APB is a Global Speaker, Celebrity & Entertainment Agency

Speaking to the World

Boston | Chicago | San Diego | Atlanta | London

Menu
Donna  Hicks

Donna Hicks

Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Award-Winning Author & Internationally Renowned Authority on Dignity

Biography

“As you probably know, Donna is an excellent speaker, who is passionate about her work, and makes her message very relatable to everyone in the room. The feedback from the attendees has been incredible” -US Department of Agriculture

“I really can’t thank you enough for sharing your ideas with us.  The response since then has already been incredible.  I can already see that something has sparked in many people and that discussions have started.  People have told me that this was the best presentation that they have ever seen here….I think that something very special happened yesterday, and that it will lead to some cultural or organizational shift in the future.  This is all simply amazing, and people seem to be activated” -US Department of Agriculture

Harvard’s Donna Hicks is the pioneering mind behind the Dignity Model, a signature approach that she has applied to the most divisive and deep-seated conflicts around the world. Her award-winning book Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, broke new ground and established dignity as a universal, powerful and motivating force behind all human interaction. Now with her landmark book, Leading with Dignity: How to Create a Culture That Brings Out the Best in People, Dr. Hicks is empowering leaders in business, health care, government and other fields to create cultures of dignity as the key to fostering innovation, productive relationships and successful outcomes. A dynamic and thought-provoking speaker, Dr. Hicks draws upon her extensive background in international conflict resolution and experience utilizing the Dignity Model to transform work cultures in a range of businesses and organizations. Her presentations provide a thorough understanding of the role of dignity in human relationships. She also provides a playbook for creating a culture in which everyone—employees, customers, patients, clients, and others—thrives. Read More >

During more than two decades at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Dr. Hicks has focused on the world’s most extreme conflicts with extensive work on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, a ten year project on Sri Lanka, conflicts in Colombia and Northern Ireland (with Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu), and several US/Cuba dialogues. In addition, Dr. Hicks was the Deputy Director of the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (PICAR) at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and is now an Associate at the Center. Her clients include the World Bank, United Nations, US Navy and governments worldwide. Dr. Hicks is currently involved in a dignity restoration project in Syria and Libya as Vice President of Ara Pacis, an Italian organization sponsored by the Italian Foreign Ministry.

She was a consultant to the BBC, co-facilitating encounters between victims and perpetrators of the Northern Irish conflict with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The encounters were made into three television programs entitled Facing the Truth. Dr. Hicks has taught courses in conflict resolution at Harvard, Clark and Columbia Universities and conducts dignity leadership trainings and educational seminars around the world.

Dr. Hicks’ experiences resolving world conflict are now being implemented to transform workplace cultures. She connects the essential human need for dignity to the challenges facing corporations, healthcare and human services organizations—even to fostering civil dialog on college campuses. Sharing real-word case stories, her insightful, highly human and frequently brilliant presentations provide an eye-opening and instantly actionable approach that is redefining effective leadership. Backed by research and case studies, Dr. Hicks shows how a culture of dignity goes beyond making people feel valued. It also optimizes performance, unlocks potential and fosters innovation in any organization. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Meaning of Dignity

Building Trust Through Meaningful Work

Speech Topics

Dignity & Mental Health: An Essential Partnership

The consequences to the health and wellbeing of those who have had their dignity violated cannot be understated — especially when they happen early in one’s life. The imprints of indignity can last for a lifetime, manifesting as crippling anxiety, depression, and feelings of low self-esteem and unworthiness. When individuals do not have an intact sense of value and worth to challenge pervasive self-doubt, achieving psychological health is hard to imagine. And with most people unaware of the role that dignity plays in our lives and relationships, it’s difficult to see how we can flourish as human beings. In this illuminating keynote for mental health practitioners and their stakeholders, Donna Hicks examines taking a dignity-centered approach to improve mental health practices and the wellbeing of our communities.

Leading with Dignity in Times of Crisis

In times of crisis, uncertainty overwhelms our consciousness, creating fractures in the emotional infrastructure that enables us to function. Under these circumstances, leading with dignity requires those in authority to set the tone for their people and the organization. Read More >

It also requires a new set of leadership skills, including:

  • Leading through actions, not just words
  • Deescalating organization-wide anxiety
  • Giving employees a sense that they are being cared for
  • Acknowledging the suffering employees are enduring and expressing empathy
  • Communicating reflective decision-making that does not appear reactive or impulsive

Drawing on more than 20 years in crisis situations that range from war zones to international conflict negotiations, Donna Hicks walks audiences through an approach to leadership that will do more than empower you during extraordinary times. The Dignity Model will strengthen you as a leader and continue to enrich your organizational culture long after a crisis has passed. Read Less ^

Dignity Puts the Care in Healthcare

Harm to one’s dignity hurts, just like a physical wound. In fact, research shows that when people experience a violation of dignity, it follows the same neural pathway as a physical injury. Both types of injuries can be viewed in the same area of the brain. According to dignity expert Donna Hicks, caring for and attending to people’s dignity must become a healthcare imperative. This commitment must go beyond how patients and their families are treated. It requires system-wide change to ensure that all members of the healthcare community feel confident that they are valued. Drawing upon many years of experience conducting dignity workshops with healthcare organizations, Hicks addresses dignity at both the systemic and individual levels, advocating that the oath, “first, do no harm,” must apply to violations of dignity.

Bringing Dignity to Divided Times

The tone of discussion in our country is more polarized than ever before. How can we overcome barriers to foster productive dialog? A veteran of conflict resolutions involving Israelis & Palestinians, Turks and Armenians, and Catholics and Protestants reconciling after “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, Harvard’s Dr. Donna Hicks has found the key. Her internationally-acclaimed Dignity Model creates a new paradigm for constructive conversation—one that recognizes that every human being has the same basic need to be valued, appreciated, and have their own self-worth validated. In this game-changing presentation, Dr. Hicks shares the essential elements of dignity, how to honor it in others and maintain your own—even in contentious situations. By understanding the Dignity Model you will not only be able to influence more civil and productive conversations—you will learn essential skills for improving and enhancing relationships everywhere in your life.