The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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

Stop Being So Nice at Work! The Secrets to Effective Workplace Communication, With New Speaker Tessa West

Tessa West combines easy-to-apply tips with relatable, funny, and shocking stories that will have you taking notes. Anyone regardless of industry or level will benefit.—Jonah Berger, bestselling author of Contagious

Tessa is the author of Jerks at Work, “a breezy and fun read for anyone who wants happier and healthier relationships at work” (Annie Duke, Quit), as well as the forthcoming Job Therapy, a leader’s guide to making sure your employees are not only happy, but fulfilled.

We all face uncomfortable situations at work. But Tessa can show you how to communicate well in these situations and actually turn them to your advantage, gaining outsized increases in creativity, collaboration, and innovation.

A friendly and engaging speaker, she offers a wealth of real-world stories and scientific strategies that you can apply broadly to any company or context. She shows you:

  • The 5 causes of employee unhappiness that are making your company bleed talent—from the “identity crisis” to the “underappreciated star”—and what you can do to boost fulfillment and retain your best performers;
  • How leaders can invite honest feedback from their teams (try starting with something non-threatening);
  • How to manage conflict early and often, and create structures for healthy teamwork and decision-making;
  • How to read other people (really!);
  • And much more.

“I want audiences to walk away confident that they can actually improve communication in their workplaces,” Tessa says. “I’ll give you concrete action items: what you can do right now to facilitate change in your teams. It doesn’t matter if you’re shy, or think you’re not charismatic. These are tactics for everybody.”

How Organizations Can Move Beyond Inclusion—and Towards Indivisibility. DEI Speaker Denise Hamilton’s New Book

“Denise Hamilton invites us into the next evolution of American society and arms us with the tools to be successful as we move into a more prosperous future,” says CNN’s Van Jones. “She replaces half measures with a bolder, broader vision. This book is a must-read.”

Denise is the author of the highly anticipated Indivisible: How to Forge Our Differences into a Stronger Future. She has 25 years of executive experience with Fortune 500 companies, where she was often the first woman or Black person in the room, and is the founder and CEO of WatchHerWork, where she consults for organizations from Meta to the United Nations.

A powerfully optimistic and energetic speaker, Denise leverages her on-the-ground experience to offer actionable, hopeful talks for leaders and employees alike. You’ll learn:

  • Why you shouldn’t believe everything you think;
  • How leading with “humble curiosity” can help you get the best out of your teams;
  • The right time and most effective ways to deal with conflict;
  • Why you need to celebrate the small wins in your push for DEI;
  • Simple and concrete ways to build teams and organizations that are diverse, inclusive, and (most importantly) indivisible.

“If we can figure out how to be indivisible, we can figure out how to be indestructible,” Denise says. “That’s the goal: to be stronger together, because we are allowing every single part of this organization to be the best that it can be.”

You Can Build a Growth Mindset For Your Entire Organization. Psychologist Mary C. Murphy Shows You How

Mary inspired all of us doing mindset research to study how we could help create these cultures—by setting out to develop and rigorously test practices for teachers or managers.—Carol Dweck, author of the multi-million-copy bestseller Mindset

Mary C. Murphy is the author of Cultures of Growth: a transformative look into how an organization’s mindset culture is the key to success both for individuals and for the company as a whole. One of the most anticipated releases of 2024, it’s a revolutionary shift in our understanding of growth mindset and in our ability to implement it in our organizations.

Mary has spent over a decade researching growth mindset in organizations and working with Fortune 500 companies. In practical and down-to-earth talks, she draws on her book to guide organizations through a Mindset Reset. You’ll learn:

  • How to avoid common pitfalls, like the belief that you can succeed by just trying harder;
  • The four “mindset triggers” that can help you move yourself and others from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset;
  • How building a Culture of Growth can help you hire and retain more diverse talent, implement more effective DEI initiatives, and boost trust and commitment across all your teams;
  • Simple and concrete ways to build the mindset culture you want for yourself, your teammates, and your organization as a whole.

“Even though, as individuals, we are powerful, we can only do so much alone. The best and biggest work of our lives comes from collaborating with others to realize our fullest potential collectively,” Mary says. “The very nature of a Culture of Growth is to strive for growth for everyone.”

Watch Mary discuss how the science of belonging can help us build stronger and more growth-oriented organizational cultures.

Unlock the Power of “Deep Curiosity” for Greater Connections: Lavin Welcomes Scott Shigeoka, Author of Seek

“Curiosity has the power to transform your life and change the world,” says Scott Shigeoka, a fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. “It’s a critical practice for your relationships, leadership, and life satisfaction.”

Curiosity is a spectrum, Scott says. Deep curiosity, the type that leads to more powerful connections, doesn’t just increase your understanding of others—it can also sharpen your creativity and collaboration skills, provide an antidote to fear and anxiety, and help you find common ground across differences.

In his inspiring talks, Scott shares the “DIVE” model he developed to target the “four core muscles” that help us nurture deep curiosity and transform our relationships:

• Detach—Let go of your ABCs (assumptions, biases, certainty);
• Intend—Prepare your mindset and setting;
• Value—See the dignity of every person (including yourself);
• Embrace—Welcome the hard times in your life.

For his forthcoming book, Seek, Scott went on a journey across America, exploring why there is so much division—and more importantly, how we can heal. In talks, he pairs powerful stories with 10+ practical strategies to help individuals and groups harness the power of deep curiosity.

“If you want a less anxious workforce, if you want leaders who are respected, if you want to be healthier and happier—curiosity is your ticket,” Scott tells Lavin.

Watch an exclusive Lavin interview with Scott: “There’s a difference between being curious for pub trivia next week and the kind of curiosity that actually changes your life in a profound way.”

Understanding Our History Is the Catalyst for Real Change: Lavin Welcomes #1 NYT Bestselling Author Clint Smith

“Clint Smith moves seamlessly between past and present, revealing how slavery is remembered and misremembered—and why it matters.” — Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Evicted

“We talk about slavery as if it was this thing that existed when the dinosaurs were around,” says Clint Smith, a staff writer for The Atlantic. “But there are people alive today who knew, loved, and were raised by people who were born into chattel slavery.”

For his acclaimed #1 bestseller How the Word Is Passed, Clint travelled across the country to eight landmarks in the United States and one abroad to investigate how each tells the story of its relationship with slavery. Through vivid reporting and fascinating interviews at sites like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Plantation and a cemetery for Confederate soldiers, he shows us how the marks of slavery continue to shape the physical world around us—and how we can start telling a more truthful story for the future.

How the Word Is Passed is a “beautifully written, evocative, and timely meditation on the way slavery is commemorated in the United States” (Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annette Gordon-Reed). It “deftly connects the past, hiding in plain sight, with today’s lingering effects” (NPR) and “frees history, frees humanity to reckon honestly with the legacy of slavery” (Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist).

“There are people who would prefer that we don’t tell these stories, because they don’t want to have to tell different stories about themselves,” Clint tells Lavin. “But that’s part of what it means to be human: who we understood ourselves to be 10 years ago is different than who we understand ourselves to be now. And that’s not something to be scared of. That’s a chance that we’ve been given—to constantly become a better, more thoughtful version of ourselves. And engaging with history represents a real opportunity to do so.”

Watch an exclusive Lavin interview with Clint: “Monuments are not the endgame. Monuments are symbols that reflect the stories that communities and countries are telling about themselves.”

Lavin Welcomes Prominent Black Trans Activist Raquel Willis: Race, Gender, and the “Painter’s Palette” of Intersectionality

“LGBTQ+ folks aren’t some hypothetical person in your audience that you need to pander to,” says Raquel Willis. “Your company actually has these folks internally. So there’s a shift in culture that needs to be happening.”

In inspiring talks for Pride, Black History Month, DEI events, and much more, Raquel draws on her singular experience—encapsulated in her forthcoming memoir, The Risk It Takes to Bloom—to show how we can achieve real belonging in the workplace for everyone. She explains what she calls “the three C’s” of real DEI: commitment, culture, and content (and a caveat). She demonstrates why you need to develop a company culture of real inclusion and solidarity, and shows you practical ways to ensure everyone at your organization can be their true self and do their best work.

This trailblazing Black trans activist grew up in the South, in a Catholic family. Over the course of her groundbreaking career, she’s become a crucial voice in the conversation around the intersections of gender and race and the fight for true diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition to her positions at the Ms. Foundation and Out Magazine, she was the national organizer for the Transgender Law Center and has contributed to several anthologies including Ibram X. Kendi’s Four Hundred Souls.

“I want people to walk away with a curiosity about how the world could be better,” Raquel tells Lavin.

Watch an exclusive Lavin interview with Raquel, where she explains how we can use our different interests as a “painter’s palette” in our fight for equity.

7 Steps to Implementing AI in Your Company: Lavin Welcomes Former Amazon Exec Michelle Lee

“AI is the most transformative technology of our generation,” says Michelle K. Lee, “and it’s ripe for application now.” Michelle has a wealth of experience from the highest levels of both industry and government. She has held executive positions at tech giants Google and Amazon—she was Vice-President of the Machine Learning Solutions Lab at Amazon Web Services, where she helped companies identify and implement their most impactful AI opportunities. On the government side, she was the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where she brought AI and data analytics to the 200-year-old, 10,000-person agency.

Her unique and varied experience allows her to cut through the hype around AI, bringing the high-level talk down to reality with concrete examples and practical strategies for every industry—including yours. Drawing on her years of experience, she’s developed a 7-step process that any company can use to incorporate AI and outperform their competitors: starting from developing a data strategy and identifying your highest ROI opportunities, all the way to retraining, updating, and maintaining your AI tools.

“Even the most AI-forward companies are only just scratching the surface on using AI in their businesses,” Michelle says. “AI solutions get better over time and with more data—so the time to get started is now.”

Watch a Lavin-exclusive video where Michelle explains how data and AI helped Domino’s Pizza revolutionize their customer experience and get ahead of the competition.

Creativity Is a Skill You Can Learn: Lavin Welcomes Caitlan Maggs, Former Cirque du Soleil Artistic Director

As the former Artistic Director of Cirque du Soleil, the largest contemporary circus in the world, Caitlan worked on almost every groundbreaking show from 2000 to 2020. Out of over 4000 employees from over 50 countries, she’s one of only a handful of experts who have contributed to the Cirque’s creative process at such a high level and on so many shows. She led all the artistic coaches and coaching, working with her team to choreograph the acrobatic acts for all the shows, and taught creativity to world-class Olympians to transform them from athletes into artists.

Her two decades at the Cirque have taught her what it takes to develop creativity and foster collaboration in intense, high-pressure environments. Creativity not only helps us innovate better, Caitlan says, it also helps us to boost resilience and stay open to changing circumstances. “In today’s world of constant change, creativity has never been more important,” she says.

In her talks, Caitlan demonstrates the power of creativity and shows you practical ways to develop it in yourself and your teams. Drawing on her unique experience, she shows you how to balance the freedom and structure you need to be creative; how to maximize the creative potential of teams of all sizes; and how to leverage creativity to develop cutting-edge ideas.

The Secret to Breaking Rules and Finding Creativity? It’s All About Discipline. Lavin Welcomes Eddie Huang

Eddie Huang has never hesitated to step outside the mainstream. He first broke onto the cultural scene with his Taiwanese restaurant Baohaus, which he opened to tell an underrepresented story through food. He went on to write Fresh Off the Boat, the bestselling memoir which The New York Times called “a book about fitting in by not fitting in at all,” which was then adapted into the hit sitcom of the same name that featured the first all-Asian American cast on network TV in two decades. He hosted Huang’s World for Vice, and has written and directed multiple feature films.

But the secret to this incredible creativity and daring isn’t simply defying the rules that don’t work for you. “If you don’t like the rules of the world—cool! Be an iconoclast,” Eddie tells us. “But you have to create your own rules. That is your responsibility.”

In his smart and hilarious talks, Eddie shows how you can build the discipline and self-leadership to succeed wherever you are. The insights he offers from his dynamic and wide-ranging career are invaluable no matter who you are—whether you’re a leader looking to increase the creativity of your organization, an educator hoping to inspire and motivate students, or a student interested in pursuing your dreams and forging your own path. Eddie will show you how to find success and tap into high performance and creativity, all while embracing your differences and staying true to yourself.

Watch a Lavin-exclusive interview with Eddie about diversity, the Asian American community, and what the next steps are for achieving real equity and justice in America:

What Leaders and Parents Need to Know About Young People Today: Lavin Welcomes Dr. Laurence Steinberg

Larry Steinberg—one of my favorite thinkers and writers—offers clear, cogent answers to all the questions you’re wrestling with right now. —Angela Duckworth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grit

What it means to be a young adult today is radically different than it was only a generation ago. Many parents of children in their 20s and 30s—and leaders with Millennial or Gen Z employees—are wondering how to guide the next generation in a world that’s so different from when they were younger.

Dr. Laurence Steinberg knows how. He’s one of the world’s leading developmental psychologists and author of the forthcoming You and Your Adult Child. It’s an “empowering, invaluable guide” (NYT bestselling author Jessica Lahey) that benefits everyone in every domain of life—because developing good parent-child relationships at home will make you more fulfilled, purposeful, and productive at work.

In his book and his talks, Laurence covers topics like whether you should subsidize your child’s income, when and how to give advice, how to tell if your child or employee is floundering or flourishing, and much more. For example, he explains why you can’t compare your child’s progress to your own progress at that age—it takes 5 years longer for young people today to enter into the different stages of adulthood. His talks are crucial for people on both sides of the generation gap, as well as anyone looking to build stronger cross-generational relationships and teams.

Watch an exclusive Lavin interview where Laurence explains why young people today are graduating, moving out, and getting married later than any previous generation: