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Geoff Colvin
Geoff Colvin Speaks On
  • The Economy
  • Leadership & Management
  • Innovation
  • Business Trends
  • The Business Climate
  • Government Regulation
  • Global Competition
  • Secrets of High Achievers
  • Moderator/Interviewer/Emcee

“In a word: fantastic! Geoff really was perfect for this. He kept the conversation lively. Geoff really knocked it out of the ballpark.”
 
- Microsoft

“You are as good as any interviewer I’ve ever worked with. You seem to bring out the best in everyone, and you sure do with me.”
 
- Hank Paulson, Former Secretary of the Treasury & Chairman,
The Paulson Institute

“Once again your stewardship of the business sessions opened the door for a truly interactive and valuable dialogue for everyone.”
 
- John Chambers, CEO, Cisco

“Geoff was articulate and insightful, thoughtful on global and fiscal issues affecting industry and candid on impressions of leadership.”
 
- CEO, The Elliot Group


 

Why Geoff Colvin?

Premier Business Journalist:
Geoff Colvin has a knack for bringing clarity to the complex issues impacting business and the economy. Colvin’s regular column and frequent cover stories in Fortune magazine have earned him millions of loyal readers. His “On Leadership” series, which appears online on Money.CNN.com, provides a compelling look at what top leaders are doing to navigate uncertain times. And his 90-second “Inside Business” reports are heard every weekend on the CBS Radio Network. Colvin’s academic background includes a degree in economics from Harvard and an MBA from NYU.

Speaking On The Most Important Issues Impacting Business:
Colvin’s presentations are tailored to deliver relevant insights that help leaders understand what the future holds. The range of his expertise is impressive: the economic outlook, global competitiveness, government regulation, Washington policy-making, innovation, corporate governance, leadership & management, innovation, health care and more. His timely talks dissect what’s happening right now and deliver an interesting, useful and actionable experience where people walk out saying, “here’s what I’m going to do differently.”

In The Company of Top Leaders:
In his fourth decade at Fortune, Colvin has established a solid rapport with many of the world’s top leaders in business and government. He speaks regularly with the great performers about how they’re addressing the tough challenges facing business – and sees what distinguishes them from the mediocre performers. His speeches pull together these timely insights and strategies and are different every time – because the news is different and the world has changed.

Author – Talent Is Overrated and The Upside of the Downturn:
Colvin’s groundbreaking book, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, has remained a strong-seller since it was released in 2008. The message is liberating and based on scientific research: great performance doesn’t come from an inboard natural ability or hard work – it comes from a specific kind of practice that all of us can employ. It’s a fun talk and nobody leaves thinking the same way about their work or performance. Colvin’s The Upside of the Downturn is also popular and looks at how business can thrive and compete in an age of diminished expectations.

Beyond Keynotes – A Panel Moderator, Discussion Leader and Host/Emcee:
Geoff Colvin’s unique gift is his ability to moderate panels, lead onstage interviews and host/emcee. He’s played these roles for more than two decades at Fortune magazine’s most prestigious conferences worldwide. And Fortune 500 firms regularly utilize Colvin in these roles because of his ability to get the most out of the people they have assembled onstage. Colvin has interviewed scores of top leaders on stage including Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon, Tony Blair, Hank Paulson and Alan Greenspan.

 

Videos

Commentary

Colvin On The Economy

Managing & Leading

Talent is Overrated

Moderating/Hosting

Make Your Program Special

Extraordinary Panel Moderator, Discussion Leader, Emcee/Host

Geoff Colvin is master of a rare skill: he creates great conversation. He’s honed that skill for years at FORTUNE magazine’s most important senior executive conferences all over the globe. Colvin has interviewed heads of state and top leaders from business and government — he’s also moderated panels of high profile executives and officials on the most challenging and sensitive of topics. Colvin has a gift for getting the most out of participants; asking the right questions, listening intently to what’s being said on stage and responding to that — keeping the discussion relevant and the energy high. He is so skilled at this specialty that many top firms can’t imagine doing an important program without calling on his unique talents. As an attendee at a recent conference told the event organizer, “Geoff Colvin literally made this conference.”

Sample Keynotes

“Leading Ahead of What’s Next”

The whole world of business is changing in historic and profound ways – competition, technology, government’s role, and the balance of global economic power are shifting massively — and it’s happening fast! Successfully navigating the tumult is every leader’s great challenge today and Geoff Colvin helps them meet it. Colvin has a unique perspective rooted in long-standing relationships with the world’s top leaders in business and government. He knows what they’re seeing, thinking, and planning and reveals how they’re leading, making choices, and responding to today’s challenges in ways that others can learn from. Competing and winning in business today requires extraordinary leadership at every level of the organization. In a presentation that’s as relevant as the day’s headlines, Colvin explains what’s important, what isn’t, and what’s next – offering audiences specific strategies they can put to work right now to navigate the future.

“The Economic Outlook”

It’s what everybody wants to know. Today’s economic environment is more volatile and uncertain than at any time in memory: The BRICs are slowing, America’s growing, Europe’s a question mark; technology is upending whole industries; surging demographic changes are creating new challenges and opportunities; governments are playing a larger role than they have in decades. And it all changes by the day. Colvin uses his relationships with top leaders to get ahead of official statistics and explain the latest trends and what they mean. Engaging, energetic, and topical, he helps his audience put it all together to make better decisions.

“Talent is Overrated – Unexpected Truths of Great Performance”

What if everything you know about raw talent, hard work, and great performance is wrong? Scientific research on great performance shows that what most of us believe is off-base – which means we’ll never perform as well as we could. Geoff Colvin, author of the groundbreaking international bestseller Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else, explains the findings and relates them to real life in real organizations. He shows how most organizations value the wrong things – how passion, honesty, and learning are more valuable than hours, IQ, or “native ability.” In this engaging, entertaining talk, Colvin demonstrates that world-class performance doesn’t come from mysterious natural gifts but rather from highly specific behaviors that every person and organization can adopt. Those who apply these principles gain a tremendous advantage.

“The Power of One: Aligning Your Organization’s Incredible Strengths”

It’s one of the most striking trends in business today: companies feeling frustrated that the tremendous abilities inside their organizations – the knowledge, creativity, and innovation – aren’t being combined as one to deliver knockout products and services that leave competitors wondering what hit them. For most businesses it’s a huge missed opportunity. Yet a growing number of companies, as varied as Ford, Apple, Lego, Amazon, and Hershey, have cracked the code and are achieving extraordinary success as a result. Colvin explains how they do it and how your organization can too – before your competitors beat you to it.

“Becoming Radically Customer-centric: The New Opportunity”

All companies like to claim they’re customer-centric, but few truly are. Most don’t deeply understand the varied wants and needs of their different customers, or craft different customer value propositions to meet those customers’ wants and needs – nor do they know how much money they actually make (or lose) with each customer or customer segment. Such companies are guaranteed to be wasting resources and losing customers to savvier competitors. There’s no excuse for that to happen. Big Data and powerful new analytic tools are changing the game, but they’re of no use unless companies know how to use them. Colvin, co-author of the groundbreaking book on this topic, Angel Customers and Demon Customers, explains how smart companies are taking customer-centricity to undreamed-of heights – and how doing so turbocharges profits.

Geoff Colvin

Senior Editor-at-Large, Fortune Magazine and Author, Talent is Overrated

Geoff Colvin is an award-winning thinker, author, broadcaster, and speaker on today’s most significant trends in business. As Fortune‘s Senior Editor-at-Large, he has become one of America’s sharpest and most respected commentators on leadership, globalization, wealth creation, the infotech revolution, and related issues. As anchor of Wall Street Week with Fortune on PBS, he spoke each week to the largest audience reached by any business television program in America.

Colvin’s groundbreaking bestseller Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else received the Harold A. Longman Award for Best Business Book of the Year and has been published in a dozen languages. Charlie Rose says it is “spectacular” and “fascinating.” Daniel H. Pink calls it “profoundly important.” Donald Trump calls it “enlightening” and “inspiring.” Colvin’s book The Upside of the Downturn: Ten Management Strategies to Prevail in the Recession and Thrive in the Aftermath was named the best management book of the year by Strategy + Business magazine.

Directorship magazine has named Colvin one of the 100 most influential figures in corporate governance.

As a speaker, Colvin has engaged hundreds of audiences on six continents. He is also a skilled on-stage interviewer whose subjects have included Jack Welch, Henry Kissinger, Richard Branson, the Prince of Wales, Bill Gates, Alan Greenspan, Steve Case, Ted Turner, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and many others. He is the regular lead moderator of the Fortune Global Forum, and he serves as moderator for the International Business Leaders Forum in London.

Colvin is one of America’s preeminent business broadcasters. He is heard daily on the CBS Radio Network, where he has made over 10,000 broadcasts and reaches seven million listeners each week. He has appeared on Today, The O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, Squawk Box, CBS This Morning, ABC’s World News, CNN, PBS’s Nightly Business Report, and dozens of other programs.

A native of Vermillion, South Dakota, Colvin is an honors graduate of Harvard with a degree in economics and has an M.B.A. from New York University.

Colvin in Print



Articles

Welcome to the era of Lego innovation (some assembly required)

The date is a secret, but sometime soon a rocket is scheduled to lift several nearly identical satellites into low-Earth orbit. The event is remarkable, even historic, for two reasons.

Yearning for leadership

When a reformer sweeps through an institution more forcefully in just a year than any other in memory — and when that institution is some 2,000 years old and the largest organization on earth — he draws attention, admiration, and wonder.

Investor March Madness: We’re wired for blunders, but can improve odds

Time now to observe two of the most solemn anniversaries in the investor’s calendar. March 9 marks five years since the Dow plunged to its lowest point of the past 17 years, in the dismal pit of the financial crisis. March 10 is 14 years since Nasdaq levitated to its all-time high in the sparkling delirium of the Internet bubble. It seems March Madness happens on Wall Street too.

Inside the Microsoft CEO search

The software giant soon will name a new leader after a tumultuous seven months of drama. A look back at the upheaval Microsoft’s next CEO must address.

In a digital era does youth trump experience?

The most valuable trait may be absolute fearlessness in acknowledging what you and your team lack. It’s present — and rare — at every age.

A Partial List of the Organizations Geoff Colvin Has Spoken For

A.G. Edwards
American Apparel and Footwear Association
American Association of Health Plans
American Bankers Association
Accenture
American Council of Life Insurers
ADP
Association of Executive Search Consultants
Assisted Living Federation of America
Alix Partners
Allegro Development
Allied Capital
AMB Property
American Express
American Gaming Association
American Hotel and Lodging Association
American Psychological Association
American Society of Safety Engineers
Assurant
Bank of America
Behrman Capital
Blackstone Group
B. Braun Medical
Broadridge Financial Solutions
Computer Associates
Canadian Finance and Leasing Association
CB Richard Ellis
CCC Information Services
Center for Audit Quality
Central Texas Economic Conference
Charles Schwab
Cisco
Coca-Cola Mexico
Code Hennessy
Colloquy
Comerica Bank
Commonfund
Comvest
Concours Group
ConocoPhillips
Corporate Visions
Computer Sciences Corp.
CSP Information Group
Credit Union Executives Society
Development Dimensions International
Deloitte
Deutsche Bank
Direct Marketing Association
Dairy Management Inc.
Dunkin’ Brands’
E*Trade
Ecolab
Edward Jones
Edison Electric Institute
Elliot Group
Experian Simmons Consumer Research
Falconhead Capital
Financial Executives International
Federal Home Loan Bank Board
Financial & Insurance Conference Planners
Fifth Third Bank
Food Marketing Institute
General Mills
Genworth
Grant Thornton
Gulf Power
Hartford Insurance
Hewitt Associates
Hood Hargett
HSBC
Human Capital Institute
Human Resources Planning Society
Hunt Scanlon
Huron Consulting Group
Hyperion
IBM
IMS Health
International Business Leaders Forum
International Council of Shopping Centers
International Foodservice Manufacturers Association
International Franchise Association
Investcorp
ISA India
JDA Software
Johnson Controls
Kansas City Area Development Council
Key Bank
Konica Minolta
KPMG
LPL Financial
Maryland State Department of Education
McKinsey
Meridium
Merrill Lynch
Metalmark
Microsoft
Microsoft Canada
Morgan Stanley
MTB Investment Advisors
National Alcoholic Beverage Commission Association
National Multi-Housing Council
Navistar
National Business Travel Association
National Pork Producers Council
National Restaurant Association
National Retail Federation
National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp.
Nebraska Workforce Development
New York Presbyterian Hospital
North Texas Commission
Novo Nordisk
Nuveen
Northwest Mutual
Omnicom
Ontario Teachers Pension Plan
Oracle
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Pension Real Estate Association
Peopleclick Authoria
Peoplesoft
PepsiCo
Performance Fibers
Pitney Bowes
Price Waterhouse Coopers
ProChain Solutions
Progress Software
Prometric
Property Casualty Insurers Association of America
Proskauer Rose
Prudential Real Estate
PSCU Financial Services
Pulp and Paper Foundation
Pulse Network
Ray & Berndtson
Richmond Forum
SAP
Sappi Fine Paper
Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellows Program
Sports Executive Leadership Conference
Shelter for Abused Women and Children (Naples, Florida)
Society for Human Resource Management
Siemens Medical
SmartOps
SPX
SSA Global
St. Francis Health System
Staffing Industry Analysts
State Farm
SunGard
Taleo
Techpoint
Telefonica
Tenneco
Textron
Troy University
Truckload Carriers Association
United Dominion Realty Trust
University of Charleston
University of Chicago
University of Delaware
University of Tennessee
Urban Land Institute
Utah League of Cities
Verizon
Visa
Vision Council
Watson Wyatt
Wescorp
World Congress of Sport
White & Case
Workforce Alliance
World 50
Xynteo
Zurich North America

What People Have To Say About Geoff Colvin

“In a word: fantastic! Geoff really was perfect for this. He kept the conversation lively. Geoff really knocked it out of the ballpark.”
- Microsoft

“No surprise, Geoff was articulate and insightful, thoughtful on global and fiscal issues affecting industry and candid on impressions of leadership. Not to mention, a wonderful man who I will forever be indebted to.”
- CEO, The Elliot Group

“Thanks so very much for your moderating today. I felt relaxed and right at home.”
- George H.W. Bush

“Once again your stewardship of the business sessions opened the door for a truly interactive and valuable dialogue for everyone. Your depth of understanding of the challenges these companies are facing and the opportunities that lie ahead added tremendously to our conversations.”
- John Chambers, CEO, Cisco

“The consensus was: “He did a great job.” “He was dead on.” “He said what we needed to here.” “Great job.” I truly didn’t hear one bad or negative comment. He was a total “hit”. He was a total delight to work with (as were all of you). Thank you for everything.”
- Assistant to the CEO and President, Vanguard Health Systems

“Thank you very much for joining me this week at the THINK Finance: CFO CIO Leadership Exchange in New York and for contributing to our event in such a substantial manner. It was such a pleasure to see you again and share the stage with you. As with previous exchanges, you helped to draw out important insights from our speakers and deliver tremendous value to our audience. We at IBM value the perspectives you brought to our session and appreciate the time you spent with us. Thank you again for making our event a priority.”
- IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

“Geoff was wonderful and feedback was glowing from my team, leadership and personally. I loved meeting him and he was a true professional and absolutely lovely!”
- Marketing Manager, Agile-1

“Geoff turned in two outstanding performances for Commonfund. His grasp of business issues is second to none and his engaging style consistently pulls the best comments from our panelists. What more could one ask? But actually Geoff delivers more without our asking. He is one of the most genuinely respectful and caring people on the speaking circuit. And despite his vast business knowledge and superior interviewing skill, he hasn’t a trace of ego.”
- Producer, Lovett Productions

“You are as good as any interviewer I’ve ever worked with. You seem to bring out the best in everyone, and you sure do with me. I hope our paths cross again before too long.”
- Hank Paulson, Former Secretary of the Treasury & Chairman, The Paulson Institute

“Geoff was AMAZING. All the feedback that we have been receiving for the keynote and panel has been very positive.”
- Administrative Assistant, Omers Private Equity

“He was amazing! One of the best we’ve had… executives loved him as well as students, and he was so inspirational to our student group – they are a hard audience, and rallied around his message on Talent is Overrated. So true!”
-Director of Executive Learning and Marketing, Belmont University

“Evaluation comments indicate that registrants especially liked your humor, the easy-to-understand message and the way you transitioned the information theory to real world applications. You generated an overall evaluation score of 8.64. This, coupled with the numerous positive comments, means your presentation, “How the Best Companies are Winning Today and Why Talent is Overrated”, was a great SUCCESS!
-Director of Conference Programs, Industrial Asset Management Council

“I just wanted to thank you again for speaking at our dinner on Monday night. I cannot tell you how many people have commented on how nice the evening was, and especially how they enjoyed your remarks. I hope you know how much we appreciated having you with us, and the time you took to prepare your remarks for our group.”
- Kate Seward, Director of Program Management, Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe

“What a master! I was a bit worried when we got word that he wouldn’t be using any slides but everybody loved him. And for the panel, he conducted the “interviews” and wove it all together seamlessly. He had 4 people he had never met but got their best thinking and made it relate to the audience. We were all very impressed.”
- Brad Miller, Advocacy & Communications, BIFMA

Photos, Bios and More

Biography – Geoff Colvin (PDF Format) Download

Promotional Biography – Geoff Colvin (PDF Format) Download

Introduction – Geoff Colvin (PDF Format) Download

Testimonials – Geoff Colvin (PDF Format) Download

Promotional Headshot – Geoff Colvin (JPEG Format) Download

Hi Resolution Photo – Geoff Colvin (JPEG Format) Download

Book Cover – Talent is Overrated (JPEG Format) Download

Book Cover – Angel Customers & Demon Customers (JPEG Format) Download

Book Cover – The Upside of the Downturn (JPEG Format) Download