Sheryl Connelly

Leading Futurist & Global Consumer Trends Expert, Legendary Chief Futurist at Ford Motor Company from 1996-2023
Sheryl Connelly
  • Leading global consumer trends expert
  • Named one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company magazine twice and listed among TechWeek's “Top 100 Innovators”
  • Helps business leaders to think like a futurist to effectively track, analyze, and predict how global consumer and lifestyle trends will impact organizations across industries

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When the world’s top companies want to understand what’s next for their businesses and how they can create the next big breakthrough in their industries, they turn to world-renowned futurist Sheryl Connelly. Connelly is a global trends and consumer expert whose mastery at identifying what’s coming around the corner and the potential influences on customer attitudes and behavioral patterns that directly impact business strategy is unparalleled. From 1996 to 2023, she was a cornerstone presence on Ford Motor Company’s global trends and futuring team, working her way up the ranks at the automotive juggernaut and becoming the company’s chief futurist. Connelly draws upon her business foresight expertise and experiences at Ford to help organizations in any industry identify and analyze global consumer trends in order to lay the groundwork for long-term, future-focused planning and strategy across the entire company, and anticipate the ever-evolving needs and desires of the people they serve.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Connelly leads audiences on a fascinating journey into the potential futures of their industries. She helps leaders and their teams make sense of how STEEP factors — social, technological, economic, environmental, and political trends — will affect their businesses in the short- and long-term, while providing a big picture outlook of the key trends that are reshaping the way we live. With unique perspectives designed to revolutionize approaches to long-term planning and strategy, Connelly reveals how anyone at any level of an organization can think like a futurist, and delivers the insights leaders are looking for as they look for new methods for sparking innovation in their teams and facilitating the growth of their organizations in this new age of never-ending disruption.

As Ford’s chief futurist, Connelly led a team of researchers, engineers, marketers, and anthropologists tasked with tracking trends, spotting signals of change, and identifying outliers to develop uniquely compelling insights designed to test the power innovation across the enterprise. Data-driven insights collected by Connelly and her team were pivotal to all aspects of Ford’s operations, including corporate strategy, product development, and design. Prior to joining Ford’s trends team, Connelly spent eight years in various marketing, sales, and service field positions at the company. She began her unconventional career path practicing law.

When Connelly speaks, the business world takes notice. She has twice been named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” and was listed among TechWeek’s “Top 100 Innovators.” Her thought leadership and strategic viewpoints have been featured in leading publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Financial Times, Forbes, and the BBC. She has also appeared on CBS’s “This Morning with Charlie Rose,” CNBC’s “Fast Money,” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Connelly is passionate about her work, but readily admits that the road to where she is today included a few unexpected twists and turns. She teaches design research at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, has been a guest lecturer at MIT, the University of Michigan, and Wharton School of Business, and is a former member of the Global Advisory Council on transportation for the World Economic Forum.

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Speaker Video

Sheryl Connelly: Analyzing Trends and Embracing Uncertainty

Sheryl Connelly: To Listen is to Live

Sheryl Connelly - Innovate: Uncertainty

Sheryl Connelly: The Young Rebels & Renegades

Confessions Of a Corporate Futurist: Coming Trends That Will Revolutionize Your Business. No one knows what the future holds and despite our best efforts to prepare for the unknown, the future plays out in unexpected ways. All too often, the success and failure of an organization comes down to its ability to manage uncertainty and effectively identify how external — and seemingly unrelated — trends could have significant impacts on business. In this compelling keynote talk, Sheryl Connelly reveals her secrets for how to think like a futurist, providing audiences with the expertise and strategies necessary for effectively anticipating change. From the 10 mega trends that could change the world as we know it before the year 2050 (which is a lot sooner than it seems), to perspective that will forever change approaches to long-term planning and strategy, Connelly delivers the insights necessary for organizations across industry sectors to thrive, innovate, and remain relevant in the face of disruption.

How to Apply Future Trends to Your Business Today. Sheryl Connelly offers audiences a look at the potential futures of their industries and offers tips for scenario planning at their organizations. From exploring aspects you can’t control to planning for multiple futures, she looks at how embracing the future, rather than fearing it, opens up immense opportunities for businesses to thrive.

Tracking changes across social, technological, economic, environmental, and political arenas and shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviors, she shares insights on the emerging trends that will most affect business in the years to come. Connelly begins by breaking down broad, “bird’s-eye view” trends like declining fertility rates, the global talent shortage, China and India, and the rising female frontier. She then moves to ground-level trends like ethical consumption and access versus ownership to assets. She takes these concepts and applies them to current patterns and predicted patterns in consumer behavior. Her unsurpassed grasp on the future of business proves invaluable as she helps audiences take advantage of what’s next.

Preparing for the Next Wave of Innovation. With a constant eye on the future and a keen grasp on the trends that will affect business in the coming years, futurist and global consumer trends expert Sheryl Connelly is a leading practitioner at the cutting edge of innovation. With the belief that if you are not innovating, you are falling behind, she shares insights on the disruptive ideas, technology, and trends that will disrupt businesses in the next five, ten, and twenty years and offers tips for how to match the rapid pace of change we see in the marketplace. Incorporating her immense expertise on future trends and scenario planning, she helps organizations understand and prepare for the next wave of innovation.

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