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Nancy F. Koehn    

Harvard Historian & Brand Expert

Nancy Koehn is a noted historian and the premier authority for providing analysis on the social and economic impact of entrepreneurship and on leadership in turbulent times. A passionate and incisive speaker, Koehn looks at current economic and political issues facing the world through a historical lens and create solutions tailored to solve todays problems. As the James E. Robison Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School (HBS), she teaches the MBA elective Entrepreneurial Leadership in Turbulent Times. Her research focuses on entrepreneurial leadership and how leaders, past and present, craft lives of purpose, worth and impact. She has been a professor of business administration at HBS since July 2001. From July 1992 through June 1997 she was as assistant professor, and from July 1997 through June 2001 she was an associate professor at HBS.

Koehn is the author of three books and a contributor to six more. Her most recent work, The Story of American Business: From the Pages of The New York Times (Harvard Business Press 2009), tells the story of American business history as seen through the lens of The New York Times news reporting. The book encompasses more than 100 articles spanning two centuries with a focus on three major themes: the corporation, the changing nature of work, and defining moments in technology. Her second book, Brand New: How Entrepreneurs Earned Consumers Trust from Wedgewood to Dell (Harvard Business Press 2001), is a valuable study in brand development and entrepreneurship that is part business book, part marketing manual, and part pattern recognition of key cycles. Her keen insight into six well known entrepreneurs has made her a sought after and often quoted expert on consumerism and branding. In addition to numerous books, Koehn has also written and supervised case studies on Bono and U2, Oprah Winfrey, Whole Foods, Starbucks Coffee Company, Ernest Shackleton, Josiah Wedgwood, Este Lauder, Henry Heinz, Milton Hershey, Celeste Walker, Marshall Field, Dell Computer and other leaders and organizations.

Outside of her career in academia, Koehn works closely with senior executives at a number of large companies on issues including strategic branding and leadership. She has worked extensively as a consultant and executive coach in the advertising and fashion industries. For many years, she has served as an advisor to a range of entrepreneurial enterprises. Koehn has also served as a director for Tempur-Pedic International since 2004 and as a director for the health care company Seniorbridge since 2003. She is a member of ING North Americas Advisory board where she has served since 2004. An energetic and insightful orator, Koehns recent speaking engagements include Connecting with Customers in Turbulent Times and Leading in Turbulent Times. In the past year, she has presented this work to senior executives in the retail, restaurant, financial and information technology industries.

Koehn has also showcased her talent as a moderator at the World Economic Forum, receiving the highest of reviews. She has appeared on Good Morning America, CNBCs Moneywheel, Nightly Business Report, and Street Signs, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, A&Es Biography, CNNs Money Line and many other television programs. She is also a frequent commentator on National Public Radio. In 2001, Business 2.0 named Koehn one of 19 leading business gurus in the U. S.. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University, a masters in public policy from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and a masters and a doctorate in European history from Harvard University.

Speech Topics

Leadership in Turbulent Times

Brand Development and Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurs and Corporate Leaders


Abraham Lincoln, as Management Guru -

By NANCY F. KOEHN. Published: January 26, 2013. The legacy of Abraham Lincoln hangs over every American president. To free a people, to preserve theĀ ...

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