In today’s fast-evolving and highly competitive business world, companies must keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of the workforce. The future of work is rapidly approaching with a need for organizations to not only adapt and embrace new technologies and methodologies but also adjust to the attitudinal changes that come with rapid changes in the generational composition of the workforce. This has never been more critical. Heather E. McGowan, a distinguished strategist, thought leader, keynote speaker, and author in the field of future-of-work, has emerged as the dominant figure in guiding leaders and their organizations toward successful adaptation to the post-pandemic world of work.
The future-of-work industry is a rapidly evolving field that focuses on preparing organizations and individuals for the changing landscape of the workforce. It encompasses a wide range of topics, and factors including technology, automation, and globalization as well as changes in societal and cultural norms, generational and attitudinal shifts in values, and the evolving nature of work itself. The industry is driven by the need for organizations to adapt in order to stay competitive in a rapidly changing business environment while confronting challenges such as labor shortages, employee turnover, economic uncertainty, impacts of climate change, and disruptions from geopolitical conflict. As a result, there is a growing demand for experts like Heather E. McGowan who can guide organizations and individuals in navigating the changing landscape and developing the skills and mindset needed to thrive in the future of work.
Heather Elizabeth McGowan, a distinguished strategist in the domain of future-of-work, boasts a remarkable repertoire as an author, advisor, and keynote speaker. Her intellectual prowess has graced over 75 events each year, ranging from finance, consumer products, education, and government agencies to media organizations. With two highly acclaimed books under her belt, Heather offers unparalleled insight into the intricate dynamics of the future of work. These include The Adaptation Advantage: Let Go and Learn Fast to Thrive in the Future of Work (Wiley 2020), The Empathy Advantage: Leading the Empowered Workforce (Wiley 2023), and Disrupt Together: How Teams Consistently Innovate (FT/Pearson 2012). Her expansive knowledge and keen observations are a testament to her exceptional expertise in the field.
McGowan was born on April 17, 1971, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Robert and Sandra McGowan. She obtained her high school diploma from Norwell High School in Norwell, Massachusetts, in 1989. She then pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Industrial Design from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, which she completed in 1993.
Subsequently, McGowan embarked on a remarkable academic journey, culminating in the attainment of an MBA in entrepreneurship from Babson College in 2001. Her unwavering dedication to education and the creative arts earned her an honorary doctorate from the esteemed Pennsylvania College of Art and Design in 2022.
Ms. McGowan initiated her professional journey in the realm of design at Safety 1st, renowned for fabricating the Baby on Board placard, which is currently incorporated into Dorel. Thereafter, she rendered her designing expertise to numerous other brands operating in the arenas of medical, consumer products, and sporting goods—through which she collectively brought over 30 products to market. Additionally, prior to obtaining her degree from Babson College, Ms. McGowan augmented her industry knowledge by serving as a design strategist. Subsequently, she ventured into the domains of boutique investment banking and management consulting, wherein she made significant contributions, advising the present-day president of Babson College, Mr. Stephen Spinelli Jr., in the establishment of the Kanbar College of Design Engineering and Commerce (DEC) at Philadelphia University, which is presently a constituent of Thomas Jefferson University. Ms. McGowan’s dexterity in designing the curriculum, organizational structure, and undergraduate business curriculum of the newly-established college was widely acknowledged. The core curriculum, compulsory for all first-year students, centered on the concepts of design thinking, anthropology, business models, and biomimicry. Ms. McGowan’s DEC curriculum emerged triumphant in the Core 77 Design Awards in 2012, thereby reflecting her proficiency and creative prowess.
Heather was granted the position of a faculty member at the Swinburne University Centre for the new workforce located in Melbourne, Australia in 2019. Following her tenure at two additional academic institutions, she engaged in consulting work for corporate clientele while dedicating the majority of her efforts to delivering enlightening presentations on the evolving landscape of employment to both the supply side, namely the education sector, and the demand side, namely the corporate industry of human talent consumers. McGowan’s speaking career emerged from explaining tectonic shifts in the world of work to both her supply (education) and demand (corporate) clients who sought to understand the rapid changes in human talent.
As a forward-thinking strategist in the realm of the future of work, McGowan has become a renowned figure for her expertise in guiding leaders and their organizations toward successful adaptation to the post-pandemic world of work. With her profound insights and empowering approach, McGowan inspires individuals to connect to their intrinsic motivation, find opportunities to align their talents with their purpose, and thereby become self-propelled workers. Through her interactive sessions, McGowan equips employees and leaders with the necessary tools and skills to embrace and thrive in roles that are yet to come to fruition, thereby illuminating a promising future for the workforce.
McGowan has been a prominent figure in delivering keynote speeches, catering to diverse audiences ranging from burgeoning start-ups to established government organizations, prestigious universities, and top-tier Fortune 100 corporations. Her impressive repertoire includes delivering impactful speeches to prominent companies such as AMP Financial, SAP, AbbVie, Biogen, Fidelity, FIS, Mastercard, AT&T, Financial Times, Siemens, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Kaiser Permanente, Lockheed Martin, MassMutual, MetLife, Best Buy, Raytheon, The US Army, Accor Hotels, Paramount, Chevron, AARP, Zendesk, Tableau, de Beers, Professional Beauty Association, and The World Bank, to name a few. McGowan’s captivating style of speaking leaves a lasting impression on her audience, making her a highly sought-after speaker in the industry.
Through her insightful writing, McGowan has established herself as a leading authority on innovation, adaptation, engagement, and leadership in the modern workplace, and her books are an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to stay ahead of the curve in this dynamic and ever-changing environment.
In conclusion, Heather is a distinguished strategist in the domain of future-of-work, guiding leaders and organizations toward successful adaptation to the emerging post-pandemic world of work. With her exceptional academic credentials, creative prowess, and unwavering dedication to their professions, McGowan continues to inspire and empower individuals and organizations across the globe.