APB is a Global Speaker, Celebrity & Entertainment Agency

Speaking to the World

Boston | Chicago | San Diego | London
Paris | Istanbul | Rotterdam | Moscow

Jessica  Lahey

Jessica Lahey

Educator & Best-Selling Author of The Gift of Failure


Teacher, New York Times best-selling author and columnist Jessica Lahey is inspiring audiences with her rallying cry to allow children to experience failure as an integral part of becoming successful, resilient and self-reliant adults. Her breakthrough manifesto, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, has become essential reading for parents, educators and coaches and declared a “must-read” by magazines as varied as Working MotherFortune and Education Week. In schools around the world, The Gift of Failure is being deployed as a community read that sparks dialog and improves cultures. As a highly sought-after speaker, Jessica addresses “overparenting” with the helpful authority of a seasoned teacher and the empathetic, often humorous, personal perspective of a mom who has truly been there. Her engaging presentations simplify complex cognitive neuroscience and pedagogy, making the case that children learn and develop best when they are given autonomy, allowed to feel competent and valued for the content of their character rather than the letters on their report card. She also provides actionable recommendations to help parents (and the educators that work with them) reframe children’s temporary setbacks as beneficial steps toward lasting, longer-term success. Read More >

Jessica has become internationally recognized as an expert and thought leader on how parenting styles affect students’ motivation, learning and resilience. As a speaker, writer for The Atlantic and The Washington Post, commentator for Vermont Public Radio and author of the popular New York Times “The Parent Teacher Conference” column that ran for three years, Jessica has covered topics ranging from education and parenting to addiction and child welfare. With each subject, she weaves in the latest research into her own vast experience as a teacher and parent. Jessica is also a member of the Amazon Studios Thought Leader Board and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ The Stinky and Dirty Show, designed to model resilience and innovative thinking for preschoolers.

She earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts and a J.D. with a concentration in juvenile and education law from the University of North Carolina School of Law. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two sons and teaches high school English and writing in Vermont, and her second book, The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence, will be released in 2020.

Passionate about providing hope for children who have been given everything yet feel adrift in their own lives, Jessica creates a true connection with her audiences. Her presentations are filled with laughter, tales from her own life, experience in the classroom and on the front lines of education research. Taking on difficult, often emotionally challenging topics with grace, sensitivity and humor, she provides an uplifting and hopeful experience that changes thinking, inspires new behaviors and forever transforms how we feel about failure. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Gift of Failure

Changing the Odds

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

3 Ways to Get Intrinsic Motivation

Learning to Let Go

Letting Your Kids Make Their Own Mistakes

Speech Topics

The Gift of Failure

Modern parenting has become defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness. We all know parents who rush to school to deliver forgotten assignments, challenge teachers on disappointing report cards, mastermind their children’s friendships or interfere on the playing field. According to teacher and bestselling author, Jessica Lahey, this “overparenting” has the potential to both ruin children’s confidence and undermine their education. By letting go and allowing children to learn how to solve problems on their own, we give them the tools to grow up to be self-reliant, confident and successful adults. That’s the Gift of Failure. Jessica reminds us that teachers don’t just teach reading, writing or arithmetic. Like coaches and others who work with children, they also teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint and foresight — important life skills that shape stronger futures. In this powerful presentation that can be tailored to parents, educators, administrators, coaches, community members and students at all grade levels, Jessica Lahey champions failure as a crucial element of long-term success. She also provides indispensable advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, competitive sports and more.