Speaker Heather McGowan

Heather McGowan

Strategic Consultant, Author, Speaker, LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Influencer on Lifelong Learning & The Future of Work

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Future-of-work strategist Heather E. McGowan helps leaders prepare their people and organizations for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Third Industrial Revolution was marked by computerization and automation of physical labor, laying the foundation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will be notable for the rapid advancement of technology tools into the domain of human knowledge work. In this world, humans must continuously learn and adapt, and with this transition comes information overload. Heather gives lucidity to this topic through her illuminating graphic frameworks and powerful metaphors, all backed by deep research. In 2017, LinkedIn ranked her as its number one global voice for education. 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. Heather’s sessions help employees and leaders alike prepare for and adapt to jobs that do not yet exist.

 McGowan’s clients range from start-ups to publicly traded Fortune 500 companies, including AMP Financial, Autodesk, Biogen, Citi, Accor Hotels, AARP, The World Bank, and BD Medical. 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. McGowan’s academic work has included roles at Rhode Island School of Design, Becker College, and Jefferson University, where she was the strategic architect of the first undergraduate college focused exclusively on innovation. Heather advises and gives keynote addresses for organizations all over the world and, with her colleagues, provides bespoke consulting to help organizations adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Her think tank is called Work to Learn because McGowan believes that in the Third Industrial Revolution, we learned (once) in order to work and now, in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we will work in order to learn (continuously). McGowan is the co-editor and author of the book Disrupt Together: How Teams Consistently Innovate and a Forbes contributor. She is working on her latest book on the future of work, The Adaptation Advantage, due out by Wiley in spring 2020.

Testimonials 9

  • “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

  • “Heather is my go-to person because 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

    NYT Columnist, Pulitzer Prize Winner Author

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

    Peter Sheahan

    Group CEO, Karrikins Group

  • “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, PhD

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

  • “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 HR 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), United States Airforce

  • “In a world where we are drowning in information, clarity is power. Many add to the noise and the fears about the future of work; but Heather has done the homework, the thinking and crafted the vision for adapting with supreme clarity. Her straight talk and clear insights will hit the top ratings at your event – guaranteed.”

    Annalie Killian

    Vice President Strategic Partnerships, sparks & honey

  • “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, Enterprise Learning, Morningstar

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