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Laura Schwartz Profile

Having acted as the Clinton Administration’s White House Director of Events for four years, Laura Schwartz is an authority on building powerful relationships and staying focused on the task at hand. Throughout her time as event director, her organizational abilities, communication skills, and social savvies kept the White House running smoothly allowing the administration to nurture a strong social network and positive relations with numerous organizations, both domestic and international.

Laura was only 24 when she assumed this position. She arrived at the White House at the beginning of the Clinton administration at age 19 when she volunteered to answer phones. Engaged and proactive, Laura turned her volunteer opportunity into a career; that same year she was hired as a staff assistant in the White House press office becoming the youngest female employee in the administration. She went on to be the White House press secretary for the Midwest and the White House Director of television before assuming her role as event director.

During her time organizing seemingly social events, Laura learned that in the end the dinners and banquets she ran were really about business. She saw major deals sealed over cocktails, but she also many guests fail to seize life changing opportunities. She channeled the lessons she’d learned about networking firsthand into the bestselling book Eat, Drink, and Succeed: Climb Your Way to the Top Using the Networking Power of Social Events.

Today Laura travels around the country and abroad speaking on social networking, engagement, service, and White House history. Her name frequently appears on lists ranking top speakers. She is an ongoing commentator for CNN, the CBS Early Show, BBC, Fox News Channel and Sir David Frost’s Frost Over the World.

  • View Extended/Alternate Bio

    Professional Speaker, Author of Eat, Drink & Succeed and Television Commentator

    Laura Schwartz, the White House Director of Events for the Clinton Administration, created and executed more than 1,000 White House events including State arrival ceremonies and dinners, America’s Millennium Celebration, NATO’s 50th Anniversary, the Concert of the Century and many others.While producing the President’s events on the world stage, Laura demonstrated the Presidency’s ability to inspire a nation and the world through powerful events. She arrived at the White House at just 19 years old with no political connections and volunteered answering phones in the press office. Proving her value immediately Laura climbed her way up the ranks as a Staff Assistant, the Midwest Press Secretary, the Director of Television and ultimately the White House Director of Events. Following the Administration, Laura traveled the world with Former President Clinton for his Foundation and Global Initiative.

    In her first book, Eat, Drink & Succeed! Climb Your Way to the Top Using the Networking Power of Social Events, Laura shares the secrets to building powerful, effective partnerships in our companies, communities and beyond, adding color with personal anecdotes from her life and White House years. As a professional speaker she takes those same details to stages, boardrooms, classrooms and ballrooms around the world in her acclaimed speaking series to empower, motivate and inspire each audience to Eat, Drink & Succeed!

    Laura appears regularly as an international television commentator speaking about leadership, networking, domestic and foreign affairs, pop culture and special events. She covered the 2008 presidential campaign for the CBS Early Show, was the on-air political contributor for Fox News Channel from 2004 to 2007, and was the special correspondent to Larry King Live and CNN for the 2008 presidential primaries. Laura appears on the BBC World News, BBC Wales and has also appeared on Sir David Frost’s Frost Over the World. Laura’s non-partisan commentary is well respected both domestically and internationally.

    Laura is a well-known mistress of ceremonies for multi-day conferences and events including charity galas, sporting events, panel discussions and fashion shows. Whether addressing an intimate gathering of 30 or an audience of 30,000, Laura captivates audiences with her positive energy, expertise and enthusiasm. Laura is the annual emcee for several prominent charitable events and organizations, including the American Heart Association’s HeartWalk in Chicago’s Grant Park, the YWCA annual Leader Luncheon,which honors women and mentors for outstanding achievement in their chosen career fields.

    Laura has been named one of the Best Keynote Speakers by Meetings and Conventions Magazine and is a member of the National Speakers Association serving on the boards of the American Heart Association, the Clean the World Foundation, Common Threads and Event Solutions magazine. She was named one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Chicago” by Today’s Chicago Woman magazine and named one of Chicago’s “Most Bold and Beautiful” by Chicago magazine. In 2009, the prestigious Oxford Union in England invited Laura to speak on the Foreign Policy Legacy of the United States and the role of Women in the World.

    Laura is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, where she founded White House Strategies in 2001. As Laura’s career transformed into predominantly live appearances—from keynotes and panel discussions to television and book signings—Laura Schwartz Live was established, a brand that truly reflects her core services.

    Laura travels extensively both domestically and internationally to work with Fortune’s Top 50 and 500 companies, independent businesses, industry associations, universities and nonprofit organizations, motivating people from all over the world to EAT, DRINK & SUCCEED!

Laura Schwartz Speaking Videos

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Laura Schwartz's Speech Descriptions

Laura Schwartz, named one of the Best Keynote Speakers by Meetings and Conventions magazine, is an unforgettable, high-energy speaker who delivers customized keynotes packed with powerful ways to propel your audience to the next level in business and beyond. Drawing on her experience as the White House Director of Events under the Clinton Administration and the guiding principles of her book, Eat, Drink & Succeed, Laura tailors each presentation to the audience at hand—providing concrete tools to unlock the networking power of every meeting and event that attendees can immediately put to work in their professional and personal lives.

Working closely with speaker bureaus and the client, Laura designs a unique program to meet the specific goals and needs for the audience. Whether she is speaking to a room full of entrepreneurs, sales executives, consultants, women business owners or Fortune 500 CEO’s, Laura motivates her audience to turn relationships into partnerships and ideas into realities. From sharing relatable situations, encouraging stories and historical anecdotes from the White House to incorporating pop culture references and positive humor, Laura motivates, empowers and inspires each audience to apply the tools and techniques needed to Eat, Drink and Succeed!

In addition to keynoting, Laura also emcees conferences and events large and small, conducts interviews on stage with CEO's and organization leaders and moderates expert panel discussions.

KEYNOTES

Eat, Drink & Succeed!
Based on Laura’s book Eat, Drink & Succeed! Climb Your Way to the Top Using the Networking Power of Social Events

This presentation outlines purposeful skills that inspire leadership and drive performance, as it becomes the centerpiece for a truly powerful, positive and productive conference.
Laura’s signature keynote grabs its audience’s attention. It’s motivational, humorous and engaging, but that’s not what makes it powerful. What makes it powerful is that it’s immediately actionable. For the audience, the new networking knowledge can be applied instantly to the conference or event at hand as well as carried back to their offices, shared with their colleagues, team members, clients, partners and put to work in their professional and personal communities.

What’s unique about Eat, Drink & Succeed is that it is more than a series of anecdotes; it’s a compelling story that’s packed with networking tools and command of partnerships. Laura’s behind the scenes stories of the White House, DreamWorks, Oprah and beyond illustrate just how useful these skills are for the savvy professional, regardless of background, industry or career path.
Eat, Drink & Succeed motivates, engages, and most importantly, it drives action.

When used as a keynote as a part of a conference Laura incorporates the conference agenda, teaching the attendees how to maximize every moment from registration to the sessions, breaks, expo, early morning wellness activities and even the “seemingly” social events. And she doesn’t stop there, Laura incorporates your company or association’s year-round engagements as well, so the attendee continues to maximize and identify that there is no such thing as “optional,” but only opportunity—both at your conference and throughout the year back home!

Lead First

Laura’s Lead First presentation is both relevant and relatable as she addresses leadership in successful, turbulent and changing times for companies, associations and most especially for women in the workplace, community and their homes. This presentation, which is very female driven, is unique and empowering as it incorporates more than 200 years of U.S. Presidents, First Ladies (if an all female audience the stories are all from First Ladies) and their stories which have rarely, if ever, been shared before from deep behind the scenes of The White House.

As a witness on the front lines of climatic celebrations as well as moments of great gravity, determination and leadership, Laura achieved a rare perspective on the private and public moments of first families and global leaders.

In this unforgettable program, Laura shares valuable takeaways using inspiring stories and visuals from the earliest White House inhabitants, along with first-hand accounts of defining moments during the Clinton administration. She illustrates real solutions from the successes and failures in leadership that we all can use in our daily lives as we work with our customers and colleagues and share within our communities and families.

All anecdotes are non-partisan, interesting, relevant and relatable to your attendees, company or association and are accompanied by tips that attendees can immediately put into action in their personal or professional lives.

Creating An Innovative Culture Of Engagement

Laura chronicles the positive, negative and challenging influential ‘moments of engagement’ that shaped her life on her way from a town population 6,023 to The White House and today. She takes you on her journey which is reflective in some way of all of ours - coming from a small town in Wisconsin, overcoming a speech impediment, growing up in a struggling then successful family business to The White House, throughout its powerful moments and crises to her life today as a Professional Speaker, Television Host, Author of Eat, Drink & Succeed and most importantly a daughter, sister, fiancée, friend, colleague and business partner.

Laura demonstrates that these are the very same ‘forces of engagement’ that exist in the lives of each attendee to shape their own lives and those of which they have the ability to influence every day professionally and personally no matter their education, role in the workforce or the community. Laura’s shares her top 5 forces including “Turning the Optional into Opportunity,” “Guiding your own personal GPS,” “Power of Networking,” “Be Present,” “Understanding the value of ROI v ROE.”

Get Ready to Eat, Drink & Succeed! A Conference Kickoff
This high-energy, 30- to 45-minute presentation is the perfect way to energize the audience for the conference ahead, while also teaching them valuable tips about how to maximize their time there.

Based on Laura’s philosophy that every social and planned interaction is an opportunity for career development, Laura will teach conference attendees proven tips they can immediately put to work to build partnerships and excel both during and in between conference events. Whether approaching registration, attending a class, walking the exhibit hall, enjoying conference happy hours or evening socials, attendees will feel empowered to take every facet of the conference and make it work to their full advantage.

Laura provides the tips, tools and techniques that motivate attendees to capitalize on all social and business interactions at the conference so that they too can turn relationships into partnerships and ideas into realities. She will incorporate your specific conference activities, initiatives and goals into her kick-off presentation, ensuring that the information is topical,relevant and valuable to your audience. Attendees will start the conference engaged, inspired and energized to Eat, Drink & Succeed!

Must be Present to Win
We must be present to win...because we can’t afford to miss a moment.

A motivating and thought-provoking keynote based on Laura’s 2013 TED Talk, “Invented Here: The Present,” in which she focuses on the importance of being present in life, work, play, our communities and beyond instead of simply going through the motions in life. In an age where we are easily distracted by world events, business, family and individual pressures—we must work at being present because when we are; we are more valuable to our companies, organizations, families, relationships and ourselves.

Must Be Present to Win is both re-affirming and eye opening as Laura shows how attendees can embrace and balance technology at the same time. She sheds new light on how being in the moment—from business meetings, client lunches and conference calls to social events and sitting at the family dinner table—will increase your value in your career and personal life. Laura brings this talk to life using strong relatable examples based on her experience working for President Clinton and post-White House years to prove that we must be present to win... because we can’t afford to miss a moment.

Empowerment Through Service
A motivating address that shows how giving back can play a key role in the foundation of success for an industry, organization and an individual

The 19th century French social scientist Alexis de Tocqueville once stated that the defining characteristic of America is its commitment to service. In this moving keynote address, Laura puts a modern-day twist on de Tocqueville’s statement, showing how giving back today can make a difference in your world and in your organization. Regardless of their role in organization, Laura will empower the audience members to strengthen their commitment, whether that means working harder, becoming more involved or giving greater. As Laura explains, volunteer associations and service organizations are instrumental in our society because they can often do things more effectively than our own government. She communicates the power of service using colorful examples and entertaining anecdotes from her work both in the White House and afterward traveling around the world with the Clinton Global Initiative.Audience members will feel empowered to give and continue to give back through the sponsoring organization because they’ll see that their service not only affects the lives of those they help directly, but also their own personal and professional communities.

Laura tailors this keynote address based on the association’s objectives and the audience in order to create a completely unique presentation that is appealing, engaging and, most importantly, effective. This presentation has been successfully used to inspire organizations for their annual conference, to motivate donors and raise funds for new non-profit initiatives, and to kick-start membership drives and raise awareness in the community. Corporations have also used this keynote as a way to motivate their employees for their internal campaigns and company-wide philanthropy. Laura has presented customized versions of this address to organizations such as the United Way, YWCA, American Heart Association, Illinois Governor’s Conference, General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Emergency Nurses Association, and the Junior League of Chicago. Each organization has reported stronger results with this keynote than in previous years.

Setting the Bar
Explores the lives of strong, courageous women, both past and present, to inspire the women of today and tomorrow

This inspiring keynote focuses on the “bars” set by female leaders, both past and present, who have changed history and created the professional and community landscape for women today. Laura takes the audience on a journey that explores the lives of notable women from around the world and across a variety of fields—such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Rosa Parks, Hilary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and other females—to better understand how women today are shaped by the skills, strength and struggles of those who came before them. Looking also at those who set the bar for these famous women, Laura shows the audience how they too—as women who are leaders, mothers, spouses, sisters and friends—are setting the bar for themselves, their families and other women everyday, even if they don’t realize it.

This motivating message relates to women of all ages in every stage of their career and life and it can be specifically tailored for your organization. Whether it is a corporation, industry association, non-profit or other organization, Laura will ensure her message relates to your audience. She can incorporate your organization’s own founders, leaders or other strong females to demonstrate the setting of their bars to develop an even stronger connection with the audience.

THE WHITE HOUSE PRESENTATIONS

The Art of a State Dinner
Drawing on her extensive event experience at the White House, Laura discusses the intrigue and inside secrets of a state visit while unveiling the foundation on which a successful state dinner is created. She shares the social traditions started by Jacqueline Kennedy as well as the small details that make a big impact and most importantly, Laura reveals the most essential element for a successful event—the confident, gracious host. Laura will teach the audience the tricks of the trade and, in doing so, empower them to feel fully secure in that role.

Along the way, Laura colors her presentation with anecdotes from her time in the White House and shares captivating visuals that will inspire and engage. She teaches her audience how to produce an event that is fun and entertaining for guests while also achieving the objectives of the host person or host organization, reminding the audience, “We do not host events. We host guests.” And whether hosting a small, personal event with a budget of $50 or a large corporate function with a budget of $5 million, it all comes back to the host—an event with a capable host has unlimited potential.

The Power of the Presidential Inauguration
Laura offers a sneak peak into the deep and colorful history of Presidential Inaugurations, their elements and details, including the swearing in, parade, and of course the balls. It’s one of the most coveted invitations in Washington. Laura discusses the power of an Inauguration, from how guests vie for an invitation to how they work the most powerful room in Washington. She also shares the traditional and sometimes unique locations as well as the planning and participation of the First Family that dates back to George Washington at the first Inauguration in New York City. After all, Inaugurations and their balls are so powerful they only happen every four years!

Holidays at the White House
Laura takes her audience on a holiday adventure through her detailed descriptions and visuals of the incredible White House Holiday Celebrations. In this complete behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of the Holiday celebration, Laura leaves not a sprig of holly unturned, sharing all the details from the first planning session in January to the first holiday reception in December. Audiences will be enthralled by stories of the thousands of artisans and craftsmen who work tirelessly to create the White House holiday décor. Laura will provide a glimpse into the top-secret process of designing the Gingerbread House and the hunt for the official White House tree. Audiences of all ages delight in this upbeat presentation, one that promises to enchant, amaze and inspire participants to experience a bit of the White House holiday whimsy in their own home.

The Gardens and Their Glory
Did you know the 18 acres The White House sits on is actually considered a National Park? Laura takes her audience on a journey through the history and development of the White House Gardens and their evolving uses through the decades. While the gardens have long been known as a place of respite and reflection for the most powerful man in the world, they are also the setting for thousands of historic and social events, from bill signings, press conferences and the traditional pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey to weddings, teas, dinners, concerts and millennium celebrations. Laura offers her audience a glimpse into the secrets of the gardens and perhaps inspire them to grow a rose garden of their own!

What People are Saying about Seeing Laura Speak

Rating Entries

“Behind the scenes at the White House, Laura saw firsthand that we can best ‘achieve ourselves’ by helping others, but that doing so requires us to go beyond our good intentions with a determination not to be distracted and a commitment to building partnerships with those who share our goals.”
    President Bill Clinton

“Laura is an outstanding communicator as I know from her sparkling appearances on Frost Over The World. I’m sure that her book will be an equal success. As she says ‘Your career isn’t 9-5, it’s 24-7’, and she’s living proof of just how well that works.”
    Sir David Frost

“Laura’s talent and command of the audience, as well as a well-presented keynote address made the show for all in attendance. I would highly recommend Laura as a keynote and emcee. I am proud to have worked with her and will leverage the fact that I know her in every circle I can!”
    Kevin Johnston, Director of Events, Collinson Media and Events

“Laura Schwartz was my favorite speaker for her research into who we were and building that into her presentation.”
    Attendee of Executive Secretary LIVE Conference, London

“You did a tremendous job emceeing! I have read the book from cover to cover. I especially enjoyed your Power Point reiteration in the back!”
    Candi Gilar, Sr. Manager, Business Development, American Express

“Thank you for a phenomenal presentation at the EmCare Annual Kick-off.Your presentation will help move us to the next level. I received comments such as, ‘Thank you for an amazing meeting.’ ‘It is a terrific vision for the company.’ ‘Best meeting I’ve ever attended.’ ‘I’m pumped.’ ‘Wow!’ ‘We are changing healthcare.’ ‘There is no limit to where we can take this company.'”
    Jay Taylor, Executive Vice President, Emergency Medicine Services Corporation

“Laura, I can still you see materializing in front of us last Friday to close this very successful EUMA Conference in London. Getting to the podium, you passed by me and brushed my shoulder with your hand, making eye contact. You are very gifted and contagious in your energy, and that, is remarkable to witness. I feel privileged to have been in that room and to have the opportunity to read your very interesting book about networking and how to make sense out of it!”
    Angeliki Kallianou, European Commission in Brussels

“Your presentation was wonderful, as always, and our team was fully engaged. We received much positive feedback about you as a speaker and the absolute relevance of the subject for our team. As always, you were a big hit!”
    Loretta Abrams, Senior Vice President HSBC

“Laura, you were just terrific at our meeting and we received nothing but rave reviews back from our attending members! I can’t remember a time when one of our speakers received such all around praise from this many attendees. Great job and thank you for making us look so smart by booking you for the event!”
    Jason Carroll, Director of Events The Florida Aquarium, President Tampa Bay Meeting Planners International

“Before attending Secretary LIVE, I wouldn’t know how to strike up a conversation at an event or dinner on an unfamiliar subject. Laura Schwartz was extremely inspirational and provided some really useful tips.”
    Attendee of Executive Secretary LIVE Conference, London

“Laura’s enthusiasm as she presented each and every award kept the audience on their toes. What could have been a lengthy, uneventful program became a true celebration of everyone’s work to bring United Way’s mission to life. She was flawless! Attendees raved that thisyear’s program was by far their favorite due in large part to Laura’s energy.”
    Sarah Frick, Communications Director, United Way

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Books by Laura Schwartz:

eat_drink_and_succeed

Eat, Drink and Succeed
Communications wunderkind Laura Schwartz networked her way from answering phones for President Clinton’s press office at age 19 to producing more than 1,000 events as the White House Director of Events. In her first book, Eat, Drink & Succeed, Schwartz, now a national television commentator and public speaker, shares the secrets that skyrocketed her onto the world stage. Taking a cue from show biz, she presents her strategy in fun and easy-to-follow steps: Setting the Scene, Casting Call, Dress Rehearsal, Showtime and Encore! Eat, Drink & Succeed is an entertaining and enlightening read, appropriate for boardroom or beachside.

There’s something to be said for being in the right place at the right time, but if you don’t capitalize on the moment, all you’ve got is a missed opportunity.

Laura Schwartz understands the power of seizing the moment better than anyone. As a 19-year-old college student, she turned a volunteer position in the White House into the opportunity of a lifetime. Using her persuasive and engaging social skills, she went from answering phones to serving as President Bill Clinton’s Midwest Press Secretary, Director of Television and, ultimately, Director of Events, where she oversaw 12 state dinners, America’s Millennium Celebration and countless other high-profile events.

Laura learned plenty while producing the President’s events on the world stage, but one lesson stuck with her: No matter how social an event appears, it’s business. She watched huge deals unfold over cocktails at state dinners, but she also watched many White House guests squander chances to turn these seemingly social events into life-changing opportunities. When the Clinton Administration ended, Laura began to realize this lesson extended far beyond the Rose Garden. Whether it’s a cocktail party, a Little League game or a casual conversation on the treadmill at the gym, there are powerful possibilities lurking in social situations everywhere we turn.

Through her acclaimed lecture series, “The Networking Power of Social Events,” Laura has brought her unique perspective on everyday situations to audiences around the world. Now, with her new book Eat, Drink & Succeed: Climb Your Way to the Top Using the Networking Power of Social Events, her message is readily accessible to the masses.

In Eat, Drink & Succeed, Laura shares how she used the power of her own social scenes in every phase of her life: from her days growing up in Plymouth, Wis., to her time at the White House and in her ongoing role as a television commentator for various outlets including CNN, the CBS Early Show, BBC, Fox News Channel and Sir David Frost’s Frost Over the World. In a simple, straightforward style, the book shows readers how to apply those skills to their own lives. In Eat, Drink & Succeed, Laura explains how to:

    • Identify your social scenes
    • Harness the power of the guest
    • Get invited to the right events
    • Arrive at the event armed with research, knowledge, business cards and everything you need to achieve your goal
    • Make the right impression
    • Achieve your goals not by asking what people can do for you, but what you can do for others
    • Follow up after the event
    • And much, much more

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