Speaking and Training

Paul Schmitz speaking at a large conferencespeaking AND TRAINING

I have delivered more than 250 speeches and workshops across 46 states, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. I get easily bored, so I try to make my presentations as high energy and interactive as possible. I love telling stories and believe they are the best way to illustrate memorable ideas. My keynotes always engage audience reflection, storytelling, and movement. I learn a lot from every group I work with.

Below are a few descriptions of my main topics, and I am always intrigued to explore others. I deliver keynotes, workshops, and even multi-day institutes on these topics.

Everyone Leads

In “Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up,” I share Public Allies’ two decades of experience developing more than 5,000 young adults from all backgrounds to become effective leaders in their communities. I try and surprise the audience with unexpected stories, and invite audience members to consider new leadership possibilities within themselves and their communities. I also illustrate leadership values critical to being an authentic, inclusive, collaborative, and accountable leader.

The Culture of Collective Impact

For Collective Impact to succeed, groups must be as rigorous about building culture as they are about building strategy. Nonprofits have often been incentivized to demonstrate they are better than everyone else, over-promise on their outcomes, claim sole credit for successes, and hide mistakes and failures. Collective Impact requires a different kind of leadership. It requires a culture that develops and rewards authentic, inclusive, collaborative, and accountable leadership; helps leaders work better together across various turfs and differences; and engages community members as partners in achieving impact goals. In my talk, I illustrate how to be as rigorous about building the collective as we are about building impact strategies.

Community Engagement Matters

Community engagement is about ensuring that those most impacted by social challenges have a say in designing and implementing solutions. The participation of intended beneficiaries and their families, neighbors, and trusted leaders should be an integral part of data-driven processes to achieve better results. And a shift in power where community members own and help produce the result will lead to greater impact. I share lessons from Public Allies, The Asset-Based Community Development Institute, and from collective impact efforts I’ve visited and advised. My talk builds on the recent article I co-authored with Melody Barnes, Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever) in The Stanford Social Innovation Review (it was their most read and shared article of 2016) and the recent Community Engagement Toolkit I built to help groups create rigorous, comprehensive engagement plans.

Trainings and Workshops

When designing learning experiences, I try to incorporate the best practices of adult education by creating highly interactive experiences in which ideas and tools are framed in very practical ways and then participants work together to connect them directly to their day to day experience. For trainings, I often partner with Dominique Samari from P3 Development Group. Some of the trainings and workshops I’ve designed in addition to the topics above are:

  • Collective Impact 101
  • Racial Equity Toolkit
  • 10 Dangers to Collective Impact
  • Community Engagement Toolkit
  • Systems Change
  • Asset-Based Community Development
  • Result-Based Strategy
  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Values-Based Culture Building
  • Team Building and Collaborative Leadership
  • Making Meetings Work: Tips for effective, engaging meetings
  • Leadership Integrity: Defining your Purpose, Influences, Values, and Needs
  • Sticky Storytelling

“Inspiring. Fabulous. Amazing.  Three of the many words leaders at the Forum’s last National Meeting used to describe the incredible journey Paul took them on to unpack what it takes to lead.  Let me add three more:  Authentic.  Humble.  Knowledgeable.  It’s rare that you come across a speaker who can be described by all six of these words.  Paul is not only a gifted speaker, but a brilliant observer and natural teacher who has the ability to share what he has learned in ways that make people listen, laugh and leave wanting more.”

Karen Pittman, President & CEO, Forum for Youth Investment