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Leigh-Kathryn Bonner      

Founder & CEO of Bee Downtown

Leigh-Kathryn Bonner is the Founder and CEO of Bee Downtown and the BDT Leadership Institute. She is part of the TED Speaking Community, a 2017 Southern Living Southerner of the Year, a 2018 INC Magazine 30 Under 30 Rising Star, a 2019 Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur and North Carolina Woman of the Year, and most recently recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the next 1,000 Entrepreneurs Redefining the American Dream.

Bonner’s company literally has America’s largest and most influential companies “buzzing” with excitement as Bee Downtown installs and maintains beehives on corporate campuses for companies like Delta, NYSE, Dominion Energy, Microsoft, Cricket Wireless, Cisco, Chick-fil-A, MetLife and many more to help rebuild sustainable agriculture and cultivate great places to work.

Bonner is a 4th generation beekeeper and a truly dynamic storyteller. Each keynote revolves around a central story of what lessons of leadership we can take from one of Mother Nature’s best examples of a high performing team.

With over 40 different biomimicry based leadership analogies, or parables as Bonner likes to call them, focused on how we as humans can learn to be more effective leaders, and build stronger teams, Bonner will customize each keynote to focus on areas of leadership development your company specially would like to reinforce to your attendees. Each parable was built in collaboration with Retired Colonel Joseph LeBoeuf Professor Emeritus of Duke University and Chief Learning Officer for the BDT Leadership Institute.

Curious what Biomimicry based learning looks like? For example, one of the reasons why a honeybee colony is so successful is that despite living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment, just like our human world, is because the honeybee colony will always move towards a stressor in their environment as a unified team. When they set off an alarm pheromone, the colony quickly adapts and adjusts to collectively move towards the stressor at hand. Their fast adaptation as a team is what has allowed them to remain successful as a species for millions of years. In our human world, how can our teams work together like a hive to move towards our unforeseen and unexpected challenges in our working lives? If we can take a few key lessons away from the honeybee, next time an unexpected situation arises, our teams will be able to adapt faster and more effectively to address the situation at hand.

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