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 of 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

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Cracking the Code on Artificial Intelligence: Revelations, Risks, and Responsibilities. In this talk leading futurist and global consumer trends expert Sheryl Connelly leads a comprehensive journey into the world of artificial intelligence and helps audiences decode AI and the possibilities it presents to their organizations and industries. She helps groups uncover the marvels that propel innovation, confront the challenges that demand our attention, and embrace the responsibilities inherent in the AI landscape. This presentation intricately weaves positive transformations, ethical considerations, and strategic insights to provide a comprehensive guide for business leaders navigating the complexities of AI adoption. Together with the audience, Sheryl decodes the nuances — balancing the allure of innovation with the practical considerations that define responsible AI leadership.

The ABCs of Generations X, Y, and Z. In this compelling look at the generational cohorts, Sheryl Connelly examines the distinct characteristics of each generation — X's resilience, Y's tech-savviness, and Z's digital nativism. Explore why business leaders should care as we Connelly breaks down the impact of generational traits on consumer behavior, workplace dynamics, and market trends. On this journey through the ABCs that hold the keys to understanding and engaging diverse generations for business success, she shares valuable insights that will empower leaders to tailor strategies, foster inclusive environments, and stay ahead in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

Disruption Is Inevitable. Is Your Business Ready? Sheryl Connelly, former Chief Futurist of Ford Motor Company, unveils a proven framework for how anyone at any level of the organization can think like a futurist. In this captivating session, Connelly will share her unparalleled expertise on how leaders and their teams can anticipate trends, identify opportunities, and navigate uncertainty as they work to position their organizations for long-term success. Groups will learn to embrace a futurist mindset — gaining insights into strategic foresight, scenario planning, and the art of connecting seemingly disparate dots to create incredible breakthroughs. Discover why business leaders, innovators, and decision-makers should adopt a futurist lens to thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.

A Master Class on Strategic Vision. This is not your regular presentation. Rather, it is transformative interactive workshop where business leaders are invited to embark on a journey of challenging orthodoxies. Using the same hands-on techniques she applied as the Chief Futurist of automotive powerhouse Ford Motor Company, Sherly Connelly helps audiences uncover the hidden potential for innovation by questioning long-standing beliefs and conventional wisdom. Participants will learn the art of disrupting traditional norms to fuel creativity and drive strategic breakthroughs. This workshop isn't just a departure from the norm — it's a critical exercise for leaders seeking to navigate today's dynamic landscape.

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