Dr. Rob McKenna - Speaker

Named one of the top 30 I-O Psychologists alive today, Dr. McKenna is passionate about developing leaders and about transforming the way we see the people in our organizations. As he will tell you, we have the tools at our fingertips to invest in our people in ways that are meaningful to them and will get the results we need. Thirty years of research has taught us much how people learn and grow on the job. We have what it takes to create rich learning environments for the people we lead, and all we have to do is begin to act on what we know.

Dr. McKenna brings a combination of approachability, authenticity, expert knowledge, and humor to his talks. Whether you are interested in character development, dealing with conflict, creating engaging learning cultures, or developing the next generation of leaders, his approach of getting real about what’s going on in your life and work brings people alongside him in a way that inspires change. The models he uses in his talks are based on decades of research on leadership, team functioning, organizational health, and individual development.


Composed: The Heart & Science of Leading Under Pressure  – Based on his latest book by the same title, Dr. McKenna highlights the power of composure under pressure and the specific strategies you can use to be a better version of yourself when it matters most. This presentation is a roadmap for standing firmly in who we are while staying connected to those who matter most to us – especially when high-pressure moments come. It doesn’t matter whether you are a CEO, parent, manager, or student, none of us are immune to the possibility of losing it when the pressure is on.

This talk can also be packaged with the Leading Under Pressure Inventory, an online assessment of your tendencies, strengths, and potential derailers when you are under pressure.

The audience will leave with:

  •  An increased capacity to recognize the high pressure moments when they come and their tendencies and habits in those moments.
  • A recognition of their greatest strengths under pressure and the strategies that will help them become better leaders in those moments, for their sake and for the sake of others around them.
  • An increased capacity to build high performing and adaptive teams when the pressure and adversity are at their highest.

Whole + Intentional Leader Development – Based on over four decades of research and centuries old wisdom on the developmental journey of leaders, Dr. McKenna highlights the countercultural and wild paradigm of whole and intentional leader development – seeing leaders as whole people, never shying away from the mistakes that create opportunities to learn, and intentionally crossing the superficial boundaries between our work as leaders in our families, workplaces, and communities. Emerging leaders expect us to see them more quickly, and current leaders are begging for someone to help them invest in other leaders, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and move forward with intention and care.

Based on the his research and experience working with thousands of leaders (current and emerging) across dozens of contexts and cultures, Dr. McKenna focuses in on the concept of what it means to bring our whole selves to our work, to invest in other people around us, and to get intentional about our learning and growth.

This talk can also be packaged with a sampling of the tools in the WiLD Toolkit, an online portal including 10 different but interconnected personal assessments.

The audience will leave with:

  •  An awareness of what it means to move toward being more whole and less fragmented as leaders and people in organizations.
  • A recognition of how our personality, calling, purpose, character, and support networks work together to offer us a more complete picture of whose we are and how we are showing up.
  • Actionable steps for getting intentional about becoming better versions of themselves that do not oversimplify it into a formula for success.

Sacrificial Leadership in a Self-Centered World – A counterculture approach to leading in a self-centered world. From his book Dying to Lead: Sacrificial Leadership in a Self-Centered World, Dr. McKenna unpacks sacrificial leadership in a way that prompts leaders to consider the most basic sacrifices for the sake of something bigger than themselves.

“Dr. McKenna is a dynamic speaker who communicates his thought-provoking ideas with passion and clarity. He’s not just knowledgeable about the topics he discusses, but he knows how to add a good dose of humor to the mix. Dr. McKenna is a talented speaker and presenter — a true master of his craft.”

Dr. Kent J. Ingle, President at Southeastern University

“What I appreciate most about Dr. McKenna’s speaking style is his ability to use humorous stories to tie into the points he is trying to convey. He delivers them in a real and engaging manner that we all can relate to and the result is a lasting impression and a desire to hear more. Dr. McKenna speaks from both an academic and real world perspective providing additional credibility to his subject matter.”

Jeff Smiley, Area Vice President of the West at OPTIV

“In a boardroom, classroom, keynote or on a street-corner…Dr. McKenna brings a connected approach to the disconnect of life. If “real” were a language, Dr. McKenna speaks it. He is a subtle catalyst, a data-backed realist, and a real-life disruptor. I recommend him to corporate, non-profit, and organizations in need of synergy, focus, and purpose. Dr. McKenna is a game-changer. Are you ready?”

Ann Klein, Founder at Klein Partners, Inc.

“Dr. Mckenna is a dynamic and engaging speaker who pushes normal conventions with new and thought-provoking ideas.  His conversational style, mixed with humor, leaves his audiences wanting more and often begins a conversation, pushing people to ask the really hard questions.  His authentic approach is refreshing.”

Greg HunterSenior Vice President at Rational Interaction

“Dr. Rob’s unique approach to thought patterns shakes the listener out of commonly accepted modalities. He invites you to sketch on the whiteboard with him while challenging his audiences to reconsider the very assumption platforms from which the dialogue is engaged. If you are comfortable with chaos uniquely leading to a deeper understanding of the subject, engage with Dr. McKenna. You’ll be better for it.”

Matt Woll, Executive Pastor at Rain City Church


September 25, 2018 – Chief Learning Officer Breakfast Club, Seattle, WA – REGISTRATION CLOSED.

November 8th, 2018 – Association of Talent Development Puget Sound Podcast, Seattle, WA. – REGISTRATION CLOSED.

November 13th, 2018 – Framework Leadership Podcast, Orlando, FL. – REGISTRATION CLOSED.

February 5th, 2019 – HR Leader Roundtable, Kirkland, WA. – REGISTRATION CLOSED.

February 21st, 2019 – Daniel Hallak, Culture and Justice Speaker Series, Riverside, CA. – REGISTRATION CLOSED.

February 28th, 2019 – 501 Commons and Leading Under Pressure, Seattle, WA. – REGISTRATION CLOSED.

March 14th-15th, 2019 – Whole Leader Development at the Southeastern University Leadership Forum, Lakeland, FL. – REGISTRATION CLOSED.

April 2nd, 2019 – “Whole and Intentional Leader Development”. Dr. Rob McKenna and Dr. Daniel Hallak – HR Roundtable

April 2nd, 2019 – “Parenting Under Pressure”. Bear Creek School, Redmond, WA.

April 4th-6th, 2019 – “Learning Agility” and “Developing Millennials” at the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Washington DC.

April 16th-18th, 2019 – “A Whole Leader Reformation”. Keynote at the Outcomes Conference, Dallas, TX.

May 2nd, 2019 – “Boundaries Under Pressure”. Keynote at 4Word, Seattle, WA.

May 16th-17th, 2019 – “Whole Leader Development”. Free Methodist Church of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

May 23rd-24th. – Whole Leader Development, Greenville University, Greenville, IL.

June 11th-12th, 2019 – “Whole and Intentional Leader Development”. Keynote at the CCCU CFO Conference, Los Angeles, CA.

July 30th-August 1st, 2019 –  Keynote at the Go Beyond Leadership Summit, Spokane, WA.