Scott’s Topics

Scott Carbonara’s Sample Speaking Topics

ScottCarbonaraSpeakingScott Carbonara, CEO of Spiritus, is an award-winning speaker and trainer whose style is highly engaging, humorous, research and story-based, and practical. Audiences walk away energized and armed with tools, based on the “WHIP It” philosophy–using What you Have In your Possession. Perfect for conferences, rewards and recognition events, leadership development retreats, manager/employee training, rallies, in-services, team-building sessions, and more.



Below are Scott’s sample topics. Each program is customized–and can be delivered from a one-hour keynote to a full-day workshop. Whether you are looking for a keynote, half- or full-day program, or a multi-year program, Scott can deliver what you need to invigorate a positive, performance-based culture. Check out Scott’s bio, video clips, testimonials, or contact us.

TOPIC #1: Engagement Starts with You

Whether your goal is to increase your personal engagement, maximize the engagement of your team, navigate change, or improve the culture with which you face your customers and clients—this humorous, uplifting, practical, research-and-story-based session inspires audiences to reignite by using Scott’s W.H.I.P. philosophy (What you Have In your Possession). Scott challenges the standard definitions of success and happiness, and shares 5 concrete tools rooted in positive psychology to help create sustainable positivity and performance—while spreading it to others. Learn to master the energy you and your team bring to the workplace and life—for increased results. As a result of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the connection between discretionary effort and engagement
  • Gain resilience in the face of adversity and challenges
  • Spread engagement like a virus using 5 simple tools

TOPIC #2: Leading in Times of Change

(Alternate title/approach to Topic #1. Both are very popular keynotes. Any level audience.)

You could spend a lifetime mastering any one of the changes facing in your industry today. But don’t. As soon as you master the crises du jour, another one will take its place. Instead, learn how to build resiliency during change so you can effectively engage yourself and others no matter what challenge or transition you encounter. People look to leaders for answers when the ground starts to shake from the latest implementation, funding crisis, or regulatory mandate. Are you prepared to engage yourself—and then others—so you can succeed regardless of any obstacle? Learn some key lessons found in positive psychology about how to engage by investing in the people-side of change:

  • Discover why going through change can feel a lot like grief
  • Leverage your personal engagement to strengthen your resilience
  • Apply five practical tips to engaging yourself and others through change

TOPIC #3: Secure Your Own Mask First: How Perspective Drives Resilience

(Also focuses on change. Very popular keynote. Any level audience.)

Even in normal times, leaders may struggle to keep themselves and others engaged. But since 2020, we need resilience more than ever. Organizations have been operating without a clear picture of the future—while some are serving as the heroes amidst the crisis. While we are far from the early days of the pandemic, it’s easy to experience burnout and fatigue when we still don’t have all the answers for tomorrow—and may still be haunted by the past. Perhaps today more than ever before, leaders need to operate under a growth mindset—facing the reality of the situation, while applying the hope of tomorrow. Learn key lessons found in positive psychology—and even history—about how to continuously engage in times of change, and even crisis. How can you re-engage yourself—and then others—to thrive regardless of any uncertainty around the corner? As a result of this engaging, inspirational, and highly-practical session, participants will—

  • Recognize the difference between a fixed and growth mindset;
  • Apply simple strategies to gain personal resilience and engagement; and
  • Spread engagement to patients and employees.

TOPIC #4: Get PSST! Igniting Employee Engagement

(More details on fostering engagement, geared towards managers who oversee others)

Today’s leaders are desperate to do more with less amidst change and uncertainty. These same leaders know that an engaged culture translates into loyal customers—a crucial piece in today’s complex marketplace puzzle. If you can’t reduce your workload or increase your staffing budget, your most assured tool for maximizing performance and productivity is through tapping into your employees’ discretionary efforts. Once you have applied Scott’s WHIP principle (What you Have In your Possession), it’s time to Get PSST… That is, it’s time to get Personal, Strengths-based, Social, and Targeted with each employee to maximize engagement and performance! Learn how to inspire your team to want to give their best, through the practical and often fun principles in Scott’s book A Manager’s Guide to Employee Engagement.

  • Learn ways to tap into employees’ personal strengths
  • Discover how to position people into their areas of strength for maximum performance
  • Become equipped with tools for getting targeted with employees’ passions and interests

TOPIC #5: Beyond Mindfulness: Getting It Right in the Moments that Matter

(Based on Scott’s 2021 book, Getting It Right When It Matters Most*)

How do you “get it right” when the situation is complex? How do you operate from your “Best Self” even when you are pressured to blow up? How do you enter situations with empathy, while still communicating what is most important to you? How do you avoid getting into the same rut in difficult conversations with others? This introduction to the concepts in the upcoming book and model, Getting It Right in the Moments that Matter*, is designed to aid your thinking, feeling, and behaving when—the outcome really “matters” to you professionally or personally; the situation is challenging, and there are no clear right answers; and the relationship is critical for success. When your “Best Self” controls your actions, you obtain your best results; when your Worst Self makes an appearance, you lose control, and actions suffer as a result. Learn how to keep your Best Self in the drivers’ seat. Participants will:

  • Recognize how people respond when threatened—in order reduce tension and increase successful outcomes.
  • Understand and apply age-old mindfulness techniques for keeping one’s mind, body, and emotions in control before the situation grows out of control.
  • Process, slow down, and resolve critical situations more effectively—choosing a response that reflects a best intention rather than a reaction.
  • Apply learning agility to challenging situations to achieve positive outcomes.

*(book coauthored with Tony Gambill)

TOPIC #6: Values-Driven Leadership

All organizations seek the same things: great people, loyal customers, and sustainable profits. So to stand out from the competition, companies invest in the newest cost-cutting technologies, robust social media campaigns, and cutting-edge product innovations. But does that work? Scott teaches that strong, thriving organizations set themselves apart by intentionally building a culture that serves as their key differentiator. At the HEART of that culture are core values. In this session, participants will define and refine the core values that drive them. They will learn to tap into the core values of those around them. And they will learn to how to put real H.E.A.R.T. into the values of their organizations! Participants will learn—

  • How to become AWARE of their own values, the values of others, and the values of their organizations;
  • How to stay ALIGNED to their core values…or to get back into ALIGNMENT if they stray;
  • How to ACT as a values ambassador by focusing on the H.E.A.R.T. (Hire!, Educate!, Advocate!, Reward!, and go Tell it on the mountain!)!

TOPIC #7: Beyond the Checklist: Building a Customer Service Culture

Imagine a dentist advertising, “We sterilize our equipment,” or, “We wash our hands between patients.” Not exactly high standards, right? Actually, those are just hygiene level standards, not true differentiators. It’s hard to imagine an organization attracting or retaining business using that marketing approach. In fact, by drawing attention to such low standards, such a campaign would likely hurt instead of help their business. But ironically, many organizations do something similar by touting the words customer service in their brochures or mission statements as if those words do anything to breathe real customer service into their organizations. The antidote to becoming just  another generic commodity in your community is to make customer service your key differentiator. This session builds the awareness, alignment, and actions that promote best-in-class customer service around hiring, training, communicating, measuring, and rewarding results. As a result of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Understand that customer service starts with leadership
  • Articulate a customer service mantra
  • Promote a unified customer service vision

TOPIC #8: Listen with Your Eyes: Building Emotional Intelligence

To engage a team, especially during times of change or growth, leaders need to tap into emotional intelligence, fostering empathy, resilience, and learning agility. But do you know who else has to step up? Every employee! After all, there are more employees than leaders. Besides, employees spend more time with each other than they do with leadership. In this practical, interactive, and research-based session, participants will learn how to put emotional intelligence to use so you can help support one another regardless of what change is happening in front you and your organization.

As a result of this session, participants will learn how to:

  • Actively listen using more than just their ears
  • Understand the body language of others as well as how to check their own behaviors
  • Offer constructive, positive perspectives in times of change to combat the “gloom-n-doom” mindset

TOPIC #9: The Marathon Margin: Building Resilience

A marathon may be run in a day, but the training occurs for months or years in advance. Those who consistently run too fast or hard will burn out with injury or simply not optimize their speed. Those who think about mile 26, even as they begin mile 1, will achieve the greatest results.

Scott is not a runner. But he has run two half marathons,. Learn what he did wrong–and what he should have done right. Learn how that applies to the team you lead…

How do achieve and retain peak performance in the workplace? You train for it…one mile at a time. In this session you will learn how to build strength and resilience as a team one day at a time in order to finish the race strong. Learn what the best athletes–and business leaders–do to build endurance in themselves and their teams. Learn how to plan for major changes–with the goal in mind–so you don’t peak too soon or too late.

In this session, participants will learn how to—

  • Foster behaviors that build peak performance
  • Apply the mental and emotional components of resilience
  • Support others in meeting their goals

TOPIC #10: HR Is Not a 4-Letter Word: Getting a Seat at the Strategic Table

(Alternate titles available for leadership or non HR-groups)

In too many organizations, HR is relegated to working in a strategic black hole, excluded from the most highly relevant corporate discussions that have significant impact on employees. You’ve been asking for a seat at the table, but you’re kept in an office away from the action. Even worse, some corporate leaders go so far to say things like, “Don’t forget that you are a Cost Center, not a Profit Center.” And some leaders just make you feel like HR is nothing more than “a necessary EVIL” (the other 4-letter word).

It’s time for that to stop.

During Scott’s tenure in HR, he took the human resources function from being derided as “bureaucratic pencil-pushers” to strategic business partners that got invited to every table. How? Scott learned to speak the language of value. Scott found a need no one knew how to address, saved the company a fortune, and ended up leading every change effort inside the multi-billion dollar organization.

In this session, participants will learn how to—

  • Serve as the expert on your culture
  • Create strategic key messages especially during times of change
  • Anticipate employee push-back through targeted education

TOPIC #11: Build Relationships Like a Leader

What’s the difference between a successful leader and a not-so successful one? It must be the training, right? Successful ones have more and better training. Or it could be college degrees, couldn’t it? Or professional designations, right? I mean, if a leader receives excellent training, education, and certification, he must be destined for success, right? Hardly. We all know people possessing the right degrees from the best schools who then add to their academic credentials professional designations, so after the comma behind their last names you’ll find a trail of letters like Ph.D, CPA, PMP, ERP, CRM, SCP, etc. Yet those letters do little to guarantee success. In truth, most successful business leaders have fewer degrees, but know how to build more rewarding relationships. Scott Carbonara, aka, The Leadership Therapist, first developed his relationship building-skills while working with some of the most difficult clients: dysfunctional families consisting of juvenile delinquents and abusive parents. He then moved to a multi-billion dollar healthcare company in corporate America where he learned to connect with a very different breed of individuals and leaders: senior executives and employees. Today, Scott shares his 8 Relationship-Building Tools in this highly entertaining yet relevant keynote. As a result of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Understand and resist the fallacy of an outside-in perspective;
  • Grasp the importance of relationships—by the numbers—in order to avoid becoming just another statistic; and
  • Apply 8 relationship-building tools at work and beyond.

TOPIC #12: Coaching for Performance Excellence

For years, Scott provided one-on-one coaching for leaders, and over time he saw a trend: most leaders hadn’t been taught a simple, practical coaching method that could be applied universally to a variety of people performance issues. Partnering with training and behavioral change leaders, Scott developed this highly customizable, interactive program contains the must have concepts required for anyone who chooses to lead others. Using a proven behavioral model linked to adult learning methodologies, Scott takes leaders on a journey designed to help them maximize employee performance. During the workshop, leaders will learn:

  • Why people do what they do
  • What motivates and discourages people
  • How to clarify expectations of others
  • How to catch someone doing it right
  • Dealing with undesired performance and behaviors
  • Maximizing desired performance and behavior

TOPIC #13: Becoming a Master Communicator

This program examines the challenges and best-practices of business communications. Communication isn’t hard. According to a 2010 study, 80 percent of our work time involves communicating (sending, receiving, and interpreting). But the reality is, effective communication is tough! In this workshop, leaders will explore their biggest “pet peeves” or communication obstacles at work and learn 10 practical and immediately applicable tips that range from tactical to strategic communication.By the end of the session, participants will be able to understand and implement:

  • The big 3 Is of why people communicate (Inform, Influence, Inspire)
  • The dos and don’ts of email etiquette
  • Maximizing verbal and cross-cultural communication
  • Increasing the “stickiness” and audience retention of communication

TOPIC #14: Go Positive: Lead to Engage (half or full day workshop)

Recent Gallup research reveals that a shocking 71% of U.S. employees are either “not on board” or “actively hostile” when it comes to delivering on the needs of the organization and its customers. Given the clear advantages of engagement and the costs of disengagement, how can managers maximize the attitudes—and ultimately, the performance —of their employees, even amidst very chaotic and uncertain times? Based on the most recent behavioral, and psychological research and Scott’s experience fostering a positive culture, Go Positive! Lead to Engage offers a concise, clear, easy-to-implement formula for engaging employees from the inside out that will create a difference in any workplace. The program by employee engagement speaker, Scott Carbonara, utilizes a positive—rather than punitive—approach to helping employees be internally motivated for success and ensures a deeper, more long-lasting level of engagement and loyalty in the workplace. Workshop participants will gain:

  • A heightened awareness about what it takes to increase employee engagement;
  • An amplified focus on the key priorities that must become aligned to achieve corporate goals;
  • An increased activity level on the high-return behaviors that generate improved engagement and productivity.

TOPIC #15: End the Stigma: Mental Health in the Workplace

The topic of mental health dominates our news today, with the latest statistics on addiction, violence, and stress. Scott shares from his experience as a crisis-counselor, leading up to today, including personal stories of addiction and loss. He shares tips from positive psychology on what works to counteract stress and anxiety. And he addresses the mental health epidemic striking our nation–including how to respond in the workplace to end the stigma and foster health. This powerful message educates, equips, and empowers teams to greater well being. Learn:

  • The hidden cost of addiction and mental health struggles in the workplace
  • How to foster a culture that provides help for those who need it
  • Tips to foster greater mental health as an individual and organization

TOPIC #16: The Power of Story: Creating Messages that Stick

As an author, speaker, former executive of strategic communications, and ghostwriter for some of the most powerful books around the globe, Scott shares how to build “a story” that resonates with your audience–whether through the medium of a book, corporate communication campaign, or marketing strategy.