Who Are the Top 11 Keynote Speakers You Should Know About?
When planning an event, selecting the right keynote speaker for your conference or meeting is one of the most important elements of the day. You expect a keynote speaker who will hit on the event’s theme, tailor their content to relate to your organization, and, maybe most importantly, entertain and inspire your audience. But the right person can be hard to find.
Here are 11 of the top keynote speakers that you should know about now, in no particular order:
- General Stanley McChrystal
General Stanley McChrystal is the former Commander of US and International Forces in Afghanistan. He’s widely credited with changing the way America engages in combat by helping our armed forces modernize for the 21st century. Since leaving the military, he has authored two New York Times best-selling books and co-founded the consulting firm, The McChrystal Group. And, in addition to teaching a coveted graduate seminar at Yale, he has been lighting up the speaking circuit, leading Wired magazine to write, “To hear McChrystal talk about leadership is like hearing Steve Jobs talk about innovation or Henry Ford talk about productivity.”
- Robert O’Neill
One of our nation’s most decorated veterans, Rob O’Neill is a former Navy SEAL Team Six leader. Rob participated in several our nation’s most-celebrated and remembered war missions. A gifted storyteller who shares gripping and heart-pounding stories from his time as a SEAL, Rob is also the New York Times best-selling author of the book, The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior. His speeches leave audiences inspired, stunned, and reflecting on what being a team player means.
- Keller Rinaudo
Keller Rinaudo is the founder and CEO of Zipline. Zipline uses custom-designed drone technology to deliver life-saving medical necessities to healthcare professionals and patients in the most remote parts of the world. A true innovator who can speak to the future of technology in healthcare and the developing world, Keller talks about finding new ways to solve old problems, leapfrogging incumbent organizations, and forging partnerships in new markets.
- Sarah Robb O’Hagan
A disruption powerhouse, Sarah Robb O’Hagan is the former global president of Gatorade, former GM and marketing director at Nike, and currently the CEO of Flywheel Sports. Known for helping turn around Gatorade’s deflating sales and altering their image from a declining sports drink company into a booming sports fuel empire, she is the author of the new book, Extreme You. She speaks passionately about disrupting your own business from the inside out, building unbeatable teams, and not being afraid to fail.
- Ben Saunders
Ben Saunders is a record-breaking polar explorer and repeat TED speaker. His most-famous TED Talk, “Why Bother Leaving the House?” is a moving and motivating look at tackling audacious goals and living a life of purpose. Ben is currently attempting the first unsupported solo crossing of Antarctica, the most ambitious adventure of his career. He is a fantastic choice for groups looking to feel inspired and energized to look at their lives and work with fresh eyes.
- Donna Brazile
Donna Brazile has driven the political conversation within Democratic circles for more than 30 years. The former Interim Chair of the DNC, Donna worked on every Presidential campaign between 1976-2016. Named one of the “100 Most Powerful Women” by Washingtonian, she is the author of the new boo, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House. She’s known for her honest, hard-hitting, and hilarious dissection of Capitol Hill and the news of the day.
- Neil Jacobstein
For a high-speed and incredibly visual look at future trends, Neil Jacobstein is a top choice. Think videos of robots doing backflips paired with insights on what the AI, biotech, and Internet of Things (IoT) revolution all means for the future of business and culture. His presentation on “The Power of Exponential Technology” is customizable and looks at the latest tech breakthroughs and their applications of exponential change across industries.
- Jim Clapper
If you are looking for a top-selling, household name to headline your next event or meeting, consider former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper. Director Clapper retired in early 2017, so his insight into geopolitics, international relations, and security draws on his very recent position at the highest levels of the government. A career intelligence officer with 40 years’ experience, he peppers his talks with personal and witty anecdotes to provide the ultimate insider’s glimpse into the real threats facing our country today.
- Ken Schmidt
Formerly the director of communications strategy at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Ken is a best-selling speaker well known for helping to turn around the brand’s stagnant image and usher in a wave of retail success. The core of Ken’s message is business growth, supported by his experiences and stories. Ken challenges business to think about why, in a world that is increasingly competitive, people should do business with you, and asks, “What do you want people to say about you and what are you willing to do to get them to say it?”.
- Charlie Cook
For more than two decades, Charlie Cook has been Washington, DC's most trusted voice on all things political. As the editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report and a political analyst for the National Journal Group, his writing is a direct line to the heart of politics. He writes weekly for National Journal, and also pens a regular column for The Washington Quarterly. Called “the Picasso of election analysis” by the Wall Street Journal, Cook produces the sharpest political handicapping in the business, serving as the one-man, go-to-source for Americans who want to be truly informed.
- General Michael Hayden
General Michael Hayden is the only man to serve as director of both the CIA and the NSA. A top choice for groups that want a high-level look at the geopolitical relationships fueling tension, growth, various domestic priorities, and cyber warfare—as well as the specific ways information becomes compromised—he is known for his personable and engaging approach. General Hayden breaks down the nation’s changing informational landscape and cyber security vulnerabilities and outlines the ways they will impact your organization.
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If you don't see a speaker here that sounds like the right fit, we'll be happy to talk about your trade show speaker or convention speaker needs to identify the person who will help you reach your event goals.