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Susan L. Taylor

Susan L. Taylor

Founder & CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement & Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Essence Magazine


Susan L. Taylor, best-selling author of four books, and editor of eight others, is a fourth-generation entrepreneur, who grew up in Harlem working in her father’s clothing store. At 24, she founded her own cosmetics company, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence, the publication she would go on to shape into a world-renown brand with more than 8 million readers. It was that enterprising spirit wedded to a deep love for her community that led to the founding of the National CARES Mentoring Movement in 2006 as Essence CARES. With local affiliates in 58 cities, National CARES has recruited, trained and deployed more than 160,000 mentors to schools and youth-support and mentoring organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, as well as to its own culturally rooted, academic- and social-transformational initiatives. A community-mobilization movement, National CARES is the only organization in the nation dedicated to providing mentoring, healing and wellness services, on a national scale, to advance Black children living in poverty. Read More >

Taylor is a recipient of more than a dozen honorary doctorates and hundreds of awards, including the Phoenix Award and the Henry Johnson Fisher Award, the highest honors given by the Congressional Black Caucus and the magazine-publishing industry, respectively. A lifelong activist who has worked to ensure people across the globe, from South Africa to those who struggled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Susan Taylor says that securing our vulnerable children is her highest calling and the big business of our nation and Black America today. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Creative Leadership

Speech Topics

The Courage to Change in a Shifting World Order

Disorder and disruption are impacting us personally, professionally, and politically as a malignant misalignment of values pulls us further apart and into troubled, uncharted waters. We must demand radical change from our leaders. If we want peace, prosperity, and a less stress-filled life for ourselves, our families, and our communities, we must be flexible and adapt to change. Change is inevitable. Change for the better is possible, but only if it takes root in each of us first. We have to be and bring the change we want to see. Read More >

We are both human and divine in that we have the power to create the world we want to inhabit. In this presentation, speaker Susan L. Taylor urges audiences to be willing to vacate entrenched positions and outmoded habits that don't serve us well in order to build a new framework of high expectations and bring forth a new world guided by creative cooperation, compassion, and justice. This can only happen if we truly understand that we are all in this together. Read Less ^

A Better Way of Living: Creating Balance, Meaning & Joy

“Ultimately, the only question that matters,” says Susan Taylor, “is ‘am I happy?’” This keynote presentation helps to make the “how” of happiness and bringing balance to life simple and clear. Offering encouragement, valuable insights, and effective tools, Taylor leads attendees on a wonderful journey toward removing the walls of doubt and fear that keep many from living their best life possible. Read More >

In this inspiring keynote speech, Taylor addresses the central issues—our beliefs, behaviors, relationships, and career challenges—that are critically important to maintaining equilibrium in today’s fast-paced, hectic world. This keynote speech demonstrates how choosing to put our personal values, needs, and goals at the center of our lives creates an immediate shift toward greater health, happiness, and productivity.

In the engaging style and heartfelt personal approach that have made Taylor one of America’s leading speakers, “A Better Way of Living” offers audiences the most precious gift in the world: a real and genuine way to believe in their own value and worth. Read Less ^

Bold, Visionary Leadership: From the Inside Out

This keynote presentation offers the tools for crafting a vision for one’s life and leadership style that is energizing and inspiring. Speaker Susan L. Taylor demonstrates how passionate and effective leadership begins from within, with self-awareness. She shows how identifying and articulating one’s personal path in life are critical steps in successfully leading others and being authentically respectful of their feelings, values, and differences. Read More >

Taylor draws upon her three decades of visionary leadership to help attendees take stock of their talents and purpose. She points out that having a willingness to grow and change is what will ultimately help us reach our goals. Taylor demonstrates how even the toughest business and management issues can be tackled and solved with enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and patience.

This keynote on leading from within will inspire attendees to be flexible and open to new learning and to not give way to anxiety in the face of challenges and change. Your audience will be inspired to embrace change in their lives and work environments, and learn ways of managing change effectively. She also addresses the fear and uncertainty change can trigger and offers strategies that build faith and confidence in managing transitions. Read Less ^

A Revolution of Values

We are living in an anxiety-ridden, stress-filled world. Our social, personal, and political pitfalls indicate where we are off course and off our moral compass, where there is a need for wisdom and courage and a change in our behavior and values. In this speech, speaker Susan L. Taylor presents principles and practices created to transform lives and communities, challenging audiences to rediscover the essential elements of a life well lived—a life that is healthy, happy, productive, and directed by self love and service to others.