Laura Gassner Otting: Stop Asking “How Can I Help?” | TEDx
Laura Gassner Otting
- Advises audiences how to get “unstuck”, increase confidence, and achieve extraordinary results
- Author of the book, Mission Driven: From Profit to Purpose, “definitive guide to careers with purpose”
- Provides highly customized talks to motivate and empower all to solve questions and do more
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As a professional motivational keynote speaker, Laura Gassner Otting helps innovators, idealists, and iconoclasts get “unstuck” in their thinking, increase confidence, and achieve extraordinary results.
Through Limitless Possibility, Laura collaborates with entrepreneurs and investors to push past the doubt and indecision that consign great ideas to limbo. She delivers strategic thinking, well-honed wisdom, and catalytic perspective informed by decades of navigating change across the start-up, non-profit, political, and philanthropic landscapes. Laura dares listeners to find their voice, and generate the confidence needed to tackle larger-than-life challenges, and ultimately leads them to seek new ways of leading, managing, and mentoring others.
Laura has spoken across the United States and internationally—and her audiences have included universities, companies, conferences, accelerators, a TEDx stage, and a US military base. She customizes her message for each audience in ways that get them to think differently and do more. Laura was one of six featured speakers at TEDxCambridge in the fall of 2016. This premier event celebrates the remarkable innovation, creativity, and inspiration found within New England. In her talk, Laura implored the audience of 2,600 to “Stop Asking ‘How Can I Help?’” and taught them, above all, how to ask a better question: One which empowers us all to finally fix the big problems we face by actually serving the solutions, and not just the problems of our own egos.
Laura’s entrepreneurial edge comes from her extensive 25-year resume. She served as a Presidential Appointee in Bill Clinton’s White House, helping shape AmeriCorps. She left a leadership role at respected non-profit search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to expand the start-up, ExecSearches.com. She also founded and ran the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group, which partnered with the full gamut of mission driven non-profit executives, from start-up dreamers to scaling social entrepreneurs to global philanthropists. Through her own commitment to give back, Laura has helped build a local Montessori school, co-founded a women’s philanthropic initiative, advised a start-up national women’s PAC, grew a citizen-leadership development program, and completed three charity-inspired marathons—projects emblematic of her passions and values.
She is excited by the audacity of The Big Idea and the larger-than-life goal you just can’t seem to shake. She’s an instigator, a motivator, and a provocateur, and she’s never met a revolution she didn’t like.
Laura is the author of the book, Mission-Driven: From Profit to Purpose, designed for those moving from profit to purpose, has been called the “definitive guide to careers with purpose” and “the bible for non-profit job seekers". Watch for Laura’s upcoming book, Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life, which hit shelves in April 2019.
Live Limitlessly. Many of us spend our lives pursuing a singular idea of success, one that was created for us by someone else. We give votes to those who shouldn’t even have voices and strive to go faster and faster even as we find ourselves falling further and further behind. We chase gold stars, we check all the boxes, we Lean In – and we still feel incomplete.
In this keynote, Laura Gassner Otting teaches you how to ignore the rules that created your limits, align your energies and your actions, and do work that really matters so that you can live your best life. Often described as “a kick in the ass surrounded by a warm hug,” Laura brings both tough love and wisdom and offers a no-holds-barred look at what it really takes to get out of your own way and earn your success today.
Aimed at entrepreneurs and misfits, idealists and dreamers, as well as anyone seeking to align who they are with what they do, this talk lights a fire within that catalyzes energy and excitement towards becoming the change agent needed to maximize impact.
The Limitless Leader: Engaging Your Full Workforce. Demographic shifts in the workforce have led to conversations about purpose and meaning that have heretofore never been had. Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers alike are all demanding that their work matters more. And, yet, only one-third of the US workforce reports that they are actively engaged in their work.
Why? Because we are using an outdated scorecard which measures the value of a job – title, money, prestige, among others – without adding in the most important part of the equation: the employee.
We know that engaged workers are 22% more productive and profitable for their employers, but what recruits the employee doesn’t retain them.
In this talk, 20-year executive search veteran Laura Gassner Otting teaches leaders how to unlock their employees’ engagement to not only make them limitless but make their companies and their profits limitless too.
Contagious Confidence: Mastering Your Leadership Voice. Self-doubt and uncertainty consign great ideas to limbo, hindering your team from exploring the big opportunities that will differentiate your company and disrupt the marketplace. That changes now.
Through this interactive experience, Laura catalyzes the confidence of audience members, so that your up-and-coming talent can fully embody that aspirational state of leadership, and leave understanding what they need to do to activate that leader inside of themselves.
Together, they explore this mindset, the actions it inspires and how, together, they create a momentum of contagious confidence which can’t be reversed. Audience members leave with a physical manifestation of their own personalized roadmap directing them to find and own the very core of their leadership voice, and with the confidence to make that dream a reality.
The Key to Solving Big Problems: Stop Asking “How Can I Help?” Do you feel called to serve? Have what it takes to solve the big problems? Each time we hear of a terrible situation, in our homes, our communities, our places of work, or the world at large, we ask ourselves, “How Can I Help?” As a result, we get in the way of actually helping.
In this talk, which first debuted on the TEDxCambridge stage and shared online thousands of times, Laura implores audiences to stop asking this question and to ask a better one, one that brings a fundamental shift in how we go about solving our most vexing of problems.
This presentation reframes the question and gets entrepreneurs, staff, donors, volunteers, and investors out of their own way, avoiding the martyrdom, the burnout, and the malaise that sets in overtime with entrepreneurs and founders so that we can finally solve the big problems that plague us all. (Spoiler alert! It also works with our little everyday problems, too!)
Limitless Sales: Igniting Meaning to Connect and Win. Regardless of the title on your business card, you are in sales. How can everything that you do be focused on delighting your customers, closing deals, and extending and deepening relationships? It starts with the individual customer, at each interaction, through every touchpoint, at every step. And that starts with you and your customer-centric mindset. In this talk, bestselling author Laura Gassner Otting unlocks the motivation that initially brought you to your work, and creates a framework through which you can understand and become a partner to your customers, empathizing with their nagging anxieties and empowering their big dreams, paving the way for you and your company to become their first-choice solution.
When we launched this experiment, named the Public Interested Conference, in January of 2012, and needed a keynote speaker. We could not have identified anyone better than Laura Gassner Otting. Laura was both substantive and spellbinding and received rave reviews from students and alumni alike. Thanks in no small part to her involvement, this conference has grown to include over 200 alumni and 300 students each year. Laura's compelling remarks helped to build the popularity of this annual event. I highly recommend her.
Want a no nonsense speaker who can both charm and change your audience? Then hire Laura. You can always count on her to deliver the hard truths of business, leadership, and success—all while keeping the audience engaged and entertained.
Laura has facilitated a session with many speakers on How to Hire a Consultant, led a session on transition planning and even worked with youth as young as high school to talk about career and philanthropic planning goals in her work with us. When she led a session for San Diego nonprofits about succession planning, people in the audience were able to hear what they needed and move forward with action items. Topics can get emotional and uncomfortable in the sector when we put our heart into changing the world, and Laura has helped manage those conversations in a way that allows leaders to feel heard and move forward.