Keynote Topics

Hot Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Future

What if you could see the future and make sense of it?

Mary’s keynotes provide a targeted, relevant outlook and actionable insights that help business and organizational leaders understand the most critical drivers and trends shaping their future. You will learn specific implications and disruptions on your horizon from her customized talk. Avoid strategy tragedy through a keen understanding of your emergent opportunities and be inspired to learn the new competences and skills that will be critical to your success in the next two to five years.

Experience Mary’s legendary ability to transform trend analysis into profitable opportunities. With her keen intellect, deep understanding from 25 years of experience in over 55 countries on 6 continents across multiple industries and primary research she offers a rich treasure trove of experiences, insights and strategies guaranteed to prepare you for your future.

Browse through the available keynotes below or contact Mary today to discuss your special presentation needs.

Future Outlook and Trends

Fault Lines: Eight Trends That Will Disrupt Your Future

Powerful driving forces are working synergistically to sculpt a new economic and social landscape. The result? Deep fault lines that force all of us to make new choices as individuals and businesses. In this highly customized, provocative, energizing keynote, learn about some surprising demographic shifts; preview what’s on the technology horizon; hear Mary’s insider view of China; and discover the truth about the economy over the next 5 years and explore critical social trends. Receive a customized set of implications for your group or company.

Is it all about you? Of course it is. That’s why Mary also offers a special customized Fault Lines and Trends keynote highlighting 6-8 of the trends most relevant to your industry or organization

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“Mary is in the disruption business. She is guaranteed to shake up your thinking—in the best and most productive way imaginable—on strategy or how to dispel the sacred cows that are getting in your way.”

Kaj Alhmann, VP
General Electric

The Global Economy: What’s Next

We are still in the midst of a global economic upheaval of unprecedented magnitude. With the emerging economies now contributing more to global GDP than the so-called developed economies, what’s next for the U.S., Europe, Japan and China, India, Brazil, Mexico and all the other emerging regions? Mary forecast the great recession of 2008 in 2004. As an insider to many emerging economies, she brings insights and forecasts honed in the dynamic growth of the last 20 years. Known for her steady eyed forecasts of the future of globalization she provides a reliable outlook that will help you find targets no one else can see.

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“Very provocative and useful. You forecast several things we hadn’t thought of. The 8 guiding principles were very important for us.”


The Edge of the World: Beyond Tomorrow — 2025 — The Art and Adventure of Crossing to the Future

Jump in Mary’s future’s helicopter and take a ride beyond tomorrow to 2015-2025. What will we find in the far foothills of the future, beyond the Badlands and into the next historical cycle of disruptive innovations? What is most likely to be next based on today’s weak signals and what are the wild cards? This thought provoking keynote will give you 2-4 scenarios of the future and their probabilities and assumptions. Gain actions and strategies to get the future that you want.

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“This really helped us think much further into the future than we are used to doing. Very provocative and engaging. We want to do it again next year with all the possible scenarios.”

Jessica, Director of Research
Walt Disney Company

The Future of Health Care in America

Will the future of health care be merely an extrapolation of the past once again or will there be a transformation of this seemingly indestructible system? The Affordable Care Act, or Obama Care as it is known on the streets, will begin implementation in earnest in 2014. But where are we headed longer term? What are the promises and pitfalls and how will health reform most likely evolve over the next 10 years?

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“Provocative and insightful, complex and straightforward insights to break the health care gridlock.”

Philip R. Lee, M.D,
Professor, Stanford University

Extreme Longevity: Get Ready For Your Second Middle Age

Demographics are destiny and king when they hit. There is no stronger cross cutting driver of change than the current epidemic of healthy longevity evident around the world. There are more people over 60 in the emerging economies than in the advanced economies today and those numbers increase dramatically over the next 50 years. What does this extension of life mean across every dimension and how will it transform not just America but every other country as well? How do we ride this tsunami wave safely to the shore and reap the benefits despite its transformative effects?

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“You remind me of Maggie Kuhn! You made us think so differently about older people. The Second Middle Age has so many important implications for NCOA. It was exciting. We have a lot of work to do.”

Donald Davis, EVP
National Council on Aging

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Future of Work

The Future of Work: Extreme Transformation Ahead

Profound changes are sweeping across the whole world of work. Not only will individual knowledge workers be in the driver’s seat, but most of tomorrow’s knowledge workers will be women. Learn eight powerful shifts that are radically reshaping individual and organizational life over the next 5 to 10 years. Gain insights into the the six skills to prosper in the workspace of the future. Take home guiding principles to assure readiness for this transformed future.

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“I’ve never seen our members so quiet and spellbound. Every point hit home.”

Ellen Glanz
Global HRPS


The past 20 years of globalization are once again poised to drive a metamorphosis of global work. Mary wrote the classic ground breaking book—GlobalWork—Bridging Distance, Culture and Time in 1994 and has accurately forecast its evolution since then. She foretold the journey of individuals and organizations in Navigating the Badlands published in 2004. Now, another 10 years later she shares her forecast of the next 10 years. Gain access to her longer term view of where we are headed as we navigate out of the badlands across the foothills of the future.

Contact Mary Today

“IMary broadens your perspective and helps you think differently about the future.”

Corporate Secretary

Geeks not Geezers: The Millennials Come of Age—and Their Future Will Not Resemble Your Past

From this presentation you will gain unrivalled insights about the Millennials that will help you understand and appreciate them, hire and retain them, and leverage their considerable talent. Based on Mary’s primary global research on these remarkable young global citizens—who truly are a generation apart—this lively keynote will dispel the many myths about the Millennials and retool the lens through which most leaders see them.

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“You really disturbed my thinking. Thank you for letting me leap on stage to engage with you on what we need to do to bring this generation into our culture. We will never forget this presentation”

Greg Diekemper, CEO
Swank AV

Fueling Innovation: Game-Changing Strategies for Firing Up Your Profitability

The future won’t resemble the past. Organizations—if they want to prosper long term—need to “morph” continuously in response to new opportunities. This high-octane keynote offers a strategic roadmap designed to help your organization leapfrog over old, ingrained habits and spark an epidemic of innovation to fuel your future profitability. Learn how to reduce barriers to innovation and harness disruptive trends to find unseen targets and seed game-changing strategies.

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“Brilliant! Truly breakthrough thinking on the kind of leadership we need to innovate.”

Deborah Dagit
Merck & Co. Inc.

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Future of China & Emerging Markets

The Emerging Markets: What’s Next

Take a global tour with Mary across the ever-morphing landscape of the most important emerging markets and what to expect over the next 5 to 7 years to 2020. Understand their common sets of drivers and brakes to growth and how to think strategically about their evolution.

Who’s on first in 2020? The Tiger or the Lion…and why? What are guiding principles for working in these markets and pitfalls to avoid? How will the competitive landscape evolve among them and the global companies who invested in them, reaped early rewards and now must compete with their emerging global companies and fast nimble entrepreneurs?

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“Only an economist, anthropologist, and public health expert, sinologist psychologist could weave such a cogent tapestry from a thousand different intellectual threads. ”

David Judson

The Cave of the Tiger: Targeting Your Best Opportunities in China

Navigating China’s business environment is not for the faint of heart. Gain an insider’s view of the challenges of doing business in China’s vast marketplace as China morphs, sputters, and explodes again as it transitions to a consumer society. Whether you’re new to China or a seasoned leader who needs to make course corrections, you’ll come away with insights and strategies designed to help you succeed behind the Bamboo Curtain.

You’ll learn some rules of thumb, discover what pitfalls to avoid, and gain unrivalled insights into the strategic imperatives for identifying opportunities and finding targets no one else can.

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“Mary provided China insights that surprised me despite my long, successful business dealings with the mainland.”

Norman Yuen
CITIC-Pacific Ltd.

Secrets of the Middle Kingdom: Deciphering China’s Consumer Conundrum

For ten years Mary has led extensive ethnographic research about the future of the Chinese consumer. Probing deeply into the emergent lifestyles of China’s Generations across multiple dimensions, including consumption, her forecasts have held steadfastly true and provide unrivalled insights to stay on the far edges of their changes. Now, she shares her evidenced-based insights and gives you a strategic framework for understanding—and capitalizing on—the game-changing behavioral shifts to come in the decade ahead.

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“Your framework and research to understand the changing Chinese consumer is exactly what we needed to get back on course.”

Caroline Pfohl-Ho, EVP
Coca Cola China

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Leadership and Strategy to Navigate OUT of the Badlands

Navigating OUT of the Badlands

We have just navigated through the Badlands for the last 15 years. The Badlands is Mary’s metaphor for taking the journey through the challenging transition zone between the end of the Industrial Era and the full promise of the information age which always comes in the middle of an historical cycle of disruptive innovation. She described this period and forecast how to thrive in it accurately in her seminal book Navigating the Badlands-Thriving in the Decade of Radical Transformation from 2004 to 2014. We are now about to exit the Badlands into the foothills of the future which will still be a volatile and challenging time, but one of creating the new economic and social order in contrast to trying to survive while the old order and institutions failed.

In this keynote, Mary provides the strategies, insights and leadership principles to scan, scout, and steer successfully to the future. This is a time to be smartly bold, innovate and take risks, for the rewards are great to those who are not faint of heart.

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“Navigating the Badlands offers a concise coherent interpretation of globalization and its impacts on companies along with strategies to do something about it.”

Harald Pressler
DaimlerChrysler AG

Strategic Power Networks: Trade Up to Lead from the Top of Your Game

Successful leaders who will thrive in their journey out of the Badlands will have black belts in creating Strategic Power Networks to drive their strategic initiatives. Strategic Power Networks that launch innovations to bust through the obstacles posed by today’s toxic leaders and the volatility and uncertainty of these historic times. In this no-holds-barred presentation, you will gain invaluable insights into the Badlands’ extreme context for leadership, the criticality of learning how to design strategic power networks, and eight steps for weaving together a network.

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“Great information! It was truly a wonderful and thought-provoking presentation. Totally new way to think about leadership.”

Vanessa Johnson

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Recent Specialized Keynotes

The Food Revolution: Shifting Patterns of Consumption and Values in the U.S.

A revolution is brewing in America around food. No longer just visible as weak signals, they now have gained momentum as growing trends that will transform consumption, values and behaviors about food over the next 10 years. Take a deep dive on the drivers of these trends and shifts from health to obesity to food-as-lifestyle across different generations. Take away actionable understanding of their impacts with specific implications for you.

Contact Mary Today

“This forecast changed our whole strategy.”

Frank Ballentine, President

Dollars and Sense: Outlook for Consumer Financial Services

Perhaps no industry has been as completely transformed in the last two decades as consumer financial services. In this profound and provocative forecast, Mary tells you about the changes still to come, explains what pitfalls to avoid, and offers a sound strategic framework for engaging the financial services customer of the future.

Contact Mary Today

“Thank you for the brilliant and timely analysis….”

Derek Van Eck

The Chalkboard Notes: The Future of Higher Education and Adult Learning

Based on Mary’s recent ground-breaking forecast of higher education and adult learning, this keynote offers a clear view of the strategic imperatives for institutions, organizations, and learners of all kinds. You will take home a rich treasure chest of ideas and strategies that will help you create a customized roadmap into this new future.

Contact Mary Today

”There is no one who has put together a more coherent understanding of the future of higher education and how it must change than Mary. You turned our faculty and Board’s minds 180 degrees. You have shaped our future in a much different way.”

Judy Kuipers, Ph.D.
Dean Fielding Graduate University

The Hundred-Year Itch: The Future of Getting Older

Ages 60 to 80 have become a second middle age, with 85 the new benchmark for what we call “old age.” Mary’s ground-breaking research is put to a powerful purpose in this customized keynote focusing on the phenomenal impact that 25 more years of life will have—and the extraordinary opportunities this presents for both you and your organization. Innovating in their roles as consumers and workers of the second middle age will be the Boomers’ last hurrah.

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“This was the most impacting talk I have heard in a long time. It had so much menaing for me personally and startling implications for my work. Thanks you Mary. I could and should listen to you all day.”

Erna Arnesan, Chief Marketing Officer

Rosie the Riveter Redux: What’s Next for Women

In the next 10 years women are poised to leapfrog to new leadership roles in large numbers. In this thought-provoking, energizing talk you will learn surprising new facts about this new crop of innovators and take home personal and organizational insights that will drive you to make major shifts.

Contact Mary Today

“You talk will totally re-vitalize our women’s network. Our senior women could really see how to get to the next level. You were wonderful and so insightful. Thank You!!”

Lynda Ziegler, EVP
Southern California Edison

The Future of California: Weaving a Multicultural Web For Tomorrow

The California Dream continues to fuel innovations of high tech and the hopeful promise of an exciting multi-cultural society. As the 8th largest economy of the world in terms of GDP, California is a nation state that continues to defy the odds that it is ungovernable and will soon decline. This keynote paints a realistic and opportunistic view of California’s future based around its astounding demographics and diverse regions.

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“Your keynote is always a huge hit with our participants. They talk about it’s impact on them all year!”

Pamela Hemann, Executive Director
Leadership California

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