Marilyn Gist Profile Photo

Marilyn Gist

Keynote Speaker

Author and Educator

Drawing from decades of experience working with thousands of leaders, Marilyn Gist shares how leader behaviors gain support or disengagement from stakeholders and how excellent leaders are able to energize others through the extraordinary power of leader humility.

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Marilyn Gist Profile Photo

Imagine being the leader everyone admires. Marilyn Gist inspires leaders to become just that by driving results while showing genuine regard for others’ dignity or sense of self-worth. This is what leader humility means and it helps resolve conflict, increase engagement, and optimize performance. As leaders create thriving organizations and great results, they become widely admired.

As author of The Extraordinary Power of Leader Humility, Marilyn has extensively studied widely-admired leaders and found that leader humility is the essential foundation of all healthy organizations. She has validated her work with interviews of prominent CEOs of companies ranging from the Mayo Clinic and Ford to Starbucks and Costco. She adds value through ground-breaking insight:  the six keys required for leaders to work together well with all stakeholders. According to Marshall Goldsmith, “Marilyn Gist’s The Extraordinary Power of Leader Humility, is a must-read for every leader.” This bestselling book has been featured in Forbes and Quartz, and Marilyn’s ideas on leader humility have appeared in The Hill, CEOWorld, Sirius SM Wharton Radio, the Global CEO Network, and numerous podcasts. Ken Blanchard who authored The One-Minute Manager says, “This inspiring book belongs on the desk of every CEO and politician in America.”

Based on this work, Marilyn consults widely and is a keynote speaker on How to Become a Leader Everyone Admires, Savvy Skills of Widely-Admired Women Leaders, and How to Drive Results Without Stripping Others’ Dignity. 

A recognized expert, Marilyn brings direct leadership experience along with academic credentials. As former Associate Dean, Professor of Management, and Executive Director of the Center for Leadership Formation, she led the design and development of Seattle University’s Leadership EMBA degree program from its inception in 2006 to rank as high as #11 in the nation by US News and World Report. She began her academic career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She later joined the University of Washington where she held the Boeing Endowed Professorship of Business Management and served as Faculty Director of Executive MBA programs for many years.

Marilyn earned her BA from Howard University and her MBA and PhD from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a member of the Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, and the International Women’s Forum.

Featured Videos

Marilyn Gist Profile Photo
Marilyn Gist

Marilyn Gist on Leadership Being a Relationship

Marilyn Gist Profile Photo
Marilyn Gist

Marilyn Gist on Dignity

Marilyn Gist’s Speech Topics

  • How to Drive Results Without Stripping Others’ Dignity

    This keynote is appropriate for early to mid-career leaders. It emphasizes the hidden factors that contribute to exceptional leadership. The talk is appropriate for managers in most industries.

    The material integrates inspiring case examples from CEOs of Fortune 50 firms with compelling evidence from research. The path to becoming a master leader is both clear – and surprising – for most. In driving results, others’ dignity or sense of self-worth must be prioritized as the work gets done through others. Participants learn how to create healthy relationships with all stakeholders to favorably influence sales, the bottom line, brand reputation, and employee relations.

  • The Savvy Skills of Widely-Admired Women Leaders

    This eye-opening and inspiring talk makes a difference for women who often find themselves marginalized or unable to advance to their full potential in leadership. Systemic bias, personal confidence, and lack of mentoring create a narrower path of acceptable behavior for women that sidelines their aspirations. This is career-limiting for the women so affected and harmful to organizations that fail to benefit from optimizing women’s talent.

    Through stories of success and failure and frank discussion of the challenges, this talk equips women to understand their unique responsibilities: building relationships across the divide, self-advocacy while supporting others’ dignity, and positive commitment to growth coupled with personal responsibility for success.

  • How to Become a Leader Everyone Admires

    This very popular keynote is appropriate for both leaders and those who manage and develop them. This includes product and team leaders, mid-managers, and senior managers. Many leaders are good at some aspects of their jobs: they have strong competence but do not yet rise to a level of being widely-admired. And that deficit costs them influence and impact. This talk clarifies exactly how leaders can focus on results and relationships to gain the admiration that sets them apart.

    Through stories and cases of success and failure, this talk illuminates the leader’s unique responsibilities: initiating, influencing, and implementing. By seeing how these depend on relationships with people, leaders recognize the need for humility (genuine respect for others’ dignity) as a foundation for strong leadership and great results.


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