• Speaker

    “We live in an image society. Speeches

    are not what anybody cares about;

    what they care about is the picture.”

    -Madeleine Albright

  • I speak on topics ranging from effective leadership to strategic thinking to organizational turnaround and effective use of technology.


    My focus is always on assisting leaders learn practical skills that will help move the organizations they lead forward to success in our fast-paced and often challenging environments, whether those organizations are for-profit companies or not-for-profit organizations.


    One of the hallmarks of my presentations is that I don’t have templated presentations, but rather will spend a great deal of time customizing them to fit the particular needs and context of your group.


    Here are a few of the most popular topics on which I speak and teach, however, I am happy to create presentations that meet the needs of your audience and event.

  • Grow, Hold & Fold

    Turning Around Organizations for the 21st Century

    In the face of rapid changes in our world, how do organizations, either for-profit companies or not-for-profit entities, make the radical shifts necessary to renew and revitalize their work for the 21st century? Led by Beth Lewis, 1517 Media has wrestled with this challenge and dramatically changed their priorities and processes in recent years. By focusing on a “grow, hold, fold” strategic framework combined with effective use of technology, not only for delivering content, but also streamlining internal processes, I was able to move the company from a money-losing publishing house to a successful media organization creating dynamic print, digital and video content for a diverse set of audiences. In this presentation you’ll learn some practical techniques to apply to your organization.

    Best Practices in Board/Council Leadership

    Having served on and chaired multiple Boards of Directors, Councils, etc. for both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, I have become a student of the “best practices” that make these leadership groups a success.


    From identifying and selecting members with diverse experiences and perspectives to on-boarding them to managing the group dynamics and critical work of this leadership team, you’ll walk away from this workshop with valuable specific actions to incorporate into your organization, whether it is a for-profit company or a not-for-profit organization.

    Strategic Thinking in Turbulent Times

    As President & CEO, I led 1517 Media through radical strategic thinking and turnaround. In this presentation, I'll help leaders at your conference or company learn to apply strategic thinking techniques, whether for a for-profit company or a not-for-profit entity. Among the things they will learn are: How to educate staff and board members about strategic thinking and why it's important for the organization’s future. How to get people thinking strategically rather than just tactically. How to assess the organizations' environments, both internal and external. Plus, attendees will walk away with specific tools to use in their setting.

    Succession Planning with Intentionality

    With three years left in my fourth 4-year contract as President & CEO of 1517 Media, I worked with the company’s Board of Trustees to launch a deliberate, thoughtful succession planning process to help ensure stability and a dynamic future in an environment filled with change and uncertainty. In this presentation, I will share our process, timeline, rationale for such a long lead-time and invite conversation about how a similarly deliberate process might work in other organizations, whether for-profit or not-for-profit. You’ll also come away with thoughts about how to identify and proactively develop future leaders, not only for the CEO role, but for other vital leadership positions.

    Women in Leadership

    Navigating the Waters for Women and Those who Want to Support Them!

    Having started my career as an over-the-road salesperson during a time when women just didn’t do that, then moving up the organizational ranks to CEO, I will offer insights and advice for women who want to share their gifts, whether as informal leaders in an organization, as senior executives or anywhere in-between. My experience and research also provides help for all who are trying to figure out how to identify, recruit, and nurture women to ensure success, both for those women and the organizations in which they work.

    Effective Use of KPIs for Transformation

    Renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said “Goals transform a random walk into a chase.” I was privileged to lead the staff of 1517 Media from near bankruptcy to being a vibrant, sustainable, profitable media organization through the disciplined use of key performance indicators and goals. Starting with short-term achievable goals, I moved them to more challenging, aggressive strategic goals with careful deliberation. In this presentation, you’ll learn how to identify the right goals for your organization, consistently communicate those priorities, diligently measure the results, adapt the goals as needed, and ultimately transform your organization through your achievements.

    Gutenberg to Google

    Effective Use of Technology for Organizations

    Explores how the use of various media is the same and has changed from the time of Gutenberg to the beginning of the 21st century. You'll learn a little bit about history. But, more importantly, you will come away with fresh ideas for using your website, social media and other technologies to streamline internal processes within your organizations and reach your desired audiences in new and engaging ways.

  • Gary Mulder

    Executive Director, Protestant Church Owned Publishers Association

    You were outstanding! A great mixture of personal connection, candid sharing of issues you needed to deal with, and really helpful advice re how to deal with challenges many PCPA members face.

    Attendee Comment

    Protestant Church Owned Publishers Association Annual Conference

    Inspiring and awesome. Probably the best thoughts I've heard on managing change in a really long time.

    Bishop Claire Burkat

    Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod

    Many participants appreciated your business acumen, and especially your honest sharing of how difficult decisions needed to be made in staffing and products swiftly and fairly, in anticipation of the rapidly changing publishing world.

    Darlene Kalfahs

    Resource Center Director, ELCA-East Central Synod of Wisconsin

    You were absolutely excellent. Helping us look forward with Strategic Thinking was very helpful.

    Dr. Kapp Johnson

    MBA faculty, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California

    Let me join the chorus and thank you for your contribution to Executive Roundtable.

    Paul Waterman

    Tweet after keynote speech for Central Southern Illinois Synod leaders conference

    Chatting with colleagues. Unanimous vote, we appreciate @bethalewis and her fall retreat talk.

    James Nieman, PhD

    President, Lutheran Seminary of Theology at Chicago

    "Thanks for being straightforward in what you have to say, even unflinching about holding us to account. I am sick to death of facilitators who might have good substance but try so hard to affirm everything everyone says – it’s just so smarmy and gushy. We need to be pressed into action, and your honest manner conveyed the needed seriousness.... Thanks for not being the hero of your own stories. You played a crucial role, of course, in setting direction at 1517 Media, but so often your message was about building a team, relying on others, getting good talent, and letting folks do their job. It would have been so easy for you to become the centerpiece, but instead you showed a kind of leadership and teamwork that can really produce lasting change – a wonderful model for us to witness.”

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