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 David  Thomas, Ph.D. Image

David Thomas, Ph.D.

Dean, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University; Former Faculty Chair and Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Business; Preeminent Expert on Strategic Human Resource Management

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Fee Range:
$15,000 - $25,000


David Thomas, esteemed dean, top business school professor and award-winning thought-leader, is a recognized authority on mentoring, executive development, and the challenges of creating and managing a diverse workforce. Ground-breaking, thought-provoking and sometimes controversial, Thomas addresses the area of strategic human resource management including issues related to cultural diversity, leadership and organizational change; his studies have encompassed all sectors of the economy, business, government and not-for-profit.

Thomas' blockbuster book, Breaking Through: The Making of Minority Executives in Corporate America, has been hailed as a "necessity for the diverse needs of the twenty-first century" and is the recipient of the Academy of Management's George R. Terry Book Award for outstanding contribution to the advancement of management knowledge. Engaging and enlightening, Thomasoffers a new paradigm for managingtoday's complex workforcethat provides effective action for leadership, change, growth and a prosperous future for organizations and individuals.

Speech Topics

What is the evidence that racial group membership affects career outcomes and experiences? What can organizations and leaders do to ensure they create a level field that allows for all to advance according to their ability to contribute? Thomas expertly analyzes and addresses these controversial issues by applying empirical research, leveraging the stories of successful leaders and organizations and teaching the inspiring lessons about how to create truly meritocratic workplaces in the 21st Century.

Leaders of professional service firms in areas such as law, consulting and accounting face particular challenges different from their counterparts in traditional and more hierarchical corporations. In this illuminating, insightful presentation, Thomas outlines these differences and the unique dilemmas these leaders face. To address and manage these issues effectively, leaders of these firms must have a clear leadership agenda, mobilize their network to achieve it, and learn to be opportunistic as they leverage client-serving demands to advance their leadership goals.

Change is now part of the new normal for most organizations. It is incumbent that leaders at all levels of the organization understand this as part of their role. Interactive, informative and insightful, Thomas guides audiences through a consideration of how prepared they are as an organization and as individuals to meet these requirements and each presentation is tailored to address specific conditions that the organization is facing.

Research on professional development underscores the importance of relationships in the effective development of professionals and leaders. Thomas draws on his two-plus decades studying executive development to educate his audiences on the importance of mentoring and other types of developmental relationships in organizations. This incisive talk is relevant and informative for both senior and junior members of organizations and is particularly critical for successful efforts to launch mentoring programs or foster a more developmental culture.

Why do most diversity initiatives fail to produce the benefits that organizations seek? How do we manage diversity and differences in organizations to produce results that matter positively for individuals and organizations? Leveraging insights from his award-winning research on cultural diversity, Thomas astutely answers these comprehensive questions and cogently articulates a new paradigm for managing diversity that has been empirically shown to produce effective business results.

Drawing on two decades of pioneering research and teaching at the Harvard Business School, Thomas elucidates the current challenges of talent management in a global, knowledge-oriented economy and offers strategies and solutions for organizations to compete and grow talent in this increasingly sophisticated, continually changing environment.

Most leaders recognize the need to recruit from demographically and culturally diverse pools of talent. Today’s challenge, however, is not recruitment but creating the culture in which all members feel included and empowered to contribute. David Thomas, Harvard Business School professor and renowned expert on strategic human resource management, describes how leaders can facilitate that culture and avoid the behaviors that undermine it.

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