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Geoff Colvin

Senior Editor-at-Large, Fortune Magazine & Author/Commentator on Business & Economic Issues
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Biography

Geoff Colvin is an award-winning thinker, author, broadcaster, and speaker on the most significant trends and issues impacting business and the economy. As Fortune magazine’s Senior Editor-at-Large, Geoff has an insider’s perspective fueled by longstanding 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.

In his fourth decade at Fortune, Geoff Colvin’s breadth of experience is impressive. He is one of journalism’s sharpest and most respected commentators on leadership, management, globalization, regulation, corporate governance, competition, the economy, the infotech revolution, human performance and related issues. Geoff’s regular column and frequent cover stories in Fortune have earned him millions of loyal readers. His new newsletter—Power Sheet, available weekdays, free through Fortune.com—provides a detailed look at how individual leaders are shaping today’s tumultuous world.

Geoff is also one of America's preeminent business broadcasters. He is heard every day 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 Tonight, CNN, PBS's Nightly Business Report, and dozens of other programs. He served as anchor of Wall $treet Week with Fortune on PBS, he spoke each week to the largest audience reached by any business television program in America.

As a keynote speaker, Geoff has a knack for bringing clarity to the most important and complex issues impacting business and the economy. He has spoken for scores of corporate and association conferences on six continents including dozens of high level Fortune conferences. His speeches pull together timely insights and strategies and are tailored to deliver relevant insights that help leaders understand what the future holds.

In addition to speaking Geoff is also a brilliant panel moderator, emcee and interviewer whose subjects have included Jack Welch, Henry Kissinger, Richard Branson, the Prince of Wales, Bill Gates, Alan Greenspan, Steve Case, Tony Blair, Michael Dell, Ted Turner, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and many others.

Geoff is a respected author whose groundbreaking international bestseller, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, has been published in a dozen languages. The Upside of the Downturn: Management Strategies for Difficult Times was named “Best Management Book of the Year” by Strategy + Business magazine. Geoff’s latest book (released August, 2015) is called Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will.

It’s based on the idea in his wildly popular article in the 2014 Fortune 500 issue – “In The Future Will There Be Any Work Left for People to Do?” It looks at the trend of technology displacing more jobs than it creates and the ways people will create value for their organizations and their careers in the changing economy. The ideas have profound implications.

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

Topics

Leading Ahead of What's Next: The New Rules of Business

The business environment 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. For this talk Geoff draws on his 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. In a presentation that’s as relevant as the day’s headlines, Geoff 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.

Political Chaos & Your Business

The main theme of the Trump administration is unpredictability. President Trump has said that his unpredictability is a deliberate strategy. That makes the strategic planning a huge challenge for business leaders everywhere. Geoff Colvin helps unwind the impact of Washington in terms you won’t hear elsewhere. Economic growth, consumer demand, interest rates, taxes, employment costs – cable news doesn’t spend much time on those issues, but all of them are set to change, transforming the business environment in important ways. That’s why business people must keep the most significant issues in mind, even when the daily Washington chatter wanders away from them.

In the era of the gig economy, the Uberization of everything, advancing technology, and a large-scale global labor market, Washington is still in the 20th century on business policy. Business people need to remember that three giant, long-term issues – entitlement reform, comprehensive tax reform, and immigration reform – are the real keys to how Washington can turbocharge or hinder the overall U.S. economy in the years ahead. All those issues are in play, with chances of significant change greater than they’ve been in a generation. But what will actually happen?

Geoff explains why partisanship won’t decrease, so one thing most business people want from government – policy stability – will remain a dream. Yet we can’t afford to be paralyzed, and Geoff shows how the most successful business people are competing and winning in this uncertain environment. Calling on his deep relationships in the worlds of Washington and corporate America, Geoff brings a message of optimism that too often gets lost in the political rough and tumble.

The Economic Outlook

It’s what everyone wants to know: where’s the economy going? 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 ever. And it all changes by the day. Geoff offers fresh economic insights that get ahead of official statistics to uncover what’s trending. Engaging, energetic, and topical, Geoff helps his audience anticipate the future more clearly.

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 most of us will 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 – that passion, honesty, and learning are more valuable than hours, IQ, or “native ability.” Geoff demonstrates that world-class performance comes from behaviors that every person and organization can adopt. Those who apply these principles gain a tremendous advantage.

Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know that Brilliant Machines Never Will

Technology is now capable of doing jobs we once thought only humans could perform. In a world of robots and smart machines, what is the future of work? Where will humans add value? How will companies compete? The answer lies in people acting more like . . . people. Employers say the skills they’ll need most in the future are those that focus on social interaction: empathy above all, collaboration, storytelling, social sensitivity, brainstorming, creating and innovating with others, and leading. The transition to these newly valuable skills is happening faster than organizations and most psyches can keep up with. Geoff reveals what top organizations are doing to meet the challenge. The good news is that we humans already have what it takes – it’s up to us to make of it what we will.

Panel Moderator, Discussion Leader, Emcee/Host

Geoff Colvin’s unique gift is his ability to brilliantly 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. Top corporations and associations regularly utilize Geoff because he 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 that many top firms can’t imagine doing an important program without him. As an attendee at a recent conference told the event organizer, “Geoff Colvin literally made this conference.”

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