Business Leadership Today

The Top 15 Inspiring Leadership Keynote Speakers for 2024


Muriel Call, Staff Writer

With so many leadership keynote speakers to choose from, finding the perfect match for an event can feel a lot like searching for a needle in a haystack.

The task can be both exciting and daunting. Hours can melt into days as you meticulously evaluate each speaker’s level of expertise in their field and rate their ability to ignite inspiration.

But fear not—though it may seem like the options are endless, the right leadership speaker awaits, ready to transform your event into an unforgettable experience that attendees will remember for a long time.

To streamline the selection process and save you valuable time, we have conducted comprehensive research to identify the top inspiring leadership keynote speakers.

Our selection is not arbitrary; it is the result of careful consideration of various important factors. These include expertise, the actionability of content, and the speaker’s ability to inspire attendees to take meaningful action to enhance their leadership skills.

We will delve deeper into our selection process later in this article. For now, let’s dive right into the list of the top 15 inspiring leadership keynote speakers for 2024, divided into three groups of five by fee range.

For your convenience, you can also inquire about exact fees and availability with the click of a button right here in this article.

Top 5 Inspiring Leadership Keynote Speakers for 2024 With Mid-Level Fees

Here are our top five inspiring leadership keynote speakers for 2024 with mid-level fees.

1. Kate Ancketill (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Kate Ancketill is a globally recognized futurist and innovation expert with more than two decades of experience guiding clients through the ever-changing world of retail and customer experience. 

She is known for her captivating speaking style and shares insights on macro forces shaping the economy, culture, and technology. 

Kate has an impressive background that includes serving on the board of directors at the British Design Council and as a trustee of the Design Museum in London. Her work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, and The Guardian. 

As a sought-after speaker, she addresses topics such as modern retail complexity, AI’s role in transformation, and the future of customer service.

Watch Kate’s Inspiring Keynote for the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) in Lisbon

2. Matt Tenney (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Matt Tenney is known for delivering powerful, actionable ideas that help leaders improve employee engagement and performance and build workplace cultures that attract and retain top talent.

Matt is also known for delivering inspiring keynotes that begin with his journey of going from prisoner to monk, to social entrepreneur, and end with a powerful reminder to prioritize helping others.

Attendees leave his talks feeling deeply inspired, and they often comment that Matt’s keynote is the best they’ve ever heard.

Matt is the author of three leadership books, including the forthcoming, highly acclaimed book Inspire Greatness: How to Motivate Employees with a Simple, Repeatable, Scalable Process.

Matt’s clients include many Fortune 500 companies like Canon, United Airlines, and Salesforce, as well as many state and national associations, like the Credit Union National Association, the American Society for Association Executives, the Corporate Housing Providers Association, and the American Dental Association.

Demo Video for Those Planning A Leadership Meeting

Demo Video for Conference Planners

3. Dr. Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Dr. Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins is a journalist, speaker, and activist who is dedicated to eliminating racial health disparities in America. He uses data-driven strategies to improve healthcare services for racial and ethnic minorities and facilitates conversations on challenging topics to enrich organizational culture. 

Dr. Jenkins has covered major sports and entertainment events in North Carolina. He has consulted for prominent clients such as McKesson Pharmaceuticals and delivers evidence-based solutions to dismantle the effects of racism in health and healthcare decision-making. 

Dr. Jenkins’ presentations draw from real-life experiences and knowledge, emphasizing empathy and straight talk.

Watch Dr. Jenkins’ Inspiring Keynote for the Patients R Waiting 4th Annual Diversity in Medicine Conference

4. Kim Blue (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Kim Blue is a seasoned leadership speaker with a track record of success in crafting and executing organizational blueprints for top-tier companies like ESPN and Microsoft. 

Kim is the Chief People Officer at OpenExchange, Inc., a fintech company where she oversees the human resources team and aligns organizational elements with business rhythms. 

Her focus is on driving positive change that benefits companies and their communities, motivating leaders to embrace growth, change, diversity, and inclusion. She believes that inclusion allows all perspectives to thrive and is committed to empowering individuals and organizations through her one-on-one consulting and large-scale training sessions.

Watch Kim’s Inspiring “Reimaging Company Culture” Interview

5. Ryan Campbell (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Ryan Campbell is a renowned mental health and resilience keynote speaker, captivating audiences with his gripping tale of adventure and overcoming adversity. 

As a teenager, he achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the youngest solo pilot to fly around the world. Despite a tragic plane crash that left him with a paraplegic diagnosis, Ryan defied the odds, regained the ability to walk and fly, and now shares his powerful message globally. 

His focus on prioritizing joy offers accessible frameworks for improving mental health, enhancing performance, and transforming organizational culture. 

Watch Ryan’s Inspiring Keynote at the Shop Hackers Conference

Top 5 Inspiring Leadership Keynote Speakers for 2024 With Fees Over $30,000

Here are five inspiring leadership keynote speakers for 2024 with fees over $30,000

1. Simon Sinek (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Simon Sinek is an influential author and speaker in the business leadership industry. His popular books, such as Start with Why and The Infinite Game, explore complex concepts in a relatable way.

He is known for his inspiring presentations that encourage people to understand the fundamental reasons behind their actions.

Sinek has worked with top brands like Starbucks, Apple, and American Express, as well as advising senior military officials, members of the US Congress, and Olympic athletes. He founded The Optimism Company, which focuses on leadership development.

Sinek’s unconventional views on leadership have received international recognition, and he has influenced how organizations approach leadership.

Watch Simon’s inspiring TED Talk

2. Brené Brown (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Brené Brown is a well-known speaker and author who is known for her humorous and engaging presentation style. Her work emphasizes the importance of authenticity, open communication, and empathetic leadership.

Brown has published several books, including I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t), The Gifts of Imperfection, and Daring Greatly. She has also hosted podcasts and appeared in documentaries. 

Brown is a professor at the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work and a visiting professor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

Watch Brene’s Inspiring TED Talk

3. Nicole Malachowski (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Nicole Malachowski is a retired officer from the United States Air Force (USAF), who made history as the first female pilot to fly with the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, known as the Thunderbirds. 

After retiring from the military, Malachowski became an advocate for individuals suffering from tick-borne illnesses and currently serves on the Board of Directors at the LivLyme Foundation. Malachowski is currently recovering from a neurological tick-borne illness and is dedicated to raising awareness about this growing epidemic. 

Her speeches are characterized by a captivating delivery, humor, and humility. In recognition of her contributions, Malachowski was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2019.

Watch Nicole’s Inspiring Profile Video

4. Rohit Bhargava (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Rohit Bhargava, a three-time Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, is renowned for his nonobvious thinking. He’s an influential speaker on trends, innovation, and marketing, delivering keynotes worldwide.

Rohit spent 15 years leading brand strategy at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett before founding two companies.

He is the bestselling author of six books and also teaches at Georgetown University, contributes to global media, and writes a monthly column for GQ Brazil.

Watch Rohits’s inspiring talk at SXSW 2019

5. John Maxwell (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

John C. Maxwell is a well-known author, speaker, and pastor with a focus on leadership. He has authored several books, including New York Times Best Sellers. 

Maxwell is renowned for his inspirational, humorous, and thought-provoking presentation style, making him a sought-after speaker. He is considered a leading authority on leadership and has founded several organizations like The John Maxwell Company, The John Maxwell Team, and EQUIP. 

Maxwell has trained millions of leaders across 180 countries and worked with Fortune 500 companies, tech start-ups, universities, and non-profits. In addition to his books, he speaks on leadership, organizational change, teamwork, and corporate culture.

Watch John’s Inspiring Talk on “Two Kinds of People”

Top 5 Inspiring Leadership Keynote Speakers for 2024 With Fees Under $15,000

Here are our top five inspiring leadership keynote speakers for 2024 with fees under $15,000.

1. Kathleen Bartholomew (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Kathleen Bartholomew is a renowned author and speaker, known for her inspiring and thought-provoking presentations focused on building trust, teamwork, and talent in teams. 

She has authored and co-authored several books, including Speak Your Truth: Proven Strategies for Effective Nurse-Physician Communication and Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility

Her contributions to the nursing field have earned her recognition as one of the top 20 people in the U.S. who are changing the culture of healthcare. 

Her dynamic speeches and editorial contributions have made her a respected thought leader in nursing, inspiring audiences to connect values to action.

Watch Kathleen’s Inspiring TED Talk

2. Amy Dee (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Amy Dee is a renowned speaker known for her ability to captivate audiences nationwide. With a background in stand-up comedy, theatre, and an RN degree, she shares valuable insights on the brain and behavior. 

Her message transcends gender, age, and occupation, inspiring audiences to live better. Amy’s authentic spirit and down-to-earth approach have made her one of the most sought-after speakers in the United States. 

She has an impressive and diverse career background, which includes managing a non-profit, starting a successful photo calendar business, and becoming Xerox’s largest customer in Scandinavia. 

Amy’s ability to blend humor and meaningful content makes her one of the country’s best speakers.

Watch Amy’s Inspiring Demo Video

3. Todd Huston (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Todd Huston is an accomplished motivational speaker, author, and former clinical director at the Amputee Resource Center in California. 

At age 14, he lost one of his legs in a boat propeller accident. Despite this setback, he persevered and went on to achieve remarkable feats, including completing the Summit America expedition, climbing to the highest elevations of all 50 states in just 66 days, 22 hours, and 47 minutes. 

Todd’s accomplishments have been featured in prominent publications like Forbes, Sports Illustrated, and the Wall Street Journal, and he has been interviewed on major networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Inside Edition.

Watch Todd’s Inspiring TED Talk

4. Jason Young (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Jason Young is an accomplished leadership development and customer service expert. Having spent over 10 years in senior management positions at Southwest Airlines, he played a crucial role in shaping the company’s customer service and leadership culture. 

In 1998, he founded LeadSmart, Inc., a corporate training and development firm that has collaborated with several companies like Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Tyson Foods. 

Jason’s expertise has helped these organizations improve their leadership, team building, and customer service skills. He has also authored a book, Culturetopia: The Ultimate High-Performance Workplace, based on his experiences. 

His keynote presentations provide valuable insights and actionable guidance to businesses looking to improve their performance.

Watch Jason’s Inspiring Demo Video

5. Jeremy Park (Click or Tap Here To Check Fees / Availability)

Jeremy C. Park is a renowned leadership speaker, CEO of cityCURRENT, and the author of two books. He is known for connecting businesses with communities to foster collaboration and growth, and his speaking style combines inspiration with practical strategies.

He has been recognized in various publications, including Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fortune Magazine, and has received accolades such as Top 40 Under 40.

As a media producer and host, Jeremy amplifies positive stories through his weekly radio shows, ChangeMakers podcast, and television programs like The SPARK and A Conversation With. Through cityCURRENT, he collaborates with over a hundred businesses worldwide.

Watch Jeremy’s Inspiring Interview on “A Conversation With…” for WKNO

How an Inspiring Leadership Keynote Speaker Can Make Your Event a Success

When it comes to conferences, seminars, and corporate gatherings, a well-chosen keynote speaker has the power to transform an event from ordinary to extraordinary.

Let’s delve into how an inspiring leadership keynote speaker can make your event a resounding success and an experience attendees will want to repeat.

Setting the Tone

The opening moments of any event are critical. They set the tone, ignite curiosity, and establish expectations with attendees.

An inspiring leadership keynote speaker serves as the beacon, guiding attendees toward engagement and enthusiasm. Their presence commands attention, signaling that something significant is about to unfold. Anticipation builds!

Whether it’s a call to action, a vision for the future, or a challenge to overcome obstacles, the keynote speaker’s words resonate with attendees and stay with them long after the applause fades.

Igniting Passion and Purpose

Leadership is not just about titles; it’s about influence. Great keynote speakers can command a room and influence everyone in it to feel a greater sense of purpose.

A skilled keynote speaker weaves personal anecdotes, research-backed and evidence-based insights, and relatable stories into a tapestry of inspiration that can create a sense of vulnerability that deeply affects the audience.

They remind us why we do what we do—the purpose behind our endeavors. Attendees leave with renewed passion, ready to tackle challenges with vigor. When a speaker shares their journey, struggles, and triumphs, it humanizes leadership, making it accessible and aspirational.

Shifting Perspectives

Leadership is multifaceted. Sometimes we get stuck in our own paradigms and struggle to break free of them, if we can even recognize that we are stuck in the first place. An inspiring keynote speaker disrupts these mental patterns and jolts us out of our ruts. 

They challenge assumptions, question conventional wisdom, and introduce fresh perspectives. Whether it’s discussing adaptive leadership, emotional intelligence, or leading through times of change or uncertainty, their insights broaden our horizons.

Attendees leave with expanded mental frameworks, greater motivation, and a readiness to embrace change and push forward.

Practical Takeaways

It’s not just about storytelling. Attendees crave actionable strategies they can implement immediately. They want to put their inspiration to work. The best keynote speakers don’t merely inspire their audiences; they equip them with the tools and knowledge they need for action.

A leadership keynote speaker shares practical tools, frameworks, and techniques. Whether it’s effective communication, team-building, or decision-making, they distill complex concepts into bite-size, easy-to-digest pieces.

These takeaways empower attendees to apply newfound knowledge in their roles, improving productivity and effectiveness.

Networking and Community Building

Content is obviously a very important element of a keynote speaker’s speech. But events aren’t just about content; they are also about connections. An inspiring leadership keynote speaker becomes a focal point for networking for attendees and helps them forge lasting connections. 

Attendees gather around and share admiration for the speaker’s message. Conversations spark, collaborations form, and relationships deepen. We’ve all had this experience after seeing a great speaker. It’s a beautiful thing to witness the speaker’s influence reach beyond the stage and create a sudden sense of community in the room.

When this happens, attendees leave not only with knowledge but also with valuable contacts and potential collaborators who can profoundly enrich their careers.

How to Pick the Right Leadership Keynote Speaker For Your Event

Selecting the right leadership keynote speaker for your event is crucial to its overall success. In the symphony of event planning, the keynote speaker is the crescendo—the moment that resonates, lingers, and shapes the entire experience.

An inspiring leadership keynote speaker will infuse energy, purpose, and wisdom into your event and leave a lasting impression on attendees, sparking conversations, driving change, and propelling organizations forward.

The keynote speaker will be the catalyst for your event’s success. The wrong speaker can fail to connect with the audience and leave them underwhelmed and uninspired. But a well-chosen speaker can set the tone, inspire your audience, and leave a lasting impact. 

Here’s how to make the right choice:

Define Your Event Goals and Audience

This is the first and most important step in choosing an inspiring leadership speaker. Getting it right will make every other step in this process go smoothly.

Before diving into the search, clarify your event’s purpose and objectives. Are you aiming for motivation, education, or industry insights?

Consider your audience demographics, their interests, their industries, and the context of the event. An all-staff summit will require a different tone than a sales meeting or a festive company celebration.

Understand the Event Tone and Theme

The keynote speaker should align with your event’s theme. If your focus is on facts and figures, choose a speaker who can deliver data-driven insights.

If you are planning a collaboration-oriented event, opt for a speaker who fosters teamwork and engagement. You also want to ensure the speaker is well-versed in your audience’s field of work and can speak to their experiences.

Identify the Keynote Speaker’s Topic and Expertise

A few years ago, I attended an eLearning educational conference. It was the biggest conference I’d ever been to, and I was excited to listen to the keynote speaker.

The keynote speaker told us a very harrowing and deeply tragic personal story. While it was definitely a powerful story, it seemed unconnected to the topics we were there to learn about and was so upsetting to some attendees that they had to leave the room. It wasn’t the best way to start a three-day conference.

To avoid starting your event off on the wrong foot, there are some key questions to ask in the planning stages. What will the speaker discuss? Is it hard facts, inspiration, or collaboration? Will it uplift attendees and energize them? Or will it dampen their enthusiasm? 

Define the theme or topic you want the speaker to address. Look for someone who can speak confidently and engagingly on that subject. Their expertise should resonate with your event’s goals and warm the audience up for the rest of the event.

Research Potential Speakers

Never underestimate the importance of researching potential speakers. Since keynote speakers play such an important role in setting the tone of the event, you want to find out as much about them as possible before you reach out to them.

Look into their past engagements—many have demo videos available on YouTube or their websites—and consider reviews from other organizations. You want to make sure you choose someone with a strong reputation.

Consider the speaker’s availability for travel, preparation time, and speaking fee. Budget constraints can limit your options, but thorough research can help you find someone who both fits within your financial parameters and meets your event’s unique needs.

Interview Candidates

It’s a good idea to interview several speakers before making a decision so you can gauge their level of passion for your topic. This interview should provide a good preview of what to expect from the keynote speech.

You’ll want to ask about their presentation style, interactions with audiences, and ability to tailor messages. A truly great speaker will be able to adapt their content to suit the unique needs of your audience and will be able to engage and connect with them in a meaningful way.

Tailor the Offer and Finalize the Agreement

Once you’ve found the right fit, prepare an offer that outlines expectations, fees, and logistics.

This needs to be as detailed and transparent as possible, so there are no surprises at any point along the way. Ensure clear communication regarding event details, expectations, and any special requirements the speaker may have.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate if necessary before finalizing the agreement. You want a final agreement that is satisfactory to both parties.

More About Our Process of Selecting the Top 15 Inspiring Leadership Keynote Speakers for 2024

When curating a list of influential keynote speakers, precision matters. The right blend of expertise, charisma, and relevance can transform an event from mundane to memorable.

Here’s how we handpicked the top 15 inspiring leadership keynote speakers, ensuring they resonate with diverse audiences and take your event to the next level:

Speaking Fee Range: Balancing Impact and Budget

The first criterion was pragmatic yet pivotal: the speaking fee range. While we sought exceptional speakers, we also considered the financial constraints event organizers inevitably face.

Our focus remained on identifying thought leaders whose fees fall within reasonable bounds. An impactful speaker need not break the bank or put your event over budget. By balancing impact and budget, we ensured that our selections cater to a wide spectrum of events.

Diversity: Voices That Reflect the World

Diversity isn’t just a buzzword—it’s an imperative. And representation matters to attendees, who can derive deeper levels of inspiration through an increased sense of belonging and inclusion.

Our commitment was to present a mosaic of diverse perspectives. We looked beyond gender, ethnicity, and nationality. Our list includes speakers from various backgrounds—each bringing unique insights.

Whether it’s a seasoned executive, an entrepreneur, or an advocate for social change, diversity enriches the discourse and these speakers’ voices mirror the complexity of the globalized world in which we live and work.

Subject Areas: Navigating Business and Workplace Culture

Leadership isn’t monolithic; it thrives in multifaceted contexts. We meticulously examined the subject areas each speaker excels in. From organizational psychology to strategic management, our selections cover the entire spectrum of leadership-related topics.

Whether you’re seeking guidance on team dynamics or innovation, our speakers offer actionable advice and relatable wisdom. Their expertise spans industries, ensuring relevance across sectors.

Inspirational Focus: Igniting the Fire Within Your Attendees

Leadership isn’t just about strategy and metrics, it’s also about inspiration. Our chosen speakers are more than experts—they’re motivators.

They ignite the fire within attendees, urging them to transcend mediocrity, shift their perspectives, and pursue positive change. Their personal stories, failures, triumphs, and vulnerabilities resonate with others. 

Whether it’s overcoming adversity, fostering resilience, or leading with empathy and inclusion, these speakers embody inspiration, and they know how to translate this inspiration into words and actions.

Setting the Stage for Excellence

This list includes a vibrant and inspiring blend of voices that uplift, challenge, and transform.

These 15 leadership keynote speakers aren’t just names; they’re catalysts for change who will infuse your event with energy, provoke introspection, and inspire your audience to achieve greatness.

As you read their profiles, remember that each speaker possesses the potential to spark real change, one attendee at a time.

When you introduce these talented speakers to your audience, know that you’re not just hosting a speaker; you’re orchestrating an experience that attendees will take home with them. Brace yourself for inspiration, enlightenment, and a renewed commitment to leadership excellence.

Muriel Call

Muriel Call

Staff Writer / Editor

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