Cy Wakeman

Cy Wakeman

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NY Times Bestselling Author, Drama Researcher and Founder of Reality-Based Leadership

Cy Wakeman, M.S., CSP, is a drama researcher, global thought-leader, and New York Times best-selling author who is recognized for cultivating a counter-intuitive, reality-based approach to leadership. Backed by over 25 years of unparalleled experience, Wakeman’s philosophy offers a new lens through which employees and executives alike, can shift their attention inward, sharpen their focus on personal accountability, and uncover their natural state of innovation simply by ditching the drama.

Deemed “the secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace,” Wakeman has helped companies such as Google, Facebook, Viacom, Uber, NBC Universal, NASA, Pfizer, Johns Hopkins, Stanford Health Care, Keurig Dr. Pepper, AMC Theatres, White Castle, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and countless others learn to navigate our rapidly changing world using good mental processes to harness energy wasted in workplace drama and reinvest that effort into achieving profound business results.

As a highly sought-after conference headliner, Cy Wakeman holds a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speaker’s Association, placing her within the top 3% of speakers. She’s a regular contributor on,, The Huffington Post, and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. She’s been featured on the TODAY Show, the AskGaryVee Show with Gary Vaynerchuk, Cheddar TVThe New York TimesBusiness InsiderThe Daily and many more. Cy Wakeman was voted in the top 100 leadership professionals to follow on twitter for 7 years in a row and in 2021, she topped the Global Gurus list of Top 30 Leadership Professionals across the globe, coming in at #1.

Wakeman has published three books, the latest of which is No Ego: How to Cut the Cost of Drama, End Entitlement and Drive Big Results (2017). Cy also hosts her own No Ego podcast, a Facebook Watch show, Life’s Messy, Live Happy, and adds weekly video content on YouTube to address leaders’ biggest challenges in the workplace.

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Speaking topics

No Ego: How leaders Can Cut the Cost of Drama, End Entitlement and Drive Big Results

Recent research conducted by Cy Wakeman in conjunction with the Futures Company, has discovered that rather than driving performance and creating efficiencies for the organization, conventional leadership strategies and philosophies are actually fueling drama in the workplace. In fact, research indicated that under currently prescribed leadership philosophy and strategic best practices, up to three months per year of each employee’s time – potentially billions of dollars annually in the U.S. alone – is wasted in drama. In this session, Cy proposes a radically different approach to core leadership philosophies such as engagement, change management, and accountability. Join Cy as she calls leadership professionals to redefine HR and leadership with science and research and to teach leaders strategies and tools that will actually work in their modern workplace.

Reality-Based Leadership™: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace and Turn Excuses into Results

These are challenging times in our businesses today. In leadership, we must become willing to admit that the ways in which we have taught leaders to lead over the years is simply not working. These times are calling for a new type of leader, one who can bring peace, sanity, and results back to the workplace! In this session, Cy rocks audiences as she teaches the key principles of her new wave of Reality-Based Leadership™.

Business Readiness – Ensuring Our Teams are Ready for What’s Next

In this high energy session, Cy Wakeman will help leaders understand their heightened responsibilities in delivering teams and talent that are ready for what’s next along with strategies to ensure that teams able to quickly adapt and change and deliver on the needs of the organization to provide relevant, high- value, services in even mature markets. After all, change is only hard for the unready.

Hardwiring Accountability into Your Workforce

Everyone is talking about accountability, but few organizations are actually successful in ensuring that personal accountability is hardwired into their talent and everyday business operations. Join Cy as she breaks down the core competency of personal accountability and gives you no nonsense, workable strategies to hire for, coach for, and develop for accountability in your workforce! After all, personal accountability is the foundation of Reality Based Leadership™ – a revolution in leadership.

Employee Engagement is Broken: Unlocking the True Driver of Employee Performance

For years, our organizations have been investing time, money and energy into engaging our employees based on the promise that engagement drives results. While engaging our employees is critical, it turns out that engagement isn’t enough. Engagement without accountability is chaos. In this dynamic, provocative and groundbreaking presentation, you will be introduced to the concept of Reality-Based Engagement, where accountability and engagement intersect to produce awesome results. This will include some practical guidance for how to cultivate the power of personal accountability within your organization.

Video clips

Speaker Reel

Speaker testimonials

Thank you for the impact you have had on me. Last year at Herman Miller, Inc. the East delivered a record year. My team is stronger and better leaders as a result of me working on my leadership… with you! Thank you. I also wanted to share how helpful your podcasts and YouTube videos are to create the adjustment in my thinking when I digress. I had a week this week where I did not step up, so I spent the morning re-watching your work. I am back thinking of all possibilities of creating great and enabling my team to share in that work.

Vice President Sales-East, HermanMiller

I wanted to share the fantastic feedback we’ve received from Cy’s programs over the years. I am grateful for the passion that she brings to her presentations and for the experience that those attending (including myself) are able to take away from her sessions. Cy’s presentations are some of the highest rated Executive Programs we’ve had at the Center since 2010, and Wow…she just gets better and better each time!

Assistant Director/Program Manager, Center for Leadership at University of Dayton

What a privilege to have you in Charlotte last week! Your message of ditch the drama, your ego is not your amigo, and how to check our stories was so impactful to our teams. The group you spoke to is highly diverse and yet your message resonated in a uniform and profound way. A ‘home run’ said one of my key teammates. I am grateful you made the trip and that you seamlessly wove the issues we are facing into your discussion. Onward we go…but in REALITY!

Head of Wholesale Credit, Bank of America

The response from our HR community has been overwhelming. They loved your message, and I think the whole experience provided a much-needed energy boost. The day exceeded my expectations, and it was the perfect launch to my new role – setting a new tone for our HR community.

CHRO, NBCUniversal Media, LLC

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