Keynote Speakers

"The keynote speakers were excellent—beyond expectations—thank you! This was my first time attending, and all I could think was why didn't I attend before!"

—Previous Attendee

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States

Monday, May 7

Few presidents have walked a more improbable path to the White House. Born in Hawaii to a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya, Obama was raised with help from his grandparents, whose generosity of spirit reflected their Midwestern roots. The homespun values they instilled in him, paired with his innate sense of optimism, compelled Obama to devote his life to giving every child, regardless of his or her background, the same chance America gave him.

After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants. That experience honed his belief in the power of uniting ordinary people around a politics of purpose, in the hard work of citizenship, to bring about positive change. In law school, he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, then he returned to Illinois to teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago and begin a career in public service, winning seats in the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate.

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States, winning more votes than any candidate in history. He took office at a moment of crisis unlike any America had seen in decades – a nation at war, a planet in peril, the American Dream itself threatened by the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. And yet, despite all manner of political obstruction, Obama’s leadership helped rescue the economy, revitalize the American auto industry, reform the health care system to cover another twenty million Americans, and put the country on a firm course to a clean energy future – all while overseeing the longest stretch of job creation in American history. On the world stage, Obama’s belief in America’s indispensable leadership and strong, principled diplomacy helped wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, decimate al Qaeda and eliminate the world’s most wanted terrorists, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, open up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, and unite humanity in coordinated action to combat a changing climate.

In times of great challenge and change, President Obama’s leadership ushered in a stronger economy, a more equal society, a nation more secure at home and more respected around the world. The Obama years were ones in which more people not only began to see themselves in the changing face of America, but to see America the way he always has – as the only place on Earth where so many of our stories could even be possible.

Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters – Malia, 18, and Sasha, 15.

Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham

Founder of the Strengths Revolution, Head of ADP Research Institute—People + Performance, New York Times Bestselling Author

Tuesday, May 8

“My hope and dream is that you find a life in which you get to express the unique spirit that is You, in the most intelligent, most contributive, most meaningful way possible.”—Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham is a researcher and thought leader focused on unlocking strengths, increasing performance, and pioneering the future of how people work. Building on nearly two decades of experience as a senior researcher at Gallup Organization, he currently guides the vision of ADP Research Institute as co-head and talent expert. He founded the Marcus Buckingham Company in 2006 with a clear mission: to instigate a strengths revolution. He believes that companies that focus on cultivating employees’ strengths rather than simply improving on their weaknesses stand to dramatically increase efficiency and productivity while allowing for maximum personal growth. Marcus focuses his speeches on the correlation between strengths-driven, engaged employees and business fundamentals, such as turnover rates, customer satisfaction, profits, and productivity.

As an internationally renowned thought leader and business expert, Marcus has been profiled by the New York Times, Fortune, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal. He has also appeared on numerous television programs, including Larry King Live, The Today Show, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He has worked with Toyota, Facebook, Lululemon, Coca-Cola, Box, Master Foods, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, and Disney to inspire people to find their strengths and sustain long-lasting personal success.

Marcus’s first book, First, Break All the Rules (co-authored with Curt Coffman; 1999), argues that rules stifle originality and uniqueness, which can enable all of us to achieve our highest performance. The goal is to provide team leaders with the tools they need to turn talent into performance and drive the organization toward greater success and productivity. His other books about strengths in the workplace include Now, Discover Your Strengths (co-authored with Donald O. Clifton; 2001); The One Thing You Need to Know (2005); Go Put Your Strengths To Work (2007); The Truth About You (2008), and Find Your Strongest Life (2009). Building on the success of StandOut (2011), StandOut 2.0 features a productivity platform to reveal a person’s top two strength roles (areas of comparative advantage). StandOut 2.0 gives people practical innovations that fit their strengths, and gives team leaders quick insights on how to get the best from their team members.

Keynote Topic

LOVE + WORK

When you research what creates high-performing teams and leaders, you make a surprising discovery: excellence is driven by love. Work can—and should—be a place where we discover what we love, cultivate our strengths, and contribute our unique gifts. Naturally, we want this for our people. We want them to be in love with their work, because when they are, they are at their most creative, resilient, innovative, and productive. So why do we in talent development focus so much on the “work” part instead of the “love”? Why do our systems seem designed to round out sharp edges and homogenize unique strengths? Learn how to beautifully and intelligently interweave LOVE + WORK so that your teams, your company, and the world can experience the full impact of your people performing at their best.

Connie Podesta

Connie Podesta

Comedian, Human Relations Expert, Author

Wednesday, May 9

Connie Podesta is a game-changing ball of fire who uses a rare blend of laugh-out-loud comedy, killer takeaway strategies, and a unique, interactive delivery style to connect with her audience, while delivering hands-on advice that changes lives and bottom lines. An author, educator, therapist, and former director of staff development and employee assistance, Connie doesn’t just address her audience—she captivates them, inspires them, and motivates them to new heights of personal and professional achievement. Offering practical advice that can be applied at work and at home, she reminds audiences that the quality of their personal life directly affects their professional success. Connie is the author of Ten Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd, Happiness Is Serious Business, Audiences Stand Up When You Stand Out, Life Would Be Easy if It Weren’t For Other People and Make a Fortune Selling to Women/Men.

Keynote Topic

Life Would Be Easy, If It Weren't for Other People

Imagine what you could accomplish if you could decode the mystery of human behavior and truly understand what makes people do what they do and say what they say (including yourself)! Research shows that the number one key to success is the ability to get along with other people. How you choose to relate to, communicate with, be accountable to, resolve conflict with, and garner respect from other people will directly impact your ability to attract and sustain healthy relationships so you can lead, manage, sell, produce, collaborate, work as a team, enjoy life, stay healthy, be happy, and experience success. With laugh-out-loud humor, take-away strategies, and her amazing insights into ourselves and others (including a few who “drive you crazy”), human relations expert Connie Podesta will both challenge and empower you with the knowledge you need to get along better with the people in your life. Connie will take you right inside the minds and personalities of the people you deal with every day—bosses, colleagues, partners, customers, friends, and family—so you can act, rather than react to whatever life throws your way. Get ready for less stress and more success!

 

"This was the best conference I've ever attended. The quality of the keynotes was the best, bar none."
—Previous Attendee

"This was my first conference with ATD and it set a very high bar for all conferences I’ll attend in the future."
—Previous Attendee