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Adaptation Advantage: Leading in a Post-Pandemic World

Wednesday, July 28 at 11:15 am ET

When Heather McGowan and Chris Shipley wrote The Adaptation Advantage (April 2020, Wiley), they did not realize how prescient their advice and predictions would become when the coronavirus global pandemic required an immediate and dramatic shift in work, learning, and leading. Overnight companies remapped supply chains, pivoted product lines, and transformed to distributed work-from-home organizations. Entire university and school systems adopted virtual delivery exclusively, something many said they would never do. This new normal, or normal of now, requires a focus on culture, purpose, trust, and psychological safety as we embark on the largest social experiment in human history. The virus has accelerated our future of work, expedited our human transformation to digital creating, and placed an even greater burden on leaders to inspire and motivate human potential. Even when the virus subsides, many of our new ways of working will remain and we will be the better for this forced transformation.



Heather E. McGowan is an internationally known speaker, writer, and advisor. She prepares leaders to most-effectively react to rapid and disruptive changes in education, work, and society.

As a Future of Work Strategist, McGowan has worked with diverse teams to address these challenges. Recognizing that business innovation begins with education, specifically learning faster than your competition, she has worked with university presidents and C-Suite executives – including corporate human resources managers – to prepare both graduates and workers for jobs that do not yet exist. Her clients range from start-ups to publicly-traded, Fortune 500 companies, including Autodesk, AMP, Biogen, Citi, AARP, Morningstar, The World Bank, and BD Medical. Often quoted in the media, notably by NYT columnist Thomas L Friedman for her insights into the Future of Work, she also serves on the advisory board for Sparks & Honey, a New York-based culture-focused agency focused on the future for brands.

McGowan provides keynotes for organizations all over the world and engages in advisory and, with her colleagues, provides bespoke consulting to help organizations adapt to the fourth industrial revolution. Her think tank is called Work to Learn because McGowan believes that in the third industrial revolution we learned (once) in order to work and now, in the fourth industrial revolution, we will work in order to learn (continuously). The Future of Work is Learning. In 2017, LinkedIn picked McGowan as their number one global voice for education.