Jennifer Aaker speaks at TEDMonterey on August 2, 2021.

Jennifer Aaker

"Her talk was incredible! Jennifer was brilliant, insightful and practical. Also, funny. We are already implementing the changes she suggested. We could not have asked for more." Education Programs

Dr. Jennifer Aaker is the General Atlantic Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. A renowned behavioral scientist, scholar and best-selling author, Dr. Aaker studies what creates meaning versus happiness in life (and work), how digital technologies are redefining human interaction, and how to harness purpose, story and humor as a leadership tool. Her work has been widely published in leading scientific journals, and featured in The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and Science.

At Stanford, she teaches classes including Designing AI to Cultivate Human Well-BeingRethinking PurposeA New Type of LeaderPower of Story, and Humor: Serious Business. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, Stanford Distinguished Teaching Award, Citibank Best Teacher Award, George Robbins Best Teacher Award, Robert Jaedicke Silver Apple Award, and the MBA Professor of the Year Award.

Dr. Aaker is the co-author of several books including the award-winning book, The Dragonfly Effect, which has been translated into over 10 languages. She is the national bestselling co-author of Humor, Seriously,  named #1 Recommended Business Book by the Financial Times as well as one of Top Business Books that are Surprisingly Fun to Read by Adam Grant, Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, and Dan Pink.

Aaker is a highly sought-after speaker who aims to empower leaders and employees alike to create more purposeful, productive, and joyful cultures. Aaker serves as a board member and advisor helping companies and leadership teams with digital transformation, incorporating human well-being into corporate strategy to drive business performance, global brand building and embracing a new leadership type for the innovation economy – one anchored on purpose, fueled by levity.

Before joining Stanford University, Aaker was a professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management where she conducted the research that resulted in her seminal paper, Dimensions of Brand Personality. She completed her PhD degrees at Stanford University, and holds a BA from UC Berkeley. In terms of personal accomplishments, her abbreviated cooking skills have earned her family Doordash Platinum status.

Featured Videos

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Jennifer Aaker

Dr. Jennifer Aaker & Naomi Bagdonas on Why Great Leaders Take Humor Seriously

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Jennifer Aaker

Dr. Jennifer Aaker – Stanford Business School Commencement 2021

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Jennifer Aaker

Dr. Jennifer Aaker on the Purpose of Purpose

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Jennifer Aaker

Dr. Jennifer Aaker on the Differences Between Happiness and Meaning

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Jennifer Aaker

Dr. Jennifer Aaker on the Power of Story

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Jennifer Aaker

Dr. Jennifer Aaker & Naomi Bagdonas – Using Humor to Upgrade Work, Health & Life

Jennifer Aaker’s Speech Topics

  • Humor, Seriously: Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business (and Life)

    There exists a mistaken belief in today’s corporate world: that we need to be serious all the time to be taken seriously. But the research tells a different story. Building on their nationally bestselling book, Humor, Seriously, the authors delve into the behavioral science of humor, and why it fuels creativity, fosters resilience, and strengthens bonds on your team and with customers. They share techniques from professional comedians to unlock a sense of levity at work and concrete tools for having more joy in your life. 

  • A New Type of Leader: Harnessing Humanity and Humor to Lead

    It used to be that leaders needed to be revered; now they need to be understood. In A New Type of Leader, Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas explore why traditional models of leadership have shifted and how we can embody a new type of leadership: one defined by humanity and humor. They share stories from inspiring leaders and tactics that can be deployed to bridge the trust gap, cultivate cultures of levity, and unlock agility in the face of change.

  • What Really Matters: A Recipe for a Meaningful Life

    Although the average human may spend a third of their life at work, many still look to their non-working hours as their main source of happiness and humanity. Using insights gleaned from the regrets of the dying, combined with cutting-edge behavioral research, Dr. Aaker examines how we make the mistake of chasing happiness instead of meaning. By honing in on four key pillars — authenticity, presence, humor, and love — Dr. Aaker shares a recipe for a meaningful life and how it can be integrated into the workplace. You will leave with tangible lessons on how to build more innovative, collaborative, and joyful workforces, forge stronger relationships, and create more meaningful lives.

  • Rethinking Purpose: Empowering Leaders & Workplaces to Be More Human

    Work has changed. Over the last recent years, remote and hybrid models of work and social isolation — coupled with unprecedented levels of stress and uncertainty — have made it harder than ever to foster connection, joy, and well-being within our teams. Now, being on the other side of the pandemic, it is abundantly clear we must (re-)build organizations and lives that cultivate genuine happiness and an enduring culture of joy, productivity, and well-being.

    In this program, Dr. Aaker challenges audiences to rethink their approach to well-being and empowers leaders to build purpose-filled, innovative, and collaborative workplaces where people are valued members of a winning team on an inspired mission. Learn the behavioral science behind aligning what is personally meaningful with the higher purpose of our business. And how, when we bring humanity to our work, we connect authentically to our values and better navigate change and uncertainty. Audiences will leave inspired, encouraged, and armed with concrete tools to infuse their teams with purpose. 

  • The Power of Your ‘Why’: How to Build Stories to Lead and Drive Growth

    Studies show that we recall stories much more than data, facts, and figures. We don’t remember numbers on a spreadsheet; we remember stories. Stories galvanize — they are the “why” and create shared understanding, engagement, and excitement for employees, teams, and businesses. Storytelling is vital for leaders whose signature stories impact the company’s recruiting, retention, and growth.

    In this interactive session, Dr. Aaker will guide audiences on discovering and building their signature stories, creating a bank of signature stories, and harnessing stories as assets. Audiences will leave with the ability to curate, craft, and tell stories effectively — and harness stories to lead and drive growth.

What other organizations say about Jennifer Aaker

Her talk was incredible! Jennifer was brilliant, insightful and practical. Also, funny. We are already implementing the changes she suggested. We could not have asked for more.

Education Programs


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