Martin Dempsey Profile Photo

Martin Dempsey

WSB Exclusive Speaker

Board of Directors Chairman, USA Basketball; Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (2011-2015)

A specialist in leading effectively and operating in complexity, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, USA (Ret.) shares experienced insight on security in a multifaceted geopolitical environment, the 21st-century challenges facing the U.S., and capturing innovation.

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Martin Dempsey Profile Photo

General Martin Dempsey specializes in the complexity that characterizes today’s strategic environment. A decorated four-star general, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Dempsey brought his impeccable military record to his role as the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and the principal military advisor to the President, secretary of defense and National Security Council. He is recognized for deploying a multifaceted strategy that recognized the increasing intricacy of the global landscape and the key attributes that leaders must possess to succeed.

Dempsey now brings his extensive leadership qualities to the Chairmanship of USA Basketball. Elected to the post by the board of directors, Dempsey will lead USA Basketball through the 2024 Olympics in Paris. He also joined the prestigious Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Sanford School of Public Policy, where he teaches courses on American civil-military relations, management, and leadership. In May 2022, General Dempsey was awarded the 2022 Distinguished Service Award by the Veterans of Foreign Wars at their annual convention. This award is made in recognition of “a lifetime of faithful and exceptional service to the United States.” Previous recipients include Bob Hope, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, and Colin Powell.

In an environment driven by globalization, the diffusion of technology, and international demographic shifts, Dempsey understands how to drive success at every level of an organization. With an exceptional career spanning more than four decades, he shares his extraordinary viewpoint on leadership and examines a wide range of pressing issues—from the urgent requirements of evolving cybersecurity concerns, conflict and crisis management, innovation and negotiation, to America’s unique role on the world stage. Dempsey is remarkably able to tackle these tough topics with coherence, candor, and a refreshing sense of humor while offering tangible solutions and actionable takeaways to audiences.

Featured Videos

Martin Dempsey Profile Photo
Martin Dempsey

General Martin E. Dempsey on the Future Of ISIS

Martin Dempsey Profile Photo
Martin Dempsey

Gen. Martin Dempsey at Duke: Using Metaphors to Lead

Martin Dempsey Profile Photo
Martin Dempsey

Gen. Martin Dempsey at Duke – Power and Control

Martin Dempsey Profile Photo
Martin Dempsey

Communicating Across Different Cultures

Martin Dempsey Profile Photo
Martin Dempsey

Importance of Timing in Communication

Martin Dempsey’s Speech Topics

  • Cyber: New Threats in a World Driven by Rapid and Profound Change

    We live in an unpredictable and increasingly volatile global security environment. As globalization is impacting nearly every aspect of human activity, people, products and information are flowing across borders at unprecedented speed and volume, acting as catalysts for economic development while also increasing societal tensions, competition for resources and political instability. The recent hacks at Sony, Target and Neiman Marcus serve as prime examples of how vulnerable many technology and security systems truly are. In this presentation, General Dempsey provides rich insight to the impacts of a new cyber domain on security, business and legislation, and will inform and captivate audiences of any industry mindful of the rapidly changing and complex nature of this increasing threat.

  • Leading Organizational Change: Capturing Innovation and Efficiencies While Operating in Complexity

    Global disorder has significantly increased while some of our comparative advantage has begun to erode. CEOs and leaders face similar challenges, and like the U.S. do not often have the luxury to focus on one problem at a time. Throughout his tenure, General Dempsey made leadership development a priority and focused on capturing innovation and efficiencies to build creative, adaptive professionals skilled at leading organizational change while operating in complexity. He firmly believes in the imperative nature of developing leaders of competence, character and consequence in order to address the challenges of the 21st Century. During this presentation, he examines strategies to foster innovation, explores a balance of certain attributes, places an emphasis on relationships and dives into efficient and focused processes that will help any organization accomplish their strategic objectives.

  • America’s Role in the World Today: A Look at Globalization, the Diffusion of Technology, the Changing Nature of Power, New Political Leadership and Global Demographic Shifts

    America is not unfamiliar with unique advantages in many industries; however, from technology and energy to demographics, many of these advantages are being challenged in the 21st Century. Key factors impacting the current global landscape are globalization, diffusion of technology and global demographic shifts. The U.S. faces multiple challenges from traditional state actors and will need to rapidly adapt as new threats will have increasing implications on the U.S. homeland. Having spent much of his career working around the globe, General Dempsey is uniquely positioned to offer unmatched insights on a changing world. From North Korea, Russia and Iran, to Africa, Europe and Asia, to America’s role in the world today, Dempsey is able to address the day’s most pressing issues and how these changes directly impact your business in this captivating and eye-opening presentation.

  • Radical Inclusion Seminar – GEN(R) Martin E. Dempsey and Ori Brafman


    Leaders today face challenges that have always existed but also challenges that are new, dynamic, complex, and cannot be ignored. This seminar will systematically examine today’s leadership environment to determine what’s new and what’s not. The instructors will share experiences from the highest levels of government and business to illuminate these challenges and to propose leadership principles for addressing them. In addition, the seminar will provide participants with opportunities to practice the application of these principles through customizable exercises and group experiences. Participants will walk away not only with a stronger understanding of the current and future environment, but with the practical skills necessary for grappling with the implications of leading in our rapidly evolving world.

    The environment in which we now lead. In the first part of this session we will discuss changes in the leadership environment. We will discuss the distinction between complex and complicated, the accessibility and speed of information, the vulnerability of facts, the influence of digital echoes on both leaders and followers and the competition for trust and confidence in which leaders now find themselves. 

    The enduring leadership principles. In the second part of this session, drawing on examples from both the instructors’ experiences and current events, we will draw out three enduring and important leadership principles: Give Them Memories (Belonging), Make it Matter (Meaning), and Learn to Imagine (Learning from Weak Signals).

    The emerging leadership principles. Once again drawing upon both experience and current events, we will draw out three emerging and increasingly important leadership principles: Develop a Bias for Action, Empower Subordinates to Co-Create Context, Understand How to Relinquish Control to Preserve Power. We will discuss how these principles must be supported by certain leadership instincts including Listen, Amplify, and Include. We will conclude this session with a discussion of the concept of Radical Inclusion and why it is the necessary pragmatic leadership response to change, complexity, speed, accessibility, and affordability.  


    • The Ace: Demonstrating the unseen challenges of being a leader
    • 5 for 25: Quickly finding solutions and fostering innovation from the edges of the network
    • Break-Outs: Developing tangible next steps to solve a real problem
    • The Fish Bowl: An inclusive, facilitated conversation with instructors and participants
    • Role Playing: Seeking presidential decision on Afghanistan troop levels
    • Role Playing: Implementing SECDEF directive on women in service


    This customizable seminar can be delivered in half-day, full-day, or two-day versions for groups of any size with an option to kick-off the event with a dinner, moderated discussion, and Q&A session with the instructors the night prior to the event.

What other organizations say about Martin Dempsey

It never ceases to amaze me what truly brilliant leaders we have in our military. General Dempsey displayed this over and over tonight. Capable, competent, charming – a complete citizen-warrior-diplomat. General Dempsey gave a quote by William Butler Yates, “Talent perceives differences; genius, unity.” He spoke eloquently, with a deeply thoughtful and diplomatic nature. General Dempsey’s ability to use metaphor to make an extremely complex issue easily understandable was amazing. His wonderful sense of humor was an extra bonus! He has the gift of a seanchi, a traditional Irish storyteller/historian. His love of literature and history are evident as he clearly shares his military and personal experiences. He communicated complicated geopolitical concepts in ways my 15 year old could understand. “So THAT’S what Russia is up to!” She said after the presentation.



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