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Over our 20 years of doing business in the event industry, AAE has gotten to know a lot of talented keynote speakers. One of the biggest things we’ve learned is that every single one of them can bring something valuable to the table — it’s all about finding the right fit for your event.
In celebration of AAE’s 20th anniversary, we’re inviting you inside to see our list of 20 of the top keynote speakers in 2022. These are business professionals, activists, innovators, authors, veterans, and Olympians — among many others — who are impressing audiences like yours this year and creating lots of demand among event strategists. Let’s get started.
Top Keynote Speakers: Business, Leadership, and Workplace Experts
1. Erica Dhawan
Erica Dhawan is an internationally recognized leading authority, speaker, and advisor on 21st-century teamwork, collaboration, and innovation. Thinkers50 named her the “Oprah of Management Thinkers,” and Dhawan is also a bestselling author. She frequently appears in the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and The Wall Street Journal. As one of the top innovation speakers, Dhawan shares strategies to unlock the collective power of teams, build a culture of trust across any distance, and create authentic engagement to ensure competitiveness. When leaders are looking to break down silos and drive exponential growth, she’s one of the top speakers to book.
2. Fran Hauser
Fran Hauser is an author and startup investor with a passion for helping women build fulfilling careers and successful businesses. Fran has invested in over 25 female-founded companies across CPG, media & publishing, and wellness. She is the bestselling author of “The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate,” which was named “Best Business Book of the Year, 2018” by Audible. When it comes to keynote speakers on women in business, Hauser is second to none.
Scott Galloway is a Professor of Marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business and a serial entrepreneur. Galloway was named one of the world’s best business professors by Poets & Quants, and he has founded nine companies throughout his career and written a New York Times bestseller. He hosts a CNN+ show on business and tech, and his podcast and YouTube channel reach millions. A seasoned professional, Galloway is a great business keynote speaker choice for your 2022 events.
When it comes to cybersecurity experts, Rachel Wilson is among the best of the best. She spent the first 15 years of her career at the National Security Agency (NSA) and has held several key senior executive-level positions at the agency since then. Wilson was also named one of the Top Women in WealthTech 2020 by ThinkAdvisor. She shares her expertise with business leaders around the world to help them address the cybersecurity threats of today and tomorrow. A trusted advisor on this crucial topic, find out how a world-renowned cybersecurity speaker like Wilson could educate your audience in 2022.
Cassandra Worthy is shaking things up in the business world, sharing her refreshingly unique take on managing change and growing through it. She is trusted by clients around the globe including Johnson & Johnson, CVS Pharmacy, Snapchat, and Cisco. Building on her experience helping companies grow through change, Worthy inspires and motivates audiences to grow through their change challenges. Book Worthy to secure the world’s leading expert on change enthusiasm. You’ll be glad you did.
6. Erik Qualman
Erik Qualman is a bestselling author and digital transformation expert who has spoken in 55 countries and reached millions of people. His “Socialnomics” work has been featured on the likes of “60 Minutes” and “The Wall Street Journal.” Qualman has partnered with brands like Starbucks, Sony, IBM, and Disney, and he regularly speaks on topics like innovation, leadership, and future trends. His business books are used in over 200 universities, and he has received an honorary doctorate for his groundbreaking work. With digital transformation getting so much attention in 2022, event strategists should keep Qualman top of mind going forward.
Top Keynote Speakers: Motivation and Self-improvement
7. James Clear
James Clear specializes in creating memorable virtual events focused on self-improvement techniques for business leaders. He is the author of the bestselling book “Atomic Habits,” and is a regular speaker at Fortune 500 companies. Clear’s work has been used by teams in the NFL, NBA, and MLB, and he has taught more than 10,000 leaders, coaches, and teachers how to maximize their potential. His thought leadership regularly appears in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and Time. As we’ve seen in recent years, leadership and self-improvement are always popular topics in our industry. If you’re booking for these subjects in 2022, Clear should be on your list of candidates.
Scott Hamilton is a legendary Olympic gold medalist figure skater and three-time cancer survivor. Hamilton has won numerous awards and honors including an Emmy Award nomination, induction in the US Olympic Hall of Fame, and the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. His Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation supports cancer research and education, and he shares his message of overcoming adversity with audiences around the world. Hamilton’s incredible spirit and effortless charm always shine through when he’s in front of an audience, be it in-person or virtually. All it takes is a single interaction with him, and you’ll see why he is such a popular Olympic keynote speaker.
9. Chi-Lan Lieu
Lieu has been praised by our clients for her ability to connect with audiences. Lifestyle and top technology speaker Chi-Lan Lieu has appeared on shows like “The Talk” and “Good Morning America” and hosts the HGTV show “Living Abroad”. Commonly serving as event moderator, she guides audiences through everything from tackling smart homes on a budget to simple holiday entertaining. With an infectious energy, sense of humor, and knack for making connections, she regularly appears on shows including “Good Morning America,” “Rachel Ray,” “Dr. Phil,” ”Ellen,” “The View,” and “Access Hollywood Live.” Who among us wouldn’t appreciate some life hacks these days?
10. Gitanjali Rao
Gitanjali Rao is TIME Magazine’s first-ever “Kid of the Year,” an inventor, a Young Scientist Challenge Winner, an author, and a recipient of the EPA President’s Environmental Youth Award. And (as I write this) she’s 16. She is an experienced TED speaker and often presents in global and corporate forums on innovation and the importance of STEM. You should consider booking Rao if you’re looking for a talented next-generation speaker who can inspire your audience and share about innovation and STEM education. Speaking from experience, you can’t watch her without coming away energized and ready to take on the world.
11. Inky Johnson
Inky Johnson is a collegiate athlete, entrepreneur, and author who has delivered thought-provoking and inspirational messages to audiences for over a decade. After a life-threatening, career-ending injury that paralyzed his right arm and hand, he developed a burning desire to add value to people’s lives. He devotes time to mentoring athletes and underprivileged youth and is one of the founders of The Inky and Allison Johnson Foundation. Johnson is a well-versed sports motivational speaker covering topics ranging from leadership, overcoming adversity, and mental agility. His story alone is enough to inspire, but his ability to connect with people makes him really memorable to audiences.
12. Rudy Ruettiger
Yes, he’s that Rudy. Rudy Ruettiger is known as one of the most inspiring graduates of the University of Notre Dame. His unforgettable underdog moment that was captured in the hit film “Rudy” has catapulted Ruettiger into an illustrious career as a motivational speaker. Since then, he has inspired countless audiences with his stories of resilience and perseverance, delivering messages that audiences won’t soon forget. Ruettiger also co-founded the RUDY FOUNDATION, offering scholarships in education, sports, and the performing arts.
13. J.R. Martinez
J.R. Martinez doesn’t just speak about overcoming obstacles and persevering through hardship — he lives it. In 2003, while deployed to Iraq, a roadside bomb left him with severe burns on 34 percent of his body. Since then, Martinez has never stopped pushing the limits of what’s possible, becoming one of the top keynote speakers requested and booked by our clients. Martinez has spoken for Delta, State Farm, General Motors, and numerous other Fortune 500 companies, Nonprofits, and Universities. And if his name sounds familiar, he won season 13 of “Dancing with the Stars.”
14. Hill Harper
You may know Hill Harper from ABC’s “The Good Doctor” or CBS’s “CSI: NY,” but you should also know that he is a leading humanitarian, author, philanthropist, and highly respected keynote speaker. Harper has authored four New York Times bestsellers including his award-winning book, “The Wealth Cure” which addresses ways to solve the racial wealth gap. He is also the founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering underserved youth through mentorship, scholarship, and grant programs.
Top Keynote Speakers: Diversity and Inclusion Speakers
15. Aiko Bethea
Aiko Bethea is a leader, builder, and connector who has navigated leadership in government, philanthropic, nonprofit, and private sectors. She is the founder of RARE Coaching & Consulting, specializing in anti-racism and diversity and inclusion programs. Bethea has led a legal team at The City of Atlanta under the management of Stacy Abrams and more recently, served as Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center. She has been recognized by Forbes as one of the top seven anti-racism educators for companies, and by CultureAmp as a DEI influencer to follow.
16. Dolores Huerta
Dolores Huerta is a celebrated Latina labor leader, activist, and community organizer. She has worked for civil rights and social justice for over 50 years, founding the United Farm Workers union with Cesar Chavez in 1962. Huerta is a two-time US Presidential Award Recipient, including the Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2012. For events centered around social justice and worker’s rights, Hispanic heritage, and overcoming obstacles, your event strategy will be improved simply by booking her.
Michael W. Twitty is a culinary historian and food writer. His groundbreaking 2017 book “The Cooking Gene,” traces his ancestry through food from Africa to America and from slavery to freedom and garnered multiple award nominations. The book won the 2018 James Beard Award for “Best Writing” as well as “Book of the Year”, making him the first Black author to win the award. Twitty is a leading speaker and authority on the unique intersection of food and social justice. His unique expertise and compelling delivery are sure to spice up your events in 2022.
18. Katharine Hayhoe
Katharine Hayhoe is an accomplished atmospheric scientist who studies climate change and helps audiences understand why it matters to us here and now. She has been named to prestigious lists such as Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and Fortune Magazine’s World’s Greatest Leaders. Recipient of the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award, her TED talk on the topic of climate change has been viewed by millions. Professor Hayhoe, who is also Chief Scientist for the Nature Conservancy, serves as an advisor for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
19. Carin Taylor
As Chief Diversity Officer at Workday, Carin Taylor has a global responsibility for the company’s development and execution of inclusion and diversity strategy. In the speaking world, she’s putting her valuable experience with DEI to good use, becoming one of the most highly sought-after speakers for diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and leadership. Taylor is an Advisor and Executive Coach for RISEQUITY, a Board Member for Watermark, and a Board Member and Coach for Santa Clara PAL (Police Activities League).
Gloria Ladson-Billings is the former Distinguished Chair of Urban Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She brings a wealth of experience in culturally-relevant education and equity-focused instruction. Ladson-Billings has authored numerous books and journal articles, including the critically-acclaimed “The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children, and is the recipient of nine honorary degrees from various universities. She is also a member of the National Academy of Education, where she served as president from 2017 to 2021.
As you continue to plan your events for the rest of 2022, these are the keynote speakers generating buzz and getting rave reviews from our clients. You can also check out our database of professional speakers or browse more top keynote speakers in 2022. When you’re ready to move forward with the booking process, or if you have any questions at all, contact AAE’s experienced agents. Our team is ready to help you create unforgettable experiences for your audience.