Keynote Speakers 2018

Shawn Achor Delivers First Keynote of GFOA's 112th Annual Conference

Shawn Achor, one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success, spoke to 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.


Betsy Myers Speaks to Delegates Monday

Betsy Myers served as the keynote speaker on Monday, May 7, 2018, at the GFOA annual conference in St. Louis. 

Betsy discussed “true” leadership with GFOA conference delegates and provide practical strategies to help attendees to discover who they really are, embrace their personal story, and build better relationships with those around them.

Betsy is a leadership expert, speaker, consultant, and author of Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You. She currently works with organizations of all sizes to motivate and develop leaders and has worked to develop a repository of best practices focused on creating a modern workforce, improving office culture and team dynamics, and helping Corporate America recruit and retain women leaders. 

In the past, Betsy has served as the Founding Director of the Center for Women & Business at Bentley University, the Executive Director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and as a senior official in the Clinton Administration where she was the President’s senior adviser on women’s issues. She also served as first Director of the White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach and the Associate Deputy Administrator for Entrepreneurial Development in the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Currently, Betsy serves on the Council of National Advisors of Springboard Enterprises, a national not-for-profit organization that educates, coaches and supports high growth women-led businesses that are seeking venture capital for expansion.


Thomas Friedman Delivers Keynote Address on Tuesday

New York Times foreign affairs columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner, and bestselling author Thomas L. Friedman, served 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, addressed 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.”