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Everyone today is managing a life burdened with so many to-dos that time and attention have become our most precious commodities. As a result, we tend to define success as movement from deadline to deadline (or, sometimes, crisis to crisis), leaving too few brain cells — and hours in the day — available to think about the future. A conversation with Cecily injects much-needed perspective, helping make sense of a world gone fast, flat, and fickle.

Cecily’s impact as a leadership keynote speaker is to provide a much-needed pause button in the crisis/deadline cycle. Workshops are built with you in mind: offering a guided tour of the forces shaping your industry and the unique opportunities that are yours to own. In her engaging and inspiring talks, Cecily offers foresight tools for a new world — a perfect fit for events addressing industry, business, team or individual transformation.

LEADERSHIP Keynotes and Workshops

With a warm and purposeful style, Cecily has been called “catalytic and brilliant” for a unique ability to distill complex issues into simple, relatable terms. From intimate executive briefings and strategy retreats, to focused scenario-based planning, to corporate and industry events for audiences of thousands, the lasting value of her presentations are practical tools that people can immediately use.

A conversation with Cecily offers an understanding of how cutting-edge ideas, technologies, and forces of change impact your business and influence worldviews. These discussions often include IoT, AI, robotics, genetic engineering, the blockchain, as well as demographic, economic, and social trends.


Breaking our AddictioN to Certainty

The single most important competency for innovation is the ability to face uncertainty and keep moving anyway. In this talk, Cecily shares the mindset and practices to break our addiction to certainty and increase our capacity for the fundamental requirement of growth — risk-taking.  

  • See the mega forces remaking our world today and why we can’t ignore them.

  • Evaluate the long term cost of being addicted to certainty and the ways the on-demand economy is upending whole industries.

  • Explore the practices needed for cultures and companies to break their addiction to certainty.

  • Learn the most essential qualities needed to thrive in the turbulence of today and tomorrow.


I can honestly say that Cecily’s “Breaking Our Addiction” is one of the most insightful and beneficial presentations I've ever heard. Cecily is gifted with amazing presentation skills: her passion is infectious and, in a room full of people, she makes you feel like she’s speaking directly to you.

– CPAmerica


Think Like a Futurist

This keynote talk brings power to ageless questions: "What's shaping tomorrow's markets?" and "Where is our greatest advantage?" As Cecily shares her methods for strategic foresight and innovation, she treats the audience to a guided tour of the future, pointing out important opportunities along the way.

  • How the brain, business, and government are wired for the Permanent Present and resist change.

  • Ways to watch, explore, and move through the mega trends of your industry and details on how exponential technologies such as AI and bioengineering are redefining not just business and society, but humanity itself.

  • How to anticipate these shifts with a now-to-future innovation portfolio.

Cecily brought the future to our event, then brought it all the way home: people were absolutely raving about her presentation! She delivered an energetic mix of smart analysis and emotional story-telling, then boiled it down to super-practical applications for our group. 

– Hormel


The Future is Where We Belong

As changes race ahead of our ability to make sense of them, strategy needs to focus on the deeply human things that don’t change: the need to be safe and be valued, and the wish to shine a light in the lives we touch. It is here, at the intersection of what changes and what doesn’t, that astute leaders find what’s next for their business. Far from any typical forecast workshop, this talk dives into:

  • How megatrends are transforming how we relate to each other and how we shop, work, and connect.

  • The impact of social technologies on identity and status, and why today’s customers seek belonging, not loyalty.

  • Four simple practices (optimism, curiosity, courage, patience) that can powerfully generate belonging for yourself and others.

This session cracked open my psyche with a surge of clarity.

– Public Media development and marketing conference


Building Capacity for Transformation:
A Guide to Leadership in the 21st Century

While still operating in the hierarchical order of the Industrial Age, today’s leaders must also build bridges to an increasingly networked and autonomous economy. They’re charged with cultivating a tolerance for change and uncertainty in the organization on the one hand, and maintaining its stability on the other. To create balance within these tensions, leaders must first do this for themselves.

  • Discovering what it means to be human-first in an AI-first world.

  • Why leaders need to model inner agility to meet the demands of change in their organizations and their markets.  

  • Learning to detect change at the margins — in your environment, and in yourself.

  • Managing shoulds and shame, and facing imperfection daily.

Inspirational and motivational, this simple speech, made by an admirable woman, is filled with important life lessons.

– Gulltaggen, norway



The biggest barrier to change is a statement that begins “But…”   No matter how they’re delivered, “But…”s undermine your commitments, keep you playing small and, worst, let you off the hook for doing so.

Leadership keynote speaker Cecily Sommers’ “But…” Busters offers fun, winning strategies for conquering six energy-robbing evils: blame, denial, fear, busyness, resignation, and whining. These powerful But-Busting practices will make you a resistance-resolving superhero in meetings, deal negotiations, and even around the dinner table.

  • Recognize and avert the “But…” before it gets in the way.

  • Transform what’s wrong into what’s right.

  • Overcome resignation, frustration, and defensiveness in yourself and others.

  • Find wisdom in the whine.

Sincere thanks for delivering such a wonderful program! There’s been a great deal of positive feedback, as many were inspired by your story and yet valued your practical approach for how to navigate change and to truly “show up” to work every day.

– Carlson companies