Sydney Savion

Former Global Learning Futurist at Google, Transformational Leadership Expert
sydney savion smiling, wearing pink blazer and necklace, standing against beige background
  • Purpose-driven corporate (Google, Air New Zealand, Dell, etc.) and military leader who advises organizations on building future-ready learning cultures where people want to work
  • Foresees shifts in the human and digital elements of work and helps leaders understand how they can adapt their strategies in support of their employees
  • Draws from her experiences reshaping leadership at global companies to share proven strategies for influencing, empowering, and uplifting the people who power your organization

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As the world and the workplace continue to evolve at a rapid pace, Dr. Sydney Savion has emerged as a purpose-driven leader whose avant-garde approach to influencing, inspiring, and getting the best out of her teams is being emulated by C-level executives at the world’s top companies. Throughout her distinguished career, in which she served in high-ranking positions in the U.S. Air Force as well as at global companies, including Google, Savion has been the architect of cultures where leaders put people over profit and think beyond the bottom line to create spaces where people feel compelled to contribute and are connected by a common mission, vision, and purpose. She is a trusted advisor who foresees holistic shifts in the workplace experience, and has a longstanding reputation for adapting global organizations to ensure future readiness and data-driven solutions that yield desirable outcomes. From navigating the human element of work to examining the impact of AI on organizations, Savion helps leaders understand the fast-changing nature of business today requires proactive and transformative leadership capable of driving an adaptive competitive advantage through employee-centered value creation.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Savion is known for her thought-provoking talks that center on how leadership will ultimately define an organization’s destiny. As she addresses themes such as leading through change and using your power to influence and uplift the people around you, Savion introduces inventive approaches for becoming a leader that people choose to follow on the path to innovation and growth. What makes the stories from her own career so impactful are the tangible lessons she weaves in on how to lead cultures that are rooted in trust, authenticity, and connection, and where employees are perpetually curious, explore new avenues for success, and work together in support of the organization — and one another. Savion helps leaders look out across the horizon and around the corners to transcend the way things have always been done, while building future legacy, capability, and community.

During her tenure as Google’s global learning futurist, Savion spearheaded initiatives aimed at enhancing strategic design, execution, and ongoing management for all enterprise-wide learning and development for Googlers, managers, and leaders. In her prior executive experiences, she led similar broad transformation, optimization, and sustainability initiatives at Cityblock Health (a high-growth Google venture), Air New Zealand, Dell Technologies, and Booz Allen Hamilton — working across industry sectors ranging from consulting and computing to aerospace and emerging markets. Prior to these roles, Savion spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, where her last assignment was at the Joint Forces Command in the Training, Analysis, and Simulation Center. During this time, she leveraged advanced technologies to design, implement, and oversee leadership development programs for more than 250,000 U.S. military officers and the joint forces. Savion is an advisory board member for Au Consulting and Cognota, as well as conceived and led the launch of the Project Mana venture with those holding a strong belief and commitment to designing the future so we can all live happier lives.

Throughout her career, Savion has been instrumental in shaping iconic global workforces and workplaces, and is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades in recognition of her impact. In 2020, she was awarded Chief Learning Officer of the Year by Human Capital Media in recognition of her individual achievements across the industry worldwide. She is also one of 55 women featured in the book Women Community Leaders and Their Impact as Global Changemakers. In addition to earning a research-based Doctor of Education in Human and Organizational Learning from George Washington University, Savion is a noted author on learning process, culture, and innovation and has given voice to her work at Harvard and Columbia Universities. In 2023, she was named Vanderbilt's inaugural vice chancellor for people, culture, and belonging. 

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What does AI have to do with Emotional Intelligence?

Sydney Savion - Personal & Organizational Resilience for High Performance

Opportunities for Leading in the Future

Influencing and Inspiring as a Transformational Leader. Having served in high-level leadership positions in the military and at global enterprises, including Google, Dell, and Booz Allen Hamilton, Dr. Sydney Savion brings forward-thinking and collaborative approaches for leadership to the forefront. Introducing a brand of transformative leadership that builds upon purpose-driven military principles from her 20 years of service, Savion outlines the steps anyone can apply to be the type of leader who influences people to show up as their best selves each day, and inspires them to achieve above and beyond what they think is possible.

Her stories about the people and organizations who she has impacted along her career path are equal parts engaging and entertaining, and incorporate meaningful lessons on important leadership themes, including:

  • Leading through change
  • Resilience
  • Effective communication
  • Fostering trust, authenticity; and connection
  • Building psychologically safe environments where everyone is empowered to contribute
  • Motivating teams that are equipped to perform at an elite level

Regardless of industry, background, or level of leadership, Savion emphasizes that the key to transformative leadership is the ability to be what you cannot see, and use what you learn about your people to uplift them on the individual and collective levels. She helps audience members recognize their power as leaders and opens their eyes to the fact that they are a beacon of hope and influence whose actions shape the experience of those around them — hopefully for the better. Upon this realization, she helps them begin to lay out a legacy that will move people to follow them, and provide a blueprint for others to create their own impact.  

Does AI Wear Prada? Optimizing AI in Support of EI. Artificial intelligence has become a focal point in business conversations today, with leaders examining the ways in which AI’s capabilities will influence learning, development, innovation, and performance within their organizations. As the former global learning futurist at Google, who has held similar roles at some of the world’s top companies and in the U.S. military, Dr. Sydney Savion is widely regarded for her ability to spot technological shifts long before they disrupt the workplace and society, as well as the manner in which she collaborates with leaders to prepare them for what’s to come before it comes. As she explores how leaders should be thinking about AI and how it can be leveraged in support of their people and organizations, she stresses that in order to make the most of AI, leaders will have to optimize for EI (emotional intelligence). In this talk, she outlines proven strategies for how to combine the human elements of performance — such as curiosity, compassion, and creativity ­— with the opportunities AI presents in order to enhance our capabilities, and develop solutions to business and societal challenges.

Leaving a Legacy of Good. Only when you reach self-transcendence can you begin to consider your lasting impact on the people and the world around you. In this reflective keynote, Dr. Sydney Savion takes audiences on a transformative, inward-looking journey in which each person will feel compelled to look back at the arc of their own life, consider how they want to be remembered, and assess the steps they can begin to take to shape their legacies from here on out. As Savion shares, the concept of legacy is about the enduring mark we leave on the world through the action, values, and contributions. She offers valuable wisdom for how leader can align their purpose to their desired legacy, and orient their actions in support of their purpose — ensuring that their actions today resonate positively for generations to come.

Solving Problems Upstream: Navigating Challenges Before They Cascade. How can leaders collaborate with their teams to solve problems at the source and prevent them from flowing downstream? In this thought-provoking keynote, Dr. Sydney Savion leads a deep dive into the art of proactive problem-solving, drawing from her extensive experiences as a military and corporate leader to arm groups with practical strategies and action steps for navigating challenges in today’s complex business environment. Savion offers tried-and-true techniques for identifying issues at the source and looking beyond surface-level symptoms to tackle challenges in the early stages and develop more forward-thinking approaches to developing solutions before the people downstream are ever aware that there was a problem to begin with.   

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