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Linda Kaplan Thaler        

Advertising Hall of Fame luminary; Chairman, Publicis Kaplan Thaler; Bestselling Author, "Power of Nice, Grit to Great"

Linda Kaplan Thaler is responsible for some of America’s most famous, relevant, and touching advertising campaigns, including the Aflac duck, the heartfelt “Kodak Moments,” the daring “Yes, Yes, Yes” for Clairol Herbal Essences, and the composer of “I Don’t Want To Grow Up, I’m a Toys ‘R Us Kid,” arguably America’s longest running jingle. Much of her work has become part of the American pop-culture landscape. Kaplan Thaler has also worked on several political campaigns, including the presidential runs for Clinton/Gore in 1992 and Hillary Clinton in 2008.

A powerful, entertaining and inspiring speaker, Kaplan Thaler’s lectures offer stories from the front lines of business on the impact that determination, hard work, and focused attention have on getting ahead. Having grown up in the Bronx, with no money or connections, Kaplan Thaler knows that perseverance and determination are what can make the difference and help people excel beyond their wildest dreams, whether in their career or personal life. She is proof positive of the power of grit. Along with her business partner, Robin Koval, they started a small fledging ad agency in Manhattan in 1997, and, within three years, catapulted it into one of America’s fastest growing agencies, with over a billion dollars in billings.

Today, Kaplan Thaler is the Chairman of Publicis Kaplan Thaler. The agency is the U.S. flagship within the Publicis Worldwide Network, and its blue-chip client roster includes: Procter & Gamble, Citibank, Nestle, L’Oreal, Merck, Pfizer, Cadillac and Wendy’s, among others.

Kaplan Thaler is also a bestselling author and television personality, and was a host of the Oxygen reality series, “Making it Big,” as well as a judge on “The Apprentice.” Her three collaborations with coauthor Robin Koval have all received national recognition. Together they authored "The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference" and "The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness," a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. "Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World," a savvy marketing book and their first title, was also a national bestseller. Their new book, "Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary," debuted in fall of 2015.

In addition to garnering Clio and Cannes Lion awards, Kaplan Thaler’s creative talents have earned her the prestigious New York Women in Communications Matrix Award, the Advertising Woman of the Year Award from Advertising Women of New York, the UJA’s Mac Dane Humanitarian Award, the Women’s Leadership Exchange’s Compass Award, the Girl Scout’s Woman of Distinction Award, and was named one of Advertising Age’s “Most Influential Women in Advertising.” Kaplan Thaler was also presented with a New York Women in Film and Television’s Muse Award, the first woman in advertising to receive this honor. Most recently, Kaplan Thaler was inducted into the American Advertising Federation 2015 Advertising Hall of Fame.

A native New Yorker, Kaplan Thaler currently sits on the Advisory Council for The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at CCNY and also served as the 2010/2011 President of New York Women in Communications. Kaplan Thaler is married to composer Fred Thaler and has two children, Michael and Emily.

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Speech Topics


Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary

In her Grit to Great lectures, Linda Kaplan Thaler tackles a topic that is close to her heart, one she believes is the real secret to her own success and in the careers of so many people she knows and has met. New research proves that the real secret to success isn't some rarefied “It” factor, it’s the “grit” factor. And each and every one of us can possess it.

Drawing on the latest research in positive psychology and personal success, as well as a cornucopia of stories and practical “how to” tips and exercises, Thaler discusses why those who develop and possess the character traits of grit (Guts, Resilience, Initiative and Tenacity) outperform individuals with genius IQ’s, virtuoso talent, unlimited financial resources or a private school education. Individuals with high grit quotient do better in school, work, the playing field, in relationships and life. Her message is relevant to a broad range of audiences from entry level employees and budding entrepreneurs to C-Suite executives. Her inspiring message is that grit is something we all can embrace and develop whether you are nine or ninety.

The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness

Linda Kaplan Thaler has moved to the top of the advertising industry by following a simple but powerful philosophy: it pays to be nice. In her The Power of Nice lectures, through her own experiences and the stories of other people and businesses, she demonstrates why, contrary to conventional wisdom, nice people finish first.

Turning the well-known adage of “Nice Guys Finish Last” on its ear, “nice” companies have lower employee turnover, lower recruitment costs, and higher productivity. Nice people live longer, are healthier, and make more money. In today’s interconnected world, companies and people with a reputation for cooperation and fair play forge the kind of relationships that lead to bigger and better opportunities, both in business and in life.

Kaplan Thaler illustrates the surprising power of nice with an array of real-life examples from the business arena, as well as from her personal life, and presents a plan of action covering everything from creating a positive impression to sweetening the deal to turning enemies into allies.

The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference

Our smallest actions and gestures often have outsized impact on our biggest goals: Did you double-check that presentation one last time, or hold the elevator for a stranger? Going that extra inch—whether with a client, customer, family member, or friend—speaks volumes to others about our talent, personality, and motivations. After all, if we can’t take care of the small details, how can we be counted on to deliver when it really matters?

In today’s challenging times, bigger isn’t always better. In fact, it’s often the baby steps that put us on the path to delivering a true competitive advantage. Kaplan Thaler shows how to get more of what you want with surprisingly less than you’d imagine.

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