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Michele Wucker        

Best-Selling Author of "The Gray Rhino", "Lockout", & "Why The Cocks Fight"

Michele Wucker coined the term “gray rhino” to draw attention to the obvious risks that are neglected despite – and often because of- their size and likelihood. The timely metaphor has moved markets, shaped financial policies, and made headlines around the world, especially as a frame for the ignored warnings that led to the COVID-19 pandemic. Michele’s 2019 TED Talk has attracted well over two million views. She is the author of four books including the global bestseller THE GRAY RHINO: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore; and the forthcoming YOU ARE WHAT YOU RISK: The New Art and Science of Navigating an Uncertain World (Pegasus Books, April 2021). Drawing on three decades of experience in financial media and think tank management, turnarounds, and economic policy analysis, Michele is founder of the Chicago-based strategy firm Gray Rhino & Company. She speaks regularly to high-level global audiences on risk management, macro strategy, and decision-making, and is quoted often in leading global media. She has been recognized as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a Guggenheim Fellow, among other honors.

Speech Topics


Gray Rhino Proofing Your Future: Recognizing and Acting on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore

  • Why we neglect, downplay, or outright deny highly probable, often preventable threats — and how much these oversights cost
  • How to avoid “surprise” black swans by looking for obvious but neglected “gray rhino” risks, including common decision-making pitfalls
  • Strategies that you can apply at each of the five stages of a typical gray rhino to rethink risk and make better decisions on investments and financial planning

Beyond Kicking the Can: How to Stop Muddling and Innovate

So you know what your organization’s biggest problem is. So why isn’t it fixed? Kicking the can down the road is human nature — so much so that we often take for granted that problems will persist. But the longer we let a problem go on, the more we lose in opportunity cost and the harder the problem becomes to fix. Learn from an expert on why organizations, individuals and policy makers don’t immediately deal with obvious dangers, how to get out of your own way, and how to turn a crisis into opportunity. In this talk drawing on real-world examples, you will: * Find out why the most obvious problems often get the least attention – at high cost. * Understand how to take off your blinders to obvious but neglected problems * Learn the reasons why decision makers muddle and how to counter them * Get inspiration from stories of business and policy leaders who overcame the urge to muddle * Recognize when it’s time to recognize a problem is unsolvable * Learn to turn frustration into innovation

Demographic Gray Rhinos: Robots Meet Aging and Migration

Tectonic shifts are coming in labor markets and consumer demographics, intensified by recent technological advances in additive manufacturing and machine learning. Together, they are a crash of obvious, highly probable yet neglected “gray rhino” challenges. * By 2050, there will be just one worker for every retiree, less than a third of the current level * Pension shortfalls in the U.S. alone are roughly $20 trillion * By 2044, the United States will be a majority minority country * Close to half of U.S. jobs could be lost to automation of everything from scheduling to driving to legal and financial analysis In this provocative talk, learn about the opportunities and pitfalls that your organization faces amid shifting demographics colliding with increasing automation, and strategies for getting ahead of the game.

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