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David  Hardy Jr.

David Hardy Jr.

Entrepreneur, Author & Former Education Leader

David Hardy Jr.

Entrepreneur, Author & Former Education Leader


Entrepreneur, speaker, author, and former education leader David Hardy Jr. has an accomplished career in leading transformational change in organizations across multiple industries. David is nationally recognized for his work in human-centered transformation and organizational culture centered around eradicating workplace inequities. In partnership with his entrepreneurial spirit, his innovative and non-conforming approach to leadership has shifted corporate mindsets and elevated him as one of the nation's top thought leaders regarding personal and organizational improvement. As a charismatic optimist, he has captivated non-profit, corporate, and social sector audiences–large and small–across the country. His ability to present complex and controversial topics with simplicity, humor, and a high level of ease and authenticity brings his clients both closer to each other and their root purpose. David’s gift for storytelling supports connection among groups in ways very few can (especially within the current socio-political climate), and leaves audiences with renewed hope, perspective, and realistic optimism that allows them to leave his sessions with enhanced clarity, joy and tangible ways to make an immediate impact.

David gained national prominence as a game-changer in the education sector, where he led some of the most dramatic improvements in the lowest-performing school districts in the country. As a superintendent in Ohio, he spearheaded change efforts that led to the greatest achievement gains in the history of Lorain City Schools. His undeniable impact launched his career in education consulting and eventually led him to organizational consulting inside and outside the education sector. He began traveling the United States, speaking and working with leaders in education, technology, healthcare, and government agencies to support reimagining their workplace environments via courageous and liberatory leadership practices that empower people to lead with an authenticity that is informed by a deeper understanding of our humanity.

As a result of his experiences and his authentic approach to people and organizational culture, David has been approached to author his first book in the coming year. He is a sought-after keynote speaker with numerous engagement requests, including conference moderator, panel participant, and thought leader. David's most recent Keynote was held in October of 2022 at the Towards a Shared Vision Conference, where he led a discussion and workshop on improving social equity within organizations to support improved outcomes.

David began his career as a teacher, and was named Teacher of the Year by Teach for America, Miami-Dade County. He continued to grow his impact and leadership capacity at the local and state levels as a department chair, middle school principal, Chief Academic Officer, and superintendent before becoming Chief Executive Officer of Made By Change. Today, David utilizes his extensive background and wealth of experience to speak to audiences, consult with clients, and author lessons of leadership for schools, districts, and public and private business organizations around the globe with Made By Change and as the Founder of DavidHardy365, a career and executive coaching platform. As a proud graduate of Colgate University and Columbia University, a certified executive coach through the International Federation of Coaches, and a leader who continues to inspire individuals and organizations, David remains humbled by the opportunity to help others reach new heights for themselves and the people they serve.

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Speech Topics

Leading with Equity

States and Districts have written "equity" into their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and continuous improvement plans. Yet what equity looks like in schools is still a challenge we must understand more deeply if we want those plans to go into action. How we think about authentically leading, managing relationships, and building inclusive practices at the system's level must change before we can expect different outcomes for children. I have insights into what some of the most forward-thinking industries are doing and how these proven strategies are paying off for them and will also pay off for school districts.

Connected Intelligence

There is a clear difference between leaders in our country's history who have been able to reach people and those who don't. While at the same time, there are people who move up the organizational chart into leadership positions who find it more and more challenging to stay there and experience the loneliness that it brings. Why is it that some leaders can lead and have people listen and follow, while others cannot connect and are often alone? This reality has become more evident in school systems where instability is present, especially in marginalized communities. Leaders of all walks of life experience this, especially leaders who lead from a place of difference. I have insights on how to reach the people you lead from lessons learned in my leadership journey. I will also draw on some of the most influential leaders' approaches to connecting to those that they serve. You will leave with thought-provoking insights that will help you think about how you lead others and understand what people really want and need from you.

Effective Relationship Management

The current story of a leader has become way too familiar for leaders across the country, especially in urban centers - one that starts with a ton of excitement, "check the list" listening tours, predictable strategic planning, and unfortunate short tenures. In each of those situations, something is missing--relationships that are created, not forced. To develop sustainable leadership, there are things leaders can learn to do to build genuine relationships that will allow for coalition-building and community buy-in. Through this talk, leaders from all walks of life can learn what it takes to reach people, get them on their teams, and maintain paths toward success as the leader of their organizations.

The Inclusive Organization: The Power of Diversity

The Warren Buffets of the world have figured something out - the power of diversifying. In his case, Buffet has diversified his financial portfolio like none other, but for some reason, we have not taken his lesson to heart the way we should in different facets of life. As education leaders, we realize we do not have all the answers even though we often are the ones who receive all of the problems. What we must realize is that those problems can be solved with a diverse set of perspectives on the solutions. We need to ask. However, before we can make that ask, we must examine our systems - how we hire, operate, and flat-out invest in people - so that we have the diversity we need to address the needs of many more. Through this talk, we will analyze practices that have led to tremendous outcomes that started with intentional systemic practices that allow the seeds of equity to grow.

The Power of Together: Creating Equity through Assessment & Action

The world is full of well-intended people. Every day, individuals wake up to work towards outcomes for themselves or organizations, large and small. However, our individual and collective impact is thwarted by an inability to see the complexity of the human experience inside and outside of work. We walk into work with great intentions but fall short of outcomes for specific reasons that continue to polarize us at home and work. This disconnected experience has caused a rapid cycle of workplace shifts and employee discontent, making it more challenging to retain and grow talent. Through this conversation, we will investigate the root causes for this growing phenomenon and outline steps individuals and organizations can take to assess their organization's shortcomings and take action to change people's lived experiences every day.