As an established speakers bureau, AAE has seen a historic rise in virtual events in response to COVID-19 in recent months, and we believe they’re here to stay long after social distancing restrictions are lifted. The rising shift to virtual events has not only led to an increased demand for virtual event platforms (new platforms seem to pop up every day) but also for reliable virtual speakers.
As we adapted to a virtual eventscape alongside event planners and talent, it quickly became clear that it takes more than a camera and enthusiasm to make a great virtual speaker. Even the most experienced keynote speakers have found themselves out of their comfort zone, but it comes as no surprise that, in our technology-saturated world, there are also many virtual speakers who are currently thriving in the virtual event realm.
A great virtual speaker has the confidence to navigate technical difficulties, the charisma to keep an audience engaged through a screen, and can deliver their message in a digestible digital format. If you’re wondering how to find the best virtual speaker for your next event, here are AAE’s top 10 trending virtual speakers.
1. Richard Rothstein
Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute
Richard Rothstein is a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He is an expert voice on historical racial segregation and education and is the author of “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.”
2. Dolores Huerta
President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation
Dolores Huerta is a civil rights activist, community organizer, and National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee who has worked for labor rights and social justice for over 50 years. She co-founded the United Farm Workers of America union and is also the founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Huerta is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Eleanor Roosevelt Humans Rights Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
3. Ijeoma Oluo
Bestselling Author of “So You Want to Talk About Race” and Social Activist
Ijeoma Oluo is a Seattle-based writer and speaker whose work on social issues such as race and gender can be read in publications like The Guardian, Washington Post, ELLE magazine, NBC News, and more. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “So You Want to Talk About Race,” and is the recipient of the Feminist Humanist Award by the American Humanist Association, the Media Justice Award by the Gender Justice League, and the 2018 Aubrey Davis Visionary Leadership Award by the Equal Opportunity Institute.
4. Jaime Casap
Former Chief Education Evangelist at Google
Jaime Casap served as the Chief Education Evangelist at Google for more than 14 years and continues to advise dozens of schools and organizations focused on learning, skill development, and the future of work. He is also the co-author of “Our First Talk About Poverty,” and helps organizations and learning institutions build transformational policies surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion in education.
Casap also shared some of his top tips for virtual speakers, which we summarized in our “Virtual Meeting Best Practices” blog post.
5. Jocko Willink
Retired Navy SEAL Officer & Co-Author of “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win”
After serving for 20 years in the US Navy, retired Naval Officer Jocko Willink now uses his experience in military leadership to inspire his audience. He co-founded Echelon Front, a premier leadership consulting company, where he serves as Chief Executive Officer. He is the co-author of the NYT bestselling book “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win” and “Dichotomy of Leadership,” and is also the host of the top-rated Jocko Podcast.
6. Eddie Glaude Jr.
James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor
As chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton, Eddie Glaude Jr. is a noted scholar on topics of African American culture. He addresses the complex dynamics of the American experience in terms of black communities, the difficulties of race in the United States, and the challenges our democracy face. He is the author of “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul” and “In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America.”
7. Keren Elazari
Senior Researcher at the Tel Aviv University Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center
Keren Elazari is a senior researcher at the Tel Aviv University Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center and an internationally recognized security analyst, researcher, author, and speaker. Her interests in hacktivism, technology and information sharing has led her to work with leading Israeli security firms, government organizations, the global “Big Four” accounting firms, and Fortune 500 companies. She was also the first Israeli woman to speak at the prestigious TED Conference, and her session was later included in TED’s “Most Powerful Ideas” series.
8. J.R. Martinez
U.S. Army Veteran, Motivational Speaker and Best-Selling Author
After a life-changing injury and 34 months in recovery, Army veteran and burn survivor J.R. Martinez travels the world to spread a message of resilience and optimism. He is the New York Times bestselling author of “Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit,” a memoir about how he was able to take his own personal tragedy and turn it into an inspiration for others. Martinez also appeared in the Emmy Award-Winning drama “All My Children,” after which he became the season 13 winner of “Dancing with the Stars.”
9. Lizzie Velásquez
Motivational Speaker, Author and Anti-Bullying Activist
Ever since she was dubbed the “World’s Ugliest Woman” in a video posted on YouTube in 2006, Lizzie Velásquez, only 17 at the time, became a global anti-bullying activist who speaks about the concept of beauty standards, empowerment, empathy, and kindness. Her TED Talk, “How Do You Define Yourself” garnered millions of views, and she served as executive producer of A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velásquez Story, an award-winning documentary based on her life. She is also the bestselling author of “Lizzie Beautiful: The Lizzie Velásquez Story.”
10. Fran Hauser
Media Executive, Startup Investor and Bestselling Author of “The Myth of the Nice Girl”
Fran Hauser is a long-time media executive, startup investor, keynote speaker and best-selling author. She has held senior positions in some of the world’s largest digital media businesses, and as a startup investor she largely invests in female founders. Hauser is a frequent speaker on women’s leadership and was named one of Business Insider’s “30 Women in Venture Capital to Watch in 2018.”
Virtual events are a great way to connect to audiences across the world, and finding the right virtual speaker is important to ensure the success and overall impact of your message. Check out this additional list of popular virtual keynote speakers or contact AAE Speakers to find the right virtual event speaker for your needs.