James is an author, professional speaker, personal coach, and trained improv comedian. After nearly 15 years of building, training, supervising, and evaluating teams, James followed an entrepreneurial dream and built two successful businesses. The first is an organization that incorporates freestyle rapping into improv comedy (a success story for another day). And the second is his speaking and coaching business (a success story for today).
James has been speaking professionally to willing and unwilling audiences for years and has found that quality humor -- not your lame, laugh-track, dad-joke humor -- is the secret to hosting powerful conversations that make a genuine impact. His attendees leave feeling recharged, introspective, and ready to get out of their own way. With years of research (and a few too many real-life case studies within his work), James learned everything he could about authenticity in the workplace and uses this insight to host conversations about communication, rapport building, engagement, feedback, retention, promoting memorability, life balance, increased productivity, and more.
James’ cornerstone concept is that we as humans can’t learn from people who are perfect, we can only learn from people who are imperfect. And companies like American Express, GE, and Afterpay have gravitated toward this message and found the insights to be invaluable in shifting the way their teams communicate. Simply put, James is working to bring humanity back into the workplace and is on a mission to ensure that in their personal and work life, every human realizes they are enough.
Most Requested Programs
Leading Through Uncertainty: Using authentic leadership to navigate ambiguity
Hey superheroes, take off your capes (but please leave on your mask). Hey leaders, let's check our ego for a second. In this session, you’ll be asked to think critically about the way you communicate with others. When you lead authentically through your experiences, shortcomings, and lessons learned, you make yourself appear human to your co-workers, which boosts morale and trust. In the midst of a critical social justice movement, we must focus on what is right, not the need to be right. In the global pandemic, we must preach and practice empathy for ourselves and others. It is during this period of ambiguity and uncertainty that leaders emerge, but not the ones who are trying to be perfect. No, it is the ones who recognize the power of authenticity and relatability that will inspire others right now.
Love in Leadership: The Secret to Managing and Retaining Talent
Great teams require great coaches. And great coaches pour love into their talent. It may feel weird to bring up love in business, but it’s the cornerstone of commitment, relationships, teams, and growth, so it’s time we talked about it. If you’re ready to see dramatic performance and development gains in your teams, this session is for you.
Giving Feedback That Sticks: How to be better at growth conversations
Let’s talk about feedback. Specifically, constructive feedback. Growth conversations can be stressful on both sides of the table, but they don’t have to be. In this session we’ll dive into my feedback spectrum and a favorite rule of improv comedy, to give you the tools and confidence to have productive difficult conversations that will take your teams to the next level.
Find Your Third Place: Chasing "work/life balance" during the madness
Hold the eye rolls, this is a conversation about balance that is both realistic and worthwhile! The truth is, work cannot run our lives AND work Is not the only source of our balance Issues. In this session James offers an alternative to traditional methods (things like, find one hour of your week and hold it sacred) and, instead, uses the “Third Place Principle” as a way for us to gain more control and purpose. We all crave more balance, and this introspective session will help audiences understand how a Third Place can add more stability at work and home, create more impactful stories, and, most importantly, generate a more fulfilling life.
Leading Imperfectly: The Value of Being Authentic for Leaders, Professionals, and Human Beings
Rather than take the same, tired approach to leadership development, this session gets personal. As humans, we can’t learn things from people who are perfect, we can only learn things from people who are imperfect. This deep but hysterical speech encourages attendees to take off their masks, put away their egos, and recognize the power of vulnerability in their teams and in their work. Through authentic storytelling and live audience interactions, James demonstrates how authenticity inspires open communication, forms tighter bonds, and allows teams to be more engaged.
"James was a breath of fresh air for our company who is suffering burnout from all the uncertainty of the world. His energy was incredible and really got the crowd engaged and few people's faces even started to hurt from laughing so much! It was nice to have a company event that didn't feel corporate at all, James is as authentic as they come." - Liz Russel, Employee Engagement Manager, Afterpay
“The initial calls with James showed his energy, authenticity, and effortless communication style. He took time to understand the objectives of the session and also focused on details like the composition of my leaders so that he could best articulate his message. James helped with the pre-work, facilitated the session, and joined us for an evening event where we could relax and enjoy time together. He was a champion throughout.” – David Fabricant, Senior Vice President, American Express
“Huge thank you for making the trip down to speak with our GE Leaders of Tomorrow group. Whitney, my conference co-chair, and I loved it and learned a ton. I think it was a big value add for the people that attended – hopefully they took as much away from your talk as I did. Thank you for being so generous with your time.” – Cameron Duncan, Lead Supplier Quality Engineer at GE Power
“From your initial research into our company, to working with us during your presentation as we communicated our wants and needs, you navigated your workshop to make it a productive and fun success…Your personal stories and delivery combined with your discussion of our office were instrumental in capturing staff’s attention and developing rapport and inspiration. Concepts has taken a wonderful step with you during your workshop with us. Your ideas on authentic leadership, appreciation and communication have sparked a new way of thinking for our company.” – Anthony Caputo, CEO, Concepts of Independence, Inc.
“Absolutely bring James on board, he’s relatable and his messages will ring true in any industry. Also make sure to build in time at the end for people to ask questions and spend time with James, because that was invaluable.” – Jenny Berkedal, Director of Employee Experience, Metal Toad