Betsy Myers Profile

  • Myers is one of the foremost experts on the changing nature of leadership in the 21st century.

  • As Chief Operating Officer of Barack Obama's 2007-2008 presidential campaign, Myers built a $100,000,000 operation from the ground up.

  • The founder of Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business and the first-ever director of the White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach, Myers has been one of the most visible advocates for getting more women into political and business leadership positions.
  • A leading advocate in the advancement of women in both business and politics, Betsy Myers was one of the masterminds behind President Barack Obama’s 2007-2008 campaign. Since then she has become one of the most sought-out speakers and consultants on the changing nature of leadership.

    As Chief Operating Officer, Myers used her customer service expertise and business savvy to establish Obama’s national campaign operations in January 2007. Though Obama was initially considered a long-shot candidate, Myers built up a $100,000,000 organization that stayed focused and turned Obama into a serious competitor after a historic win in the 2008 Iowa Caucus. Ultimately, her team helped secure him the White House in a general election in which he received 69.5 million votes, the highest amount of votes ever won by a presidential candidate.

    Prior to spearheading the Obama campaign’s operations, Myers served as the first-ever director of the White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach under the Clinton administration. She was executive director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and more recently founded the Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business, where she served as director for nearly 5 years.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Betsy Myers most recently served as a senior adviser to Barack Obama’s Presidential Campaign. She joined the campaign in January 2007 as the Chief Operating Officer tasked with the challenge of building a $100,000,000 organization and established the campaign with a business operational model and customer service mentality.

      Myers also represented the campaign as a senior adviser and as Chair, Women for Obama. She traveled extensively in 2008 speaking to undecided voters and particularly on women’s outreach. These efforts included a working partnership with Women for Obama and the DNC’s Women’s Leadership Forum. She spent significant time working on unity efforts—meeting with Clinton supporters across the country hearing their concerns and inviting them to join the Obama efforts.

      Prior to this appointment, Myers was the Executive Director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard′s Kennedy School of Government. She came to CPL in 2003, with a track record of strategically building and realigning organizations. Myers to her credit focused the Center′s teaching and research around personal leadership and the fully integrated person. This centered on her strong belief and conviction that the hardest person we will ever manage is ourselves. This culminated in a partnership with CPL and The Hoffman Institute. The results and impact were immediate and staggering. She also increased the Center’s efforts around women and leadership while working closely with the Harvard’s Women’s Leadership Board (2000-2007).

      A senior official in the Clinton Administration, she was the President′s senior adviser on women′s issues. As Deputy Assistant to the President, she launched and was the first Director of the White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach. She played a critical role in Clinton′s re-election effort in 1996 and figured prominently in shaping the Administration′s legislative agenda on issues such as domestic violence, reproductive choice, breast cancer, and women in business.

      Myers also served as the Associate Deputy Administrator for Entrepreneurial Development in the U.S. Small Business Administration. She implemented the SBA’s national requirements under President Clinton’s Welfare to Work Initiative and was responsible for the agency’s technical assistance, management, and distance learning programs. In a previous post, Myers was the Director of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the SBA. She served as an advocate for the 7.8 million women entrepreneurs in our country.

      Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, Myers spent 6 years building Myers Insurance and Financial Services based in Los Angeles. She specialized in the small business and women’s market providing insurance and retirement planning.

      A Public Service Fellow at Harvard′s Kennedy School, she graduated with a M.P.A. in 2000, and then served as the School’s Director of Alumni Programs and External Relations before directing the Center for Public Leadership.

    Betsy Myers Speaking Videos

    Bring Betsy Myers to Speak Live at Your Event


    Check Speaker Availability

    Betsy Myers's Speech Descriptions

    Betsy Myers draws from an extensive career in business and politics to help leaders and teams break through to a higher level of results. Her real life examples from building the first Obama campaign illustrate accessible tactics for connecting with others and bringing out the best in them, even in stressful circumstances.

    Myers has revitalized and empowered audiences ranging from 10 to 750 attendees with her relevant approaches to developing a personal leadership agenda and following through to meet your goals.

    Balancing Head and Heart: Achieve Excellence in Leadership and Create Outstanding Results
    An increasing amount of research looks at the success that results when managers authentically integrate masculine and feminine personality and character traits – what we traditionally think of as the head and the heart. The old masculine model of command and control leadership is no longer effective. You can get anyone to do anything for a short period of time but you won’t get their heart. Successful leaders today win both the hearts and minds of their teams. The world has changed and this new leadership model is necessary to inspire and succeed with today’s modern worker and for our modern life.

    How do leaders successfully fuse such qualities as warmth, compassion and collaboration with “strength of purpose” and decisiveness? How does this generate excellence in leadership while creating a productive and happy workplace? Betsy will explore this issue, providing examples and best practices from leaders we can learn from.
    She will discuss how we can utilize this balance at work and at home as we confront the complexities of our changing world, each worker, and the workplace.

    The Changing Paradigm of Leadership – A New Frontier for Women in Leadership – Including Men

    How can it be that women currently hold just 12%-15% of senior leadership (C-suite) positions in corporate America? Why haven’t we made more progress, given that women now represent 58% of our college graduates and hold 50% of middle-management positions? Savvy business leaders today are no longer asking “why” they should include and advance women in their organizations, but agree that in today’s competitive global marketplace they must harness the top-tier talent in their midst to survive and remain competitive and profitable.

    In this discussion, Betsy will discuss this popular topic and ask the question, “Shouldn’t we be bringing men into this conversation as full partners?” To truly support, retain and promote women in the workplace, we need to engage our male colleagues in the advancement of women. Betsy has profound insight into today’s leadership styles and will discuss the important skills both men and women need to succeed in today’s modern workplace and with today’s modern worker.

    Leadership Creates a Feeling
    Research and statistics indicate that as many as one in two American workers feel disconnected in their workplace. This accounts for $350 billion of lost productivity each year. At the same time, American companies spend millions a year on leadership development programs. In her remarks, Betsy challenges us by asking, “Are we teaching the right practices to our future leaders?”

    Her book, Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You, describes a counterintuitive view of leadership. When people “feel” valued, supported, appreciated, included, and understood, they are inspired to do their best work. The job of any leader is to bring out the productive feelings of their people. Betsy describes seven principles that serve as a road map for any leader who aspires to bring out the best in their people. This is not just the right thing to do, but rather a proven strategy to employee engagement and profitability.

    Authentic Leadership and the Leader in You
    Over the past 50 years, leadership scholars have conducted more than 1,000 studies to determine the leadership styles, characteristics and personality traits of the ideal leader. None have produced a clear profile with distinct skills, traits or a specific style that led to success because true leadership is when each of us steps into who we truly are. It is the discovery and deep understanding of our personal story that brings meaning to our lives. We trust leaders who are authentic and not trying to be someone else.

    The key to authentic leadership is the combination of being your true self while also learning about the people around you. This combination is what enables leaders to create the environment and culture where people will bring their best selves to a team, partnership or relationship to achieve desired results. This session highlights the journey of authentic leadership, understanding what it looks like for each of us and how we can help others around us do the same.

    Being Strategic with Your Career and Your Life – How to Create Your Own Personal Strategic Plan for Success
    In this presentation, Betsy discusses important research and thinking around women in leadership and how to be strategic with your own career. Tracing her own personal journey in the private sector, politics and academia, Betsy brings perspective from her experiences as a successful female leader. She will help audiences understand how to confront the work-life balance question, (“Is it really possible?”), the different leadership styles of men and women, and the leadership qualities necessary for the next generation of women. Other topics discussed will include finding mentors and how to best leverage your existing network and interpersonal skills.

    Traits of Resilient Leaders
    Resilience is formed from disruptive change, often what we thought we did not or do not want. It causes us to lose our focus and comfort level, our energy is disrupted and we feel exhausted, our morale and confidence is at an all time low and trauma from our past can be reactivated. This is life and no one escapes the occasional heartbreak and disappointment. It is not what happens to us but how we bounce back…but more importantly, bounce forward when unexpected challenges and opportunities present themselves. As Carl Jung said, “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”

    This keynote will explore our capacity for resilience along with key strategies to succeed and thrive where you thought you couldn’t. How did we handle disappointment in the past? How do I see it as a blessing and turn this into a positive learning experience? How do I move towards my passion from this place and/or help others who find themselves in a similar place?

    The Art of Networking
    Do you think that networking is walking into a cocktail party with your business cards? Most of us of do and it makes us uncomfortable. The good news is . . . there is another way to think about networking. Life is all about relationships and networking is the skill that not only builds your network but keeps it alive. Your network is both professional and personal and often at times the two overlap. Your network impacts your life in many ways including, getting a job or promotion; getting a project or initiative approved and/or implemented; being included in internal and external meetings and opportunities, etc.

    Research shows that we are just 2-6 people from anyone we wish to meet. Networking is simply a tool that allows us to build and grow our professional contacts to accomplish your goals and reach your dreams. This session will cover the key aspects of networking that include communications skills, information exchange and collaboration.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Betsy Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Betsy’s wealth of leadership experience combined with her authentic, vulnerable delivery was extremely impactful to our leaders at Southwest. She has an uncanny ability to connect with her audience through real life examples of success and struggles. Betsy is a tremendous talent and her impact has been felt throughout our leadership team.”

    – Elizabeth Bryant, Talent Development, Southwest Airlines

    “Great job Betsy! Our survey results after your September speech were extremely positive. 97% of women thought the content was relevant and something that they could apply to their own jobs. Well done and extremely effective. Thank you again.”

    – Jenny Xu, Executive Director, Commercial Emerging Technology Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations

    “The session with Betsy Myers is transformative for our participants. Betsy creates an intimate setting where participants reflect deeply about themselves as leaders, they recognize their strengths through their challenges, and they carry this inspiration forward.”

    – Laurie Hurd, Executive Director, ISANNE (Independent Schools Association of Northern New England)

    Have You Seen this Speaker? Leave a Star Rating.

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Books by Betsy Myers:

    Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You
    Why is it that some people challenge and motivate us, while others drain our spirit? What is that magical quality certain people have that makes others engage fully?

    In her hugely inspirational and practical book, Betsy Myers—senior adviser to two US presidents and former executive director of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership— demonstrates that you do not need to be in a boardroom, on a battlefield, or on a ballot to have a profound impact on everyone around you. Good leadership is not about having the most knowledge or power but about how you make others feel. Drawing on her experiences from the Oval Office to the playground, Myers reveals seven core principles that will help you:

  • Set the right priorities for yourself
  • Uncover problems while they are still easy to fix
  • Connect with others on a deeper level
  • Collaborate with those whose viewpoints differ from yours
  • Push through your fears

    True leadership is not just all around us—it’s within us.

  • Related Speakers


    Need help filling the seats at your next meeting / event?

    Call us / email us / check availability and fee for your favorite speaker.

    Get in touch
    Call us: (760) 656-8770
    Toll free in the US: (877) 717-5327