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Barbara Kellerman
Massachusetts, USA
Speaker Fee Range SPEAKING FEE RANGE ** 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.
$10,000 to $15,000
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Barbara Kellerman
Massachusetts, USA
$10,000 to $15,000
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  • A pioneer in the field of "followership," (a reciprocal social process of leadership) she will deeply change the way your team thinks about leadership.

  • The James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Founding Executive Director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership.

  • Prolific author of numerous books including Essential Selections on Power, Authority, and Influence (2010); The End of Leadership (2012); and Hard Times: Leadership in America (2014).

  • Named by Forbes.com as one of the “Top 50 Business Thinkers” (2009) and by Leadership Excellence as one of the top 15 “thought leaders in management and leadership” (2008–2009, 2010–2011).

Dr. Barbara Kellerman is the James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is the Founding Executive Director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership, and from 2003 to 2006 she served as the Center’s Research Director. Dr. Kellerman has held professorships at Fordham, Tufts, Fairleigh Dickinson, George Washington, Uppsala, and both Dartmouth and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She also served as Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at Fairleigh Dickinson, and as Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Leadership at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Kellerman received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and her M.A. (in Russian and East European Studies), M.Phil., and Ph.D. (in Political Science) degrees from Yale University. She was awarded a Danforth Fellowship and three Fulbright fellowships. At Uppsala (1996–97), she held the Fulbright Chair in American Studies. Dr. Kellerman was cofounder of the International Leadership Association (ILA).

Dr. Kellerman is author and editor of many books including Leadership: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (1984); The Political Presidency: Practice of Leadership (1984); Bad Leadership (2004); Followership (2008); Women and Leadership (2007, co-edited with Deborah Rhode); Essential Selections on Power, Authority, and Influence (2010); The End of Leadership (2012); and Hard Times: Leadership in America (2014).The End of Leadership was long-listed by the Financial Times as among the Best Business Books of 2012, and selected by Choice as “essential” reading. It was also named by Choice as an “Outstanding Academic Title for 2013.” In 2015 Hard Times: Leadership in America received an Honorable Mention Award for its “significant contribution to the field of leadership” from the University of San Diego. In 2016 it too was selected by Choice as an “Outstanding Academic Title.”

Dr. Kellerman has appeared often on media outlets such as CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, NPR, Reuters, and BBC, and has contributed articles and reviews to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and the Harvard Business Review.

Dr. Kellerman speaks to audiences all over the world, including, in recent years, Berlin, London, Moscow, Rome, Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Zurich, St. Gallen, Jerusalem, Turin, Toronto, Montreal, Mumbai, New Dehli, Amsterdam, Kyoto, Sydney, and Munich.

Dr. Kellerman has served on the Advisory Board of Leadership, the Advisory Board of the AAUW project on Women and Leadership, the Advisory Board of the Brookings Institution Leadership Initiative, and the Academic Committee of the Women Leadership Academy (China).

Dr. Kellerman was ranked by Forbes.com as among “Top 50 Business Thinkers” (2009) and by Leadership Excellence in the top 15 of “thought leaders in management and leadership” (2008–2009 and again in 2010–2011). In 2010 she was given the Wilbur M. McFeeley award by the National Management Association for her pioneering work on leadership and followership. In both 2015 and 2016 she was ranked by Global Gurus as #13 on the list of “World’s Top 30 Management Professionals.” In 2016 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Leadership Association.

Barbara KellermanThink of it this way: while you are speaking to a group, you are the leader and they are the followers.

CORE Agency What do you want people to learn/take away from your presentations?

Barbara Kellerman
Leadership is not what it’s cracked up to be, not in theory nor in practice.

CORE Agency What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

Barbara Kellerman
I take account of my audience. Think of it this way: while you are speaking to a group, you are the leader and they are the followers. So, as in any leadership situation, you prepare for the task at hand by taking note of who are your followers, and what is the context within which you and they are situated.

CORE Agency What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

Barbara Kellerman
Any and all – so long as they are open to new ways of thinking about power, authority, and influence.

CORE Agency Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?

Barbara Kellerman
I cover large swaths of the leadership landscape - and I like covering it all!


Harvard University
New York University
Center for Disease Control
Hubert Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
University of Alabama
Congressional Youth Leadership Council
Graduate Center, City University of New York
Smithsonian Institute
University Lecture, University of Bonn
Kulturforum (on German unification) Bonn, Germany
Anglo-American Parliamentarians, Wroxton, England
White Burkett Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia
Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Williams College
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Colorado College
Columbia University
University of Akron
University of Wisconsin
International Affairs Conference, Star Island, Maine
Women’s President’s Organization
University of St. Gallen
Selby Foundation
Commonwealth Club
Leadership Forum, Shanghai
Williams College
Tufts University
Emerson College
Bowdoin College
Council of Scientific Society Presidents
Ripon College
Carnegie Center, Moscow
School of Governance Mario Covas, Sao Paulo
University of Richmond
Air Force Academy
Moravian College
Rider College
Center for Leadership in Education
McCloy Leadership Forum, Berlin
Royal Air Force Leadership Centre, London
Center for Integrative Leadership, University of Minnesota
Public Service Management School, Wales
World Affairs Council
National Council of Bar Presidents, American Bar Association
Institute for Ethical Leadership, Rutgers University
American Society of Association Executives, Montreal
Wexner Israel Fellowship Alumni Institute, Jerusalem
Yale Leadership Institute
Rotman School of Business, University of Toronto
Iowa State University
Nevada Bar Assosiation
Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, Zurich
Leadership Buffalo
Dartmouth College
United Nations Leaders Programme
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Baldwin – Wallace College
Drexel University


Dr. Barbara Kellerman is an innovator in the field of leadership—not because she has nailed down ten specific traits that create a great leader, or because she has a formula for rising to leadership, but because she departs from the leader-centric paradigm to focus instead on "followership" (a reciprocal social process of leadership).

She brings her sharp, magnetic, and knowledgeable speaking style to every keynote—each listener is sure to walk away having learned a wealth of information and armed with tools to create a more positive and productive workplace.

In addition to speeches on followership, Dr. Kellerman is also available to speak on the end of leadership, leadership literacy, and women and leadership. She tailors each program to match her receiving audience, ensuring a meaningful and relevant presentation for her listeners.

The End of Leadership
Becoming a leader has become a mantra. The explosive growth of the "leadership industry" is based on the belief that leading is a path to power and money, a medium for achievement, and a mechanism for creating change. But there are other, parallel, truths: that leaders of every stripe are in disrepute; that the tireless and often superficial teaching of leadership has brought us no closer to nirvana; and that followers nearly everywhere have become, on the one hand, disappointed and disillusioned and, on the other, entitled and emboldened.

Kellerman critically reexamines our most strongly-held assumptions about the role of leadership in driving success. Revealing which of our beliefs have become dangerously out-of-date, thanks to advances in social media culture, she also calls into question the value of the so-called "leadership industry" itself.

Barbara Kellerman departs from the leader-centric approach that dominates our thinking about leadership and management. She argues that, over time, followers have played increasingly vital roles. For two key reasons, this trend is accelerating. Followers are becoming more important, and leaders less.

Through gripping stories about a range of people and places—from multinational corporations such as Merck, to Nazi Germany, to the American military after 9/11—Kellerman makes key distinctions among five different types of followers: Isolates, Bystanders, Participants, Activists, and Diehards. And she explains how they relate not only to their leaders but also to each other.

Thanks to Followership, we can finally appreciate the ways in which those with relatively fewer sources of power, authority, and influence are consequential. Moreover, they are getting bolder and more strategic. To fixate on leaders at the expense of followers is to do so at our peril. The latter are every bit as important as the former, which makes this presentation required listening for superiors and subordinates alike.

Other Suggested Speaking Topics:

    • Leadership Literacy
    • Women And Leadership


LEADERSHIP: Essential Selections on Power, Authority, and Influence
For leaders, by leaders, about what it means to lead. Get the great leadership literature—at your fingertips.

In Leadership, you'll find the most seminal and salient leadership lessons from among a list of great men and women, including:

Sigmund Freud
W.E.B. Du Bois
Mary Parker Follett
Vladimir Lenin
Sojourner Truth
Stanley Milgram
Saul Alinsky
Hannah Arendt
Thomas Hobbes
Mahatma Gandhi
Leo Tolstoy
Nelson Mandela
Peter Singer
Mary Wollstonecraft
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Betty Friedan
Larry Kramer
and more…

Noted author, leadership expert, and Harvard Professor Barbara Kellerman illuminates these great insights and puts them into historical context, explaining how and why they are relevant to you in your capacity as leader, visionary, entrepreneur or, simply, student of leadership.

Sometimes practical, sometimes philosophical, always enlightening and enlivening, the selections in this volume are timeless and universal. They are the classics of the leadership literature—informing and expanding the minds of those who want to lead, and those who want, simply, to know leadership.

Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders
There is no leader without at least one follower—that's obvious. But this groundbreaking volume is the first to provide a sweeping view of followers both in their own right—and in relation to their leaders. It deliberately departs from the leader-centric approach that has for too long dominated our thinking about leadership and management.

Barbara Kellerman argues that followers have always mattered more than we generally understand—and that they matter more now than they ever did before. Moreover the trend is accelerating. Followers are becoming more important, and leaders less.

Through gripping stories about a range of people and places–from multinational corporations such as Merck, to Nazi Germany, to the American military after 9/11, Kellerman makes all-important distinctions among five different types of followers: Isolates, Bystanders, Participants, Activists, and Diehards. And she explains the significance not only of how they relate to their leaders, but also of how they relate to each other.

Followership enables us to see how people with relatively fewer sources of power, authority, and influence matter. They matter when they do something—and they matter even when they do little or nothing. In these rapidly changing times, and as Kellerman makes crystal clear, to fixate on leaders at the expense of followers is to do so at our peril. The latter are every bit as important as the former—which makes this book required reading for superiors and subordinates alike.

Women and Leadership: The State of Play and Strategies for Change
Women and Leadership brings together in one comprehensive volume preeminent scholars from a range of disciplines to address the challenges involving women and leadership. These experts explore when and how women exercise power and what stands in their way. This groundbreaking volume offers readers an informed analysis of the state of women and leadership and offers the most informed and current thinking on

  • The perils of stereotypes
  • The importance of leadership style
  • Gender differences in the decision to seek leadership roles
  • Lessons from women leaders
  • “Opt out” patterns and the need for flexible career paths
  • Global inequalities and initiatives
  • Strategies that get women to the top

    Women and Leadership is indispensable for understanding recent progress toward equal opportunity and the challenges that remain.

    Exclusive Interview Barbara Kellerman
    “Nearly every important “common belief about leadership” is “out-of-date.” ”

    In this interview, Barbara Kellerman discusses:

  • Common misconceptions about leadership.
  • The growing role that followers play in the leadership system.
  • What people need to understand about "followership" and context.

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