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Kelly McDonald

  • Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Fees: On Request
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About:  Kelly McDonald

Kelly McDonald is considered one of the nation’s top experts in diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I), leadership, marketing and sales to people “not like you”, consumer trends, and leveraging the customer experience. 

Kelly is a 4X bestselling author and renowned professional speaker. She is also the founder of McDonald Marketing, which has twice been named one of the “Top Ad Agencies in the U.S.” by Advertising Age magazine and ranked as one of the fastest-growing independently-owned companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine.

​She has been featured on CNBC, in Forbes Magazine, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, on CNNMoney.com and on SiriusXM Radio.

Kelly McDonald speaks to organizations and associations of every size. She does 80-100 professional speaking engagements a year, working with clients directly as well as with speakers bureaus.

Kelly McDonald | Expert Marketing

Her style is a mix of high content and high humor.  Kelly’s energy and humor keep audiences riveted and engaged.  She employs audience interaction to foster learning and engagement, giving audiences a means of discussing the content and how it applies to their roles, their challenges and their opportunities.

There is no such thing as a “canned presentation” in Kelly’s world.  She works with each client to customize the presentation for the client’s audience, industry (including language and terms specific to their industry) and geography, if applicable.  Industry-specific and relevant examples are used, and audience interaction is welcomed.

Kelly McDonald has won recognition from her own industry (the National Speakers Association), prominent speakers bureaus, the media and top meeting planners.  She is consistently re-booked by clients because audiences request her back and she offers a number of different, timely, relevant business topics.

Kelly McDonald was named #15 on the list of “100 Business Women You Want to Speak at Your Event”

She is also one of only two women on the list of “10 Most Booked Corporate and Association Speakers in the U.S”

Kelly was named #1 on the list of “26 Hot Speakers” by Successful Meetings Magazine and has twice made the list of “Top 5 Speakers”.

Kelly presented the keynote at the National Speakers Association Annual Convention, a high honor within an industry with more than 10,000 members.

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Keynote Topics

How to Make Progress on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


It’s Time to Talk about Race at Work:
How to Make Progress on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Corporate America is not very diverse; we’re a long way off from having equal representation of people of color in many organizations, especially in key executive and leadership positions. Many leaders want to create change, but don’t know how.  How do you know where your blind spots are that can create obstacles for diverse talent?   


And how do you address the issues and comments that come up when employees feel nervous, resentful or uncomfortable as you make headway on diversity, equity and inclusion in your organization?


Your intentions may be sincere and heartfelt, but intentions aren’t enough.  If you don’t know how you come across to others and you don’t know how to build bridges, people can be offended, jobs can be lost, and lawsuits can be filed.  This session (and the book) does not approach this from the standpoint of social activism, political ideology or an HR perspective. This is the roadmap for how businesspeople can successfully create a fair and equitable workplace, one that recognizes diverse talent and fosters productive and constructive conversations across different perspectives that make business better – for everyone.


Not a bunch of theory, this session provides specific, actionable, no-cost tactics that you can implement immediately.  When it comes to talking about race at work, attendees will move from “uncomfortable and unsure” to “confident and empowered”, using proven tools that get real results.  And that’s language everyone values.


This session will illuminate:


  • The well-intended things people say that are hurtful or offensive to others
  • The excuses people use to avoid doing anything about diversity
  • Why your diversity & inclusion efforts haven’t done the job

You’ll learn:


  • How to talk about race in helpful and positive ways:  do’s & don’ts
  • Answers to tough employee questions or racist remarks
  • Where to start when you don’t know where to start – an 8-step framework that will show you, step-by-step, how to become a more diverse and inclusive company, department or team.
  • How to effectively recruit, interview and support diverse candidates
  • How to build business relationships with people who are different from you
  • For leaders, how to set the example, reduce tokenism, and deal with naysayers and derailers.  How to avoid “Launch & Abandon” with your diversity efforts.

Diversity in the workforce is a hot topic.  Many employers are under pressure to make sure their workforce and employee base is diverse, inclusive and representative of the customers they serve. The most progressive organizations value diversity because they realize that a diverse workforce has positive impact on the bottom line. Such a workforce doesn’t just lead to better decisions and solutions and innovation – it has been proven to grow business and profits. And a diverse workforce doesn’t just mean employees of different racial and ethnic backgrounds; it can also mean diversity of thought.


There are numerous ways we can be “diverse”: A new mom is in a very different place than one who is an empty nester. Someone with a master’s degree is very different than someone who went to a vocational/technical college. Someone who is foreign-born is different than someone who is U.S. born. “People not like you” takes away the baggage that is often associated with the word diversity and frames the subject in a more relatable way. We are ALL dealing with people “not like us”. Sometimes that can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be.


When working with people who are not like you, friction can arise. Different people may not see eye-to-eye on an issue. They may have vastly different approaches to work. Their communication styles may be very different. Their comfort in working with technology may be miles apart. Cultural backgrounds and norms can differ. Even men and women can see situations differently. How do you work alongside someone who may be quite different from you, respect those differences and be effective in your role?


And what about leading a diverse team? Leaders face daily the challenges of inspiring, communicating and executing strategy with their teams. Now imagine the challenges of leading teams that may be incredibly diverse!  How does one motivate and lead groups of people who come from different backgrounds? How do you do that when people are motivated by different values and view the world and work through different lenses?


This session takes the topic of work and leadership to a new place – one that is getting more attention every day and will continue to do so.


Learner Outcomes:


  • You’ll learn why diversity at work is important, but why it seems so hard to work with people not like you. And why that makes you NORMAL, not a bad person.
  • You’ll learn why it often comes with stress, complex emotions and even fear for some people.
  • Specific tactics will be shared for how employees can succeed in today’s diverse workplace without losing their minds or becoming frustrated by approaches to work that may differ from theirs.
  • For those in leadership positions, or those who aspire to manage and lead others, three key steps to make a diverse team work more cohesively, more productively and enjoyably.
  • The four key words that will transform how you interact with your colleagues and associates in tough situations to get the best outcome. How to troubleshoot the complex issues and address the “derailers” and naysayers that lurk within every organization and threaten its success.

It appears WFH and working virtually is here to stay – at least for the foreseeable future. That means you need to acquire new skills now – to wow your boss and provide your customers and colleagues an exceptional experience, just like you did when you could see them and work with them face-to-face.


When it comes to meetings and discussions, all we have now is our on-camera image and conduct. Your personal “brand” is reduced to a small square on-screen. It’s imperative to know how the strong skills you already have translate to the virtual world. It’s different, but not that difficult.  Small actions, like gestures and “eye contact” seem larger than life in a virtual format, so it’s critical, to learn what works – and what doesn’t on camera.


In This Info-Packed Webcast, You’ll Learn:


  • First things first:  the basic and inexpensive tools/equipment you need to look like a rockstar on camera – and simple tips and do’s & don’ts to make you look ultra-polished and professional.
  • Tips and tricks for clothing, the do’s and don’ts of how to eat and drink on a virtual call, and camera tricks that make you look more awake & alert
  • Specific tactics to communicate your value to your customers, colleagues or boss, so there is no doubt you’re the problem-solver and solution provider
  • Specific examples will be used to illustrate effective techniques
  • Do’s & Don’ts will be covered in detail

  • How to Sell & Serve Your Customers Virtually
  • How to Step Up & Lead in Tough Times
  • How to Market & Keep Selling in Tough Times
  •  Using Thought Leadership to Grow Your Business and Your Brand
  • How to Market & Sell to New Customers in New Ways
  • Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You


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