The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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

A Paradigm Shift in Retail: 4 Ways to Gain an Edge by Adding Value—Not Extracting It. Retail Futurist Doug Stephens

The era of companies extracting value from our social systems is over, Doug says. “We have crossed over into a new era where competitive advantage will come not through further extraction of value, but rather through contribution of value.”

One of Lavin’s most requested speakers, Doug is a bestselling author and internationally renowned retail futurist whose work has influenced the world’s biggest brands, including Walmart, Google, Disney, and Estée Lauder.

In his vital new talk, Doug lays out the business case for adapting to an era where businesses will need to contribute value in order to compete. You’ll learn:

  • How cutting-edge brands like Amazon and Google are laying the foundation for what promises to be the greatest leap in competitive advantage in modern history;
  • Why every brand will eventually need to adapt in order to survive (and how getting a head start today will ensure a sustained edge over your competition);
  • How investing in your workers and their education will pay massive dividends in the long term;
  • How to use the 4 pillars of new competitive advantage—rethinking democracy, rethinking capitalism, rethinking industrialism, and rethinking education—to boost your bottom line;
  • and much more!
Doug’s talk is a dynamic call to action for retailers and leaders who want to not only adapt for the future but actively shape it. One client raved that his keynote “left our audience buzzing long after it ended.” Audiences walk away excited and inspired to get ahead, with a new perspective on the very essence of what it means to compete.

Latoya Ruby Frazier’s MoMA Exhibit, Monuments of Solidarity, Is a “Quietly Revolutionary Testament to Our Time”

“One of the strongest artists to emerge in this country this century.”—Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Jerry Saltz

LaToya Ruby Frazier is a long-time Lavin speaker who captures the struggles and triumphs of Black Americans against racial, environmental, and health injustices with the “preternatural observational powers of Rembrandt and Goya” (Vulture).

Intimate and evocative, Latoya’s art shines a light on the overlooked stories of Black working-class communities. She spent five years collaborating with the residents of Flint, Michigan to document their resilience in the face of the toxic water crisis, investigated how the closure of a General Motors plant forced many workers to make difficult decisions about their families and livelihoods, and much more.

Writing for the TIME100, Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage called LaToya “an eloquent storyteller, making visible the landscapes and lives of working people” and said that her images “pierce our complacency and demand that we pay attention to the world around us with intention and compassion.”

This Sunday (May 12), the Museum of Modern Art, New York will open their celebratory solo show dedicated to LaToya’s storied career so far. The show, entitled Monuments of Solidarity, features award-winning art from LaToya’s two decades using her iconic photos to uplift marginalized voices and build community. A “quietly revolutionary testament to our time” (Vulture), it’s a vital reminder of the role we all play in challenging injustice—and a celebration of the creativity, mutual support, and collaboration that are bringing us all towards a better world.

Presidential Medal of Freedom Awarded to Lavin Speaker Ellen Ochoa, First Latina in Space

“Ellen was the first Hispanic woman to go to space, ushering in a whole new age of space exploration and what it means for every generation to reach for the stars.”—President Joe Biden

Lavin speaker Ellen Ochoa just received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is awarded to Americans who represent “the pinnacle of leadership in their fields.” It honors leaders who “built teams, coalitions, movements, organizations, and businesses that shaped America for the better.” Ellen is one of only 19 recipients this year—the star-studded list includes Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and “grandmother of Juneteenth” Opal Lee.

Ellen grew up without role models in STEM who looked like her. But that didn’t prevent her from climbing from engineer to inventor and finally to astronaut, making history as the first Latina in space.

And she didn’t stop there. As the first Latinx (and second female) director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, she transformed its company culture to welcome diverse voices, making it possible for people of all backgrounds to contribute and thrive there. Her work championing psychological safety at NASA was profiled in Adam Grant’s bestseller Think Again as an example of how to build a culture of inclusion and innovation.

In talks, Ellen draws on her groundbreaking story to encourage us all to work together, break barriers, and aim for the stars.

“A Landmark in the Literature on Race”: Sarah Elizabeth Lewis’s New Book on How Images Can Help Us Combat Injustice

Absolutely brilliant. Uniquely astute. Sarah Lewis grows The Unseen Truth from her superb Vision and Justice project into a work of stunning originality.— Nell Irvin Painter (The History of White People)

For too long, images have been used to support racial injustice in America. But now, Vision & Justice founder Sarah Elizabeth Lewis is showing us instead how to use them as a vital tool in our search for equality.

In her hotly anticipated new book, The Unseen Truth (out this Fall), this award-winning art historian reveals the hidden history of a time when Americans were confronted with the truth about America. It’s already being hailed as “a groundbreaking work of visionary scholarship” (Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates, Jr.) and “an indispensable resource to better see ourselves” (Clint Smith, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How the Word Is Passed).

Sarah tells the story of the Caucasian war—the fight for independence in the Caucasus that coincided with the end of the U.S. Civil War—and how it showed that the place from which we derive “Caucasian” for whiteness actually wasn’t white at all. She reveals how visual tactics concealed the truth, and how we can begin to see one another more clearly and start to rebuild together.

A screenshot of the New York Times article. The headline is "Welcoming Underexposed Photographers into the Canon"

Just this month, Sarah was profiled in The New York Times!

This huge feature reveals how her Vision & Justice book initiative publishes monographs on underrepresented Black photographers to build a richer, more inclusive history of photography and the arts. And it’s just one prong of her larger initiative, which aims to achieve full citizenship for all Americans through the power of imagery.

Tyler Mitchell, whose portrait of Beyoncé was the first Vogue cover shot by a Black photographer, calls Vision & Justice “a bible to what has been unseen.”


Lavin Speaker Nikole Hannah-Jones Wins Emmy for 1619 Project Docuseries

“Black Americans have always been foundational to the idea of American freedom,” says MacArthur “Genius” Nikole Hannah-Jones, one of TIME‘s most influential people in the world. She’s dedicated her career to proving that when we understand the history of Black America, we understand the history and the future of all America—which makes us better equipped to fight for racial justice today.

The 1619 Project Hulu docuseries weaves Nikole’s own story with the story of our country, exploring concepts from democracy to music to justice. The six-part series, an expansion of the groundbreaking New York Times anthology and #1 NYT bestselling book, is a collaboration between Nikole, director Roger Ross Williams (the first Black director to win an Oscar), and executive producer Oprah Winfrey.

Each episode is based on an essay from the original anthology. As host, Nikole talks to real people—from workers to musicians to mothers—whose compelling stories give us a larger picture of Black America and the nation as a whole. She offers us the chance to gain not only a better understanding of our past, but also the tools to make real change in the present. “The 1619 Project is not a history,” Nikole says. “It really is talking about America today.”

3 Major Releases of 2024: Growth Mindset, a MoMA Show, AI and the Future of Education

How to Implement a Growth Mindset in Your Whole Organization

We often think of growth mindset (the idea that you can improve your skill through strategic practice) as an individual trait. But Dr. Mary C. Murphyprotégé of growth mindset pioneer Carol Dweck, says that it’s also a cultural one—which means that you can build it into your whole organization and unlock radical innovation in the process. Her revolutionary business book, Cultures of Growth, is a fundamental shift in our understanding of this framework and in our ability to implement it widely.
Out March 12

Photography, Solidarity, Hope

MacArthur “Genius” LaToya Ruby Frazier is “one of the strongest artists to emerge in this country this century” (Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jerry Saltz). The New York Museum of Modern Art is dedicating a massive, celebratory, and much-anticipated solo show to LaToya’s storied career so far: two decades using her iconic photos to bring recognition to the overlooked stories of Black working-class communities. LaToya speaks with passion on workers’ rights, environmental racism, and community solidarity.
Opens May 12

AI Won’t Destroy Education. It’ll Save It

As founder of the famous online learning platform Khan Academy, Salman Khan is using tech like ChatGPT to give each individual a personal tutor, turning struggling students into proficient ones and proficient students into superstars. His recent TED Talk was one of the top 10 most watched of the year, and in his upcoming book, Brave New Words, he argues that AI’s most powerful use-case is to enhance HI: “human intelligence, human potential, and human purpose.”
Out May 14

5 Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions: Thinkers50 Member Katy Milkman, Author of How to Change

“Brilliant. Personal. And best of all, actionable. A highlight reel of what scientists know about how to change behavior for good.”Angela Duckworth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grit 

“Some moments are much more motivating than others for starting something new. And of course, the most famous of those is New Year’s,” says Katy Milkman, Wharton professor and bestselling author of How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. “Fresh start moments give us optimism about what we’re capable of.”

Katy was recently named to this year’s Thinkers50 (widely known as the Oscars of Management Thinking), and was one of three experts interviewed for Jay Shetty’s “Navigating Change” Masterclass. She reveals 5 practical tips that you can use this New Year’s in order to achieve your goals for 2024:

  1. Add cues like when and where to your plan. Instead of saying “I’ll meditate on weekdays,” try “I’ll meditate at the office on weekdays during my lunch break.” These cues help jog your memory at the right moment.
  2. Try a penalty clause. Putting some money on the line—and forfeiting it when you fail—can motivate you to follow through on your goals. You can make a bet with a friend, or try a website like StickK which gives your money to a charity if you fail.
  3. Make it fun. Instead of striving to complete your goal as efficiently as possible, try directing your efforts so that you actually enjoy the process. Katy suggests “temptation bundling”: combining a chore with a guilty pleasure.
  4. Allow for emergencies. Giving yourself one or two “get-out-of-jail-free” cards to use each week can keep you pushing forward after a misstep. If you happen to slip up once, you can use your emergency card rather than throw in the towel.
  5. Get help from your friends. Spending time with high achievers—who can show you how they reached their own goals—can boost your own performance. But coaching friends towards shared goals can improve your success too.

Watch Katy explain why every change you want to make requires its own unique game plan:

Lavin’s Hua Hsu Wins 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Stay True—His Book on Friendship, Pop Culture, Asian-American Identity

New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu was catapulted to literary stardom with his breathtaking memoir Stay True, which was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and countless other media outlets. It also recently won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography: with his book, the judges note, Hua has “crafted a transformative addition to the Asian American canon and to the critical conception of what a memoir is capable of.”

Stay True tells the story of Hua and Ken, who struck up an unlikely friendship despite their very different interests, and the marks that their time together left on Hua’s life. In a world of immense diversity, Hua shows us how staying open to difference and disagreement can help us develop our own complex identities, both as individuals and as communities.

“We fixate on differences,” Hua tells Lavin, “when what really matters—not just in friendship, but in friendship as a model for community—is the dreams and visions we share, and how we help each other see things that we can’t see alone.”

AI, Human Creativity, and Racial Justice: Five Highlights from Lavin Speakers at SXSW 2023

Heather McGhee

Listen to Heather talk about how racism doesn’t only affect people of color—but impacts everyone. If we can come together across lines of race, we can make a positive impact on society. Heather is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us. She offers us an actionable roadmap during one of the most critical—and most troubled—periods in history.

Find more info, and listen to the recording here.

Nita Farahany

Listen to Nita discuss the growing use of AI and neurotechnology in criminal justice and how technology could have the potential to help us transform our justice system to better serve the people it is meant to protect. Nita is the author of the newly released The Battle For Your Brain, she offers us a much-needed map to navigate today’s fast-changing technological landscape.

Find more info, and listen to the recording here.

John Maeda

John Maeda talks about how Large Language Model AIs like ChatGPT are providing new hazards and opportunities for the next wave of tech products and services. John is the Microsoft VP of Design and Artificial Intelligence. He champions the necessary role that artists and designers play in the new creative economy. 

Find more info, and listen to the recording here.

Michael Casey

Michael Casey talks about how new technologies like AI and VR are changing events and our interactions with one another. They offer new experiences and help us to engage in different ways. Michael is the Chief Content Officer of CoinDesk, an award-winning crypto media outlet. He helps leaders prepare for the coming golden age of creativity and collaborative problem-solving.

Find more info, and listen to the recording here.

Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff shared his insights on how tech elites are shaping the world in their image—and how, with collective human action, we can still fight for a society we want to live in. He is the bestselling author of Survival of The Richest, and was named one of the world’s 10 most influential thinkers by MIT.

Find more info, and listen to the recording here. 

Out Today! The 1619 Project Hulu Docuseries, Based on Nikole Hannah-Jones’ #1 New York Times Bestseller

Congrats to Lavin exclusive speaker NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, whose highly anticipated 1619 Project Hulu docuseries is out today! Based on Nikole’s #1 New York Times bestselling book—which includes her Pulitzer Prize-winning essayThe 1619 Project docuseries gives us a fuller understanding of our country’s past and present, and inspires us to join the fight for racial justice and a better future.

“The release of Hulu’s The 1619 Project to highlight the landmark work of Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times could not have come at a better time.”

— Forbes

“Black Americans have always been foundational to the idea of American freedom,” says Nikole Hannah-Jones. A Pulitzer Prize-winner and one of TIME‘s most influential people in the world, Nikole has spent her career proving that when we understand the history of Black America, we understand the history and the future of all America—which makes us better equipped to fight for racial justice today.

Nikole is the creator of The 1619 Project, the hit anthology which garnered international recognition and acclaim. She turned the anthology into a #1 New York Times bestselling book, and now she’s hosting and executive producing the 1619 Project docuseries—which debuts today!


The docuseries weaves Nikole’s own story with the story of our country. Each episode is based on an essay from the original anthology, exploring concepts like democracy and music. Nikole talks to real people—from workers to musicians to mothers—whose compelling stories give us a larger picture of Black America and America as a whole. She offers us the chance to gain not only a better understanding of our past, but also the tools to make real change in the present. “The 1619 Project is not a history,” Nikole says. “It really is talking about America today.”


Watch the trailer for the 1619 Project series below:


Approaching Diversity with Humor and Storytelling: Wajahat Ali’s Memoir Out in Paperback Next Week

It’s easy to give up on the fight for true diversity, but TED speaker WAJAHAT ALI says we can’t give in to cynicism — if we remain resilient and invest in hope, we can still create the future we want. His memoir Go Back to Where You Came From, a funny and deeply personal look into his experiences as a Pakistani-American Muslim, is out in paperback on January 24. In his talks, Waj merges inclusion with storytelling and laughter — “because boring an audience is a sin, I think, in all world religions!”

Wajahat Ali, a contributor to The New York Times, recognizes that diversity, equity, and inclusion can be hard to talk about, no matter how important it is. “People have seen the data and stats,” Waj says, “but storytelling, and specifically using an effective story, makes it real. It personalizes it. It connects with the audience.” Through his charismatic and thought-provoking talks, Waj offers practical advice on how leaders, organizations, and communities can create a diverse and inclusive culture that isn’t just mandatory diversity day initiatives. It’s advice that engages and demands for real, genuine connections and change. With time, he says, we can create not just a community, but a country where we can all be the superheroes of our own stories.

In this Lavin-exclusive interview, Wajahat shows why diverse stories are more important than ever in 2023.

Taking Control of Your Inner Voice: Psychologist Ethan Kross Featured in The New Yorker

For leaders, overthinking and negative self-talk can lead to decreased productivity. This is something that Ethan Kross, bestselling author of Chatter, is a leading expert in. He offers proven methods to take control of your inner voice, helping you transform your thinking to one that works for you, not against you. Last week, Ethan Kross, who teaches at the University of Michigan, was featured in The New Yorker article “How Should We Think About Our Different Styles of Thinking,” for his groundbreaking research on how to turn your inner critic into your inner coach.

Ethan’s national bestselling book Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness it looks at how our internal conversations shape us, and how taking control of harmful thinking helps every aspect of our lives. His work continues to help leaders all over the world learn how to talk to themselves constructively, ultimately improving their physical and mental health and deepening their relationships.

In the article’s exploration of Ethan Kross book, The New Yorker sums up one of Ethan’s many methods to improve your thinking:

“Kross’s bottom line is that our inner voices are powerful tools that must be tamed. He ends his book with several dozen techniques for controlling our chatter. He advises trying “distanced self-talk”: by using “your name and the second-person ‘you’ to refer to yourself,” he writes, you can gain more command over your thinking. You might use your inner voice to pretend that you’re advising a friend about his problems; you might redirect your thoughts toward how universal your experiences are (It’s normal to feel this way) or contemplate how every new experience is a challenge you can overcome (I have to learn to trust my partner). The idea is to manage the voice that you use for self-management. Take advantage of the suppleness of dialogue. Don’t just rehearse the same old scripts; send some notes to the writers’ room.”

A Sneak Peek at the First Half of 2023: Major Releases from Lavin Speakers

Happy new year from your Lavin family! Our speakers have some incredible new releases and projects lined up for 2023. You’ll be hearing about them everywhere in the culture and in the news, but for now, here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect in the next six months from the brilliant speakers we represent.



Out January 26

When we come to terms with the legacy of slavery, we gain a fuller understanding of our history—and become better equipped to fight for a fairer future. This eagerly-awaited Hulu docuseries is based on The 1619 Project, the phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller. Its creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, is the winner of a Pulitzer Prize and the MacArthur “Genius” Grant, and is among TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world.



Out March 14

Imagine a world where employers can see into your brain, your thoughts can be tracked through AI, and you can peer into your own mind to cure addictions. Neuroscience has already made all this possible today. Leading neuro-ethicist Nita Farahany offers us a map to navigate this changing technological landscape, avoiding the dangers of lost privacy and rights while taking advantage of the unprecedented opportunities.



Out March 14

In her poignant and evocative new memoir, New York Times bestselling author Laurel Braitman explores how working through grief can transform us into the people we want to be. As the Director of Writing and Storytelling at the Stanford School of Medicine, Laurel helps doctors and medical students—and everyone else—tap into the power of storytelling, which can help us communicate better, avoid burnout, and build community.



Out May 16

We all feel stuck at some points in our lives, which keeps us from tapping into our full creativity at work. But New York Times bestselling author Adam Alter has good news: there’s a formula to getting unstuck. He’s spent the last two decades studying how we get stuck, and how we can free ourselves to thrive. By tackling the three different types of friction—heart, head, and habit—we can reach our full potential, at work and in life.



Out February 21

With her instant New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us, Heather McGhee proved that when we fight inequality, we all win. Now, she’s bringing her crucial message to a new generation with The Sum of Us: Adapted for Young Readers.



Out January 24

Wajahat Ali’s brilliant and witty memoir, from one of our funniest public intellectuals, offers indispensable lessons on how we can stand up for one another, become our own superheroes, and build the America we all want to live in.

40 Years Capturing Our Impact On The Planet: Acclaimed Photographer Edward Burtynsky’s New Project

Humanity’s impact on the planet, the urgency of the climate crisis, and our quest for positive change: award-winning photographer Edward Burtynsky has spent more than 40 years documenting and bearing witness to our legacy on the earth. In his most ambitious project yet, he invites audiences to journey through images and films from his acclaimed career, enveloped by 30-foot screens and accompanied by a striking original soundtrack. 

In the Wake of Progress, Edward’s epic half-hour career retrospective, premiered outdoors at the Luminato Festival on June 11. It moves indoors this weekend, and is complemented by a gallery show of Edward’s photography and augmented reality works. In the Wake of Progress reveals humanity’s stark impact on the earth, and our quest to create a better future—in the spirit of positive change, it will be accompanied by a Change Station, where audiences will be presented with simple, tangible, and engaging calls to action from organizations that are answering the question of what we can do right now

Edward’s career has long focused on documenting large-scale social, political, and economic issues: his global industrial landscape photographs are included in the collections of over 50 major museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He challenges us to have a conversation about our legacy on this planet and the future implications of sustainable life on Earth. 


Edward Burtynsky's In the Wake of Progress | Luminato Festival 2021 | Trailer (1 min)

Use Your Personal Story For Radical Creativity: Nike’s Former Chief Marketing Officer Greg Hoffman

During his decades-long career at Nike, Greg Hoffman defined the brand’s identity through innovative storytelling. 

As Nike’s former Chief Marketing Officer, Greg pulled from his personal life to create strong emotional attachments between people and products. Named one of Business Insider’s most innovative CMOs, he refused to stay within his comfort zone—instead, embracing creativity and innovation. Now, he’s showing us how to do the same. 

Greg recently spoke to Steven Bartlett on the podcast Diary of a CEO, revealing key marketing strategies from his almost three decades at Nike. Steven said, “Greg’s knowledge, experience, and wisdom in this area are second to none.” 

Watch the podcast here:


The Marketing Genius Behind Nike: Greg Hoffman | E150