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Mike  Leonard

Mike Leonard

NBC Correspondent / Author

Mike Leonard

NBC Correspondent / Author


Mike Leonard has captivated millions of television viewers with his wry and witty feature stories on the often-overlooked aspects of everyday life for NBC’s The Today Show. Prior to beginning his full-time television career at age 30, Leonard worked a variety of jobs, from salesman to construction worker. In his 25-year career as a feature reporter for Today, he has traveled around the world in search of the offbeat. Especially focused on everyday American life, he has explored all 50 states in search of the nation’s true characters, often under humorous circumstance.

Leonard’s keen insight into human nature, his sense of humor, and his knack for storytelling earned him a unique gig on Today, where producers trust him and let him do his own assignments. Because the network trusts him, his scripts are not approved beforehand—a rarity in TV journalism. “Mike’s pieces stem from a fertile mind: he brings you stuff that nobody else can bring,” his producers have said.

In addition to his regular assignments for Today, Leonard’s stories have appeared on NBC  Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Dateline, NBC Sports, and MSNBC. He has covered political conventions, presidential inaugurations, Super Bowls, Olympics, and championship boxing matches.

In his book, The Ride of Our Lives, Leonard brings his engaging charm and keen insight to the foibles and passions of his own blessedly unique family, delivering a lifetime of laughs, lessons, and priceless memories. A clever and entertaining chronicle of his journey across the country with three generations of his family, The Ride of Our Lives is a poignant and hysterically funny reminder to us all that life’s great lessons are more often than not taught by ordinary people. The book came to life from Leonard’s original, highly rated Today series.

Says Leonard: “Very few of us in life will have the chance to be a hero in a newsworthy manner. When was the last time you dangled from a helicopter to rescue someone from a raging river? It’ll probably never happen. Everyday, however, you will have a chance to do something out of the ordinary. At the end of every day, tally the chances you had to be honest, compassionate, or brave. Win most of those little battles and you will be a hero.”

Speaker Videos

Public Intellectual, Speaker, and Journalist

Speech Topics

Blessed Imperfection – Learning Life's Greatest Lessons

In his highly entertaining keynote speech, Mike Leonard decries the tendency of many people today who want to raise perfect children. They are under the misconception that their child's "resume" has to be without flaws. That their child's future is in jeopardy because he or she received a "C" on a high school test. He notes that parents and other adults supporting children are so concerned with not allowing those children to falter-- that they never allow them to fail. These adults seldom encourage children to take any risks of failure in order to challenge themselves. Children need to know that it's ok to make mistakes. It is important that one learn about life's ups and downs during childhood because if we don't allow children to experience this in their youth, they will not know how to cope with life's obstacles and setbacks in adulthood. Through an adult's encouragement, a child will develop that all important self confidence and learn to trust their own inner voice.

Using anecdotes from his own life and the many people he has encountered in his travels, Leonard entertains and inspires us all to instill our children with the tools that will serve them well in adulthood!

Where is My Mark? Carving Out Your Own Path in life

The Great Motherload of the Middle: The incredible Everyday Life of the Everyman

Setting Sail in Life: The Beauty of Letting a Little Breath of Wind Push You Off Course