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Robert Safian

Founder at The Flux Group and Host of Masters of Scale: Rapid Response

Former Managing Editor at Fast Company, Time, Fortune, Money

Robert Safian is one of the most sought-after speakers, moderators, and interviewers in modern business. From his acclaimed podcast “Masters of Scale: Rapid Response”—which has identified critical post-pandemic lessons across industries— to leadership positions at Fast Company, Time, and Fortune, Safian has been lauded as an unparalleled source of insight on the future of global enterprise. With deep relationships in C-suites at hundreds of blue-chip brands and dynamic startups, Safian has unique access to the cutting-edge developments and breakthrough strategies that are reshaping our world.

Safian has been propelled by a reputation for near-clairvoyant prediction. He was the first editor to put Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on a magazine cover and covered Airbnb, Netflix and Uber long before they were household names. For nearly twelve years he led the influential, award-winning business magazine Fast Company, turning it into the world’s leading progressive business media brand. He was named Editor of the Year by Adweek, and earned the highly coveted National Magazine Award for Magazine of the Year in 2014, beating out rivals including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine and more. Prior to Fast Company, Safian was the executive editor for Time and Fortune and headed Money as its chief editor for six years.

A Keynote Speaker with Big Stage Experience

  • What does it mean to “lead the pack”?
  • How do we make innovation work better?
  • How do I lead the workforce of the future

 

 

  • Lessons of Rapid Response: Succeeding In The Age of Covid
  • The Secrets of Generation Flux
  • Is Your Company a “Fast” Company?
  • How Great Leaders Thrive Amid Chaos
  • Lessons of the World’s Most Innovative Companies
  • Leading in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
  • World-class Moderator

“Robert Safian was the perfect speaker for our Leadership and High Performance Conference. The audience loved him.”
Conference Director, HSM

“Yesterday’s appearance was fantastic! Bob was a pleasure to meet and see in action. An interesting presentation and audience participation was exactly what VMware was looking for and they got it. He stayed and additional hour listening to the following panel discussion before departing.”
Event Planner, VMware

“€œBob Safian was an excellent speaker at our annual meeting. His keynote really resonated with our audience because of his intimate knowledge of events and the challenges that our attendees face on a day-to-day basis. His thought-provoking session provided valuable insight, allowing our audience to immediately connect with him. It was the perfect kickoff to start our annual event.”
CEO, Intl. Assn. of Exhibitions & Events

“I wanted to take a moment to thank you for delivering such a thought-provoking experience at our Leadership Forum this week. In talking to my team, it was clear that they heard your message. A “Fast Company€” must relentlessly question, collaborate and challenge assumptions. Thank you again for reminding us to use a wide lens on our work.”
President, Astellas Pharma US, Inc.

“Great Job Again! And he was so wonderful to work with. It no secret why we keep coming back to him.”
Senior Event Producer, August Jackson

“Thank you Bob for making our Sales Kickoff Meeting a huge success.”
Event Marketing Director, Abbot

Travels From:  New York
City: NYC
$30,001 and Up

Biography

Robert Safian is one of the most sought after speakers, moderators and interviewers in modern business by chronicling thousands of odds-defying organizations and leaders, getting inside access to their secrets of success. He synthesizes their lessons into insightful and thoroughly entertaining presentations filled with compelling storytelling.

Robert Safian is the founder of the Flux Group and the former editor-in-chief and managing director of the influential, award-winning business magazine, Fast Company, the world’s leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation, technology, and leadership. Written for, by, and about the most creative business leaders, Fast Company and its affiliates inspire people to think beyond traditional boundaries and embrace a future that is evolving more rapidly than ever. Under Safian’s leadership, Fast Company has received numerous accolades, including the highly coveted National Magazine Award for Magazine of the Year in 2014. Named Editor of the Year by Adweek in 2009, Safian has also served as an executive editor for Time and Fortune and headed Money as its chief editor for six years.

Safian has emerged as a leading voice in the innovation economy, propelled by a reputation for near-clairvoyant prediction. He was the first editor to put Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on a magazine cover and covered Airbnb, Netflix, and Uber long before they were household names. Whether assessing a startup in Detroit or the tech scene in Palo Alto, an innovator in Shanghai or an iconoclast in Cape Town, Safian is constantly translating what is cutting-edge to the mainstream. By presenting stories of the people behind innovative business thinking, he provides hope to millions of talented professionals, entrepreneurs, and leaders that meaningful change is possible.

Robert Safian stewards several of the most groundbreaking business gatherings, including The Innovation Festival in New York City and the Creativity-Counter Conference in Los Angeles. He has conducted onstage interviews with many of the world’s most intriguing leaders including Serena Williams, Chelsea Clinton, Princess Reema Bint Bandour of Saudi Arabia, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Sarah Jessica Parker and the CEOs of Pepsico, Chobani, Pixar, Nike, Under Armour, J Crew, Warby Parker and more. He has been a keynote presenter at events ranging from SxSW Interactive to the United Nation’s Global Accelerators Council, the National Retail Federation’s “Big Show” to the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. He is a frequent guest on CBS, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, and other TV networks.

In addition to all of Safian’s wide experiences, pool of knowledge, and deft storytelling skills, he is also warm, approachable, and an expert at working with event organizers to personalize his presentations for each audience.

Presentations

Our business reality has been permanently adjusted. The challenges of the “BC” era—before coronavirus—were already acute, with intense competition, generational and global pressures rising, tech-fueled uncertainties. But in today’s “AC” world—after coronavirus—the pressures are even more acute, and the stakes even higher.

To succeed in this environment requires a new kind of playbook, one that pairs urgency in some areas with patience in others; where the right technology is a win-or-lose requirement, yet human capital is more important than ever; where remote work has changed what organizations need from leaders. Creativity and innovation are clashing with efficiency in new ways, altering accepted practices and redefining the equation for success.

Drawing on more than 60 intensive, in-depth interviews since the pandemic began with the world’s top CEOs and business leaders, journalist, adviser and podcast host Robert Safian offers a cohesive framework for addressing these unprecedented times. Presenting clear, engaging and often-unexpected lessons, Safian delves into the personal, practical learnings from leaders at Airbnb to Verizon, Delta to Marriott, GM to Target, sharing memorable and often intimate stories of their in-the-trenches choices, decisions and epiphanies.

There are no simple answers in these difficult times, but sticking with yesterday’s approach is a formula for trouble. For all the dislocations, now is an ideal moment to inspire and reshape a career, a team, an organization. By bringing to life the insights that matter most, Safian shows just how critical this moment is, and how thoughtful and intentional our choices must be to create the future we all want

Modern business is pure chaos. To succeed in this climate requires a whole new approach. Organizations need to invest in people who thrive in this environment. They are the members of Generation Flux. This is less a demographic designation than a psychographic one.

What defines GenFlux is a mind-set that embraces instability, and thrives in disruption—recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions. Not everyone will join Generation Flux, but to be successful, businesses and individuals will have to work at it. This is no simple task. The vast bulk of our institutions—educational, corporate, political—are not built for flux.

With so many leaders now emphasizing agility, there is still an incomplete understanding on how to make that work. Robert Safian has researched and interviewed scores of GenFluxers, from General Stanley McChrystal and GE’s Beth Comstock, to Mashable’s Peter Cashmore and Atom Factory’s Troy Carter, to provide you with a look at the changing playing field and how to recruit and empower GenFluxers to drive your future success.

With the rising pace of competition and ever-changing consumer demands, it can be very hard for business leaders to look toward the future.

Robert Safian, editor of the award-winning innovative business magazine Fast Company, defines the important distinction of being “fast”, and provides three distinct guidelines to help companies and business people determine how to ensure future success by incorporating elements of agility and adaptation.

Audiences walk away with the tools necessary to assess and implement a “fast” approach to business.

 

This may be one of the most intriguing leadership speeches you will ever experience.

Safian shares the inside stories of amazing leaders who have transformed their organizations and their industries in the face of constant change in culture and business.

The pace of change in culture and business has never been more intense — from healthcare to technology, media to transportation — and it can be paralyzing. However, it also signals dramatic opportunity for those who are able to take advantage. A cohort of leaders is pointing the way, defined not by chronological age but by a mindset. These are the members of Generation Flux, whose perspectives and strategies offer insights and solutions for all of us. Chaos is increasingly the norm, but chaotic change should not slow us down. If we have the right tools and can surf the wave of change, great things are possible.

Safian mixes the most effective case studies with his business acumen and natural curiosity to tailor his presentation to the specific needs of your organizations and audience. Both inspiring and educating, he offers the knowledge necessary to successfully navigate the journey of change.

In this informative and enlightening presentation, Fast Company magazine’s award-winning editor Robert Safian shares his firsthand experience with the likes of Apple, Starbucks, and Under Armour, offering insights on today’s most innovative companies.

He shows how companies can thrive, even in tough times, by embracing the power of innovative ideas and creative execution.

Recently, Netflix quietly deleted all the remaining user reviews on its service. And just like that, CEO Reed Hastings completed the latest shift in his company’s ever evolving strategy: away from the wisdom of crowds in its content recommendations, in favor of the wisdom of the machine. The algorithm is now firmly in charge at Netflix—as it increasingly is across the economy.
The implications of artificial intelligence and the rise of the algorithm have never been more relevant, more important, or more complex. Discussion and consternation about AI has reached culture-wide status, and an essential, worthwhile dialogue. Yet in the big picture, the bottom-line is irrefutable: Tech’s newest wave is upon up, and there’s no going back.

Whether you run a big public company or a nascent startup, whether you are inside academia or in the nonprofit world, whether you oversee a team or contribute to the operations of an enterprise, understanding AI’s emergence is central for all of us. In this presentation, Robert Safian explores five lessons that underscore how AI and the algorithm is redefining business and organizational leadership—including the biggest lesson every leader and businessperson needs to grapple with to thrive in this era.

Getting to the heart of the story and digging to find insights that will resonate long after your event is over is Robert Safian’s specialty.

One of the best interviewers of our generation, he deploys a warm, disarming style, able to weave hard-hitting topics and emotional reflections into a compelling narrative.

He also has an innate ability to tie varying speeches and panels together into one central message, creating more effective and entertaining general sessions. Take the time to learn more.

Areas of expertise

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Futurist
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Moderator/Discussion Leader
  • Technology
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