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Strategist in Future Work

Heather McGowan

travels from USA

Gaining valuable insight into coping with future work, Heather discusses strategies that help businesses cope with the changing technology .

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5 out of 5 stars

I invited Heather to speak at a National Conference for Achieving the Dream, speaking to a crowd of 3000 people. She was amazing! Her ability to connect with the audience and educate at the same time was masterful. She was inspiring and thought provoking and even sprinkled in a little humor. The audience loved her, which was evidenced by the long line of attendees wanting to speak with her after the event! Heather is a great speaker!

Bonita Brown, Chief Strategy Officer, Northern Kentucky University See all references

Reasons to book Heather McGowan

  • She has provided keynote addresses for audiences from start-ups to government organizations to universities to publicly traded Fortune 500 companies, including Financial Times, Siemens, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Kaiser Permanente, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, The US Army, Accor Hotels, Zendesk, Tableau, Fidelity, and The World Bank.
  • McGowan is a sense maker, a dot connector, a deep thinker, and a pattern matcher who sees things that others miss.
  • Her academic work has included roles at Rhode Island School of Design, and Jefferson University, where she was the strategic architect of the first undergraduate college focused exclusively on innovation.
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About Heather

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Request fees and availability
Heather McGowan helps leaders prepare their people and organizations for the Post Pandemic world of work. The last few years have forever changed where we work, who works, how we work and measure work, what we do for work and, most importantly, why we work. Heather gives people the courage and insight that illuminates their path forward. She’s transforming mindsets and entire organizations around the globe with her message about how the next phase of work will focus on continuous learning, rather than simply learning once in order to work.

Reasons to book Heather McGowan

  • She has provided keynote addresses for audiences from start-ups to government organizations to universities to publicly traded Fortune 500 companies, including Financial Times, Siemens, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Kaiser Permanente, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, The US Army, Accor Hotels, Zendesk, Tableau, Fidelity, and The World Bank.
  • McGowan is a sense maker, a dot connector, a deep thinker, and a pattern matcher who sees things that others miss.
  • Her academic work has included roles at Rhode Island School of Design, and Jefferson University, where she was the strategic architect of the first undergraduate college focused exclusively on innovation.

Pulitzer Prize–winning NYT columnist Thomas Friedman frequently quotes Heather in his books and columns and describes her as “the oasis” when it comes to insights into the future of work. In 2020 Heather was recognized as one of the top 50 female futurists in the world by Forbes. Heather’s sessions help employees and leaders alike prepare for and adapt to jobs that do not yet exist.

Heather addresses audiences in person from small summits for C suite executives to large events in the tens of thousands. Her virtual talks have reached hundreds of thousands. Often quoted in the media, notably in the New York Times, McGowan serves on the advisory board for Sparks & Honey, a New York–based culture-focused agency looking to the future for brands.

In 2019 Heather was appointed as a faculty member of the Swinburne University Centre For the New Workforce in Melbourne, Australia. In 2022, McGowan was awarded an honorary doctorate from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design in addition to earning her MBA from Babson College and her BFA in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design. McGowan is the co-editor and author of the book Disrupt Together: How Teams Consistently Innovate and a Forbes contributor.

McGowan’s latest book on the future of work, published in 2020: The Adaptation Advantage: Let Go, Learn Fast, and Thrive in the Future of Work, reached number three in business management books on Amazon and was recently named one of the best business books of 2021 by Soundview. McGowan’s next book on post pandemic work is due out by Wiley in 2023.

 

See keynotes with Heather McGowan
Keynote by Heather McGowan

Generation Resignation; Leading an Empowered Workforce

Keynote by Heather McGowan

The Human Capital Era

For much of the history of work, talent was defined by the things you could make. In this new era, talent will be defined by what you can make out of your people.

Research shows that human capital comprises 90% of all enterprise value in the S&P 500. As we hand off more and more mentally routine and predictable tasks to technology, human talent and ingenuity will be the true competitive advantage.

We’ve entered the era of human capital, an era in which humans are seen as assets to develop rather than costs to contain. In this talk, discover how to navigate and master this challenging yet thrilling new world.

Keynote by Heather McGowan

Adaptation Advantage: Leading in a Post-Pandemic World

When Heather E McGowan and Chris Shipley wrote The Adaptation Advantage (April 2020, Wiley) even they didn’t realize just how quickly their predictions would come to pass. Then the coronavirus global pandemic required an immediate and dramatic shift in work, learning, and leading, and predictions they made for the next three to five years, occurred over the following three to five weeks.

Overnight, companies remapped supply chains, pivoted product lines, and transformed to distributed work-from-home organizations. Entire university and school systems adopted virtual delivery exclusively, something many said they would never do. This new normal requires a laser focus on culture, purpose, trust, and psychological safety as we embark on the largest social experiment in human history.

The virus has accelerated our future of work, expedited our human transformation to digital creation, and placed an even greater burden on leaders to inspire and motivate human potential. Even as the pandemic subsides, our new ways of working will remain. With Heather’s strategies in place, those transformations can be for the better.

Keynote by Heather McGowan

Learning: The Real Future of Work

We live in times of accelerated change driven by exponentially growing technologies paired with a hyperconnected global market economy. As a result, work tasks as we knew them in the past have become fragmented, automated, and augmented by technology. This reshaping of tasks requires that we rethink our systems of education and workforce development, our organization of work and workers, our process of talent attraction and retention (including learning and development), and even ourselves.

In the past, we learned to work. Tomorrow, we’ll work to learn. Discover how with Heather in this stunning and actionable keynote message.

Keynote by Heather McGowan

Purpose and Play: The Future of Identity

We ask children and young people “What do you want to be when you grow up?”; we ask university students “What is your major or area of study?”; and we ask each other “What do you do for a living?”

These questions refer to our work or aspirations at a moment in time. But that moment is becoming shorter than ever. According to research, as change rates accelerate— driven by technology and globalization— many of us will work numerous jobs from many different industries in our lifetime.

So why do we keep limiting our definition of career to one “occupational self?”

In order to create a society and workforce that can learn and adapt to leverage rising technological capabilities, we must free ourselves from a definition derived from one occupational self and instead define ourselves through purpose and a desire to learn and create through play.

In this keynote, discover how to make purpose, passion, and curiosity the drivers for lifelong learning and adaptation that will make us all more prepared for the future of work— and the world.

Keynote by Heather McGowan

Leadership, Diversity, and the Identity Crisis

The only thing evolving more quickly than technology is societal and cultural change. Demographics and social and cultural norms are rapidly shifting, while social unrest has moved long-overdue efforts on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to the forefront.

Leadership through this accelerated evolution requires acknowledging and empathizing with individuals navigating these shifts in order to help them build the resilient and adaptive skills necessary to learn and thrive.

Keynote by Heather McGowan

Th Robot-Proof Myth: The Future of Work is Human

Today and in the future of work, the most in-demand skill will never be the one you have now— it’s the one you can develop tomorrow.

Upwork, a leading online platform for freelance work with 12 million registered freelancers and 5 million registered clients, recently released its list of the twenty fastest growing skills. 75% of those skills were new to the index in the 4th quarter of the previous year.

That’s right— 3 out of 4 of the fastest growing skills didn’t exist in the registry just one year before.

What does all this mean? That the future of work is human. Once we escape our outdated seeking of single-disciplinary skill sets in fear of being replaced by technology, we can focus on developing our uniquely human skills to unleash the potential of humanity.

Keynote by Heather McGowan

The Future Company: Culture and Capacity

Brands, products, & services. Time and productivity. These are the benchmarks of the past.

But in this hyperconnected and constantly evolving world, we can no longer focus on the outputs. It’s time for us to focus on the inputs: culture and capacity. Culture is the internal operating systems of how the organization creates value. Brand is the external expression of the culture. Brand is how your customers experience your culture. Capacity is the organization’s ability to respond to challenges.

Discover why the companies that endure and thrive will be those that can clearly articulate and nurture their culture, while continuously expanding their capacity and being mindful of the wellbeing of their people.

Watch Heather McGowan in action!

Heather E McGowan 2021 Showreel

Watch Heather McGowan in action!

Heather E McGowan Future of Work Showreel

See keynotes with Heather McGowan

References

Heather is my go-to -person because there are a lot of mirages out there when it comes to the Future of Work and she is the oasis. She is the real deal. Her ability to convey information in both words and visuals together are really powerful.

Thomas L Friedman

Columnist, New York Times + Pulitzer Prize Winner Author

I knew within the first 60 seconds of speaking to Heather that she was the right fit for our executive leadership meeting which was centered around the future of work. Heather shared rich data and personal insights that most of our leaders had never seen before and brought it to life in a very real, digestible and credible way. Her presentation really opened our eyes and gave us a glimpse into what's to come. She was, simply put, awe inspiring.

Denise Williams

Chief People Officer, FIS Global

Heather is an exceptional thought leader. Her ability to anticipate emerging trends, and synthesize information about the future of business, is truly remarkable. I've had the great pleasure of working with Heather over many years, and her insights have helped our business and our clients prepare for the future.

Rueben Young

Head of Amplify Thought Leadership And Innovation, AMP

Heather has a mind who can hold so much complexity combined with the rare gift of making these complex and highly emotive ideas so clear and accessible through her visualizations, models and straight talk -no academic or corporate jargon ... just relatable facts, insights, and powerful stories and metaphors.

Annalie Killian

Vice President of Partnerships, Sparks + Honey

Engaging content. Articulate and personable. Well researched. Interactive and fun! Heather brought all of this and more. We needed a speaker who could address the future work, and Heather’s message about adaptation touched on a number of topics relevant to our workforce, such as learning, distributed work, collaboration and leadership. In this “new normal” of work from home and virtual meetings, Heather adapted her content to our needs in an interactive and meaningful way.

Executive

Okta.com

As a university president, entrepreneur, and board member, I have never ever seen anyone better than Heather at demystifying complex information to provide a path to action.

Stephen Spinelli Jr.

Babson College President + Co-Founder, Jiffy Lube + Board Chair, Planet Fitness

In the war for talent, organizations must be able to offer employees a path that goes beyond typical career progression. Heather presents a compelling and thought provoking vision that focuses on lifelong learning and adaptability for employees, which the pace of technological change essentially requires. Her analysis is comprehensive, yet easily understood. She distills it into actionable steps to help organizations move towards creating an environment in which employees and organizations mutually benefit and are well positioned for an uncertain future.

Charles Moore

Managing Director, Alvarez and Marsal

We could not have been more pleased with Heather’s presentation at our virtual user conference. As it was our first time hosting the event virtually, we wanted to ensure that our Kickoff event was engaging and insightful—and Heather delivered! Attendees raved about her, and we would not hesitate to work with her again.

Katharine Mobley

CMO, First Advantage

Heather has an uncanny ability to help an audience visualize the complete interdependencies influencing the way we learn, work and live so we can better prepare for the coming technology-driven shifts. As a summit curator, I found her to be a real pleasure to work with and highly regarded among her peers and those involved in shaping the future of work.

Julia Douthart

CEO, Work ReBooted Conference

In a world where speakers claim to be experts, Heather is a genuine expert who can speak

Peter Sheahan

CEO, Karrikins Group

Heather is in a category of her own—a singularly gifted strategist who sees the future and communicates it with clarity.

Randy Swearer

Vice President, Autodesk

Heather provided the spark, the insights, and the energy to move our HR team forward. Her talk had something for everyone on our team, from our centers of excellence to our HR partners, from our leaders to our operations team, from our learning team to our compensation group. In particular, her discussion of the future of work and the importance of learning at the heart of organizational life really hit home for all of us.

Robin Pelzman

Executive Human Resource Leader, Biogen

I was fortunate to hear Heather speak at the Innovation in the "Age of Accelerations" Forum. She is an amazing communicator and a driving force, inspiring new relevant perspectives. Her presentation is a "must see" by leaders across government, academia, and industry who should be preparing our society for the future of work and the future of learning...the future of work is learning!

James Johnson

Executive Director Air Force Human Resilience (Major General), USAF

Heather 'simplifies the complex' with stories and visuals delivered in an authentic and engaging manner that leave people feeling empowered to become adaptable, lifelong learners.

Heather Dawson

Global Program Leader, Morningstar

Heather absolutely knocked it out of the park.

Wendy Dietzler

Events & Production Manager, ASQ

Heather has a unique ability to communicate complex information that is accessible to the public AND credible to the expert. She gave a superb online talk at the record breaking 'Brainfood Marathon 2020', which was not only the most watched of the 80+ sessions across the 24 hours, but 'most requested' by those missed it. If you are looking for an expert analyst on the future of work who can speak to the widest possible audience, look no further than Heather McGowan.

Founder & CEO

Workshape.io
Non-binding request for Heather McGowan

Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

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Heather McGowan
Heather McGowan

5 out of 5 stars

I invited Heather to speak at a National Conference for Achieving the Dream, speaking to a crowd of 3000 people. She was amazing! Her ability to connect with the audience and educate at the same time was masterful. She was inspiring and thought provoking and even sprinkled in a little humor. The audience loved her, which was evidenced by the long line of attendees wanting to speak with her after the event! Heather is a great speaker!

Bonita Brown, Chief Strategy Officer, Northern Kentucky University See all references

Keynote topics with Heather McGowan