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Innovation methodology expert, Deborah Perry Piscione helps companies optimize their cultures so that they can develop the "next big thing" faster. A serial entrepreneur who has been researching the habits of highly successful companies and accomplished business professionals for over ten years, Piscione is the best-selling author of The Secrets of Silicon Valley and The Risk Factor: Why Every Company Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters and the Occasional Spectacular Failure. Her upcoming book, The People Equation, co-written with David Crawley, lays out how to create and sustain a bottom-up culture of innovation.

Piscione is the CEO and creator of Alley to Valley, a networking site for influential career women. As a principal for Vorto Consulting, she shows Fortune 500 companies how to harness their talent at every level of their organization to accelerate innovation and drive growth. Her venture, Chump Genius, develops games and interactive learning experiences that introduce children to STEM subjects in a fun and engaging manner.

Among other areas, Piscione specializes in developing a risk-taking mindset and culture, characteristics she knows about first-hand thanks to her own inspiring career journey. In the late 1980s, she left law school to pursue her own dream of working in national politics. Despite not knowing a single person in Washington D.C., she relocated to the Capitol and waited on tables, going door-to-door looking for government job opportunities in her free time. After months of rejection, she was hired by Senate newcomer, Connie Mack III, and later worked as a staffer in the House of Represenatives and the White House.

Piscione first came to national prominence as a media commentator for CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News during her time in Washington D.C. After a 2006 move to Silicon Valley prompted by her husband taking a new job there, she reinvented her career and launched the website BettyConfidential, which became one of the most popular online spaces for women, ages 18 to 49.

Full Profile

We know that great leaders are defined by the extraordinary people that they lead. What makes Deborah Perry Piscione so special is that she has uncovered the DNA from the inspired cultures of the most innovative companies in the world.

It is no surprise that organizations that build systems to grow the passions of their talented workforce are more productive, more innovative, more loyal, and consistently move faster than competitors. Provocative and wonderfully entertaining, Deborah’s presentations are a prerequisite for leaders looking to shake the status quo.

Through her years of research and hands-on work with many of Silicon Valley’s pioneer companies, she has found the keys to building organizations into innovation machines and preparing leaders for the future. Deborah’s discoveries are highlighted by her series of critically acclaimed books: Secrets of Silicon Valley, The Risk Factor, and The People Equation.

All of these books and the research in them stems from the differences between old school power and new school leadership, which Deborah understands well through firsthand experience. Having worked as an insider at the White House and Capitol Hill, and then moving into the center of Silicon Valley, Deborah was struck by the vast differences in power and leadership between the two coasts. She became fascinated by the collaborative cultures of innovation that dominate the Silicon Valley region, especially the voracious appetite for growing value from ideas.

This spurred her to launch four successful businesses and she is currently launching her fifth, Nobiyo Freshwear (under-apparel for women). Another, Alley to the Valley, has grown into the most influential program for connecting powerful business women.

It is this unique experience and understanding that has made her one of the most sought after business speakers today. With companies and industries looking for every new customer, every new idea, every advantage they can find, Deborah specializes in helping organizations do this by understand their under realized assets — their talent workforce — that they already have under their nose, and build systems that unlock their full potential. Both her keynotes and her innovation boot camps for Fortune 500 leaders are fully customized for your very specific needs.

Her clients include Google, McKinsey, TED Talks, Cadence Design, London School of Economics, Microsoft, McDonald’s, WOBI/HSM, NetApp, Princeton University, KPMG, Innotown, Qualcomm, Society for Human Resource Management, Stanford University, Accenture, Texas Economic Development Council, Singularity University Council on Foreign Relations, and many others.

Ultimately, Deborah is the perfect speaker if you are searching for an undeniably compelling presentation exploring how to adapt to the demands of an increasingly fast paced, agile, and unforgiving world.


Deborah Perry Piscione Speaker Videos Back to top

Deborah Perry Piscione, Innovation Keynote Speaker: TEDxHarker School


Deborah Perry Piscione outlines the importance of taking risks and how you can adapt the mindset exercised by the world's most influential innovators and entrepreneurs. She takes risk to a personal level, sharing her own journey of how she gave up law school and moved to Washington D.C. to pursue her own dream of a career in national politics.

Staying on the couch of "a friend of a friend of a friend", Piscione worked as a waitress and in her free time went do-to-door on Capitol Hill searching for a job. After several fruitless months she called her father to express the doubts she had regarding the risk she'd taken. Her father assured her that, "It will happen, but it may not happen on the timeline you want it to happen." A month later she secured a position working for an incoming Florida senator and in the course of one week went from serving tables to sitting in the fifth row of President George H.W. Bush's inauguration.

Piscione reflects that she never would have been able to grow if she had not taken risks and emphasizes the crucial role that others play in our ability to succeed. In fact, when advising businesses, she teaches them how to cultivate a culture of "Yes, and." "You can get miraculous things done when people believe in you," she remarks. "They know that your idea is not perfect, but they know you have the will and risk-taking ability to figure out what that right fit is."

Deborah Perry Piscione, Innovation Keynote Speaker: Speech, The Secrets of Silicon Valley


Women Tech Executive Roundtable



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Deborah Perry Piscione lays out the best practices for democratizicing innovation, creating more value, and spurring growth. A renowned expert on innovation methodology, Piscione's guidelines and insights for fostering and managing a vibrant organization are based on the real-life practices of world-class companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Google. She understands that the driving force of innovation is people and emphasizes the arts of leading, risk-taking, and cultivating a collaborative environment of "Yes, and..." that will enable your business to thrive in today's fast-paced markets.

How to Create a Risk-taking Culture
It's no coincidence that our most revered business icons are also the boldest risk-takers, such as Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. Yet with so much emphasis on short-term stock price gains and bottom line focus, organizations tend to act too safe, resulting in a stagnant business culture which generates entirely forgettable results in a world that demands significant solutions. If groundbreaking innovation is about taking calculated risks, then why do companies not only set reams of policies and procedures to limit risk, but also spend no resources developing the key skills and systems for effective risk-taking?

In this poignant presentation, Deborah discusses how to get back into the business of taking risk. Based on her series of books, including The Risk Factor: Why Every Organization Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters, and the Occasional Spectacular Failure, Deborah Perry Piscione explores risk-taking as a powerful tool for leaders and their organizations. By looking into the fascinating heroes of risk, Piscione makes the case that for your culture to act smarter, faster, and with more agility and creativity, you must explore the one core leadership skill that has been completely ignored in corporate cultures. She explores both the individual skills and organization systems to unleash risk-taking. This is a very exciting speech for an entire audience.

The Secret to Silicon Valley's Staggering Growth
Why do governments around the globe keep sending delegations to Silicon Valley to try to discover its secrets? What is it that Silicon Valley can teach the rest of the world about creating value from ideas, build new forms of business and create disruptive innovation? The secret is in the synergy that creates an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In this keynote, speaker Deborah Perry Piscione explains how different parts of the ecosystem come together as an interconnected web, such as the collaborative dynamics between private and public sectors, the interplay between higher education and the business community and the commercialization of know-how. Piscione takes a close look at the spirit of entrepreneurialism, examining the six characteristics that all Silicon Valley entrepreneurs radiate -- passion, authenticity, love of ideas, an appetite for risk, trustworthiness, and resilience. You will find this an extremely enlightening and inspiring keynote.

It's Our Turn: The Rise of Powerful Business Women
From her experiences running the renowned national women's networking program Alley to the Valley, Deborah Perry Piscione has an unparalleled understanding of what enables women to become great leaders and accomplish their ultimate goals. Even with the rapid rise of women in great leadership roles, the playing field is still pitched away from women.

Deborah talks about the skills and networks you need to develop, as well as the collective risks that women need to take to showcase the strengths of women leaders and improve organizational cultures and productivity. She addresses enduring myths that permeate the minds of decision makers, and provides clear cut solutions.

Turbocharging People: Getting Great Things Done in the Age of Innovation
We all understand how hard it is to manage people. Since human behavior can be unpredictable, we set policies and procedures to limit behavior, and focus our energies on managing productivity and investing in technological solutions. This has led to organization cultures that over reward production at the expense of under rewarding creativity, risk-taking, problem solving, and a general passion for innovation and improvement.

In this breakthrough presentation based on her new book, The People Equation: Why Innovation Is People, Not Products, Deborah Perry Piscione shows that every organization can develop a mindset, an organizational structure, and product development/problem solving processes that will maximize creativity and innovation.

Using examples from admired organizations and from her research into world class business practices, Piscione shows how to create a culture where risk-taking is rewarded, mavericks are encouraged, collaboration between highly competent people is nurtured, and, when experiments and new initiatives are proposed, the response is to ask how rather than question why. This is a truly inspiring and pragmatic presentation on harnessing the creative energy in every organization.

Bold Leadership: Corporate Courage
Leadership is about courage. The courage to chance failure as the price for succeeding big. The courage to ignite the passions of your workforce and being open to great ideas from anyone at any time. It is about doing what is right, and seizing the moment when the iron is hot. So, why is this so hard? Because in all of the books and speeches about leadership, what has been neglected is how to master the art of risk-taking.

In this exciting presentation, Piscione shows how risk can become an incredibly powerful tool in the leader's tool belt. Deborah reveals the key differences between gambling and calculated risk-taking, and how to master the skills of risk. Audiences are then able to build a culture that not only focuses on producing the work, but also create and execute a steady flow of ideas to improve every aspect of the organization, and recognize a leader's bias toward their own ideas to find the balance between long-term value creation and short-term profitability.

Improvisational Innovation: Key to Building a Culture of Growth
In this presentation, Piscione discusses a methodology in innovation called, Imporovisational Innovation, which democratizes the ability for anyone at any level to create and experiment.

Improvisational innovation offers a formal process by which anyone can submit ideas, be taken seriously, and be protected in the process. She explores how to allow good ideas to bubble up from anyone at any time, and solve the age old leadership dilemma of, "How do I know if someone in our company has a brilliant idea that will either generate new revenue or save the company money?"



Deborah Perry Piscione Speaker Testimonials Back to top

"Deborah, thank you for speaking to our global leads, and it was by far, the most valuable insights into Silicon Valley, innovation and the region's economic prowess."
- Accenture

"Thank you so much for your excellent presentation. I tremendously enjoyed the way you presented: clear, to the point and in a very energetic way. Thanks again for a truly engaging performance and for coming the long way!"
- Innotown

"In her presentation, Deborah drilled down for us what it is going to take to create risk-taking cultures and what organizations are going to need in order to succeed in this economy."
- Council of Foreign Relations

"One of the best speakers we've encountered in innovation process. It was Deborah's talk that made us transform our global innovation team and practices."
- Phillip Morris International

"Deborah was all that we expected. Her unique vision of innovation and leadership is exactly what the World Business Forum needed."
- WOBI (HSM)

"We brought in Deborah to speak to 100 manufacturing CEOs as part of our innovation series, and her lessons were a hit. Without a doubt, we are bringing her back."
- Tecnologico de Monterrey

"I could not be happier with the choice to have her come to our event. She really impressed me and it was the general consensus among our students that she really stood her ground and represented women very well. She was so pleasant to work with and was so readily able to accommodate us. She truly shined."
- Northeastern University

"Deborah was a great asset to our client event. She connected with our audience immediately, took questions and spent time with many of the members afterward. She took considerable time to learn about the company and its audience, making the content as relevant as possible. This proved extremely valuable in her presentation the day of the event."
- The Learning Studio

"We so enjoyed having you as our speaker. Great comments are still coming in!"
- Georgia Dept. of Economic Development




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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"Deborah, thank you for speaking to our global leads, and it was by far, the most valuable insights into Silicon Valley, innovation and the region's economic prowess."
- Accenture

"Thank you so much for your excellent presentation. I tremendously enjoyed the way you presented: clear, to the point and in a very energetic way. Thanks again for a truly engaging performance and for coming the long way!"
- Innotown

"In her presentation, Deborah drilled down for us what it is going to take to create risk-taking cultures and what organizations are going to need in order to succeed in this economy."
- Council of Foreign Relations

"One of the best speakers we've encountered in innovation process. It was Deborah's talk that made us transform our global innovation team and practices."
- Phillip Morris International

"Deborah was all that we expected. Her unique vision of innovation and leadership is exactly what the World Business Forum needed."
- WOBI (HSM)

"We brought in Deborah to speak to 100 manufacturing CEOs as part of our innovation series, and her lessons were a hit. Without a doubt, we are bringing her back."
- Tecnologico de Monterrey

"I could not be happier with the choice to have her come to our event. She really impressed me and it was the general consensus among our students that she really stood her ground and represented women very well. She was so pleasant to work with and was so readily able to accommodate us. She truly shined."
- Northeastern University

"Deborah was a great asset to our client event. She connected with our audience immediately, took questions and spent time with many of the members afterward. She took considerable time to learn about the company and its audience, making the content as relevant as possible. This proved extremely valuable in her presentation the day of the event."
- The Learning Studio

"We so enjoyed having you as our speaker. Great comments are still coming in!"
- Georgia Dept. of Economic Development


The People Equation: Why Innovation Is People, Not Products
Every business leader knows that the key to growth is innovation—if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got. Deborah Perry Piscione and David Crawley argue that ultimately the key to innovation is people. After all, creativity is a uniquely human function, something that can't be automated. So how do you design an organization so that it provides the elements that will bear new thinking and bring forth bold ideas? Through The People Equation.

Based on examples from their consulting work and research into successful business practices, Perry Piscione and Crawley's The People Equation enables leaders to create a culture where psychological safety is a given, risk taking is embraced, and collaboration between highly competent people is nurtured, and when experiments and new initiatives look promising, they can quickly be developed and brought to market. This requires upending the usual organizational pyramid and instilling a completely new mindset throughout the organization.

Perry Piscione and Crawley show that in our rapidly changing world, the top is not where the really disruptive ideas are going to come from. And if people are afraid to take chances, even fail, you're never going to get those ideas—playing it safe means you'll be out of the game. The People Equation provides you with a formula for exponentially increasing out-of-the-box thinking in your organization and multiplying your chances for greater growth and success.


The Risk Factor: Why Every Organization Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters, and the Occasional Spectacular Failure
Our most revered business icons of the last few decades are the bold risktakers, such as Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs. Yet in today's stock market-driven economy, companies are playing it safe, with too many leaders focused on short-term gains, rather than value creation. The result is a static business culture that generates forgettable results―even as the world demands big solutions. So how do we get back in the risk-taking game? In The Risk Factor, Deborah Perry Piscione takes the most comprehensive look at this crucial, undervalued leadership behavior, and outlines how companies must support risk-taking across the enterprise. Exploring the heroes of risk, including entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and technologists, and the role risk-taking and failure tolerance play in their success, she makes a compelling case not only for big, flashy mergers or acquisitions, but also for unorthodox choices in everything from leadership to corporate social responsibility. Drawing on case studies from a wide range of now-famous giants (Netflix, Salesforce) and successful start-ups (Tesla, NetApp), she distills lessons for both new entrepreneurs and established companies whose longtime risk aversion has cost them more than they realize.

How to Create a Risk-taking Culture
It's no coincidence that our most revered business icons are also the boldest risk-takers, such as Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. Yet with so much emphasis on short-term stock price gains and bottom line focus, organizations tend to act too safe, resulting in a stagnant business culture which generates entirely forgettable results in a world that demands significant solutions. If groundbreaking innovation is about taking calculated risks, then why do companies not only set reams of policies and procedures to limit risk, but also spend no resources developing the key skills and systems for effective risk-taking?

In this poignant presentation, Deborah discusses how to get back into the business of taking risk. Based on her series of books, including The Risk Factor: Why Every Organization Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters, and the Occasional Spectacular Failure, Deborah Perry Piscione explores risk-taking as a powerful tool for leaders and their organizations. By looking into the fascinating heroes of risk, Piscione makes the case that for your culture to act smarter, faster, and with more agility and creativity, you must explore the one core leadership skill that has been completely ignored in corporate cultures. She explores both the individual skills and organization systems to unleash risk-taking. This is a very exciting speech for an entire audience.

The Secret to Silicon Valley's Staggering Growth
Why do governments around the globe keep sending delegations to Silicon Valley to try to discover its secrets? What is it that Silicon Valley can teach the rest of the world about creating value from ideas, build new forms of business and create disruptive innovation? The secret is in the synergy that creates an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In this keynote, speaker Deborah Perry Piscione explains how different parts of the ecosystem come together as an interconnected web, such as the collaborative dynamics between private and public sectors, the interplay between higher education and the business community and the commercialization of know-how. Piscione takes a close look at the spirit of entrepreneurialism, examining the six characteristics that all Silicon Valley entrepreneurs radiate -- passion, authenticity, love of ideas, an appetite for risk, trustworthiness, and resilience. You will find this an extremely enlightening and inspiring keynote.

It's Our Turn: The Rise of Powerful Business Women
From her experiences running the renowned national women's networking program Alley to the Valley, Deborah Perry Piscione has an unparalleled understanding of what enables women to become great leaders and accomplish their ultimate goals. Even with the rapid rise of women in great leadership roles, the playing field is still pitched away from women.

Deborah talks about the skills and networks you need to develop, as well as the collective risks that women need to take to showcase the strengths of women leaders and improve organizational cultures and productivity. She addresses enduring myths that permeate the minds of decision makers, and provides clear cut solutions.

Turbocharging People: Getting Great Things Done in the Age of Innovation
We all understand how hard it is to manage people. Since human behavior can be unpredictable, we set policies and procedures to limit behavior, and focus our energies on managing productivity and investing in technological solutions. This has led to organization cultures that over reward production at the expense of under rewarding creativity, risk-taking, problem solving, and a general passion for innovation and improvement.

In this breakthrough presentation based on her new book, The People Equation: Why Innovation Is People, Not Products, Deborah Perry Piscione shows that every organization can develop a mindset, an organizational structure, and product development/problem solving processes that will maximize creativity and innovation.

Using examples from admired organizations and from her research into world class business practices, Piscione shows how to create a culture where risk-taking is rewarded, mavericks are encouraged, collaboration between highly competent people is nurtured, and, when experiments and new initiatives are proposed, the response is to ask how rather than question why. This is a truly inspiring and pragmatic presentation on harnessing the creative energy in every organization.

Bold Leadership: Corporate Courage
Leadership is about courage. The courage to chance failure as the price for succeeding big. The courage to ignite the passions of your workforce and being open to great ideas from anyone at any time. It is about doing what is right, and seizing the moment when the iron is hot. So, why is this so hard? Because in all of the books and speeches about leadership, what has been neglected is how to master the art of risk-taking.

In this exciting presentation, Piscione shows how risk can become an incredibly powerful tool in the leader's tool belt. Deborah reveals the key differences between gambling and calculated risk-taking, and how to master the skills of risk. Audiences are then able to build a culture that not only focuses on producing the work, but also create and execute a steady flow of ideas to improve every aspect of the organization, and recognize a leader's bias toward their own ideas to find the balance between long-term value creation and short-term profitability.

Improvisational Innovation: Key to Building a Culture of Growth
In this presentation, Piscione discusses a methodology in innovation called, Imporovisational Innovation, which democratizes the ability for anyone at any level to create and experiment.

Improvisational innovation offers a formal process by which anyone can submit ideas, be taken seriously, and be protected in the process. She explores how to allow good ideas to bubble up from anyone at any time, and solve the age old leadership dilemma of, "How do I know if someone in our company has a brilliant idea that will either generate new revenue or save the company money?"


Deborah Perry Piscione, Innovation Keynote Speaker: TEDxHarker School


Deborah Perry Piscione outlines the importance of taking risks and how you can adapt the mindset exercised by the world's most influential innovators and entrepreneurs. She takes risk to a personal level, sharing her own journey of how she gave up law school and moved to Washington D.C. to pursue her own dream of a career in national politics.

Staying on the couch of "a friend of a friend of a friend", Piscione worked as a waitress and in her free time went do-to-door on Capitol Hill searching for a job. After several fruitless months she called her father to express the doubts she had regarding the risk she'd taken. Her father assured her that, "It will happen, but it may not happen on the timeline you want it to happen." A month later she secured a position working for an incoming Florida senator and in the course of one week went from serving tables to sitting in the fifth row of President George H.W. Bush's inauguration.

Piscione reflects that she never would have been able to grow if she had not taken risks and emphasizes the crucial role that others play in our ability to succeed. In fact, when advising businesses, she teaches them how to cultivate a culture of "Yes, and." "You can get miraculous things done when people believe in you," she remarks. "They know that your idea is not perfect, but they know you have the will and risk-taking ability to figure out what that right fit is."

Deborah Perry Piscione, Innovation Keynote Speaker: Speech, The Secrets of Silicon Valley


Women Tech Executive Roundtable