The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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

Turn Collaboration Into “Creative Chemistry”: Fmr. Nike Chief Marketing Officer Greg Hoffman

Two all-important questions are the key to breakthrough innovation and unlocking your company’s full potential, says Greg Hoffman: “What if? And why not?” During his three decades at Nike, Greg worked his way up from intern to Chief Marketing Officer, fostering a space that allowed for groundbreaking ideas to flourish. How? By encouraging imagination, treating creativity “as a team sport,” and recognizing that “innovation happens in the intersections.”

“Diversity is the oxygen that breathes life into the creative process, and curiosity is the rocket fuel,” says Greg. But to build diverse and curious dream teams, you need to create the right environment. You must embrace everyone’s creative capacity. Only when employees can freely share their ideas can you build a culture like Nike’sa culture that innovates.

In talks, Greg empowers you and your team to achieve your creative potential and dare to be remembered. “You need to connect what you sell with what the world needs,” Greg says. He offers real examples and practical lessons from his groundbreaking career, showing you how to develop your creative leadership and build teams that make a real impact.

Adam Bryant Shows You How to Master Critical Leadership Challenges in The CEO Test

The demands of the corner office are notoriously difficult: impossible decisions, sleepless nights, the expectation to perform consistently at a high-level. It’s no wonder that the average CEO today rarely lasts longer than five years. In his new book The CEO Test, leadership expert and New York Times bestselling author Adam Bryant covers the seven key challenges that befall leaders at every level—and shows you how to conquer them to come out on top.

Before he was the managing director of executive mentoring firm Merryck & Co., Adam Bryant interviewed CEOs for his landmark New York Times column The Corner Office—over 600 of them, in fact. He shares his abundance of knowledge on leadership in his new book The CEO Test: How to Master the Challenges That Make or Break All Leaders, co-written with Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer.


Engaging, well-written, and jam-packed with insight, this guidebook covers the essential challenges of leadership, whether it’s setting a strategy, shaping a culture, or handling a crisis (a challenge that we all felt in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic). The CEO Test was selected as one of the Financial Times books to read for March. They write, “The authors practise what they preach, simplifying complexity (a leadership “superpower”), steering clear of cookie-cutter truisms, and preferring readable common sense to ideological waffle or textbook dryness.”


The CEO Test is available everywhere you buy books, and Bryant will join The Lavin Agency for a live Q&A on March 24th, answering some of your most critical leadership questions. Register for FREE today!


To book leadership expert Adam Bryant for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers’ bureau. 

Former Honeywell CEO David Cote Reveals How He’s Approaching the Coronavirus Crisis in Fortune

Few CEOs navigated the Great Recession as skillfully as David Cote. In a new interview with Fortune, the inspiring corporate leader offers guidance for businesses managing the coronavirus crisis today. 

When David Cote inherited Honeywell in 2002, the company was teetering on the brink of failure thanks to a mishandled merger with GE. Yet Cote was unfazed. During his 15 years as CEO, he not only navigated the Great Recession, but managed to increase the company’s capitalization to the tune of $100 billion dollars. Now the executive chairman of Vertiv Holdings, and the author of the upcoming Winning Now, Winning Later, Cote reveals the strategies that set Honeywell apart from irs competitorsand helped them emerge from crisis unscathed.

His first piece of advice focuses on leadership. “It’s surprising how often a leader will panic,” Cote tells Fortune. “A CEO who panics will just sit there, not knowing what to do, and try to build consensus.”  But rather than striving for unanimity, Cote recommends hearing from your entire team and then making a decision yourself. “Independent thinking is a lot more rare than being smart.”


Cote also warns leaders against putting on their rose-colored glasses during times of crisis. Though they might not want to believe the worst-case scenarios, a lack of preparation will put them at risk of failure.  “My credo is to hope for the best but plan for the worst. Pick a plan and start executing it as if you expect the worst to happen,” Cote advises.

This doesn’t necessarily mean cutting all costs, either. Cote says, “It’s also critical in turbulent times to keep investing for the future. Among the first things to get cut in a recession is usually investment in new products. But it’s those products that create a growing and vibrant company, and they need to be protected. Honeywell roared out of the Great Recession because we kept investing.”
Read the full article here.


To book speaker David Cote for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency, and speak with a talented member of our sales team.

“Start the New Year with a Simplification Month”: Adam Bryant Explores How Leaders Gain Clarity

New Year’s resolutions like changing your diet, fitness, and lifestyle can often be fleeting. So why not take a page from leadership expert Adam Bryant’s book and tackle something at work that’s well within your control? In his latest article for Strategy+Business, Bryant makes a compelling argument for turning January into a “Simplification Month.” 

“A simplification month is a smart approach to focus everyone’s attention on one of the greatest challenges for companies of any size: complexity,” writes Adam Bryant. “In business, as in nature, complexity inevitably creeps into any ecosystem.” Initiatives that are introduced and quickly forgotten; departments—hungry for growth—lobbying for more resources; and strategy decks that “grow longer and busier, adding bullet points, tiered pyramids, and corkscrew arrows to describe where the company is going.” Complexity is not hard to accrue, and in fact, it has become the default.


But complexity will undoubtedly lead to entropy if left unchecked. To simplify your organization, Bryant proposes taking stock of everything you’re currently doing and culling whatever is unnecessary: “be ruthless,” he advises. In addition, Bryant suggests shifting your focus from priorities to outcomes by asking yourself what you really want to achieve over the next 12 months.


Read the full article here.


To book speaker Adam Bryant for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency and speak with a knowledgeable member of our sales team.

Think Like a CEO: Adam Bryant Explores the Number 1 Quality of Successful Leaders

Over the last decade, Adam Bryant has interviewed more than 500 CEOs for his landmark column in The New York Times. From brains to ambition to humility, Bryant discovered the list of qualities that make up a successful leader is long. But what is the elusive trait at the top? In a new article for Strategy + Business, Bryant reveals the most important leadership quality across the board.  

The most important characteristic of a leader, beyond high IQ or confidence, is a quality called “applied curiosity.” Different from our natural, hard-wired curiosity as human beings, applied curiosity is a more specific variety. “People who have it engage in relentless questioning to understand how things work. And then they start wondering how those things could be made to work better,” explains Adam Bryant. “They approach everything with an inquiring mind-set—whether it’s making sense of shifting consumer habits or the global macroeconomic trends that are shaping their industry.”


What separates the best of the best is how much they question, probe, and process everything they’re experiencing—and then look for insights and patterns. Such a questioning mindset has to be able to look forward just as much as it looks backwards. Bryant writes, “If one old definition of wisdom is that it’s a sense that ‘I’ve seen this movie before and I know how it plays out,’ then wisdom for leaders today increasingly means unlearning what they already know in order to explore what-if scenarios for an uncertain future.”


Read the full article here.


To book Adam Bryant for your next speaking engagement, contact a representative from The Lavin Agency today.

The Science of Praise: Forbes Covers New Management Research by Lauren Eskreis-Winkler

Some bosses manage their employees through negative reinforcement, while others prefer positive reinforcement. But which managerial style is more effective? New research by Lauren Eskreis- Winkler reveals that encouraging management yields far better results than those that focus on failure. 

Lauren Eskreis- Winkler and her team at the University of Chicago designed an experiment to test whether a positive or negative management style would produce better outcomes. The research—forthcoming in the journal of Psychological Science and profiled by Forbes—overwhelmingly points to positive reinforcement as the superior strategy. “Our society celebrates failure as a teachable moment,” state Eskreis-Winkler and her team. “Yet we find that failure does the opposite: it undermines learning. Failure feedback undermines learning motivation because it is ego-threatening. It causes participants to tune out and stop processing information.”


To arrive at this conclusion Eskreis-Winkler and her team provided success-oriented feedback to one set of participants, and failure-oriented feedback to another. They found that those in the former category were able to recall information and perform the activity with better accuracy. “Our key result is that people find failure feedback ego-threatening, which leads them to tune out, and miss the information it offers. Tuning out from a pursuit in the moment of failure could be the first step in a chain reaction that distances and discourages people from the goal they are pursuing.”


Read the full article here.


To book speaker Lauren Eskreis-Winkler for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency and speak to a knowledgeable representative.

Athlete and Activist Waneek Horn-Miller Inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Having been an inspiring athlete and Indigenous activist for decades, Waneek Horn-Miller has been breaking barriers and records her entire life. Her latest achievement is being inducted into the elite Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame—making her the first water polo player to be honoured. 

The induction ceremony takes place in Toronto today, and Horn-Miller is one of only eight athletes in the class of 2019. Her incredible journey to both activism and athleticism began at a young age when, at 14, she protested during the Oka Crisis and, after nearly 80 days of stand-off with the RCMP and armed forces, she was stabbed in the chest by a Canadian soldier with a bayonet. The image of her wounded, holding her young sister, was shared across national media—and impacted Canadians to better understand, and care about Indigenous issues. 


After that traumatic event, Horn-Miller had to make a choice; succumb to the PTSD and pain, or push through it all to pursue incredible new goals—goals that would eventually lead her to the Hall of Fame.


After winning gold with her water polo team at the Pan Am Games, she became the first Mohawk woman from Canada to ever compete in the Olympic games, co-captaining Team Canada in Sydney 2000. That same year, she appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, striking an iconic image of strength, power and perseverance.


A long-time advocate for the health of Indigenous communities, Horn-Miller was the host of Working It Out Together—a 13-part documentary and healthy-eating initiative with the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network. “Sport in the Native world is more than just something to be physically active,” she said. “It’s a suicide preventer. It’s a self-esteem creator. It’s a leadership developer.”


Horn-Miller is also formerly the Director of Community Engagement for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, an incredibly important initiative: one that seeks justice, raises awareness of violence against Indigenous women, and furthers the dual tasks of healing and reconciliation.


To book speaker Waneek Horn-Miller, contact her exclusive speakers bureau, The Lavin Agency. 

Navigating Business Trade-Offs: The Financial Times Reviews Sarah Kaplan’s The 360° Corporation

Based on professor Sarah Kaplan’s Rotman business school course, The 360° Corporation offers us a new way of understanding modern business. Trade-offs can’t be avoided, especially in today’s socially conscious environment—so how do we deal with them? 

Different stakeholders want different things. Millennials want to work for companies that share their social values. Investors want to support environmentally conscious companies. And consumers want products that are both ethically made and inexpensive. So how do organizations deal with these pressures—especially when they conflict with financial performance?


“Addressing these paradoxes is at the heart of [Sarah] Kaplan’s book, a guide that aims to topple economist Milton Friedman’s dictum that ‘the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits,’” writes The Financial Times. “Instead, Kaplan urges us ‘to look at the stakeholders that surround companies from all directions, all 360 degrees,’ from the workers in a clothes factory to the community exposed to its waste products. Only then, Kaplan argues, will companies be able to consider innovative ways to respond to these seemingly intractable trade-offs.”


With a solid structure, thorough research, and rich case studies, Kaplan’s book is “full of nuggets that will fascinate leaders, both established and inspiring.”


Read the full review, here.


To book speaker Sarah Kaplan for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency today.

Building a 360° Corporation: New Lavin Speaker Sarah Kaplan Navigates Stakeholder Trade-Offs

In today’s political climate, corporate social responsibility has transformed from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have.” Sarah Kaplan, author of The 360° Corporation, shows us how the next generation of business will survive—and thrive—amidst conflicting stakeholder demands. 

“Today, increasingly, corporations are being asked, pressured, forced, encouraged, regulated, and coaxed to consider a broader set of stakeholders in their calculations,” writes Sarah Kaplan in her book The 360° Corporation. “There are many reasons for this. The 2008 financial crisis forced attention on how corporations can have broad-ranging effects on society. Climate change has attuned people to the potentially toxic effects of corporate policies. The global supply chain is more visible than ever before, and many consumers are conscientious of their buying habits than they were in the past.”


Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that stakeholder demands can no longer be ignored—even when they conflict with the bottom line. What can today’s businesses do to navigate these challenges? How can business leaders make the necessary trade-offs and feel confident in their decisions? Kaplan has spent nearly a decade thinking critically about the role of corporations in society, and how they can address these new stakeholder demands. In her talks, she shows us how to turn the conflict into a channel for innovation—and transformation.


Identifying Shareholder Trade-Offs | Sarah Kaplan


To book speaker Sarah Kaplan for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, her exclusive speakers bureau.

Winning Now, Winning Later: Former Honeywell CEO David Cote Joins The Lavin Agency

As the former chairman and CEO of Honeywell, David Cote led one of the most historic turn-around’s the manufacturing industry had ever seen. In his upcoming book Winning Now, Winning Later, he distills those strategic leadership lessons for the next generation of business chieftains and managers. 

Should an organization focus on its current numbers, or its future health? It’s an increasingly common problem for business leaders today, many of whom have visions for their future, but feel held back by the expectations of their bosses and shareholders each quarter. At some point along the way, we’ve come conclusion that long-term investment has to come at the expense of short-term performance. But David Cote knows the two are not mutually exclusive. In his upcoming book, the celebrated leader opens up about his industry-defining shake-up at Honeywell, showing us how to go after our long- and-short-term goals at once. It is possible to win today and win tomorrow, says Cote, but only if we’re prepared to banish intellectual laziness in favor of rigorous discipline and honesty.


Finding Your Blindspot as a Leader | David Cote


To book speaker David Cote for your next speaking engagement, contact The Lavin Agency and speak with a representative.  

Leadership Expert Adam Bryant Reveals How One Word Can Undermine People’s Motivation

“Actually.” It’s a word so neutral, it must be harmless. Right? Wrong. As a news editor and leadership consultant, Adam Bryant has sat in thousands upon thousands of meetings throughout his career. Drawing upon this experience, Bryant shares why “actually” may be hurting team performance. 

“Tom sent me the proposal, and it’s actually pretty good.”


“Yeah, that suggestion actually came from Jane.”


“I actually like that idea.”


These three examples may sound benign at first, but, Adam Bryant explains that using the word “actually” to talk about our colleagues has a strong detrimental effect. “The obvious problem is the subtext,” Bryant says. “It signals that the person speaking was expecting less from the colleague, who somehow exceeded those low expectations by actually doing good work.”


In order to remedy these unintended, insidious effects of language, leaders must embody the change they’d like to see.  “If leaders consistently undermine their people, they will also undermine the expectation that their people will do the right thing, whatever the context. If that expectation goes away, so, too, does motivation.”


Read the full article here.


Interested in booking a leadership speaker like Adam Bryant for your next speaking event? Contact The Lavin Agency today.


Retail Maverick Bonnie Brooks Formally Named CEO of Chico’s

As the first female President and CEO of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Bonnie Brooks restored the aging institution back to its former glory. More recently, she has been acting as interim CEO of Chico’sthe international women’s fashion retailerfollowing the abrupt departure of Shelley Broader. Today, the Financial Post announced that Brooks will take on the role permanently.

Bonnie Brooks will remain a member of the Chico’s FAS board in addition to her now-official position as President and CEO, reports the Financial Post. She brings an impressive three decades-worth of global retail experience to the role, where she’s responsible for overseeing Chico’s 1,500 retail locations across North America. Prior to Chico’s, Brooks was widely known for her transformative leadership at the Hudson’s Bay Companybrokering a successful merger with Lord and Taylor in the USA, which led to the acquisition of Saks in Canada.


Today, Brooks speaks about what it takes to successfully lead an organization in one of the most competitive, constantly evolving markets in the world. She takes a holistic view of marketing, strategy, and leadership, and translates it into actionable insights for professionals and organizations in retail and beyond.


Bonnie Brooks: Is Your Business *Actually* Different—and Better?


To book Bonnie Brooks for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency today.

What Did JFK’s Assassination Mean for the Moon Landing? Charles Fishman Investigates for Fast Company

The moon landing wouldn’t have happened without President John F. Kennedy, he who boldly promised the nation that we would reach the moon before the Soviets. But would we have gotten there by 1969as promisedif he hadn’t been assassinated? In his latest article for Fast Company, Charles Fishman reveals surprising evidence that suggests JFK was getting cold feetand explains why that would have derailed the mission.

Recordings of the President’s conversations suggest that privately, JFK wasn’t as enthusiastic about space as he was in public.“In private […] Kennedy viewed going to the Moon not as a natural expression of the American spirit, but in pragmatic political terms,” Charles Fishman writes in Fast Company’s 50 Days to the Moon series. “He had picked the Moon as the goal in order to beat the Soviets in space. For Kennedy, Apollo was a Cold War mission: to re-establish American pre-eminence in science, technology, and engineering.”


Once the President discovered that the moon landing most likely wouldn’t be achieved during his presidency, it would be easy to imagine him maneuvering away from the goal. According to Fishman, this would have been tragic for the mission’s progress: “Going to the Moon was so difficult, and required so much political determination, that if Kennedy himself wasn’t 100% behind it, Apollo might well have lost momentum.”


Leadership was one of the most important aspects in pioneering this impossible project. Without it, it’s hard to imagine NASA coordinating more than 400,000 people on a mission lasting several years. As the author of the NYT bestselling One Giant Leap, Fishman provides a deep understanding of the leadership, problem-solving, and creativity behind the world’s largest innovation project.


You can read the full article here


To book Charles Fishman for your next speaking event, contact one of our sales agents at The Lavin Agency.  

Lavin Speakers Nominated for Thinkers50: The World’s Most Prestigious Ranking of Management Thinkers

Thinkers50, the premier ranking of global business leaders, announced the nominees for their 2019 Distinguished Achievement Awards. Dubbed the “Oscars” of Management Thinking by the Financial Times, this year’s shortlist features no less than six Lavin Speakers, whose ideas are being recognized for their potential to change the world.  

Ajay AgrawalDigital Thinking Award
In their book Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence, Ajay Agrawal and his colleagues Avi Goldfarb and Joshua Gans, consider AI as a basic commodity. With clarity and insight, they reveal a simple economic framework for understanding the artificial intelligence revolution.


Safi BahcallInnovation Award
Former biotech entrepreneur Safi Bahcall applies his physics training to the study of innovation, offering a new and unique take on the subject. His book, Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries, draws on the science of phase transitions to explain the behavior of companiesand reveals how a change in structure can help nurture the radical break-throughs that change the world.  


Francesca GinoTalent Award
Rebels have a bad reputation, according to Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino. The behavioral scientist has spent more than a decade studying “rebel talent” in organizations, and what we can learn from them. Her book, Rebel Talent, offers a practical, science-backed guide for when and how to break the rulesbringing joy, meaning, and fulfillment in our lives.


Chris Clearfield & András TilscikStrategy Award
In their award-winning book  Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It, Chris Clearfield and Andras Tilscik explain how the increasing complexity of our systems set us up for failure. By better understanding the conditions of these failures, Clearfield and Tilscik help us design better systems and prevent “meltdowns” in business and in life.


Shoshana Zuboff Digital Thinking Award
Scholar Shoshana Zuboff explores the rise of digital technology as it relates to capitalism. In her landmark book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Zuboff warns against the dangers of corporate powers that seek to control human behavior. The consequencesfor individuals, society, even the foundations of our democracyare far more sinister than they initially appear.


For more information, visit our dedicated Leadership Speakers page, or contact The Lavin Agency today.


Three Female Leaders Whose Talks Will Inspire the Next Generation

Women don’t run the world (yet). But these women in leadership speakers—Maureen Chiquet, Jessica Jackley and Margot Lee Shetterly—are some of the strongest in their field, offering dynamic insights into how they’ve leaned in and leveraged their unique skillsets to make it in predominantly male worlds.  

As Global CEO of Chanel and President of Banana Republic, Maureen Chiquet has steered massive brands through decades of disruption, not by “leaning in,” but by embracing and utilizing traditionally feminine qualities like empathy, communication, collaboration, and compassion.


Leadership Speaker Maureen Chiquet: Showing Empathy and Humility Doesn't Mean Conceding Your Values



You can do good and do well at the same time. Just ask Jessica Jackley, founder of KIVA, the world’s first microlending site. Praised by the likes of Oprah and Bill Clinton, Jackley champions diverse skill sets, seeking meaning in your work, and dreaming big.


Jessica Jackley: Poverty, money -- and love



Margot Lee Shetterly’s #1 New York Times bestseller Hidden Figures is the incredible true story of the black women mathematicians at NASA who helped fuel America’s greatest achievements in space. In talks she unpacks the issues of race, gender, science and innovation that affected these unsung heros, and expounds on the process of writing what became an Academy Award nominated film.


Hidden Figures: The Female Mathematicians of NACA and NASA


In this on-going series recognizing women in leadership, we’ll be showcasing our many female leadership speakers, including Kirstine Stewart and MJ Hegar. For more information, contact The Lavin Agency