I'm in a fairly unique position to curate this list of leadership speakers. I've interviewed over 180 authors and consultants for my LEADx Leadership podcast in the last year alone, read their books or articles, and watched dozens of them present in person as I've traveled the country doing my own keynotes on wholehearted leadership and employee engagement.
Any curated list reflects the bias of the curator and this one is no different. My selection criteria include the uniqueness of their ideas, and their ability to present their ideas in a compelling manner. I also tried for approximate gender parity, without actually having a fifty-fifty quota. I've intentionally left off big name speakers like John Maxwell and Tony Robbins because I'm pretty sure you already know about them.
I hope this list, presented in alphabetical order by last name, saves you time as you look for a top speaker with fresh leadership ideas:
Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Red Hat
Alexander is responsible for talent and culture at Red Hat, a $2.4 billion open-source software company.
Founder, Designing Conversations That Work
Axtell is the author of Meetings Matter, and teaches specific strategies to facilitate effective, engaging meetings.
Andersen is the author of Be Bad First and teaches managers and leaders how to acquire new knowledge and skills quickly and continuously.
CEO at Agility Scales
Appelo is the author of several books including Managing for Happiness, offering creative but practical tools to make work fun.
Founder, VAI Consulting and Training
Armour is a former United States Marine Corps officer and was the first African-American female combat pilot in U.S. History. She is the author of Zero to Breakthrough.
Founder, The Axelrod Group
Axelrod pioneered the use of mass employee involvement for successful large scale organizational change. His newest book is, Let's Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done.
Founder, Azzarello Group
Azzarello has more than 25 years of experience working in and with high technology companies. She is a best-selling author and her new book is Move: How Decisive Leaders Execute Strategy Despite Obstacles, Setbacks, & Stalls.
Executive Coach & Leadership Educator
Baldoni has decades of experience as a coach and authored 13 books, including, Moxie: The Secret of Bold and Gusty Leadership.
President, Authentic Paragon Alliance
Baron is an expert on authentic leadership and a self-described "corporate cultural momentum strategist". He is the author of Fiercely Loyal: How High Performing Companies Develop and Retain Top Talent.
Founder, Business in Blue Jeans
Baroncini-Moe is an executive coach and the author of Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style.
Bassuk is an executive coach and consultant focused on individual effectiveness and team cohesion.
CEO, Choose People
Boesch teaches leaders how to craft cultures that maximize happiness and engagement. She is the author of Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace.
Founder, Bregman Partners
Bregman is leadership coach to high profile CEOs and their leadership teams. He is the author of several bestselling books and his latest is Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Replace Counter-Productive Habits with Ones That Really Work.
Michael Bungay Stanier
Founder, Box of Crayons
Bungay Stanier is the leading expert on how managers can coach team members easily and effectively. He is the author of several of books including, The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change The Way You Lead Forever.
Founder, Burg Communications
Burg is a globally recognized expert in sales and marketing and best known for his idea of leading with a service and giving mindset. He is the author of several books including The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea.
CEO, Clark Strategic Communications
Clark is a former presidential campaign spokeswoman turned marketing consultant and personal branding guru. She is an adjunct professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the author of several books, including Entrepreneurial You.
Managing Partner, CO2 Partners
Cohen founded a company when he was just out of college and he quickly grew it to over 2,200 employees and went public on the NASDAQ. His new book is Just Ask Leadership: Why Great Managers Always Ask the Right Questions.
Cohn is an executive coach focusing on executive presence, influence, and decision making. She was selected as one of the top 100 coaches in the Marshall Goldsmith 100 project.
Conant has 40 years of leadership experience at the highest levels including serving as President, Nabisco Foods and CEO of Campbell Soup Company. He is the co-author of Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments.
Founder, Lead Above Noise
Cooke teaches leaders that beyond just psychological safety their organizations will thrive in a culture of uncensored truth, known as "super candor."
David M.R. Covey
CEO & Co-Founder, SMCOV
Covey is an expert in leadership, complex sales, and the concept of interdependence. His new book is Trap Tales: Outsmarting the 7 Hidden Obstacles to Success.
President and Founder, Lead From Within
Daskal is an executive coach who utilizes the concept of seven archetypes to help leaders harness their leadership strengths. She's an Inc.com columnist, and her new book is The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness.
CEO, Evidence-based Psychology
David is a psychologist who challenges the prevailing attitude that we should "fix" our difficult emotions through positive thinking and chasing happiness. Her new book is Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life.
Founder, People Formula
A 20-year veteran of the FBI, Dreeke has been called America's Top Spy Catcher. His new book is The Code of Trust: An American Counterintelligence Expert's Five Rules to Lead and Succeed.
General, US Army (retired)
As a U.S. Army four-star general, Dunwoody oversaw a staff of 69,000 and a budget of $60 billion. She teaches leaders core principles that guided her historic career. She is the author of A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General.
Co-Chair, Dwyer Group
Dwyer-Owens is the co-chair of the billion-dollar company, The Dwyer Group. She has appeared in the TV show "Undercover Boss" and her new book is Values, Inc.
S. Chris Edmonds
Founder, The Purposeful Culture Group
Edmonds teaches senior leaders how to codify their desired organizational values and turn it into an organizational constitution. His newest book is of The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace.
Chief Potential Officer, The Kevin Eikenberry Group
Eikenberry is a noted executive coach and leadership trainer. He is the author of several books including Remarkable Leadership and The Long Distance Leader.
Founder, Growing Leaders
Dr. Elmore is an acknowledged expert in Generations Y and Z. He is a prolific author of several books including Marching Off the Map.
Professor, Loyola Marymount University
Dr. Ensher is Professor of Management at Loyola Marymount University and a leading expert in mentoring. She is the co-author of Power Mentoring: How Mentors and Protégés Get the Most out of Their Relationships.
Senior Consulting Partner, Ken Blanchard Companies
Dr. Fowler is a professor at University of San Diego. Her newest book is Why Motivating People Doesn't Work ... and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging.
Erica Ariel Fox
President, Mobius Executive Leadership
Erica Ariel Fox is the former director of the Harvard Negotiation Insight Initiative, and a New York Times bestselling author. Her latest book is Winning From Within: A Breakthrough Method For Leading, Living and Lasting Change.
Founder, Marshall Goldsmith Group
Goldsmith is widely acknowledged as the top leadership coach in the world. He is the author of over 30 books including What Got You Here Won't Get You There.
President, The Jon Gordon Companies
Gordon teaches leaders the power of positivity. He is a best-selliing author of numerous books including The Energy Bus and The Power of Positive Leadership.
President, Red Team Thinking
Hoffman is an award-winning financial journalist who spent 22 years covering the global automotive, high-tech and biotech industries. He is the first civilian to have ever graduated from the US Army's Red Team Leader Program at Fort Leavenworth and his newest book is Red Teaming: How Your Business Can Conquer The Competition by Challenging Everything.
Founder, How To Fascinate
Hogshead is the world's authority on the science of fascination, based on her research of over 300,000 people. She's an Inc.com columnist and author of How The World Sees You and Fascinate: How To Make Your Brand Impossible To Resist.
CEO, Let's Grow Leaders
Hurt is known from her practical leadership advice resulting from her experience as a top Verizon Wireless executive. She is the author of Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul.
Co-founder & CEO, TMI Consulting
Jana is an expert in diversity and inclusion and was named to Diversity Journal's Women Worth Watching list. She is the author of Overcoming Bias: Building Authentic Relationships Across Differences.
Principal, Janove Organization Solutions
Janove teaches lessons from his 25 years of litigating toxic workplace relationships. His latest book is Hard-Won Wisdom: True Stories From The Management Trenches.
Senior Manager, Strategy, Deloitte Digital
Over the past decade with Deloitte, Kanungo he has been recognized globally for his work in the area of innovation. He co-hosts a podcast, The Dip, focused on strategy, marketing and innovation.
Managing Partner, KatesKesler Organizational Consulting
Kates is an expert in organizational design and sound decision making. She is the co-author of Bridging Organization Design and Performance.
CEO, Likeable Media
Carrie Kerpen is an acknowledge social media expert and author of Work It: Secrets For Success From The Boldest Women In Business.
CEO, Likeable Local
Managing Partner, Blue Rudder
Kincaid is a business professor with an expertise in candid communication. His book is Permission To Speak Freely: How the Best Leaders Cultivate a Culture of Candor.
Founder, Lai Ventures
Based on her experience as a successful entrepreneur, Lai offers practical advice and coaching to business owners and startup executives.
Founder, e.Mile People Development Magazine
Lattimer is a leadership coach and consultant and leads the People Development Network with over 200,000 members.
Executive Director, Byte Back
Lindsey is a successful non-profit executive in Washington, DC, with expertise in mission-driven leadership, open-book management, and technology enablement.
President, Whiteboard LLC
Dr. Marciano specializes in culture and retention and is the author of several books including, Carrots and Sticks Don't Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of Respect.
President, Turn The Ship Around
Marquet served in the US Navy for 28 years and turned the USS Santa Fe from worst to best in the fleet by rejecting the classic leader-follower model. He is the author of Turn the Ship Around.
Managing Director, Terence Mauri Ltd
Mauri teaches leaders how to thrive during constant change and innovation. He's an Inc.com columnist and his book is The Leader's Mindset: How to Win in the Age of Disruption.
Senior Editor, Harvard Business Review
McGinn is a senior editor at Harvard Business Review and manages the HBR Best Performing CEOs in the World rankings. He's the author of Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed.
Senior Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. McKee is a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Her new book is How to Be Happy at Work: The Power of Purpose, Hope and Friendships.
Jennifer V. Miller
Founder, People Equation Press
Miller focuses on workplace dynamics and career success. She is the author of The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution...One Person at a Time.
G. Riley Mills
Co-founder, Pinnacle Performance Company
Mills uses his experience as a professional actor to teach leaders how to captivate and influence those around them. He is the co-author of The Pin Drop Principle.
Professor, Brandeis University
Dr. Molinsky is a professor of psychology and organizational behavior at Brandeis University. He's an Inc.com columnist and the author of Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Build Confidence, and Rise to the Challenge.
Founding Partner, Lead Star
Morgan is a retired US Marine and the author of SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success.
Psychotherapist & Lecturer
Murphy is an expert in workplace culture and engagement. He's an Inc.com columnist and the author of The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone.
Myatt coaches CEOs and their Boards and is an expert in cultural transformation. He is the author of Hacking Leadership.
Founder, TanveerNaseer Leadership
Naseer is a leadership and human resources expert. He is the author of Leadership Vertigo: Why Even the Best Leaders Go Off Course and How They Can Get Back On Track.
Founder & CEO, Launchbox
Negroni uses his experience as an attorney and senior executive to help companies bridge the gap between managers and their millennial workers. He is the author of Chasing Relevance: 6-Steps To Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next Generation Leaders In The Workplace.
Co-founder, Bridgeway Partners
Dr. Paul is an expert on time management and well-being and is the author of An Oasis In Time: How A Day Of Rest Can Save Your Life.
Chief Envisioner, TELUS
Professor, Georgetown University
Dr. Porath is a professor of management at Georgetown University. Her work is in the area of incivility and its effects at work. She is the author of Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace.
Founder, Book Yourself Solid Worldwide
Port was once a professional actor and teaches leaders how to capture attention and communicate effectively. He is the author of numerous books and his newest is Steal the Show.
President and CEO, OCLC
Prichard has many decades of experience leading large companies as CEO, and is acknowledged as a turnaround expert. His new book is The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future.
Raymond is a former CEO and accomplished business executive who teaches leaders how to drive culture through mentoring and real-time feedback. He is the author of Good Authority: How to Become the Leader Your Team Is Waiting For.
Founder, Robbins Leadership International
Robbins is a management consultant with expertise in leadership, productivity and accountability. He is the author of Nine Minutes On Monday.
President, Camp Bow Wow
Russell is President at Camp Bow Wow, North America's largest provider of doggy day care, boarding and training. She is an expert in franchise leadership.
Founder, Leadership Freak
Rockwell coaches senior leaders and is the author of the popular blog, Leadership Freak.
Founder, Shelley Row Associates
Row teaches leaders how to make effective fast decisions with both information and intuition. She is the author of several books including, Think Less, Live More and Go With Your Gut.
Founder, Self-Reliant Leadership
Rutherford has over 25 years of business experience and is retired US Army Special Forces medic. He is the author of The Littlest Green Beret: On Self-Reliant Leadership.
President, Sanborn & Associates
Sanborn has both business and association leadership experience which he applies in his speeches and workshops. He is the author of several books including The Fred Factor.
Sachs is a former CNN and Dateline NBC contributor and teaches others how to pivot their careers. She is the author of Fearless and Free: How Smart Women Pivot and Relaunch Their Careers.
Partner, Deeper Media Inc.
Sanders was an early employee of Mark Cuban's Broadcast.com and became Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo, after it acquired the company. He is the author of several books including Love Is the Killer App: How To Win Business & Influence Friends.
Managing Partner, Dave Sanderson Enterprises
Sanderson was a passenger on "Miracle on the Hudson" Flight 1549 which landed in the Hudson River by Captain Sully Sullenberger. Because Sanderson chose to help others, he was the last passenger to leave the plane. He wrote about his story in his book Moments Matter.
Scott was a successful leader at Google and later joined Apple where she designed and taught a course for first-time managers called Managing at Apple. She is the author of Radical Candor: Be A Kick Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity.
President & CEO, Uhmms
Dr. Scott is a leading communication expert who lectures at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Getting a Squirrel to Focus on Presentations: Don't Just Inform, Transform Your Audience.
Professor, Stanford University
Dr. Seelig is a Stanford Professor with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. She is the author of Creativity Rules: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World.
Founder, Dr. Jason Selk
Selk is a sports psychologist who focuses on mental toughness and focus. He served as the Director of Mental Training for the St. Louis Cardinals. He's an Inc.com columnist and the author of several books including Organize Tomorrow Today.
President, Andrew Sobel Advisors
Sobel has written eight books on how to develop enduring professional relationships, including Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others.
President, Global Grassroots
Steidle runs a mindful-leadership program for women and girls in East Africa and has been named a CNN Hero. She is the author of Leading from Within: Conscious Social Change and Mindfulness for Social Innovation.
Managing Partner, Story Makers
Smith is a former Procter & Gamble executive, who now speaks and trains on how to use storytelling in leadership and sales. He is the author of three books, including, Lead With A Story: A Guide To Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire.
Managing Partner, John Spence LLC
Spence has been a lifelong student of leadership and has lectured at almost a hundred different colleges and universities. He is the author of several books including Excellence By Design: Leadership.
Thomas is an expert in productivity, attention management, and work-life balance. She is the author of Work Without Walls: An Executive's Guide to Attention Management, Productivity, and the Future of Work.
Linda Fisher Thornton
CEO, Leading in Context
In speeches and workshops, Thornton teaches executives about ethical leadership, which she describes is actually a continuum of different perspectives.
CEO and Founder, Leadership Principles
Tredgold is a visiting professor at Staffordshire University, a fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management, and an Inc.com columnist. He teaches leaders his FAST system, which is an acronym for focus, accountability, simplicity, and transparency.
Co-Founder, The RBL Group
Dr. Ulrich is considered by many to be the "the father of modern human resources" and is the Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. He is a Thinkers 50 top thought leaders and his newest book is Victory Through Organization: Why the War for Talent is Failing Your Company and What You Can Do About It.
Umar is one of the most followed leadership coaches on social media, and has an expertise is relationships and social capital. He is the author of How to Network Anytime, Anywhere, with Anyone.
Co-Founder, Southwestern Consulting
Vaden is a global expert on self-discipline and productivity. He is the author of Take the Stairs and Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions To Multiply Your Time.
CEO & Founder, The Black Swan Group
Voss is a 24 year veteran of the FBI, and he retired as their lead international kidnapping negotiator. He is the author of Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.
President & Founder, Reality-Based Leadership
Wakeman is a drama researcher, who specializes in reality-based leadership. She is the author of several books including No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results.
Global Evangelist, Sprinklr
Walter is a leading expert in innovation and strategic communication. She is the author of Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Whipple's expertise is in the area of trust. He is the author of several books including, Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change.
Founder, The Wiseman Group
Wiseman, a former VP at Oracle, has been named one of the top 10 leadership thinkers in the world. Her bestselling book is Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.
Founder & CEO, EnlivenWork
Worline is a research scientist at Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. She is the author of Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power that Elevates People and Organizations.
Founder, Traction First
Young teaches entrepreneurial leaders systems to improve productivity and financial results. She is the author of Earn It!, which teaches employees how to link their individual efforts to the financial results of the company.