Keynote Speakers 2018

Sunday, May 6, 3:50 to 5:00 pm

Shawn Achor is one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. He will speak to all GFOA conference attendees and their guests on how to transform their lives, raise both happiness and success rates, and become a “positive genius.”

In fact, 75% of our job success is predicted not by intelligence, but by your optimism, social support network and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way. Shawn's research in the field of positive psychology has revealed how changes in our own brain due to mindset and behavior can have a ripple effect to a team, family, or an entire organization. This positive ripple effect can create a more productive, positive work culture making positive change easier.

Shawn Achor is also the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. His research on happiness made the cover of Harvard Business Review, his TED talk is one of the most popular of all time with over 14 million views, and his lecture airing on PBS has been seen by millions. He spent 12 years at Harvard, where he won over a dozen distinguished teaching awards, and taught in the most popular class at the University.

Shawn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Masters from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics.


Monday, May 7, 8:30 to 10:10 am

Coming Soon


Tuesday, May 8, 9:00 to 10:00 am

GFOA is pleased to announce New York Times foreign affairs columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner, and bestselling author Thomas L. Friedman, as the keynote speaker for Tuesday, May 8, 2018, at GFOA's Annual Conference in St. Louis

Tom Friedman, renowned for his direct reporting and sophisticated analysis of complex issues, will address GFOA delegates on the era of dizzying acceleration which we currently live highlighted by an exponential increase in computing power, an explosion of economic interdependency creating new riches (and spiraling debt), and dramatic changes to our environment. He will provide observations on how organizations and individuals can succeed by learning to be quick and innovative, fair, and adept at shutting out noise and accessing their deepest values.

He is ranked #2 on The Wall Street Journal's list of “influential business thinkers,” and is considered one of “America's Best Leaders” by US News & World Report. According to Foreign Policy magazine, “Friedman doesn't just report on events; he helps shape them.”