Keynote Speeches & Events

Jo Owen in conference

“It was so exciting that the twenty-something year olds in the audience forgot to look at their laptops or phones and instead savoured Jo’s engaging and original talk.”

Philipp von Bieberstein, Google

“He really did a great job and it will be a pleasure for us to have him in Italy again.”

Marcello Mancini. Performance Strategies

“Jo was very good and very normal despite his enviable track record and pedigree. That was a pleasant surprise for many, as I think they were expecting to meet a larger-than-life, tub-thumping Mr Motivator who they wouldn’t ever want to try and emulate!”

David James, Bryanston

As a speaker, Jo practices what he preaches. He combines deep original research and extensive real experience from around the world to deliver events which are both practical and original. He works with groups as small as five to over one thousand, in countries around the world on five main topics:

  • Leadership fundamentals
  • 21st Century Leadership: how to succeed in the new world
  • The Mindset of Success
  • Tribal Business School: learning to survive from traditional societies
  • Global Teams: how they work and how they can work better

In each case, the content is tailored to the specific needs of each client to maximise the impact. Events range from:

  • Keynote Speeches
  • Half day or whole day interactive sessions
  • Customised programmes to help clients address a key need

Keynote speeches are based on three principles:


Entertainment is not just fun, it is essential. At minimum, no one should suffer death by bullet point: that is a bad way to go. If your teams are going to gain anything from the day, then they need to be engaged in the keynote. They have to enjoy it if they are to engage with it. Once they have engaged, there is always the risk that they may learn something. Most clients find that is a risk well worth running.


Engagement comes from properly understanding the profile, needs and context of the group. Keynotes are not about broadcasting the same stock presentation to every audience. A good keynote starts with understanding the audience and delivering what they want, not delivering just what the speaker wants to deliver. This means that early conversations with the sponsors of the event are essential to ensure maximum impact.


Leadership is a journey, which can either be a random walk to the future or a structured journey of discovery and success. My keynotes invite people to explore a future which works for them, rather than dictating a one size fits all solution. Many keynotes can be made interactive: by inviting them to explore actively, participants turn from being passive to active participants in the keynote. They then engage more and discover more.

Core Topics

Tribal Business School: learning to survive from traditional societies

Clients often use this to inspire and challenge their teams. This is a presentation without bullet points. There are only extraordinary photographs and extraordinary stories which convey some core messages to suit your needs:

  • Change or die
  • Leadership values: courage, contribution and responsibility
  • Competition and the art of unfair warfare
  • Culture and the importance of community and teamwork
Woman With Gun
Man With Feathers Through Nose

The Mindset of Success: the habits of mind of everyday heroes

Mindset of Success is hugely popular with clients. It looks beyond skills to examine what it takes to be an outstanding leader. The session outlines seven habits of mind which anyone can learn, and shows how you can learn them.
The session is inspirational and practical. It inspires people to become the best of who they are. It is practical by giving people simple tools and techniques to acquire the success habits of mind. Based on research with everyday heroes, it is accessible and relevant: it shows that you do not have to be a super-hero to succeed.

21st Century Leadership: how to succeed in the new world

This session shows what you need to succeed in the new world of leadership where command and control no longer works. You have to learn a new set of skills to make things happen through people who you may not control. The skills include

  • Building networks of trust and influence
  • Becoming the leader people want to follow, not have to follow
  • Knowing how to manage moments of truth: conflicts, ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Acquiring the true currency of leadership: respect, not popularity

The session is based on original research with extreme influencers, including spies, and shows with cases how you can become influential and use influence to achieve more.

See Jo explore the future of leadership in a 90 minute masterclass here:

Global Teams: How they work and how they can work better

This is the perfect session for your global conference. Global conferences are about getting global teams to work better together. Global Teams is the only book and session which explicitly addresses the challenge. It goes far beyond the traditional challenge of culture to show what you and your teams can do to become even better.

Based on original research this session shows what it takes to help global teams succeed, from three perspectives:

  • Team members: how do you build trust and communicate effectively across cultures? We communicate more than ever, understand each other as little as ever.
  • Team leader: leading a global team is extreme leadership. If you can lead a global team you can lead any team, and you build the skills of a 21st century leader: building networks of trust and influence and making things happen through people you may not control or even see.
  • The firm: understand what it takes to set the team up for success: building the right talent; deciding the right structure; creating the right rhythms and routines.

Leadership fundamentals

This core session explores what it takes to be an effective leader. It shows how the skills you need change at each level of the firm, and how you have to change and adapt as you progress.

The session is highly practical and will show:

  • What leadership is, and what it is not: are you really leading or not?
  • How you need to change and adapt as the skills you need grow at each level
  • What your team members expect from you as a leader
  • Core skills you need to thrive at any level:
  • Crafting a vision: what is your big idea?
  • Picking and motivating your team
  • Making decisions effectively
  • Dealing with crises and conflict
  • Building trust and respect

The session is based on the original research behind How to Lead, and is backed up by numerous real world cases and examples.

See Jo explore the fundamentals of leadership in a 90 minute masterclass here:

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