Dr. Thom Mayer

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Dr. Thom Mayer is the Medical Director for the NFL Players Association, Executive Vice President of Leadership for LogixHealth, Founder of BestPractices, Inc., and Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University and Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke University. He was named the 2018 winner of the James D. Mills Outstanding Contribution to Emergency Medicine Award, which is the highest honor of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He was recently nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. USA Today named him one of the “100 Most Important People in the NFL.” Tom Peters, the internationally acclaimed leadership guru, referred to his work as “gaspworthy.”


When asked about these awards, Dr. Mayer simply says, “I have only one talent. I know how to hire people who are not only better than me, but much better than me. They won the awards, not me.”


Dr. Mayer has been the founder, CEO, and principal shareholder of physician leadership, staffing, and management and ambulance transport companies with revenues in excess of $100 million, which were then sold with an average IRR in excess of 38%. He continues to hold intellectual property rights to all the content developed by these companies.


He is one of the most widely sought speakers on healthcare patient experience, leadership and management, hardwiring flow, trauma and emergency care, pediatric emergency care, EMS/disaster medicine, and sports medicine. His work in each of these areas has resulted in changing the very fabric of patient care.


On September 11, 2001 Dr. Mayer served as the Command Physician at the Pentagon Rescue Operation and has served on 3 Defense Science Board Task Forces, advising the Secretary of Defense. Most recently, in 2022, Dr. Mayer helped lead a mobile team to Ukraine treating almost 350 patients and training over 1,700 Ukrainian medical staffers.


He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, over 100 book chapters, and has edited or written 20 textbooks, including:

  • Leadership for Great Customer Service: Satisfied Employees, Satisfied Patients: 2nd Edition
  • Leadership for Smooth Patient Flow
  • Hardwiring Flow
  • The Patient Flow Advantage
  • Strauss and Mayer’s Emergency Department Management.
  • Battling Healthcare Burnout


Dr. Mayer was named the ACEP Outstanding Speaker of the Year and has been named ACEP’s “Over-the-Top” award winner 3 times. Battling Healthcare Burnout won the ACHE’s James Hamilton Award for the best healthcare leadership book in 2022 and Leadership for Smooth Patient Flow won the ACHE’s James Hamilton Award for the best healthcare leadership book in 2008. In sports medicine, his work at the forefront of changing concussion diagnosis and management in the NFL has changed the way in which these athletes are diagnosed and treated.


Dr. Mayer was the originator of the entire NFL Concussion Guidelines program, and thus has changed the nature of concussion diagnosis and management worldwide. He gives many examples of his NFL experiences in his talks.

Speaking Topics -


Leadership is Worthless…But Leading is Priceless: What I Learned from 9/11, the NFL, and Ukraine


Dr. Thom Mayer has led a life at the forefront of leading through some of the most prominent crises of our generation, including serving as the Command Physician at the Pentagon on 9/11, Incident Commander for the US’s first bioterrorism incident, Medical Director of the NFL Players Association, and leading a Mobile Emergency Team during the Ukraine invasion. This keynote is a contrarian approach to leadership, which is: Leadership is worthless…because it is a noun - something you say. But Leading is priceless…because it is a verb - the things you do, all day, every day, in every walk of life.


Dr. Mayer challenges his audiences to ask the right question - "How will I lead myself and my team today?” By helping them to embrace that leading occurs - no matter what job you do - in everything you do, he inspires others to lead themselves, their teams, and their families


Filled with stories and examples from Dr. Mayer’s career as “The Master of Disaster,” leading at the forefront of crises on the world stage, this presentation challenges but also inspires new and practical approaches to leading your life in times of crisis.


Making Failure Your Fuel: A Key Aspect of Leadership is Worthless…But Leading is Priceless


In his book “Leadership is Worthless…But Leading is Priceless” Dr. Thom Mayer presents many actionable yet contrarian concepts. One of the most intriguing of these is the idea of “Making Failure Your Fuel,” which builds upon the idea that innovation, which is an essential skill in these turbulent times, occurs not at the speed of genius, creativity, or intelligence, but rather at the speed of…trust. And the only way we can trust ourselves and our teams to innovate is to develop and perfect the talent of making failure our fuel.


Using stories and personal experiences from the NFL, the US Women’s’ National Soccer Team (including Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach), 9/11 at the Pentagon, Ukraine, Capital One, and world history and literature, this talk examines the details of using failure to motivate success, including:

  • Failure is not the opposite of success-it is an integral part of success
  • Failure motivates-Tom Brady and the NFL Draft
  • Developing Your Failure Muscles-11 ways to use failure as fuel
  • The Healing Power of Failure
  • Limits Begin Where Vision Ends
  • Taking ourselves lightly-and failure as our fuel


As Senator Mark Warner said in his comments on Dr. Mayer’s book, “Perhaps the greatest lesson Dr. Mayer has to offer is not to be discouraged by failure, but rather to use it as fuel-to take risks and get yourself back in the game. Leaders of all stripes can learn much from reading this book.” You can learn much from this talk.

Dr. Thom Mayer's Experiences

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HE DID A GREAT JOB. Our folks really liked his presentation.

Oklahoma Hospital Association