William McRaven Profile Photo

William McRaven

WSB Exclusive Speaker

Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (2011-2014) and of U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (2008-2011); Chancellor of the University of Texas System (2015-2018); Best-selling Author

"Without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible." – Adm. William H. McRaven, USN (Ret.)

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William McRaven Profile Photo

Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired U.S. Navy Four-Star admiral, best-selling author, and former Chancellor of the University of Texas System, draws on his extraordinary experiences to offer audiences insight on U.S. foreign policy, the current geopolitical environment, authority amidst uncertainty, overcoming adversity and the determination to succeed. Using personal narratives drawn from his extraordinary experiences, he imparts lessons in teamwork, personal accountability, resilience, and leadership to his audiences. 

McRaven is a recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy and has advised Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and other U.S. leaders on defense issues. During his time in the military, he commanded special operations forces at every level, eventually taking charge of the U.S. Special Operations Command. His career included combat during Desert Storm and both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He commanded the troops that captured Saddam Hussein and rescued Captain Phillips. McRaven is also credited with developing the plan and leading the Osama bin Laden mission in 2011.

As the Chancellor of the UT System, he led one of the nation’s largest and most respected higher education systems. As the chief executive officer of the UT System, McRaven oversaw 14 institutions that educated 220,000 students and employed 20,000 faculty and more than 80,000 healthcare professionals, researchers, and staff.

McRaven has been recognized for his leadership numerous times. In 2011, he was the first runner-up for TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year.” In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named McRaven one of the nation’s “Top 10 Foreign Policy Experts.” In 2014, Politico magazine named McRaven one of the “Politico 50”, citing his leadership as instrumental in cutting through Washington bureaucracy. In 2015, he received the Intrepid Freedom Award for his distinguished service in defending the values of democracy. In 2016, McRaven was named the recipient of the Ambassador Richard M. Helms Award by the CIA Officers’ Memorial Foundation, and in 2018 he received the Judge William H. Webster Distinguished Service Award for a lifetime of service to the nation. He currently serves on the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the National Football Foundation.

McRaven is the author of several books, including SPEC OPS: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare,  Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life and Maybe the WorldSea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, and The Hero Code: Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived. In 2023, he released The Wisdom of the Bullfrog: Leadership Made Simple (But Not Easy). An instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, the book draws on countless experiences from Admiral McRaven’s life, including navigating crises, management debates, organizational transitions, and ethical dilemmas, to provide readers with the most important leadership lessons he has learned over his forty years of service.

Featured Videos

William McRaven Profile Photo
William McRaven

Adm. William H. McRaven says Take the Opportunity to Inspire People

William McRaven Profile Photo
William McRaven

Adm. William H. McRaven – How One Life Can Change the Lives of Many

William McRaven Profile Photo
William McRaven

Adm. William H. McRaven says Learn From Your Mistakes

William McRaven’s Speech Topics

  • The Wisdom of the Bullfrog

    McRaven relates stories from his #1 NYTs bestseller, The Wisdom of the Bullfrog— a tour de force about leadership from the factory floor to the C-suite. Entertaining, educational, inspirational; you will hear stories from the Civil War, WWII, the raid to get bin Laden and corporate leadership lessons that will help all your employees be better at working together and leading with purpose.

  • A Conversation with Admiral William H. McRaven, USN (Ret.)

    In this moderated discussion, Admiral William H. McRaven eloquently draws on his extensive career of 37 years of service as a Navy SEAL. The discussion addresses issues such as U.S. foreign policy, the current geopolitical landscape, leadership during high-stress situations, risk management, teamwork, resilience in the face of adversity, resourcefulness, personal accountability, and the determination to succeed. His presentations are distinctive and customized to meet the needs of your audience.

  • Leadership and Risk Management: Taking Command

    Admiral William H. McRaven captivates audiences with his exceptional leadership experiences, exploring today’s geopolitical environment and a look forward to America’s place in an ever-changing global community. His principles of leadership and risk management are applicable to any organization and he firmly believes in the necessity of preparation, order and discipline, knowing that they are naught without a distinct and meaningful purpose or goal. He shares impactful narratives, lessons and insights on authority amidst turmoil and instability, the force of teamwork and personal initiative, resilience in the face of opposition, and the unconditional importance of never giving up. He challenges his audience and encourages them to accept responsibility, be creative within the rules, take control of their circumstances, and maintain focus during times of conflict. Audience members are inspired to apply McRaven’s diligence, courage and risk management strategies to their own lives and put in place the tools that will help them not only succeed within their organization but also reach new levels of achievement. 

What other organizations say about William McRaven

10 out of 10. People are raving about his performance.

Financial Services

What other organizations say about William McRaven

Admiral William H. McRaven was fantastic! All of our guests were on the edge of their seats listening to McRaven’s stories and life lessons he has learned from being a Navy SEAL and the Commander of US Special Operations. He is likeable, humble and a true American hero. He received a well-deserved standing ovation.

Health Care

What other organizations say about William McRaven

We had high hopes and expectations of Admiral McRaven as our 2019 Higher Ed Summit closing keynote speaker, and he completely surpassed all of them. Admiral McRaven has an authenticity and charisma that radiates from stage and his stories are woven with poignancy, humor, and inspiration. In addition to his talk being an exceptional one, he was also great to work with and took time to take photos with many participants. We highly recommend Admiral McRaven and would absolutely work with him again.



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