The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Lavin’s Top 10 Corporate Culture Speakers Changing the Workplace of Tomorrow

More than just a modern-day business buzzword, corporate culture plays an integral role in a company’s success. Whether it’s innovation, collaboration, diversity, or a commitment to taking risks, Lavin’s Top Corporate Culture Speakers will help you elevate your organization by championing strong values and putting people first.

Stephanie Mehta: Few people know what makes an award-winning culture of innovation like Stephanie Mehta. Fast Company’s editor-in-chief, she regularly finds, interviews, and profiles the leaders and organizations changing the future of work.


Can Capitalism Ever Really Be Inclusive? ft. Lynn Forester de Rothschild & Stephanie Mehta


Safi Bahcall: You’ve heard the phrase “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” but what about “structure eats culture for lunch?” These iconic words are spoken by biotech entrepreneur and bestselling author Safi Bahcall. In his WSJ bestseller Loonshots, he explains how even the smallest changes in a company’s structure can transform the culture in the most effective and rewarding ways.


How Structure Transforms Culture | Safi Bachall


Sarah Kaplan: Modern business is defined by an increasing number of stakeholders jostling to have their voices heard, from employees who want meaningful work, to consumers searching for socially conscious products. How can organizations deliver on these demands—without compromising their bottom line? Getting close to your stakeholders—and truly engaging with them—is what will generate solutions, says Rotman professor and author of The 360 Corporation, Sarah Kaplan.


Prioritizing Corporate Social Responsibility | Sarah Kaplan


 David Cote: The former CEO and Chairman of Honeywell, David Cote pulled off one of the greatest turn-arounds in the manufacturing industry. Rather than fixating on either long-term strategies or quarterly results, Cote empowered his organization to pursue both simultaneously—leading to historic results. His upcoming book Winning Now, Winning Later will expand on his pivotal leadership, and how it set the stage for a high-performing culture.


The 3 Keys to Making Decisions | David Cote


Mark Johnson: Visionary thinking isn’t an elusive trait belonging to a charismatic few—it’s a way of life that can be embedded into an organization and accessed by all. As the co-founder of innovation consultancy Innosight—alongside Clayton M. Christensen—Mark Johnson shows us how to manage company-wide cultures of transformation that lead to break-through growth.


Leading From the Future | Mark Johnson


Lori Gottlieb: In her critically acclaimed memoir Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb opens up about what it’s like to be a therapist seeking therapy. Honest, unflinching, and remarkably funny, Gottlieb finds a way to talk about our emotional lives—whether it be at work or at home—in a way that’s approachable, enriching, and productive.


How Changing Our Stories Can Change Our Lives |  Lori Gottlieb


Luke Burgis: What could a Silicon Valley founder teach us about philosophy? Turns out, quite a lot. In his upcoming book Wanting, serial entrepreneur Luke Burgis builds upon René Girard’s mimetic theory—the idea that desire is a social construct—to reveal a new framework for understanding rivalry, conflict, and the collective will of our organizations.


Desire Is the Foundation of Business | Luke Burgis


Valorie Kondos Field: There’s a win-at-all-cost mentality that rules elite sports—and damages its brightest stars. The same goes for the boardroom. No one knows this better than Valorie Kondos Field, the legendary, 7-time champion coach of the UCLA women’s gymnastics team. In her corporate culture talks—as well as her viral new TED talk—she calls for radical change for how we define success.


Finding Your Unique Leadership Style | Valorie Kondos Field


Wayne Baker: “Wayne has taught me one of the most important lessons of my career: the biggest barrier to generosity is not that others are unwilling to give, but that we’re afraid to ask,” writes psychologist Adam Grant. He’s chosen Wayne Baker’s groundbreaking book All You Have To Do Is Ask as a Top Leadership Book for 2020. And for good reason—Baker is one of the most prominent sociologists specializing in organizational networks today. His research reveals how we can become more comfortable asking and receiving help, which in turn improves employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity.


Why You Need to Ask for Help | Wayne Baker


Dan Lerner: Happiness and success are not mutually exclusive, says positive psychologist Dan Lerner. With his signature charisma and electrifying storytelling, Lerner helps us transcend what we believe is possible at work and at home. With grit, passion and determination, we can each find our unique potential and elevate ourselves, and our organizations, in the process. 


Where Do Success and Happiness Meet? | Daniel Lerner


To learn more about booking a Corporate Culture Speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today and speak to a talented member of our sales team. 

The Culture Map: INSEAD Professor Erin Meyer Joins Microsoft’s VP for a Fireside Chat

INSEAD professor Erin Meyer’s groundbreaking book The Culture Map may have been published in 2014, but it remains an enduring staple for anyone doing business around the world. What makes the book so timely and relevant? Meyer sits down with Microsoft’s Executive Vice President and President of Global Sales to discuss her insights—and why they’ve stood the test of time. 

Each and every one of us brings our cultural background into the workplace. So how can we be inclusive and mindful of our differences—especially when we’re doing business globally? It’s a question that Erin Meyer seeks to answer in her landmark book The Culture Map. In it, she charts where different cultures sit along a spectrum, through the lens of seven behaviors: communicating, evaluating, persuading, leading, deciding, trusting, disagreeing, and scheduling. Meyer’s work demonstrates it’s not necessarily where we sit on the spectrum, but where we sit in relation to another culture that truly matters.


Jean-Phillip Courtois—Executive Vice President and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations—recently sat down with Meyer to discuss how we can leverage her research in our organizations, building stronger relationships and more inclusive teams. “One of the biggest things that I've learned from this, is that no matter how well you think you know the different world cultures, you never know enough,” says Meyer. “If anyone tells you I’ve really learnt everything, you know they don’t understand anything right, because the world is so advanced.”


Meyer’s upcoming book will once again look at culture, only this time, at one of the most successful global organizations in the world: Netflix. Written alongside company co-founder Reed Hastings, No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention will be published by Penguin Random House in May 2020.


Watch the first clip from Meyer’s fireside chat here.


To book speaker Erin Meyer for your next speaking event, contact her exclusive speaker’s bureau The Lavin Agency, and speak to a representative.

Why It Pays to Break the Rules: Behavioral Scientist Francesca Gino Offers Advice for Today’s Leaders in Forbes

Rebels get a bad rap, says Harvard professor Francesca Gino, but in fact, there’s much we can learn from the people willing to challenge the status quo. In a new interview with Forbes India, Gino opens up about why it pays to encourage the right kind of rule-breaking in an organization.

Francesca Gino has spent the better part of a decade studying rebels in the workplace. Rather than causing unnecessary trouble or chaos, rebels proved to be the drivers of positive change and creativity, oftentimes breathing life into otherwise stagnant organizations. “From an early age, we are taught to follow the rules, and the pressure to fit in only increases over time. But when we mindlessly accept norms rather than questioning and constructively rebelling against them, we ultimately end up stuck and unfulfilled,” Gino warns. “Rebels—those who practice ‘positive deviance’ at work and in life—might be harder to manage, but they are good for the bottom line: their passion, drive, curiosity, and creativity can raise an entire organization to a new level.”


In the interview, Gino reveals what the five core characteristics that make up a rebel are; when it’s the right time to push boundaries, and when it’s better to hold back; and how leaders themselves can embrace rebellion and foster a sense of curiosity throughout their teams.


Read the full interview here.


To book speaker Francesca Gino for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency today and speak with an agent from our sales team.

The Secret Economy of Desire: Introducing New Lavin Speaker Luke Burgis

Why do we want what we want? And why does it matter? It might seem like an innocent question, but the answer is far from simple. In his upcoming book Wanting, new Lavin speaker Luke Burgis explains how mimetic, or imitative, desire is at the heart of business, relationships, and consumer behavior. 

A three-time Silicon Valley entrepreneur fluent in theology, Luke Burgis makes the provocative argument that our desires are never entirely our own, but a direct result of the social fabric of our relationships. We don’t want what we want simply because we want it, but because others around us want it. In his upcoming book Wanting: The Secret Economy of Desire, Burgis expertly shows us that desire-by-contagion influences everything from our economic decision-making, to our intimate relationships—and not always for the better.


With fascinating anecdotes, interviews, and real-world examples, Burgis explains what happens when two people, companies, or countries get stuck in an escalating, destructive cycle of desire; how it can create competition, rivalry, and if left unchecked, violence. And in talks, Burgis offers a radical new framework for undersanding what drives our choices—helping us transform our organizations into a force for good, and lead more meaningful lives in the process.


Understanding Why We Want What We Want | Luke Burgis


To book speaker Luke Burgis for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.  

Cracking the Code of Sustained Collaboration: Francesca Gino for Harvard Business Review

Collaboration is touted as a core value in many organizations. But oftentimes, strategies to increase the practice in the workplace come up short. Why? Behavioral scientist Francesca Gino explains in a new paper for HBR. 

“One problem is that leaders think about collaboration too narrowly: as a value to cultivate but not a skill to teach,” Francesca Gino writes. From open-plan offices to naming collaboration an official corporate goal, these strategies create opportunities for collaboration, but frequently fail to deliver. What’s worse, these methods can seem heavy-handed or superficial.


Gino explains that what’s really needed is a psychological approach. “When I analyzed sustained collaborations in a wide range of industries, I found that they were marked by common mental attitudes: widespread respect for colleagues’ contributions, openness to experimenting with others’ ideas, and sensitivity to how one’s actions may affect both colleagues’ work and the mission’s outcome.”


In her Harvard Business Review article, Gino explores the organizations who have cracked the code—and distills the winning formula. Read the full paper here.


To book speaker Francesca Gino for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency today and speak with a knowledgeable representative.

What We Gain From Working Together: Introducing New Lavin Speaker Jay Van Bavel

Jay Van Bavel is interested in the science of cooperation. A Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University, Van Bavel has dedicated his career to understanding the factors that bind us together. In talks, he reveals how we can harness cooperation and build organizations that are more efficient, successful, and happier.

Humans are unparalleled when it comes to their uniquely strong ability to cooperate with each other. It’s how sports fan can show up to a stadium and immediately share a common purpose with 100,000 strangers; or how a person can go to great lengths—and take great risks—to save the life of someone they’ve never met.


Drawing from original neural science research conducted in his lab at NYU, Jay Van Bavel shows us what about human nature allows us to cooperate, why it matters to us today, and how we can nudge individuals and groups towards it. As work becomes more and more collaborative, Van Bavel’s talk is timely and necessary for organizations optimizing for the future.


Building a Cooperative Culture | Jay Van Bavel


To book speaker Jay Van Bavel, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.  

Rebel With a Cause: Social Scientist Francesca Gino Explores Non-Conformity for NPR

Francesca Gino stumbled across Massimo Bottura’s unusual Italian cookbook by chance. Flipping through its pages, she discovered that the traditional Italian recipes she knew and loved had been replaced with creative, remixed dishes. On this week’s episode of Hidden Brain by NPR, Gino explains what she learned from the rule-breaking Michelin chef in her quest to understand non-conformity.

“I think we really need to shift our thinking,” says Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School. “Rebels are people who break rules that should be broken. They break rules that hold them and others back, and their way of rule breaking is constructive rather than destructive. It creates positive change.”


Gino has spent much of her career studying non-conformists. She’s even authored a book on the subject. Rebel Talent explores how and when rules should be broken. It asks the question: when can defying norms lead to creative thinking and innovation? In this week’s episode of Hidden Brain, Gino relays her unique experience at Bottura’s restaurant, and explains why fearless curiosity is at the heart of “rebel talent.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

To book Francesca Gino for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers bureau. 

How Did NASA Create a Culture of Learning from Failure? One Giant Leap Author Charles Fishman Explains.

Award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Charles Fishman explores the story of Apollo 11 in his latest book. But more than a retelling of the moon landing, One Giant Leap reveals profound lessons on leadership, management, and culture.  

“There were literally 10,000 problems that had to be solved to get to the moon,” explains Charles Fishman, author of One Giant Leap. “And we didn’t know what 5,000 of them were. 5,000 of those problems didn’t appear until we tried to solve the first 5,000.” With so many obstacles, it’s difficult to imagine the mission’s many participants (400,000 to be exact) maintaining their motivation or morale. But Fishman says that the culture developed by NASA and its collaborators was unique in that it was not discouraged by failure. In fact, it gave meaning to failure. “Every single failure had to be investigated, understood, and resolved,” Fishman explains. Because the stakes were so high, no one could afford to shrug their shoulders if something didn’t work, and this turned out to be vitally important. “Every failure [was] a gift here on earth. If we can understand it, we can avoid a problem later on.”


You can listen to the full conversation, here.


To book speaker Charles Fishman for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency for more information.

How Performance Metrics Influence Culture: Adam Bryant Unveils a New Approach to Leadership

Corporate culture has become a hot-button topic frequently discussed by CEOs and leadership teams. But, according to a new paper by Adam Bryant and David Reimer, a company’s most powerful cultural signals are communicated less by talking, and more by who gets promoted and financially rewarded. 

Compensation and bonus frameworks typically rely on financial results in order to stay objective and fair. Yet over time, this emphasis on numerical targets has an unintended effect: by ignoring how the numbers are achieved, workplaces can become toxic environments that “promote short-term thinking and a tolerance for the proverbial high-performing jerks.”


In “Incentives for a Strong Leadership Culture” Adam Bryant and David Reimer point to a growing trend of businesses innovating in this space by placing more emphasis on the “how” behind the business performance. Bryant and Reimer break it down into three key metrics: “A rewarding culture,” “The 60:40 Bonus Rule,” and “More than the Sum of its parts,” which you can read it full here.


To book speaker Adam Bryant for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.

Rebels Lead More Successful Lives. Francesca Gino’s New Book Rebel Talent (Out Now!) Will Help You Find the Rebel in You.

Francesca Gino has spent the last decade studying rebels and rule-breakers in organizations around the world, from high-end fashion boutiques in Italy to thriving fast food chains. The result is her new book Rebel Talent, a groundbreaking analysis of those who routinely defy the status quo, embrace the unfamiliar, and end up happier and more successful than their acquiescent counterparts. There’s a rebel in all of us, says Gino. This book will teach you how to find it. 

Out now, Rebel Talent aims to show organizations how to cultivate a culture of rebellion; to teach individuals to be more authentically themselves; and to explain how to actively nurture innovation. Gino is uniquely skilled in this department. As a Harvard professor, behavioral scientist, and author, her work is rooted in answering the question of why people do the things they do, both at work and at home.


Rebel Talent “is full of great stories, great science, and great practical advice about how, when, and why to break the rules,” says Angela Duckworth, the  bestselling author of Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance. You can take the rebel test to find out what kind of rebel you are, or check out her recent articles in Harvard Business Review and Scientific American in which she shows was rebel talent looks like in action. 


Sidetracked, Gino’s previous book (and also a keynote talk), explored the ways in which people are derailed from their goals, and how to prevent it. Her expertise in keeping goals and nurturing innovation make her one of our premier speakers on business strategy. Contact us for more information. 

Adam Bryant Distills How the Most Effective CEOs Built Their Most Successful Teams

Adam Bryant has spent the last 10 years interviewing over 500 CEOs for his New York Times column, Corner Office. In an incredibly helpful (and viral) NYT piece this week he lays out exactly how the most effective leaders in business built their most successful teams. 

1. Have a Plan.

“You need a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish,” says Bryant. It may sound obvious, and simple, but Bryant confirms that it’s one of the greatest challenges that teams face. “Determining these priorities and how they’re going to be measured is arguably the most important job of a team leader because most of the jobs that everybody does will flow from these goals.”


2. Make Rules.

“You’ll need a set of values, behaviours and cultural guardrails so that everybody knows how to work together.” Make the rules short, unique to the team, and really abide by them. “The most important thing is for the team to live by their stated values, rather than just going through the motions of the exercise, with people earning promotions even though their behaviour runs directly counter to the stated rules of the road.” 


3. Show Respect.

“If team members don’t feel respected, they won’t be motivated to bring their best ideas—and their best selves—to work.” This starts with the leader: “it’s incredibly important for leaders to set a tone, and model behaviour, that everyone will respect one another.” The effects of a bad or disrespectful boss are catastrophic. 


4. Accountability Is Key.

“A team is stronger when everybody delivers on their roles.” It’s a simple bargain leaders can offer, but it works. “I’ll treat you well, but we’re also going to be clear about the work you’re expected to contribute.” 


5. Have Conversations. 

“Difficult conversations aren’t anyone’s idea of fun—but they are necessary for running a successful team.” And even more important than having them is making sure you’re having them the right way. That means, “never make statements that include assumptions about the motivations behind someone’s behaviour,” and giving feedback frequently, so employees aren’t so alarmed when it comes and they’re more open to hearing it and acting on it. And finally, says Bryant, be aware of “the hazards of email. Emails lack the tone and context to clearly signal what the sender is thinking.” The effects can be corrosive. 


To book Adam Bryant, or another leadership keynote speaker, like Jeremy Gutsche or Arlene Dickinson, contact The Lavin Agency.  


Radical Creativity Lives Here: Derek Thompson’s Atlantic Cover Story Offers A Rare Look Inside Google “X”

“X” is Google’s highly secretive moonshot factory, where designers, psychologists, scientists and technologists try to come up with radical solutions to the world’s biggest problems, detached (in theory) “from the vagaries of the free market.” Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson received a rare invitation to visit the factory, and it became this month’s cover story.  

“X is perhaps the only company on the planet where regular investigation into the absurd is encouraged, and even required,” says Thompson. Ideas are then carefully evaluated: which should be pursued, which abandoned—or put another way, which are hits and which are flops. On this, Thompson is the expert, author of the bestseller Hit Makers—a revelatory investigation into why and how ideas become popular.   


Here are five things we learned about radical creativity from Thompson’s unprecedented access to one of the few places in Silicon Valley that aims “to nurture each moonshot, from question, to discovery, to product—and, in so doing, write an operator’s manual for radical creativity.”


  1. 1. Radical creativity is about coming up with the right questions, not brainstorming solutions.

  2. “Moonshots don’t begin with brainstorming clever answers,” says Thompson. “They start with the hard work of finding the right questions.”

  1. 2. One of X’s tenets of radical creativity is #MonkeyFirst.

  2. “Astro Teller [leader of X] likes to recount an allegorical tale of a firm that has to get a monkey to stand on top of a 10-foot pedestal and recite passages from Shakespeare. ‘Where would you begin?’ he asks … many people would start with the pedestal. That’s the worst possible choice, Teller says. ‘You can always build the pedestal. All of the risk and the learning comes from the extremely hard work of first training the monkey.’” 

  1. 3. Radical creativity means a tremendous amount of failure.

  2. “At X, Teller and his deputies have had to build a unique emotional climate, where people are excited to take big risks despite the inevitability of, as Teller delicately puts it, ‘falling flat on their face.’”

  1. 4. Radical creativity needs a business model; a plan for contact with the real world.

  2. Using Nikola Tesla as an example: “He was one of the greatest inventors, but it’s a sad, sad story … he couldn’t commercialize anything, he could barely fund his own research. You’d want to be more like Edison … you’ve got to actually get your invention into the world; you’ve got to produce, make money doing it.”

  1. 5. When radical creativity isn’t valued, invention and innovation halts.

  2. “America’s withdrawal from moonshots started with the decline in federal investment in basic science. Allowing well-funded and diverse teams to try to solve big problems is what gave us the nuclear age, the transistor, the computer, and the internet. Today, the U.S. is neglecting to plant the seeds of this kind of ambitious research, while complaining about the harvest.”

To book Derek Thompson to speak on journalism, innovation, or The Future of Work (the subject of his previous Atlantic cover story) contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau. 


Nonconformists—Those with “Rebel Talent”—Can Make Your Organization Thrive, Says Francesca Gino

In last Friday’s Lavin Weekly, we told you all about “Rebel Talent,” Francesca Gino’s groundbreaking new series for Harvard Business Review. Every day from October 24 to November 1, the magazine will release new content related to “constructive nonconformity”—in essence, how your employees’ weird, wacky, unique strengths can actually help your company thrive. The first two pieces are already live; both penned by Gino, one champions curiosity as the bedrock of “rebel talent,” and the other asks the question, “Are you a constructive nonconformist?”

Curiosity is the lifeblood of innovation, Gino says, “yet few organizations and leaders think systematically about it.” In her first article, she focuses on one company that does: global executive search firm Egon Zehnder. Where other businesses tend to evaluate potential hires on broad competencies like being results-oriented and having influence over others, Egon Zehnder has adopted a four-point approach that stresses curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination—crucial skills for employees facing a novel challenge or problem. Curiosity, it turns out, is at the center of it all: not only did it prove the most important of the four traits, but it actually predicts the other three. 


Jump over to HBR to read the rest of the article, then take the quiz to get in touch with your inner rebel. And stay tuned for more from Gino every day this week: tomorrow (Oct. 26), she’s hosting a webinar on how to foster rebel talent in the workplace, and on November 1, she’ll lead a roundtable discussion featuring Pixar president Ed Catmull and HBR editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius.


To book Harvard Business Review’s Francesca Gino for a keynote speech on rebel talent, or decision making and bias, contact The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers bureau.