Carol Sanford

Learn the top 5 errors responsible entrepreneurs make



Want a keynote speaker who inspires, but also challenges your attendees?

Carol Sanford is such a person—she educates and motivates when she speaks.

Over the last 30 years she has led a revolution in how business is done. With long-term engagements, Carol Sanford functioned as a supra-executive decoding a company’s DNA and aligning systems to yield game-changing innovation, market leadership and financial returns. Through her A-rated speeches and award-winning books, Carol tells these stories to inspire and instruct businesses to re-imagine their way of working and change industries, social systems, cultural beliefs and governing practices.

Her highly-praised books, The Responsible Business and her latest The Responsible Entrepreneur, are required reading at leading business schools including Harvard, Stanford, Haas Berkeley and MIT. Universities that use her book include her as a speaker and lecturer not only to students but faculty.

Carol Sanford offers a fundamentally different way of working that has been tested and proven successful on three continents in multiply industries. Her contrarian strategy, leadership and management approaches challenge myths she has proven to undermine success, which many mistakenly call best practices.

Carol is not only a visionary who offers great ideas.

Through deep direct experience she has repeatedly seen the fruits of her instruction succeed. In each engagement, Carol worked with all functions and levels of the business; from C-suite executives of Finance, Business Development and Sales, Marketing, IT, R&D, to operations leadership. In most instances this included acquisition, merger, brand development, product management and channel building resulting in decades long market leadership.

Carol Sanford is the real deal—an experienced thought leader and expert that brings about innovative, meaningful and profitable change. As a result she is a captivating speaker with a wealth of real world stories, from her across-the-board experience, that will uplift your audience and get them moving.

If you want attendees to walk away motivated from your event, you need Carol Sanford to shake them up and show them a revolutionary, but demonstrated path to success.

In Praise of Carol Sanford

Chad Holliday, Chairman, Bank of America, formerly Chairman, President and CEO, DuPont  said “Carol has the mind of a CEO.”

Chad wrote the foreword to her 2011 book, The Responsible Business, to underline the significance of her work. He co-sponsored and introduced her at the launch of the book in New York from his position at Bank of America.

Michiel Bakker, Global Innovation Lab, Google

“I strongly recommend Carol’s work for running a balanced and responsible organization. The framework provides a great roadmap and is the basis of our overall strategy and way of planning.”

Google is currently using Carol’s innovation frameworks and guidance across communities of practice in which Google wants to influence and advance change.

Stephen Denning, author, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management, and contributor Forbes

“Several decades ago, Peter Drucker declared that we were entering the Entrepreneurial Society. Carol Sanford’s book spells out in concrete terms what it will take to make that a life-enhancing reality with responsible entrepreneurs who, instead of working within the system or even despite the system, transform industries and society itself.”

Stelios Tzesos, General Manager for Colgate Africa

Tzesos introduced Carol to Nelson Mandela as his co-CEO and credited her with advancing their efforts to ensure Colgate’s business growth while simultaneously helping build a more certain future for South Africa. Colgate infused Carol’s innovative business processes into township council governance, retained over 6,000 jobs and grew Colgate’s business over 30% per annum during the tumultuous initial five years of the Mandela transition.

Jeff Gill, Manager of Organization Design, UNOCAL Energy

"The only time in my career that I have had a learning experience where I deeply examined my principles was when Carol helped us rethink how we do business. She helped the leadership reframe their thinking and developed a cadre of leaders (hourly and salaried) for the company. We gained the competence to maintain a developmental way of working in a business."

Pravin Jain, serial sucessful entrepreneur, CEO and founder, Synergen Energy

“Carol is a very early thought leader, way beyond the pack. She has an exceedingly high level of intelligence for working on very complex subjects, with workable approaches. Whole enterprises change permanently for the better. I know. I have been engaged with her work, for decades in several successful entrepreneur start-ups and as an executive in Fortune 500 companies.”

Speaking Topics

Although Carol tailors each address to the audience, topics she can present include:

  • Using your business to change the world- really! How fifteen visionary business owners changed an industry, a social system, cultural beliefs and how a nation governs.
  • Linking, inextricably, every employee’s, contractor’s and supplier’s mind and action to your customer’s success, therefore your own success
  • The three rarely posed or answered questions that position your business for enduring market and industry leadership
  • The most popular “toxic” practices that undermine your businesses’ strategic, financial, responsibility and operations results—and what to do instead.
  • Your employees are not your greatest asset; rather make them your customer’s indispensable strategists, innovators and champions for results.
  • A value-adding (versus value-extractive or value-addED) worldview of business that makes you the perpetual choice as preferred product source, best place to work and top pick for responsibility awards.

Video Clips

Tedx Berkeley

Living Future 2012 Keynote

FLII in Merida, Mexico

International Living Future Institute

Booking Information

To check Carol’s availability to speak at a conference or to host a workshop, please contact Pauline Middlehurst at 206.696.0355 or

Past Clients 

Some of the major corporations where she works and speaks include:

  • DuPont
  • Clorox - 7 divisions including:
    • Hidden Valley Ranch
    • Kingsford
    • Britta
  • Seventh Generation
  • Colgate Palmolive
  • Intel
  • Agilent
  • Google
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Weyerhaeuser


  • Harvard Business School
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Stanford Engineering and Management
  • Berkeley Haas Business School
  • U Michigan Ross B School and Erb
  • U Toronto Rodham School of
  • U of Washington, Foster B School
  • Universities in Sweden, Holland,
    Denmark, France, Mexico, Lebanon

Conferences & Keynotes

  • Capital Institute Impact Investing
  • PWC Business Climate Network, NYC
  • GoGreen Portland and Seattle
  • Seattle Chamber of Commerce
  • International Living Future
  • Seattle Good Business Network
  • Greater Seattle Business Association
  • Sustainable Brands
  • Net Impact International
  • SoCap Impact Investing
  • Northwest Biotech Conference 
Forum for Leadership on Impact Investing, Merida Mexico
  • New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce
  • Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) Climate Change Conference
  • TEDx Talks in Bellevue andBerkeley
  • Bainbridge Graduate Institute

Women's Groups and Special Groups

  • Microsoft Women's Development
  • Women on a Mission
  • Women Business Exchange
  • Women in Innovation Conference
  • Seattle Minority Leadership Council

More Praise from Professionals

"Carol Sanford, a most insightful, sensitive, persuasive and effective speaker, is the person who has made a positive difference to our organization's competitive advantage."

- Finn Hovland, Senior Vice President, DuPont of Canada

"Carol can explain why and how the changes work rather than simply suggesting changes and which lets you continue to extend the capability. She really knows what she is talking about".

- Will Lynn, Clorox Group, Corporation Vice President

"I am consistently impressed by the foresight of Carol. Concepts and approaches are introduced by her, which are five or ten years later brought forward in leading books and articles. Just last week I attended a conference on innovative thinking. Once again, ideas were presented which I experienced a number of years earlier from Carol."

- John Hanby, VP of R&D, Potlatch

"Carol has the ability to invite, indeed to compel others, to consciously improve the quality of their thinking. Her message is a wake-up call, and the messenger brings a much needed reminder of how we can be when we are awake."

- Carolyn McKnight, International HR Mgr., Tektronix Corp.

"My exposure to Carol’s thinking and capability has been invaluable to my personal growth and the results of my businesses. She has insights that help me see what I need to work on next."

- W. B. White, Business Director, DuPont Specialty Chemicals

"Your workshops' gave me an understanding of just what leadership meant and what it requires from me to be a leader."

- James B. Palmer Jr., Vice President, James River Corporation

"Carol is a very unique person, possessing the rare ability to inspire people to move from the tunnel vision that prevents most of us from functioning at the level which we are truly capable of; to a three hundred and sixty degree field of vision where we can utilize all of the potential that we possess to benefit all of those with whom we interact as we travel through life."

- Ralph D. Parnell, International Representative, United Paperworkers International Union

"Carol's business and personal capability is higher than any person offering talk or seminars I have experienced (beyond what I thought possible)."

- David Dean, Senior Manager, The Kingsford Products Company

"By applying what we learned we have many success stories. Today we have people working with us holding our actions true to our vision. Never have we had so many people (other than shareholders) as passionate about our work!"

- Rob William, Craft Warehouse

"This work on consciousness provided a language and way of thinking that helped us clarify our focus and align our processes. We are energized in a way that has been missing for some time. This has already made a difference. Sometimes you just know when you have found the real thing. This is it."

 - Marti Johnson, Executive Director for Residential Resources

 Accolades from Audiences

"Carol's expertise in business growth and human nature is extraordinarily encompassing. She brings unmatched depth and singularity to every arena of a making a business non-displaceable."

"She is a like a systemic MBA in one mind, bringing unheard of clarity and sanity, moving the state of the art, repeatedly. We hear it from her today and find others saying it several years down the road after it is obvious. We always get the "whole way" from her and have never been bored even after many opportunities to hear the wisdom she brings."

"It is about developing consciousness and higher level intelligences into every mind in your organization starting with the executive team; and doing it by redesigning the business around consciousness producing infrastructure in how you do strategic thinking, leading execution and structuring work. It is like waking up and discovering you have been your own worst enemy and finding the sure and intelligent way at the same time."

"Carol has the most comprehensive business expertise I have ever heard. More intelligence and creative ideas... And a totally different and workable view of business practices."

"Totally relevant to us; never understood what it meant to have a customized speech until Carol really did one for us."

"More cutting edge by far than most speakers, really made me think differently."

"I love learning tough lessons when it is so entertaining and humorous."

"She challenges so many things we have taken for granted; even many sacred cows. And we're so glad it happened. We were on some paths that would have taken us to the wrong place when we were SO sure we knew what we were doing."

Accolades from Meeting Planners

“Our business roundtable needed a spark. I recognized an innovative presentation that Carol had given previously that tied leadership to financial performance; a perfect way to engage this group. At times the group dynamic of this audience is unpredictable. Carol delivered a sterling presentation with applied content for the businesses. She adapted to the audience dynamic that presented itself, and energized them. She brought the audience into the discussion masterfully, and tailored content to their interests. The group wanted more, and extended her presentation. Comments afterward were excellent!”

Michael J. Franz Washington State University, Washington Business Development Center

"Carol Sanford makes the life of a busy event planner a pleasure as well as a meaningful learning experience. Her speeches, as well as being fresh and unique topics, encompass a very diversified  business crowd and she holds those people with her combination of energy, new ideas, examples and stories from the field, as well as ability to touch business people around issues they care about. She delivers more than she promises; during the three keynotes she provided for us - at least 25% of the audience returned for a second and sometimes a third talk she did. I consider her one of my outstanding speakers and I have been sharing her name with my key professional association partners so they can provide her expertise to their audiences I feel I am really giving my audiences what they ask for when I have Carol on the platform."

"Your organization and professionalism genuinely displays your competency in giving advice on business success. You were such a pleasure to work with and your speech was very timely and effective for the audience. It was such a pleasure to work with you. It's great to work with a speaker that is one step ahead of me and everyone else! You keep me on track and inspired to do better everyday!"

"We received so many compliments about your keynote from our attendees after your speech. It was very helpful for them to hear all of the positive and helpful advice that you bring to today's up and coming business leaders."

"I'm really honored to have had you join us, and we will definitely recommend your speaking services to anyone that is putting together a business seminar, conference or anything that needs a great public speaker!"

"Made me look creative and smart to my clients."

"High level professionalism and respect for a planner's job."

"So many creative suggestions to make things work."