Robert S. Kaplan Profile Photo

Robert S. Kaplan

Keynote Speaker

Businessperson; Philanthropist; Macro Policy Expert; Educator

As a former Fed President, Goldman Sachs Vice-Chair, Harvard professor, and leading philanthropist, Robert Steven Kaplan simplifies the world’s most complex issues, enabling his audiences to understand and address their future impact and become effective leaders in their businesses/organizations and their communities.

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Robert S. Kaplan'S SPEAKING FEE $40K - $70K

Robert S. Kaplan Profile Photo

Robert Steven Kaplan served as the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 2015 until 2021. In this role he managed the 1,300 employees of the Dallas Fed and represented the Eleventh Federal Reserve District on the Federal Open Market Committee in the formulation of U.S. monetary policy.

During his tenure, Kaplan established the Dallas Fed as a leader in research thought-leadership. He dramatically improved community engagement with over 40 Global Perspectives events. He initiated programs to advance early childhood literacy, address the digital divide, and enhance skills training in the Eleventh District communities. He also created new initiatives at the Bank to attract, develop and retain exceptional talent.

Kaplan was previously the Martin Marshall Professor of Management Practice and a Senior Associate Dean at Harvard Business School. Prior to joining Harvard, Kaplan was Vice Chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group with global responsibility for the firm’s investment banking and investment management divisions. During his 23-year career at Goldman Sachs, Kaplan also ran Global Investment Banking, Asia Pacific Investment Banking, served on the firm’s management committee, and ran the firm’s partnership committee. 

Kaplan currently serves as Chairman of Project A.L.S. and Co-Chairman of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a global venture philanthropy firm that invests in developing non-profit enterprises dedicated to addressing social issues. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the George W. Bush Institute, an Advisory Board Member of the Baker Institute, and a board member of Harvard Medical School and St. Mark’s School of Texas. Kaplan is also a board member of The Commit Partnership, a collaboration of 200 organizations that works to increase student success in Dallas County. He serves on the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Board of Governors and is the Co-Founding Board Chair Emeritus of the TEAK Fellowship.

Previously Kaplan was Chairman of the Investment Advisory Committee at Google, a trustee of the Ford Foundation, and Co-Founder and Chairman of Indaba Capital Management, LP. He also served on the boards of Harvard Management Company, Bed Bath & Beyond, State Street Corporation, and Heidrick & Struggles International.

Kaplan has authored three books, titled What You Really Need to Lead: The Power of Thinking and Acting Like an OwnerWhat You’re Really Meant To Do: A Road Map for Reaching Your Unique Potential; and What to Ask the Person in the Mirror: Critical Questions for Becoming a More Effective Leader and Reaching Your Potential.

Kaplan earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with highest distinction from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar. He was born and raised in Prairie Village, Kansas and lives in Dallas, Texas. 

Featured Videos

Robert S. Kaplan Profile Photo
Robert S. Kaplan

Robert Kaplan on The Five Economic Drivers

Robert S. Kaplan Profile Photo
Robert S. Kaplan

Robert Kaplan on Regional Economic Dynamics

Robert S. Kaplan Profile Photo
Robert S. Kaplan

Robert Kaplan on Defining Leadership

Robert S. Kaplan Profile Photo
Robert S. Kaplan

Robert Kaplan on the Intricacies of Rate Setting

Robert S. Kaplan Profile Photo
Robert S. Kaplan

Robert Kaplan on Inflation (Pre-Inflation Crisis)

Robert S. Kaplan’s Speech Topics

  • Leadership

    During the lecture portion of this program Rob focuses on Vision, Priorities and Alignment (VPA):

    This discussion is based on the methodology that Rob developed throughout his three books on leadership. Rob helps audience members understand:

    – that leadership is about what you do, rather than who you are, and 

    – that being a leader requires thinking and acting like an “owner”.

    During the Q&A portion of this program Rob takes audience members through the VPA process in a way that makes it accessible to everyone.

  • Macro-Economic Developments and Implications for Economic Policy

    As subject matter expert, Rob understands the dynamics of key drivers of U.S. and global economic conditions. In this talk, Rob identifies the drivers, and sets out their current status and their implications for economic policy. 

    Discussing likely developments in fiscal, monetary, and broader economic policy, Rob explains where are likely to go from here and how audience participants could adjust individually and/or in their businesses to adapt to what’s next.

    Rob’s insights are often very different from what is discussed in the media and popular press as he focuses on fundamental, structural drivers rather than short term, cyclical developments which tend to dominate daily media reporting.

  • Board Leadership

    Over multiple decades, Rob has accumulated vast experience in board leadership by serving on and successfully reshaping public, private, and non-profit boards of directors.

    In this discussion, Rob uses his tried and tested frameworks to lead conferences of board directors or individual boards through a process of self-assessment and solution development in order to transform them into high performance work groups.

  • Non-profit and Venture Philanthropy Leadership

    For Rob, solving the more pressing issues facing our cities, states and country as a whole are less likely to be solved by government and more likely by non-profit and social entrepreneurs. To him, this reality is a call to action. It’s not a matter of what “they” will do to address the world’s problems, it’s a matter of what “we” will do. 

    In this talk Rob shares DRK’s philosophy on developing early-stage social enterprises. He then discusses the role of more established non-profits, as well as the roles that businesspeople and individuals can play as donors, advisors, and board members of venture philanthropy organizations, non-profits and their leaders.


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