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Ken Schmidt

The former director of communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company played an active role in one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history. He’s since advised executive leaders of many of the world’s best-known brands, delivered more than one thousand keynote presentations, written two best-selling books and created a popular business podcast. He’s widely respected as one of the business community’s most outspoken, provocative, and entertaining thought leaders on competition, loyalty, human behavior, workplace culture, brand management, positioning and reputation management -- and how each of those topics impacts the others. The longtime motorcycle enthusiast’s formal association with Harley-Davidson began in 1985. As a specialist in corporate positioning and financial relations, he was asked to work with the struggling company to help restore its image, improve its competitiveness, create demand for its motorcycles and attract investors. Within a few short years, as sales of its motorcycles rocketed upward, Harley-Davidson became one of the most respected, competitively dominant, profitable and frequently reported-on companies in the world. Today, Schmidt’s focused on his greatest passions, motorcycling, speaking and helping business leaders to improve their competitiveness. In addition to “Make Some Noise: The Unconventional Road To Dominance,” he also ghost-wrote, “100 Years of Harley-Davidson,” the best-selling motorsports book of all time. In 2021, he launched, “Tailgating With Geniuses,” a highly successful business and entertainment podcast.

The former director of communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company played an active role in one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history. He’s since advised executive leaders of many of the world’s best-known brands, delivered more than one thousand keynote presentations, written two best-selling books and created a popular business podcast. He’s widely respected as one of the business community’s most outspoken, provocative, and entertaining thought leaders on competition, loyalty, human behavior, workplace culture, brand management, positioning and reputation management -- and how each of those topics impacts the others. The longtime motorcycle enthusiast’s formal association with Harley-Davidson began in 1985. As a specialist in corporate positioning and financial relations, he was asked to work with the struggling company to help restore its image, improve its competitiveness, create demand for its motorcycles and attract investors. Within a few short years, as sales of its motorcycles rocketed upward, Harley-Davidson became one of the most respected, competitively dominant, profitable and frequently reported-on companies in the world. Today, Schmidt’s focused on his greatest passions, motorcycling, speaking and helping business leaders to improve their competitiveness. In addition to “Make Some Noise: The Unconventional Road To Dominance,” he also ghost-wrote, “100 Years of Harley-Davidson,” the best-selling motorsports book of all time. In 2021, he launched, “Tailgating With Geniuses,” a highly successful business and entertainment podcast.

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Ken Schmidt Reviews

Belinda Narby, Volkswagen Australia

Review: An absolute pleasure! We continue to receive great feedback from our delegates which is a great sign!

Ian Macrae, AccessIntel

Review: I want to tell you how much people enjoyed your keynote. The LeadsCon/Access Intelligence staff and the other speakers I connected with specifically mentioned your talk as the highlight of the program. People loved it, and it was clear to see why. Your delivery was energetic and inspiring – the content was top-notch and thought-provoking.

Jessica Eames, International Floriculture Expo

Review: We have had great feedback so far and I heard references to your session take-aways which is exactly what we want! You were a great fit and the audience laughter and engagement made that apparent.

More About Ken Schmidt

  • What is your favorite quote? What are people saying about you? What do you want them to say? And what are you doing to make them say it?
  • Are there any moments that stand out as having a significant impact on your career? Being part of the incredible team that drove Harley-Davidson's turnaround from the brink of ruin to global dominance -- using techniques nobody had ever used or heard of.
  • Outside of your profession do you have any hobbies/interests? Motorcycling (duh). Fishing. Hunting. Soccer. Snowboarding. Green Bay Packers. Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Who do you look up to as a mentor and why? Most memorable mentor was Richard Teerlink, CEO at Harley-D, who taught me that you can't be a leader if you're not doing what you're asking others to do.
  • Is there anything else we should know about you? I've done 1,200+ keynotes around the world -- all tailored to my audiences -- which means I do a lot of homework. I also lead workshops to help businesses improve competitiveness.
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