The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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

Black History Month is More Important Now Than Ever Before. The 12 Top BHM Speakers on The Past, Present, and Future


The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of ‘The 1619 Project’—the #1 NYT bestseller which has now been adapted into a six-part docuseries on Hulu—says that Black history is American history. Nikole Hannah-Jones was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for her work in uncovering the real origin story of Black Americans, and with it the true history of democracy.



Racism doesn’t just harm people of color—it harms us all. Heather McGhee traveled across the country, speaking with ordinary people nationwide, to reveal how racism has an economic cost for everyone, and how, by fighting it, we can all prosper together. Drawing on her instant New York Times bestseller The Sum of Usas well as the Young Readers edition and podcast of the same name—she offers vital stories of hope and solidarity across lines of division.


In the fight for racial justice, we must face the past to forge a better future, says Columbia Journalism School Dean and Peabody Award-winning journalist Jelani Cobb. As a long-time staff writer at the New Yorker and editor of the magazine’s anthology The Matter of Black LivesJelani explores the complexities of race and inequality, while offering guidance for the future.



Our understanding of Black American history has been incomplete for a long time, says Clint Smith. As the author of the #1 NYT bestseller How the Word Is Passed, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and was named to The NYT’s 10 Best Books of the Year, Clint offers a compelling exploration of the legacy of slavery. He travelled to nine sites across the country and beyond to show how the marks of our past continue to shape our cities, our policies, and the stories we tell—and how we can work towards a fuller, more equitable story for everyone.



Making history as one of the Little Rock Nine, Minnijean Brown-Trickey faced down angry mobs and armed guards at only 15 years old to become one of the first Black teenagers to attend what had previously been a whites-only school. This fiery activist’s role in desegregating public schools, as well as her years of work as an award-winning teacher, writer, and community worker, has made her a civil rights legend.



The first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize for History, Annette Gordon-Reed played a crucial role in helping Juneteenth (a day that commemorates the end of slavery) gain national recognition. Drawing on her acclaimed book On Juneteenth, this MacArthur Genius shows us how the legacy of this holiday continues to influence us and our fight for racial justice today, and how we can keep striving for progress together.



Art has the power to reframe our history. When you dislodge history from its status as the “past,” you unearth its contemporary relevance, says award-winning artist Titus Kaphar. This MacArthur Genius, whose powerful artwork on the Ferguson protests appeared on the cover of TIME, works with history and his own story—familial and personal—to offer a stirring portrait of the here and now and tell the stories that have long remained untold.



An award-winning non-binary author and activist named to the TIME100 Next, George M. Johnson is the author of the NYT bestseller All Boys Aren’t Blue, one of the most banned books in the country. A powerful story of growing up as a young Black queer boy, their memoir was called “an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but clear-eyed love for its subjects” (New York Times).



Co-founder of the only non-profit organization addressing the pipeline and pathway problem for Black women in fields of economics, finance, and policy, Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman aims to forge a path forward. Drawing on her book The Black Agenda, which features Black voices across diverse fields of policy, Anna offers practical and surprisingly simple ways to fight discrimination in the workplace and beyond, ensuring that everyone—especially Black women and our other marginalized communities—has what they need to thrive.



Almost every company nationwide believes in the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion. So why are many organizations still struggling to hire and retain diverse talent? Harvard Kennedy School professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad, award-winning author of The Condemnation of Blackness, explores the history behind our failure to implement true DEI. And he explains the three barriers—efficiency, color-blindness, and investment—that we must overcome if we want the best ideas and talent for our companies today.



“Slavery is more than just history,” says Rachel L. Swarns. “It lives with us, all of us, now.” As author of The 272—an acclaimed addition to our understanding of our national story that’s been widely discussed, from NPR’s Fresh Air to The New York Times—Rachel reveals the compelling story of the families that were enslaved and sold by Catholic priests to build Georgetown University and the Catholic Church itself. She offers audiences a fuller picture of slavery’s contemporary legacy—and gives us hope for one day transcending it.



The story of NASA’s “human computers” was mostly untold—until Margot Lee Shetterly published her #1 NYT bestseller, Hidden Figures. Now a hit film, Hidden Figures illuminates the stories of the Black women mathematicians who were instrumental in getting humans to the moon. In sweeping, dramatic detail, Margot sheds light on a forgotten but key chapter in our history, inspires us to seek out diverse talent and stories, and instills in us a sense of wonder and possibility.


What is Black History Month?

Black History Month is a time dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the significant contributions and achievements of Black individuals throughout history. Every February, this month provides a focused period to reflect on the struggles, successes, and persistent spirit of Black communities. A BHM event is a chance to learn more about the rich cultural heritage, the relentless pursuit of civil rights, and the influences of Black people in America.


What makes this month significant?

Black history has shaped the social, political, and economic fabric of society. By spotlighting the stories and legacies that are often overlooked, Black History Month fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of Black history as an integral part of the collective human experience.


Why book a Black History Month speaker?

Booking a Black History Month speaker is key for fostering education and awareness about the pivotal role of Black individuals in history. Black History Month speakers inspire audiences, bolster effective diversity and inclusion efforts, initiate important dialogues on racial justice, and strengthen community bonds. Our top BHM keynote speakers go into the many facets of Black history and life—uncovering realities that have remained hidden in the public.

BHM speakers offer a dynamic and personal approach to understanding and appreciating a vital part of our shared human story.

Watch a short highlight reel featuring these speakers and more:

ChatGPT is Disrupting Every Industry. The 10 Top AI Speakers on What’s Next


Photo of Ajay AgrawalEconomist and founder of The Creative Disruption Lab, the largest AI incubator in the world, Ajay Agrawal has accelerated over 1000 startups in the last decade. A true expert on AI, he has a unique understanding of how this technology will revolutionize the economy. AI will help the frontrunners in each industry consolidate power like never before, he says—you can’t afford to be 2nd in this race. Ajay will show you how to get ahead.



Photo of Nick ThompsonThe former editor-in-chief of WIRED and now the CEO of a 350-person media company, Nick Thompson knows what is at stake as he implements his own AI strategy. Theory meets practice, aided by unparalleled access to the senior players at Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Apple. His daily “most interesting thing in tech” videos, watched by his 1.5 million LinkedIn followers, have marked him as one of the sharpest minds in tech today.



Photo of Kate CrawfordArtificial Intelligence is “neither artificial nor intelligent,” says Kate Crawford, author of Atlas of AI and one of the TIME100 AI: the 100 most influential people in Artificial Intelligence. Kate maps out the landscape of this fast-developing technology, exploring what really goes into the “magic” of generative AI and how we can lay the foundation today for a better tomorrow.



Generative AI isn’t just changing the tech and business landscapes. It’s revolutionizing how we view possibility itself. Your wildest moonshots—projects that used to take decades and billions of dollars to accomplish—are now within reach, says Radhika Dirks. As CEO of the world’s first AI moonshot factory and one of Forbes’s 30 Women in AI to Watch, Radhika knows how to use AI to take hold of our most ambitious dreams.



Photo of Nita Farahany“Today, we know and track virtually nothing that’s happening in our own brains,” says leading AI ethicist Nita Farahany. “But in a future that is coming much faster than you realize, all of that is about to change.” As the author of the brilliant book The Battle for Your Brain, a vital roadmap for navigating the emerging risks and opportunities of brain-sensing tech, Nita shows us how we can use this technology for everyone’s good.



Photo of Douglas RushkoffDouglas Rushkoff witnessed digital technology emerge from the most creative side of the California counterculture, only to get subsumed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists. He argues that we need to set the agenda on generative AI today, to ensure that it doesn’t run away with us but becomes a powerful tool. “Rather than repressing human agency,” he says, “AI can unleash the creative potential of our organizations, if we dare.”



Amidst the rampant questions around AI’s role in schools, Khan Academy founder Sal Khan offers a powerful (and hopeful) case for AI’s transformative potential. He argues that these tools can become a personal mentor for every student, capable of lifting the struggling to the proficient, and the proficient to the extraordinary. And the most powerful use case of AI? “To enhance HI: human intelligence, human potential, and human purpose.”



“This is the year AI changes you,” says Jeremy Gutsche. As CEO of Trend Hunter, the world’s largest AI trend-spotting platform, he’s been at the cutting edge of AI strategy and innovation for over a decade. At this unprecedented inflection point, he shows us how to lean into the chaos rather than run from it, adapt faster than our competitors, and emerge as more powerful, AI-enabled versions of ourselves.



Just like the internet brought businesses into the Digital First and then Mobile First models, rapid advances in AI are quickly bringing us into an “AI First” era. Justin Reilly is the CEO of Wavelo and former Head of Product at Verizon. He says that when you build AI into the heart of what you do, you’ll be able to trust your systems more, scale faster and better, and give your customers what they actually want.



Photo of Alexandra SamuelAlexandra Samuel says that “we are the founding generation of the new workplace.” She’s a digital workplace expert and co-author of the book Remote, Inc., on the future of work. “The rise of AI and the explosion of hybrid work aren’t unrelated,” she says. “They’re just two different frontiers in the way digital tools have transformed how work gets done.”


Watch a short highlight reel featuring these speakers and more:

Making the Most of Your Most Limited Resource (Time!): Bestselling Author Cassie Holmes

If you’ve ever complained about not having enough hours in the day, Cassie Holmes has good news for you: you already have all the time you need. You just need to rethink what you’re investing it in.

Cassie’s bestseller Happier Hour, which was named to Amazon’s Top 20 Business Books of the Year, is a research-backed guide to building a schedule that is both full and fulfilling. It’s a much-needed antidote to the over-filled schedules that many of us face. We don’t have to sacrifice our wellbeing for productivity, Cassie says—we can actually have both, if we use our time well.

In talks, Cassie draws on her book to give you scientific strategies for making the most out of your time. She’ll show you how to make the time you spend on chores or commuting actually enjoyable, how to “time craft” your schedule around the things that really matter, how to use a “purpose filter” to identify what’s most important, and much more. Her insights are vital—both for individuals looking to become more productive and find purpose, and for leaders who want to get the best out of the people they lead.

“My research has revealed that happiness has agency,” Cassie says. “Happiness is a choice. Every hour of every day.”

The Art and Science (and Everything Else!) of Creativity: Five Perspectives from Lavin Speakers to Help You Unlock Innovation

Want to Make Your Brain More Creative? Try Being Bored

Letting your mind wander is how you start generating your best ideas, says neuroscientist Heather Berlin. As host of PBS Nova’s Your Brain—which broke the live viewership record for any Nova premiere on YouTube—Heather explains how you can change your environment to “hack” your brain, become more creative, and get the most out of yourself and your team.

Watch Heather explain why trying to force creativity never works.

“Don’t Chase Cool”

The most creative brands don’t pursue flashy ideas, says Greg Hoffman, but rather stay true to themselves and their vision. Greg draws from his almost 30 years at Nike, during which he rose through the ranks from intern to Chief Marketing Officer. He shows how to encourage creativity in your teams and help the daydreamers propel your organization to radical innovation.

Watch Greg explain why a Dream Team needs everyone’s ideas.

Keep Your Ideas Fluid for as Long as Possible

During her 20 fast-paced years as Cirque du Soleil’s Artistic Director, Caitlan Maggs helped countless massive and diverse productions produce their best work. Your ideas may be good, she says, but don’t freeze them too early—because they could be great. With fascinating anecdotes, she explains how you can develop a framework of creativity in any organization

Watch Caitlan speak about the Cirque’s creative collaboration.

Your Most Creative Ideas Come After You Get Stuck

Running into creative roadblocks can be discouraging. But Adam Alter says the ideas that come easily aren’t as good as we think—we get our best ideas after we meet (and overcome) obstacles. And there are ways to speed up that process. Adam’s new book, Anatomy of a Breakthrough, is a practical guide for individuals and teams on unleashing your full creative potential.

Watch Adam discuss Pixar’s “Black Sheep” strategy for building diverse, creative teams.

The Secret to Creativity? It’s About Discipline

Eddie Huang has never hesitated to break the mold. He’s a celebrity chef who changed the NYC food scene forever, the bestselling author of the memoir-turned-sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, and the writer and director of multiple feature films. But the secret to this explosive creativity isn’t simply defying the rules, he says. It’s about having the discipline to create your own rules and stay true to yourself.

Watch Eddie explain the only valid reason to do creative work.

Finding Purpose in a World on Fire: Lavin’s Climate Speakers on Winning the Fight for the Future of Our Planet

The Future of Our Planet Is Still Under Our Control—For Now

The climate crisis isn’t on the horizon anymore. It’s already transforming everything from where we live to what we eat, faster than we could have anticipated. “This is a story of a scale that we only used to understand in mythology,” says David Wallace-Wells. David is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Uninhabitable Earth and an NYT columnist whose newsletter explores the many facets of climate and the future, from billowing wildfire smoke to the rising bipartisan support for clean energy. The climate crisis has already changed our world forever, he says, but we can still salvage our future—if we act now.

Read David’s article on the rising bipartisan support for clean energy for The New York Times: “I don’t want to be naïve. But the partisan landscape may be finally changing, indeed somewhat significantly.”

Watch an exclusive Lavin video of David on the three things we get wrong about the climate crisis: “Everything we know about human civilization, human culture, has been built and developed in a climate system that we have now left behind.”



Your Climate Anxiety Is the Key to Real Change

Worries about the climate have never been more widespread, but Britt Wray has good news: your “eco-distress” is actually the key to finding purpose and fighting for the planet. This dynamic speaker and author of Generation Dread was just named Director of Stanford’s Special Initiative for Climate Change and Mental Health, and has spoken alongside the likes of Yuval Noah Harari, Al Gore, and Jane Goodall. She shows us how embracing our anxiety and wrestling through our messy emotions—”rolling up your sleeves, getting clear-eyed, being convicted and courageous”—is how we create the conditions to have real hope.

Read this TIME article where Britt is interviewed about the mental and physical effects of heatwaves: “We have a mental health crisis within the climate crisis that we need to get ahead of before too many of these events add up.”

Watch an exclusive Lavin interview with Britt: “It’s possible to develop more flexible ways of relating to the crisis that aren’t about splitting it off into doom vs. naively optimistic. That gray zone is where the most strength can be mined from”

What Does ChatGPT Mean for Democracy and the Future of Creativity? Kate Crawford and Stephen Marche Explain

ChatGPT Isn’t Magic. We Can—and Must—Understand It

ChatGPT is “an exponential disruption,” says Kate Crawford. As a leading researcher and the author of Atlas of AI—which Nature called “meticulously researched and superbly written”—Kate has been on the cutting edge of AI for two decades. Her incisive and timely perspective has made her a go-to voice across the media. She says that generative AI is going to mark a fundamental shift in the way we see the world: it will revolutionize how we view not only tech, but everything from media to democracy. But it’s not magic. We have to understand how it works today if we want to tap into its massive potential and build the future we want.

Listen to Kate on Why Is This Happening? The Chris Hayes Podcast: “We get so impressed by the ‘magic’ of the system that we don’t look at what it takes to make these things work: data at scale, an enormous amount of natural resources, and a lot of labor.”

Listen to Kate on Pivot, with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway: “We need a rapid increase in literacy, and it’s not just going to be about focusing narrowly on the tech. It’s going to be about looking at what this does to the public sphere, to the media, to democracy.”


The First Generative AI Novel—and the Future of Creativity

If you ask ChatGPT to write a novel, are you the creator or the consumer? Stephen Marche says you’re both. He was profiled in The New York Times last month for “writing” the first ever fully-AI-generated novella, Death of an Author, by extensively prompting three different generative AI programs. Stephen is a novelist with a PhD in Shakespeare who’s been following and writing about AI for years in outlets like The New Yorker and The Atlantic. He has a unique understanding of how the line between human and machine is blurring, and why the arts, the humanities, and human creativity are more important now than ever before.

Read about Stephen in The New York Times: “I am the creator of this work, 100 percent. But, on the other hand, I didn’t create the words.”

Watch an exclusive Lavin interview with Stephen: “The Big Blur is coming: where the line between human and machine, and the line between creating and consuming, will blur. We’re going to start to figure out where human beings are actually required.”

The Surprising Secret to High Performance? Talking to Yourself. Ethan Kross, Psychologist and Bestselling Author

Ethan Kross isn’t just a world-renowned scientist, he’s an expert storyteller too. Chatter is the groundbreaking and transformative book the world needs now.
— Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of Quiet

We spend up to half our waking hours talking to ourselves. Our inner voice can be unhelpful or downright cruel, but it can also help us work through difficult problems and tap into high performance and innovation at work. Ethan Kross—an award-winning psychologist and University of Michigan professor—calls our inner voice “the Swiss Army knife of the mind,” and shows us how to make it work for us rather than against us. When you turn your inner voice from a critic into a coach, he says, you can avoid burnout and anxiety, and lead yourself (and others) better.

Drawing on his bestselling book Chatter, which grit pioneer Angela Duckworth calls “a masterpiece” and “required reading for all,” Ethan gives you the tools you need to boost motivation and hone your mental fitness. He explains the “2 a.m. chatter strategy” that he’s already taught to executives across the country, and reveals the secrets to breakthrough creativity that everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Microsoft is talking about. (For example, giving yourself a pep talk using your own name is an incredible performance tool!) His surprisingly simple and incredibly practical tools have widespread appeal for leaders and employees at every level.

“Getting lost in negative thought loops is one of the big problems we face as a species,” Ethan tells Lavin. “The good news is that science reveals countless tools that allow us to not just manage chatter, but transform it into an asset rather than a liability.”

Five Ways to Use ChatGPT (Effectively!) Today—Plus, the Speaker Who Can Help Your Company Become “AI First”

Becoming an “AI-First” Company

Just like the internet brought businesses into the Digital First and then Mobile First models, rapid advances in AI are quickly bringing us into an “AI First” era. Lavin’s newest speaker Justin Reilly is the CEO of Wavelo and former Head of Product at Verizon, where he led a multi-billion-dollar digital transformation with machine learning at its core. When you build AI into the heart of what you do, Justin says, you’ll be able to trust your systems more, scale faster and better, and give your customers what they actually want.


The Five Steps to Using ChatGPT Effectively at Work

You can transform your organization into a more efficient, creative, and innovative version of itself through the power of generative AI—and it only takes five steps. But the trick is: you have to do all fiveRadhika Dirks is a visionary AI expert, one of Forbes’s 30 Women in AI to Watch and CEO of the world’s first AI moonshot factory. Her Five Step Method to introducing generative AI into your organization (any organization) will give you a peek into this rapidly developing world, and help you build an organization that thrives today and well into the future.

How Can Retailers Win the AI Revolution? With “Beautifully Human” Creativity. Lavin’s Doug Stephens, Retail Futurist

Generative AI will be no less game-changing for society in general—and retailers in particular—than the internet itself, says Doug Stephens. As the founder of the global consultancy Retail Prophet and the bestselling author of The Retail Revival and Resurrecting Retail, Doug has unparalleled insight into how AI is going to transform every industry, including yours. More than that, he proves that in an age of AI, investing in “deliciously irrational, beautifully human, and insanely inventive creativity” will give us the edge we need for success.

“Companies today sit on the frontier of a technology revolution that will make them the beneficiaries of billions of dollars in savings in their workforce costs,” Doug tells us. “Some of those companies will be predictably nearsighted and push those savings directly to their bottom line or their shareholders’ pockets. Smart companies, however, will invest in creative and dynamic human beings who bring innovative thinking, empathy and creative energy to the brand and its customer experience. Because the world is going to need a lot fewer lawyers, consultants, engineers and accountants and a lot more dreamers, makers and born risk-takers.”

Doug also sat down with Lavin recently to give us a preview of his new talk on the forgotten backbone of our economy: the global supply chain system that affects every company, whether retail or otherwise. Our current supply chain system hasn’t changed in decades—and Doug argues that today is the perfect time to reimagine what’s possible and unlock a new, unprecedented competitive advantage.

Watch our exclusive full-length interview with Doug, in which he explains how we can rebuild our supply chains to create a sustainable and successful future. (37 min)

Juneteenth: Lavin Speakers on the Holiday’s History and Legacy, and Our Continued Fight for Racial Justice


The first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize for History, Annette Gordon-Reed played a crucial role in helping Juneteenth gain national recognition. Drawing on her acclaimed book On Juneteenth, she shows us how the legacy of this holiday continues to influence us and our fight for racial justice today, and how we can keep striving for progress together.


“Black Americans have always been foundational to the idea of American freedom,” says Nikole Hannah-Jones. She’s the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of The 1619 Project, the hit anthology that became a #1 New York Times bestselling book and Hulu docuseries. She offers us not only a fuller understanding of our history, but also the tools to make real change today.



Khalil Gibran Muhammad, award-winning author of The Condemnation of Blackness, says that Juneteenth reminds us that we all have a role to play in challenging oppression. “Juneteenth gives us a chance to look at the twin legacies of slavery and freedom, side by side,” he says, “and helps us to reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we still must go.”



Jelani Cobb has spent his whole career investigating inequality and how the past continues to affect us today. As the Dean of Columbia Journalism School, a New Yorker staff writer, and co-editor of that magazine’s anthology The Matter of Black Lives, Jelani shows us why Juneteenth still matters today, and how we can learn from history to create a better future.


Although freedom was promised to the enslaved Black people over a century ago, Michelle Coles says that Black Americans continue to be “left out of that full promise.” Michelle is the award-winning YA author of Black Was the Ink, as well as a former Department of Justice civil rights attorney. She shows us how we can make the promised freedom a reality for everyone.

Pride Month and LGBT History Month: Celebrate Diversity and Joy with Our LGBTQ+ Speakers

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George M. Johnson says true freedom comes from imagination. As the New York Times bestselling author of All Boys Aren’t Blue, their memoir of growing up Black and queer, as well as one of the 2022 TIME100 Next, George shows us how our imagination helps us resist oppression and fight for a hopeful future. “As long as I can continue to imagine a future greater than this one,” George says, “you can’t take my joy from me.”

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Gabby Rivera is a queer writer on a mission to create the wildest, most fun stories ever. With her solo comic series about America Chavez, a queer Latina superhero, Gabby became the first Latina ever to write for Marvel Comics. Her story of embracing her identity inspires us to transform our differences into sources of strength, resilience, and joy.

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James Kirchick is the instant New York Times bestselling author of Secret City, a sweeping history of the gay powerbrokers and politicians in 20th century Washington, D.C. James tells the story of the unsung heroes who fought tirelessly to create a world where no one has to hide, and shows that it’s in our power as ordinary citizens to make real social change.

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Award-winning toy designer Cas Holman uses her queer identity to design outside the mainstream. She shows how valuing our different perspectives makes us more creative and curious, and encourages LGBTQ people to lean into their difference. “Your perspective as an outsider is an asset,” she says. “Be confident in the value of the creative work you’ve done just to be who you are.”

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You can reduce prejudice with a single conversation. Dave Fleischer can show you how. He’s the pioneer behind “deep canvassing,” an empirically proven method where one 10-minute conversation reduces prejudice in a long-lasting way. He’s used it to help voters become more accepting of gay and trans people, and he can show you how to change minds, wherever you are.

Your Fall ’23 Events: Our Top Diversity and Culture Speakers for Hispanic Heritage Month

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Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa made history as the first Latina in space—but she didn’t stop there. Instead, she became the first Hispanic director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where she transformed its company culture to welcome diverse voices like her own. Today, she uses her story to encourage young women and Latinx people to make change and reach for the stars.

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Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende is a feminist icon and the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author. Her books, including The House of the Spirits and Eva Lunahave sold over 70 million copies in more than 40 languages. Her talks and advocacy work are a testament to her powerful story, through which she inspires young people to follow their passion and speak out for a better world.

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Jamil Zaki

We tend to think of empathy as an innate trait, but Jamil Zaki says it’s actually a skill that can be learned—and when we practice it, we become not only kinder, but also more creative and successful. As Director of the Stanford Neuroscience Lab, Jamil draws on his research to show how the Hispanic community can use empathy to build bridges and fight for true diversity.

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Ellen Bennett

Ellen Bennett was a 24-year-old line cook when she took her savings and started her own apron brand—which became the largest gourmet apron manufacturer in the world. Now a multi-million dollar brand, it’s beloved by the likes of Martha Stewart and has been featured in Forbes. This half-Mexican powerhouse inspires young Hispanic people to dream big.

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Gabby Rivera

Gabby Rivera has spent her life telling stories that celebrate queer Latinx joy. She’s the first Latina ever to write for Marvel Comics. She penned the solo series AMERICA about the superhero America Chavez: a queer Latina like herself. Through her wildly fun and dynamic projects, Gabby encourages us all to embrace our differences and tell our own unique, joyful stories.

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Andrea Elliott

Andrea Elliott is the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Invisible Child, her decade-in-the-making masterpiece on inequality in America. Drawing on her book, a sweeping saga that follows a girl named Dasani growing up in a Brooklyn homeless shelter, Andrea reveals how we can work together to build a kinder and more just world for every child.

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Molly Crabapple

Molly Crabapple fights injustice with beauty. She uses her Emmy-nominated, award-winning artwork to illuminate the issues we face today, and the hopeful future we can have if we take action. She shows us how to make change by using art to shift the narratives we tell about marginalized communities, and how to use our creativity to find both joy and solidarity.

Your Fall ’23 Events: Lavin Speakers for Orientation and Welcome Week

As the school year winds down, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about your events for the Fall 2023 semester. Lavin’s speakers explore topics that matter to college audiences—from pop culture to inclusion to working through your climate anxiety—and inspire people of all ages to think more deeply. Drawing on their unique expertise, our speakers make the most crucial topics of today accessible to everyone, sparking conversation and helping us look at these ideas in a new way.  

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Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah challenges us to look beyond the boundaries that divide us, and find a common ethical ground in a world of division. Drawing on his work as The Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine, he shows us how to develop a new morality that celebrates our common humanity while still embracing our differences and diverse identities.

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Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman is our most insightful and hilarious guide to culture—pop culture. He’s investigating the biggest pop culture phenomena of our time, showing how pop culture is actually a conversation that anyone can engage in. In his instant New York Times bestselling books and brilliant talks, Chuck both entertains and informs audiences on our unique cultural moment. 

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Britt Wray

Britt Wray knows that our anxieties around climate change have never been more overwhelming—but she argues that they’re also the key to saving the planet. In her talks, Britt draws on her scientific research and her book Generation Dread to show us how we can work through our emotions to find purpose, avoid burnout, and fight for a more sustainable future.

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Heather McGhee

Heather McGhee says that racism is profoundly damaging for us all, not only for people of color — which means that when we tackle inequality, we create a better future for everyone. Drawing on her New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us, plus her Young Readers edition and crucial podcast, she charts a hopeful path towards a better future and challenges us to fight for justice.

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Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is one of the world’s foremost thinkers, acclaimed by the likes of TIME and Bill Gates. In his latest book Rationality, he rejects the idea that humans are inherently irrational. We all possess reason, he says, which is why the world is actually getting better, not worse. He shows how we can leverage this rationality to find hope and continue creating a better future.

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Megan Phelps-Roper

Megan Phelps-Roper was raised within the infamously intolerant Westboro Baptist Church. But she left when she realized another world was possible: one where empathy overcomes hate. In talks, she draws on her book Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church to show how we can bridge divides and expand our worldviews through compassion.

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Anthony Jack

Anthony Jack says that getting into college is only half the battle. Once students enter college, we need to make sure that they have the support and inclusion they need to really succeed. A Harvard professor and author of The Privileged Poor, Anthony shows how we can break down the barriers to success on campus and make sure everyone has the same chance to thrive. 

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Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz says that for life’s biggest questions, we can’t trust our often-flawed instinct. When we look at the data instead, we can make better decisions—and even get happier. Seth is a New York Times bestselling author and former Google data scientist. He shows us how developing a data-driven mindset can help us use all the information we have at our fingertips.

Asian-American Heritage Month: Our Top Speakers on Diversity, Storytelling, and Leadership

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Hua Hsu is the author of the hit memoir Stay True, which follows his university friendship with another Asian-American student. The New York Times named it one of the ten best books of the year, and Vulture called it “an evolutionary step for Asian-American literature.” In talks, Hua shows how we can not only accept but embrace our messy, complex cultures and identities.

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Jeff Chang has long been a crucial voice for racial solidarity in AAPI circles. He’s a key commentator in the PBS series Asian Americans and the author of several books, including the highly anticipated Water Mirror Echo: Bruce Lee and the Making of Asian AmericaThe New Yorker calls Jeff’s quest for multiracial community both “urgent and passionate.”

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Laura Huang says that although Asian-Americans face systemic biases and inaccurate perceptions, you can use even that to your advantage. A Harvard professor and the author of Edge, Laura explores the research that’s been done on AAPI experiences in the workplace, and proves that by being your authentic self, you can turn your unique background into a unique advantage.

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Wajahat Ali grew up the son of Pakistani immigrants, never seeing Asian-Americans like himself as the heroes of the story. Today, in his talks and his memoir Go Back to Where You Came From, he urges the AAPI community to tell their stories and help create a multicultural coalition of the willing, where hope and true equity will ensure we can all be the heroes of the American story.

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Stephanie Mehta has her finger on the pulse of the business world. She was the editor-in-chief of Fast Company, the most influential business magazine of our generation, before being promoted to CEO of its parent company. Her experience on the cutting edge of business gives her a unique perspective on discussions of diversity, leadership, and AAPI issues.

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Eddie Huang is the New York Times bestselling author of Fresh Off the Boat, his memoir of growing up Asian-American that became the longest-running Asian-American sitcom ever. He’s also a celebrity chef, director, producer, and so much more! Eddie’s uproarious, inspiring talks show how you can chase your dreams by making your own rules and being fully yourself.

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Mira Nair is the Oscar-nominated Indian-American director of Salaam Bombay!, whose incredible films explore culture, race, and the importance of diverse stories. From her hit film The Namesake (starring Kal Penn) to her critically acclaimed Monsoon Wedding, she proves that art can challenge stereotypes, amplify diverse voices, and bring us together.

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Anand Giridharadas, New York Times bestselling author of The Persuaders, has developed a new art of persuasion. He offers tools that Asian-Americans can use to build communities of racial solidarity and make real change even in a time of deep division. By getting better at communicating and bridging divides, he says, we can find hope together and forge the future we want.

Black History Month 2023: Celebrating Black Stories and Our Speakers’ Contributions to Racial Justice

For Black History Month this February, we’d like to celebrate a few of the many Lavin speakers whose work year-round shows us how to honor the legacy and history of Black communities across America. These leading voices empower us to fight for racial justice and equality, and learn more about the history of this country.


“One of the iconic faces of Black politics in 1970s America” (Huffington Post), Angela Davis is internationally known for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. In her work as an educator—both at the university level and in the larger public sphere—has always emphasized the importance of building communities for economic, racial, and gender equality.



Nikole Hannah-Jones is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of ‘The 1619 Project’ — the #1 New York Times bestseller which has now been adapted into a six-part docuseries on Hulu. She was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for her work in uncovering the real origin story of Black Americans, and with it the true history of democracy.


George M. Johnson is a non-binary award-winning author and activist, their memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue was a New York Times bestseller. A powerful story of growing up as a young Black queer boy, their memoir was called “an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but cleareyed love for its subjects” by the New York Times. They’re listed as one of Out’s 100 Most Influential LGBTQ People.



An expert on the American economy, Heather McGhee is one of the most brilliant and influential thinkers on racial justice today. In her instant New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us — as well as the Young Reader’s edition and podcast of the same name — Heather reveals how racism costs everyone, and how, by fighting it, we can all prosper together.



Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman is the co-founder of the only non-profit organization addressing the pipeline and pathway problem for Black women in fields of economics, finance, and policy. In her book The Black Agenda, Anna features Black voices across various fields, all speaking to the question “What’s next?” as it pertains to centering Black people in policy matters in our country.



Against the backdrop of a renewed push for racial justice, Columbia Journalism School Dean and Peabody Award-winning journalist Jelani Cobb emerges as a clear voice in the fight for a better America. As a long-time staff writer at the New Yorker and editor of the magazine’s anthology The Matter of Black LivesCobb explores the complexities of race and inequality, while offering guidance for the future.

Women’s History Month 2023: Lavin’s Top Speakers on Gender Equality and Beyond

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the amazing progress in women’s rights over the years, as well as the work being done today. With so many facets of gender equality to explore, Lavin can help you book the right speaker for your event to inspire leadership, growth and resilience. We’re proud to represent many of the world’s most prominent Women’s History Month speakers. The speakers below share the stories they’ve gathered and the work they’ve done around gender equality, honoring this year’s theme of Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood has long been a literary titan. Her novels The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments and Alias Grace—plus the 15-time Emmy Award-winning Handmaid’s Tale TV series—have cemented her as a leading voice on women’s issues, not just in North America, but all over the world. Today, her sharp eye is more crucial, and more prescient, than ever. 


Margot Lee Shetterly

Margot Lee Shetterly is the author of the massively successful Hidden Figures, the instant #1 New York Times bestseller which was adapted into the hit film that dominated box offices worldwide. Her talks show us the surprising ways that women and people of color have contributed to innovation in this country while pursuing the American Dream.


Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende is a literary legend, social activist, and feminist icon. Her powerful books—including The House of the Spirits and Daughter of Fortune—have been translated into over 40 languages and have sold over 70 million copies. She was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., and her extraordinary life is now the subject of a three-part HBO miniseries.


Kristin Neff

Dr. Kristin Neff is the world’s leading expert on self-compassion—the first person to ever empirically study it, and the woman responsible for making it a topic of conversation in corporate America and beyond. Kristin explains how women can use fierce and tender self-compassion to succeed in the workplace, excel without burning out, and tap into deeper creativity and collaboration. 



Laura Huang, Harvard Professor and author of Edge, teaches us how to use everything, even systemic biases, to our advantage. She explains how women can guide and redirect those very stereotypes which hold them back, sharpening them into a unique and sustainable edge.


Laurel Braitman

Laurel Braitman, bestselling author and Stanford professor, helps doctors and medical students learn storytelling and integrate it into their work. She proves that the simple act of telling our own stories can help build community, improve mental health, and help make a real difference for those around us. 


Sarah Kaplan

Sarah Kaplan, Director of Rotman’s Institute for Gender and the Economy, shows us that, like any problem, gender inequality should be treated like an innovation challenge. Like investing in innovation, investing in equality makes our organizations stronger, more creative, and more resilient.

The Top Happiness & Wellness Speakers of 2022

Good health, both mental and physical, isn’t just nice to have in the workplace—it’s the key to increased productivity, motivation, and creativity for workers and leaders in every context. Our TOP HAPPINESS AND WELLNESS SPEAKERS offer innovative, practical strategies that you can use to help everyone in your organization perform at their highest level, all the time. If you want your employees to develop resilience and dodge burnout, these speakers’ insights are must-haves in this year and the next.


There’s a secret superpower that can help you thrive in high-stress, high-stakes environments—and it’s as simple as being kind to yourself. Kristin Neff was the first person ever to empirically research self-compassion. A pioneering scientist in inner strength training, she has created an actionable guide that’s scientifically proven to increase motivation, boost resilience, and improve mental health. Her talks are full of practical exercises that everyone in your organization can use to tap into the power of self-compassion.



We often think we don’t have enough hours in a day. But superstar UCLA professor and bestselling author Cassie Holmes says we don’t need more time—we just need to make the most of the time we have. Drawing on her original research and her book Happier Hour, Cassie gives you practical ways to rethink and restructure your schedule, helping you find more motivation and happiness, while giving you time for the things that really matter. Her insights are vital for the busy world of 2022 and 2023.



If you’re finding yourself distracted and unfocused, Johann Hari can help. In his New York Times bestseller Stolen Focus—named Amazon’s top nonfiction title of the year—he reveals why we can’t seem to pay attention anymore, and how we can reclaim our minds and our ability to think deeply again. In his talks, Johann can show you how to take back your flow state and be more present at work and in everyday life—crucial for anyone who wants to become more focused, productive, and creative.



Work doesn’t have to be a slog. Emily Esfahani Smith says that we can find purpose in the workplace and become more motivated, engaged, and fulfilled—and it all starts with finding meaning. Drawing on her book The Power of Meaning, as well as her popular TED Talk and viral Atlantic article, Emily shows leaders how to create a culture where people find purpose in what they do, and she shows employees the tangible changes they can make to become more fulfilled at work.



In moments of crisis, we can find creative ways to spark connection, healing, and belonging. Vijay Gupta is the founder of Street Symphony, an organization bringing music and art to America’s most disadvantaged communities. He shows us how to infuse creativity into everything that we do—from leadership to teamwork—and create a culture where everyone can belong. Vijay’s unique insights can help you build creativity and innovation into your organization at every level.

The Top 5 Corporate Culture Speakers of 2022

More than anything else, culture is what makes organizations great. A good workplace culture empowers people at every level to learn from their mistakes, collaborate with people who are different from them, and bring their authentic selves to work. Lavin’s TOP CORPORATE CULTURE SPEAKERS—from psychologists to the C-suite—have hands-on experience in creating resilient, healthy organizations. They’ll give you the tools your company needs to achieve balance, develop adaptability, and find success.


The best indicator of success isn’t IQ or talent. It’s grit: the combination of perseverance and passion that helps us to get ahead and stay ahead in today’s fast-paced world. Angela Duckworth is the pioneering scientist who wrote the book on grit—literally! In her practical talks, she draws on her #1 New York Times bestseller Grit to prove that, unlike IQ or talent, grit can be learned. She shows you how to build a gritty company culture, developing these skills in yourself and your employees at every level.



We often try to minimize risk in our organizations, but we can never really get away from it. That means our biggest opportunity lies in getting better at taking risks. Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is one of Silicon Valley’s most respected leaders. As the founder of theBoardlist and former StubHub president, she shows you how to practice your risk-taking skills and build a culture where risk isn’t something to be feared, but something to be faced and mastered for lasting success.



What does it look like to recognize—and improve—a damaging workplace? Jamie Fiore Higgins spent 18 years at Goldman Sachs, one of the most cutthroat organizations in the world. It gave her firsthand experience in what it looks like to break out of a toxic system and change it for the better. Today, as the author of Bully Market and one of Financial Times’s most influential women of 2022, Jamie shows you how to avoid toxic workplace environments, and build a healthy culture where everyone can thrive.



The past few years have offered us an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the way we work. In this new world of work, Alexandra Samuel argues that the most successful organizations will embrace hybrid work, reaping the benefits of the office and the benefits of working from home. Drawing on her crucial and practical book Remote, Inc., she shows you how to strengthen collaboration and embrace individual focus and flexibility, building a strong workplace culture and rhythms in a new era of work.



Empathy is the greatest tool leaders and changemakers have at their disposal. And it isn’t a fixed trait that you either have or don’t have—Jamil Zaki, director of Stanford’s Social Neuroscience Lab, says that we can all grow our empathy through practice. As the author of The War for Kindness, Jamil proves that empathy strengthens your company’s collaboration, inclusion, and creativity, and he gives you tried-and-true strategies for helping everyone in your organization tap into this hidden superpower.

The Top 5 Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Speakers of 2022

Diverse perspectives in the workplace make your ideas better, your teams stronger, and your company far more successful. Our TOP DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION SPEAKERS don’t just show you how DEI can benefit you—they give you practical strategies for implementing true belonging in the workplace. If you’re looking to leverage the power of diversity, build a more cohesive culture, and create an environment where everyone performs to their full potential, look no further than the speakers below.


If we want to achieve a truly just future, we need to understand the long history of race relations in our country — and nobody is better equipped to help us than Nikole Hannah-Jones. As the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of The 1619 Projecta MacArthur Genius, and one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Nikole can show you how race factors into every aspect of our lives, and empower you to take steps towards real equity and flourishing in your workplace and beyond.



Racism has a cost for everyone — which means that when we come together and take steps to fight it, we can all prosper together. Heather McGhee, the instant New York Times bestselling author of The Sum of Us, proves that diversity benefits all of us. Whether you want to build stronger teams or develop an inclusive workplace culture, Heather’s accessible talks will show you how to help everyone in your organization come together across racial, social, and cultural divides.



Diversity can be amorphous and difficult to define. But New Yorker staff writer and bestselling author Hua Hsu says that’s actually a good thing. Telling complex stories about different communities can help us figure out who we are and open up new worlds of possibility for everyone. Hua’s bestselling memoir Stay True—which turned him into a “literary phenomenon” (New York Times) — touches on the immigrant experience and Asian-Americanness, diversity, grief, and pop culture, among many other themes.



As the first Latina to ever write for Marvel Comics, Gabby Rivera proved that authenticity and joy come from embracing our lived experiences, celebrating our differences, and fighting for a world in which everyone is welcome. She wrote the solo series America about Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero, drawing on her own experiences as a queer Latina writer. Gabby will show you how to empower people of diverse backgrounds to tell their own stories — and open a radical space for creativity.



People from marginalized communities often face barriers and biases in the workplace. But Laura Huang, Harvard Business School professor and author of Edge, says that we can actually flip these biases around and use them to our advantage — that’s the “edge” that gives us an upper hand. We can use our diverse backgrounds to make a real difference in our workplace culture, at any level. In her practical talks, Laura shows you how to foster an environment where everyone can bring their unique edge to work.

CNN Names Angie Thomas’s The Hate You Give to Their Top 10 Most Influential Books of the Decade

Angie Thomas’s breakthrough debut novel, The Hate U Give, was not only an incredible success, but a compelling, timely social commentary on race and police violence. Now, CNN has named it one of the ten most influential books of the decade.   

The Hate U Give remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 80 weeks, and was quickly adapted into a critically acclaimed and commercially successful film, starring Amandla Stenberg. It follows the story of Starr, a 16-year old black girl who witnesses a white police officer shoot and kill her unarmed black friend. Starr must then navigate the justice system, as well as her identity as both a member of her black Garden Heights neighborhood community, and the predominately white prep school she attends.


The novel, which also aimed to expand readers’ understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the challenges black Americans encounter with code switching, is often studied in school curriculum. It was also one of the most challenged novels of 2017 and 2018, according to the American Library Association—often the mark of a vital, urgently relevant piece of literature.


You can see the full list of CNN’s Most Influential Books of the Decade here.


To book speaker Angie Thomas, contact her exclusive speakers bureau, The Lavin Agency.


Rediscovering Hope After Loss: Introducing New Lavin Speaker Jayson Greene

After a sudden, unthinkable accident, Jayson Greene and his wife Stacy found themselves mourning the death of their two-year-old daughter Greta. Overcome with grief, Greene—a music editor by trade—instinctively turned to writing to help him process the tragedy. In Once More We Saw Stars, the soul-affirming memoir that resulted, Greene opens up about surviving grief, and rediscovering a life of joy and meaning.  

Once More We Saw Stars isn’t just a book for bereaved parents, or those currently experiencing loss. A transcendent memoir written with grace and compassion, Jayson Greene’s book is a universal story that we could all benefit from. By charting his unexpected, turbulent journey through loss, Greene has reframed discussions of marriage, parenthood, hope, and healing in a profound, yet uplifting way.


In his generous, heartfelt talks, Greene draws from his memoir to help us understand how we can confront grief, make peace with suffering, and lead with love.


Choosing Hope Over Despair Is an Ongoing Process | Jayson Greene


To book speaker Jayson Greene, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.  

Democracy, Artificial Intelligence, Cryptocurrency, & Compassion: Four Speakers Asking 2018’s Biggest Questions

With uncertain political, economic, and social landscapes on the horizon, Yascha Mounk, Ajay Agrawal, Michael Casey and Megan Phelps-Roper are four speakers exploring the subjects that will define 2018. 

Is democracy in danger?

Americans, specifically young Americans, are losing faith in democracy. Author and political theorist Yascha Mounk explains why it’s happening and what we can do about it.  


How To Save Democracy | Yascha Mounk | TEDxBerlin



What will the A.I. revolution really look like?

World-leading A.I. researcher Ajay Agrawal is the founder of U of T’s Creative Destruction Lab, home to the greatest concentration of A.I.-enabled companies in any program on Earth. He uses plain, jargon-free language to unpack the full potential of A.I. 


NextAI Venture Day 2017 - Ajay Agrawal



Is this the age of cryptocurrency?

Senior Advisor to MITs Digital Currency Initiative and co-author of The Age of Cryptocurrency, Michael Casey demystifies blockchain, bitcoin and social media, and in the process empowers people to take new technologies into their own hands and disrupt the status quo.   


Michael Casey  - Senior Advisor for Blockchain Opportunities, MIT



How do we generate empathy?

Megan Phelps-Roper, once a prominent member of the Westboro Baptist Church, known for its virulent hate speech and cruel protests, is now one of its rare defectors. Her highly anticipated memoir is already set to grace the silver screen and her TED talk has been viewed over five million times. 


I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here's why I left | Megan Phelps-Roper



Yascha Mounk, Ajay Agrawal, Michael Casey and Megan Phelps-Roper are just a few of our speakers on politics, machine learning, distruptive technology and empathy. Check out our topics page for more information on our keynote speakers. 

Why Even See Keynote Speakers? Why Not Just Read Their Books?

As a top speakers bureau, The Lavin Agency is occasionally asked very blunt questions: Why even see keynote speakers live? Why not have everyone read the speaker’s book instead? Or watch their videos? What, ultimately, is the value of seeing a speaker in person at a conference, on stage, in a room full of other people? Good questions, all. Here are some very candid answers.

In a recent conversation, David Lavin, president of The Lavin Agency speakers bureau, told Misha Glouberman, co-author of The Chairs Are Where the People Go, that conferences are a “collective intellectual experience.” They are unlike anything else. “Best-case scenario, [participants] get their brains turned on, they’re engaged. They’re actually energized, and they talk to each other.” Starting life as a promoter of live literary events, David Lavin talked about the afterglow that comes from in-person events:  “After a lecture, people would walk out, and they’d be discussing what they heard: ‘He said this—what do you think? Or she said that.’ They’re having a discussion. They’re sharing an intellectual conversation.”

At the best conferences, people get to meet other interesting people. They get to ask a stranger, “What did you think of that? That was an interesting idea. I’ve never met you before in my life, let’s talk about it.” In explaining the difference between seeing something live and something at home, David Lavin offered this:  “Live performance is radically different than what you watch [on a screen].” A Springsteen concert may be life-changing in person, but, on DVD, maybe not so much. “Live theater,” he concludes, “is boring on television, but compelling live—because there’s a different level of engagement when you’re talking to an audience.” “Thinking is fun,” Lavin tells Glouberman at one point. “At least if you do it right.”