What Makes A Great Inspirational Speaker?

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Productivity is profit – it is estimated that American companies lose around one billion dollars annually because of employee disengagement, meaning there is a demand for impactful leaders who with the ability to engage their people and inspire peak performance. Bringing in an inspirational speaker is a great way to re-invigorate the members of your team and empower their pursuit of their goals.

So, what makes a good inspirational leader? Good inspirational leaders show passion, humility, and, most importantly, have a story to tell. Below is a list of the remarkable inspirational speakers we have the pleasure of working with, all of whom share lessons on how to become an inspirational leader and how to become an inspirational coach, while captivating audiences with their gripping stories.

  • Katie Ledecky, 10x Olympic Medalist, 15x World Champion, 14x World Record Breaker
  • Hakeem Oluseyi, Astrophysicist, Former Space Science Education Lead for NASA, Inspirational Speaker
  • Nadja West, First African American Army Surgeon General and Former Commanding General, US Army Medical Command
  • Ben Saunders, Record-Breaking Polar Explorer, TED ‘Master Storyteller,’ and Advocate for Future Pioneers
  • Erik Weihenmayer, World-Class Blind Adventurer
  • Sebastian Terry, Creator of 100 Things Philanthropic Movement
  • Joan Higginbotham, Retired NASA Astronaut, Electrical Engineer, & Third African American Woman in Space
  • Kristin Beck, Retired Navy SEAL and Civil Rights Activist
  • Poppy Jamie, Founder of Happy Not Perfect, Co-Founder of Pop & Suki, and Happiness Expert

Keep reading to learn more about these inspiring keynote speakers...


Regarded as an undeniable G.O.A.T and one of the most celebrated athletes of her generation, Olympic champion swimmer Katie Ledecky is the most decorated U.S. female Olympian of all time in individual events and a 14-time world record-breaker. As personable and relatable as she is laser-focused on achieving her goals, Ledecky energizes audience members with elite-level insights on goal-setting and developing a winner’s mindset, while providing actionable steps for visualizing success in any field and achieving peak performance.


Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi is an internationally recognized astrophysicist, science TV personality, and global education advocate who overcame the odds, making out of some of America’s roughest neighborhoods to achieve his dreams in the world of astrophysics. Sharing his powerful journey from the streets to the stars, he inspires audiences around the world with his honest, and at times humorous, message of persevering past naysayers, self-doubt, and seemingly immovable obstacles to chase impossible dreams, fight for what they want, and lend a hand to those around them.


The youngest of 12 children in a military family, retired Lieutenant General Nadja West is a trailblazer in leadership who became the 44th Army Surgeon General and the first African American woman three-star general in the Army’s history. Her story is one of grit, perseverance, and breaking boundaries when faced with adversity. She takes audiences on her journey to becoming the commanding general of U.S. Army Medical Command and her lessons on overcoming challenges with self-believe, bravery, and balance are key insights into what makes a good inspirational leader.


From the main stage at TED to small screens around the world, Ben Saunders is a sought-after and acclaimed motivational speaker who has been called a “master storyteller” and whose TED Talks have been viewed more than five million times. A world-class adventurer and the third person to ever reach both the North and South Poles solo, Saunders is a living example of constantly pushing the limits of what humankind can accomplish and redefining what’s possible. When speaking, he shares hard-won lessons with audiences on topics such as sustaining resilience, personal motivation, and emotional wellbeing when the chips are down.


One of the most sought-after keynote speakers in the world, Erik Weihenmayer did not let losing his vision at age 14 hold him back from a lifetime of adventure. He is an accomplished climber, paraglider, skier, and kayaker who never allows blindness to interfere with pursuing an exhilarating and fulfilling life. His talks resonate with large groups – from graduating college students to large sales teams to Fortune500 CEOs. He inspires audiences to have the vision to dream big, reach for near impossible goals, and adopt the “No Barriers Mindset” on the journey to achieving the extraordinary.


Faced with the death of a close friend in his mid-twenties, Sebastian Terry experienced a life-altering moment in which he asked himself if he was truly happy. The answer was NO, and so, he created a list of 100 Things he wished to accomplish that he hoped would transform his life. After spending years chasing down all 100 items on his list, Sebastian has become a sought-after inspirational speaker who combines his electric energy and highly unique and emotive storytelling to motivate audiences to gain perspective, think big, and be the best they can be on every level so that others can follow suit.


Joan Higginbotham is a trailblazing electrical engineer who, in December 2006, flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-116 to become the third African American woman to travel into space.  She inspires audiences with her personal journey or breaking barriers into space and beyond, while highlighting lessons learned along the way, including seizing opportunities, being prepared, perseverance, and never giving up. Sharing captivating insights from her 20-year distinguished career, she offers groups a fresh, unique perspective on stress management, teamwork, driving diversity, and social impact.


Kristin Beck is a retired United States Navy SEAL and the nation’s first openly transgender Navy SEAL, who served for more than 20 years in the Special Operations Forces. Now a civil rights activist, she leads discussions and lectures that inspire diverse groups around the country. A key voice on diversity, equity, and inclusion, in her talks, Kristin draws from her incredible life story to touch upon themes of courage, leadership, and standing up for what’s right, all while demonstrating how nothing rewarding will ever be handed to you without hard work.


Founder of the Happy Not Perfect mental wellbeing app and product line, Poppy Jamie is a former television and social media host, as well as a leader in the happiness, mental health, and mindfulness space. Known for her signature warm and relatable speaking style, she empathetically combines her own personal struggle with perfectionism and life purpose with cutting-edge science to inspire and empower groups to upgrade their minds and manifest their best selves for a happier, healthier approach to the workplace and life.  

Ready to inspire your audience?

Interested in bringing in any of these inspirational speakers or learning more about the characteristics of an inspirational person who would be the right fit to speak to your group? Contact us to get started! You can also: 

  • Call us at 1-800-SPEAKER
  • Email us at Contact@lauthorities.com
  • Fill out the form below and we will reach out to you within 24 hours
  • Live chat with a member of our team in real time



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