help Canadian entrepreneurs create world-beating companies at home.
 
Jonathan Fader

Performance Psychologist | Former Director of Mental Conditioning for the New York Giants | Author of Life as Sport

When NFL superstars, Major League Baseball players, firefighters, and success-driven workers of any stripe want to improve their performance, they turn to Dr. Jonathan Fader. Fader is an upbeat and reassuring authority who speaks on creating a habit-based, positive mindset for success.   
Heather Payne

Founder of Ladies Learning Code and HackerYou

Heather Payne is the founder of Ladies Learning Code, a national not-for-profit organization that runs popular workshops for women and girls, a traditionally underrepresented demographic in the programming world. Named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, she is revolutionizing our approach to technology, education, and entrepreneurship. 
 
Robb Willer

Prof. of Social Psychology & Organizational Behavior at Stanford | Director of the Polarization and Social Change Lab

Our current political climate hasn’t been this polarized since the Civil War, says social psychologist and speaker Robb Willer. An antidote to this hyper-polarization is Willer’s technique of “moral r...

Sarah Lewis

Author of The Rise, Guest-Editor of Aperture’s “Vision & Justice” Issue

When we view race and justice through the lens of culture, we can enlarge our notion of citizenship, of who belongs and who counts. Sarah Lewis, an intellectual star and powerful speaker, has sparked a national conversation with “Vision & Justice”—the landmark issue of Aperture dedicated to photography of the black experience.   
Doug Stephens

Retail and Consumer Futurist | Internationally Acclaimed Author and Founder of Retail Prophet

Doug Stephens is one of the most influential retail futurists on the planet. His talks are required listening for any company that orbits the retail world. In fully customized and thoroughly researched keynotes, Stephens shows you how to stay ahead of the changing mega-trends in demographics, economics, and technology that are resetting your industry—and, what it takes to be truly innovative. 
 
Trend Hunter Team

The World’s #1 Trend Firm and Innovation Engine

With the Trend Hunter Team, you get a diversely talented group of speakers who will show you—individually or together—what the trends in tech, business, retail and more can do for you before they explode. These speakers are immersed in trends on a daily basis, advising the world’s most innovative people at Disney, Coca-Cola, even NASA, on their areas of opportunity, and crafting Trend Hunter’s world-class culture. 
 
Darby Allen

Fort McMurray’s Fire Chief (Ret.) | Motivational and Crisis Leadership Speaker

During the catastrophic Alberta wildfires, fire chief Darby Allen shot to global acclaim for guiding the 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray to safety with no loss of life—the largest evacuation in Canadian history. Now, he offers guidance on how to be a stoic, quick-thinking leader in tough situations. 
Markus Giesler

Consumer Sociologist | One of The 40 Best Business Professors Under 40

“Your view of life changes the moment you start looking left and right” says consumer sociologist and rebel marketing speaker Markus Giesler. What he means is that our innovations—products, services, experiences—shouldn’t be created in a vacuum.
 
Heather McGhee

Distinguished Senior Fellow & Former Pres. of Demos | Expert in Racial Healing

What if, in the middle of your live TV appearance, someone called in and asked for advice in overcoming racial prejudice? For public policy expert and speaker Heather C. McGhee, the response was natural—she helped. From the personal to the corporate, McGhee’s talks kickstart a much-needed cultural effort towards putting systemic repair into action. 
Adam Bryant

Decade-Long Author of The Corner Office Column in The New York Times | Managing Director, Merryck & Co.

What happens if you interview over 500 of the world’s top CEOs, and instead of asking them about their companies (about share prices or bottom lines), you ask them expansive questions about how they l...

David Kwong

Illusionist | New York Times Crossword Writer | Consultant (Now You See Me)

David Kwong is no ordinary magician. He’s a New York Times crossword writer, TED speaker, Harvard grad, and consultant on blockbusters like Now You See Me and The Imitation Game. In his incredibly entertaining talks full of humour, puzzles, and other surprises, he leaves audiences thinking about what they just saw—and, more important, just thinking in general. 
Eric Berlow

Data Ecologist and Complexity Scientist

Businesses are investing heavily in algorithms and engineers, creating entire departments in order to automate processes. But the data we use is the bloodline that feeds these algorithms. In his clear and timely talks, data ecologist Eric Berlow shares the complexity of the data/AI supply chain, and how you can nourish your data ecosystem.  
Lauren Eskreis-Winkler

Researcher at The University of Pennsylvania’s Character Lab | Speaker on Grit

Lauren Eskreis-Winkler is among a select group of people who can speak authoritatively on grit: steadfast resilience that predicts success better than talent. Her customizable and interactive talks draw on unique, hands-on research to teach you how to practice (and benefit from) grit on every level.
 
Shawn Achor

Author of The Happiness Advantage

Happiness speaker Shawn Achor teaches the most popular class at Harvard—a class on positive psychology. Onstage, he shows us emphatically that it’s possible to change not only our happiness, but also how we view education, business, and personal growth.   
Jessica Jackley

Co-Founder of Kiva, the microlending site, and Author of Clay Water Brick

You can do good and do well at the same time. Just ask Jessica Jackley, founder of KIVA, the world’s most successful microlending site. Jackley champions diverse skill sets, finding meaning in your work, and dreaming big. On stage, Jackley delivers an upbeat and enduring message: you can synthesize your disparate skills, as she did, to create a meaningful life and career. 
 
Nina Tandon

CEO and Co-Founder of EpiBone, TED Senior Fellow

Nina Tandon works on growing artificial hearts and bones that can be put into the body, and studies the new frontier of biotech: homes, textiles, and videogames made of cells. Named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, and one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers, she speaks on the future of healthcare and technology, and biology's new industrial revolution. 
 
Sarah Prevette

Innovation Speaker, Founder of Future Design School

“Fall in love with the problem you’re solving—not the solution,” says entrepreneur Sarah Prevette. Prevette teaches creativity, innovation, and design thinking to some of the country’s biggest business leaders. Her new project, Future Design School, is transforming education by fostering entrepreneurship in a classroom setting. 
 
Matt Ruby

Comedian | Creator of Vooza

Stand-up comedian and entrepreneurship speaker Matt Ruby shows you how to succeed in business by demonstrating, hilariously, all the ways to fail. Creator and star of the viral online video series Vooza, which devastatingly satirizes startup culture, Ruby’s talks meld creative business strategy and standup humor...
 
Katherine Milkman

Expert in Behavioral Economics | Professor, The Wharton School at UPenn

An expert in big data and behavioral economics, Katherine Milkman studies the ways we deviate from optimal choices—and how human decision-making can be improved. In her engaging talks, she offers accessible insights into how we can encourage good choices: in ourselves, our customers, and our employees. 
Eddie Huang

Celebrity Chef | Bestselling Author of Fresh Off the Boat | Host for Vice and MTV

Celebrity chef. Bestselling author of Fresh Off the Boat—adapted into the groundbreaking hit ABC sitcom—as well as Double Cup Love. Yes, entrepreneur Eddie Huang is many things, but beneath each incarnation is an irresistible story of entrepreneurship and self-made success. He speaks on how embracing cultural diversity—your own story—is vital if we want to grow as people, and as a society.
 
Yancey Strickler

Co-founder and Former CEO of Kickstarter

Kickstarter. It’s a name that means innovation, community, and cool. But it’s also a brand with values—the social good—built into its foundation. Co-founder Yancey Strickler explains how, starting wit...

Randall Lane

Chief Content Officer of Forbes Magazine

Randall Lane is the chief content officer of Forbes Magazine, where he has helped it reach its highest-ever U.S. readership (6.7 million) with new emphases on young innovators and disruptors. These ar...

Jeremy Gutsche

CEO of Trend Hunter | New York Times Bestselling Author of Better and Faster

Jeremy Gutsche is “an intellectual can of Red Bull” (Association Week), a New York Times bestseller and a management consultant to brands, billionaires, and CEOs (he’s even helped NASA brainstorm ways...

Maria Konnikova

Contributing Writer for The New Yorker | New York Times Bestselling Author

When the world richest CEOs and most powerful government leaders met at the World Economic Forum in Davos to decide the fate of the world, they asked one person to speak on the critical skill of decision-making. Maria Konnikova is one of the word’s leading thinkers—and practitioners—of critical decision-making.  
Manjit Minhas

Founder of the 10th Largest Brewery in the World, Co-Star of CBC’s Dragons’ Den

A formidable speaker, Manjit Minhas is an entrepreneur and judge on CBC’s Dragons’ Den who shares business lessons with equal parts force and finesse. Minhas runs a $187 million brewery—the 10th large...

Bonnie Brooks

Brought North America's oldest retailer back from the Brink of Failure

“Leadership is about finding ways to get things done,” says Bonnie Brooks, the first female President and CEO of Hudson’s Bay Company, who, with sweeping, institutional changes, brought North America’...

David Robertson

Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan | Author of The Power of Little Ideas and of Brick by Brick

We tend to imagine innovation as slow, incremental change or else industry-shifting disruption. Yet for most companies, neither works. In The Power of Little Ideas, MIT Sloan professor David Robertson...

Chris Clearfield

Co-Author of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It

We’re at a breaking point—today’s systems are so complex that major crises are not only imminent, but more common than ever. And that goes for every industry, regardless of size or scope. Enter Chris Clearfield. In his hotly anticipated book Meltdown 

András Tilcsik

Co-Author of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It

Due to their incredible complexity, our modern systems—from healthcare to travel, finance to media—are primed for failure. And things are only getting worse. In his fiercely anticipated book Meltdown,...

Arlene Dickinson

Business Speaker, CEO of Venture Communications, Star of Dragons' Den

“The purpose of marketing is to deliver business results,” says Arlene Dickinson, renowned CBC “dragon” and one of Canada’s most successful communications entrepreneurs. Whether explaining how to leve...

Joe Jackman

Founder and CEO of Jackman Reinvents

Traditional retail is under siege—and if your company can’t adapt, you disappear. That’s why iconic brands are turning to Joe Jackman. This retail veteran works with major companies to reinvent succes...

Michael Katchen

Founder and CEO of Wealthsimple

If Toronto is the Silicon Valley of the North – a thriving international hub of technological innovation – then Michael Katchen is one of its leading figures. “We’re primed for a historic revolution i...

Anthony Tjan

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

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 New York Times bestselling author shows leaders ho...

Maureen Chiquet

Former Global CEO of Chanel | Former President of Banana Republic

As Global CEO of Chanel—and, earlier, as President of Banana Republic—Maureen Chiquet steered global brands through a decade of disruption, and she did so with traditionally ‘feminine’ skills of empat...

Joe Mimran

Founder, Joe Fresh | Co-Founder and Chairman of Gibralter & Company

Joe Mimran is a true innovator—of retail, design, business, manufacturing—he disrupted the fashion industry before people even had a word for it. In his keynotes he details the methods he used to grow...

Erin Meyer

Author of The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business

In today’s business world, where teams are spread across the planet and most of our communication takes place virtually, how do we work effectively in the face of cross-cultural complexity? Erin Meyer...

Tom Wujec

World Renowned Expert on Innovation | Former Chief Disruptor at Autodesk | Author of The Future of Making

New disruptive technologies are permanently changing the way we conceive, design, manufacture, and sell products. To veteran innovator Tom Wujec—Autodesk’s former ‘Chief Disruptor—this revolution isn...

Misha Glouberman

Negotiations Expert; Co-Author of The Chairs Are Where the People Go

Misha Glouberman is an expert on the subtle arts of negotiation and communication. He takes the principles of good negotiation and better listening, and applies them to a broad set of circumstances to...

Drew Dudley

Founder of Day One Leadership | Author of This Is Day One

What if, says Drew Dudley, we believed that leadership wasn’t just for those in charge? What if we embraced our ability to lead, no matter our school grades or pay-grade? As he describes in his fortif...

Kavita Shukla

Founder & CEO of The FRESHGLOW Co.

Kavita Shukla is the groundbreaking social entrepreneur behind FreshPaper, a biodegradable paper that creates a brilliant solution to the global issue of food waste. FreshPaper landed Shukla on three ...

Yvonne Camus

A Motivational Speaker on Grit and Performance | COO of SPINCO

How can an average businesswoman and mom outperform US Navy Seals? Here’s how: through grit, determination, and resilience. Yvonne Camus is one of the world’s most trusted speakers on teamwork and per...

George Kourounis

Host of Angry Planet | Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer-in-Residence

Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer-in-Residence George Kourounis travels to the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth to document extremes of nature and climate. Best known for his international TV smash, Angry Planet, Kourounis is a fantastic speaker and a vivid storyteller.  
Francesca Gino

Author of Sidetracked and Rebel Talent | Behavioral Scientist | Harvard Business School Professor

Small, simple, and seemingly irrelevant factors often have profound consequences on our behavior and ability to stick to our decisions. In her talks, Francesca Gino explains exactly why our decisions ...

Aaron M. Glazer & Zoe Fraade-Blanar

Authors of Superfandom: How Our Obsessions Are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are

Welcome to the “fandom-based economy”—where today’s most passionate fans drive, engage with, and create communities around top brands. In other words, they’re the people who’ll make or break your comp...