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Danessa Knaupp is an engaging, energetic and relatable speaker. Her workshops lead audiences through theory and research and real-life examples to practical, implementable personal and organizational change. Danessa’s trademark candor, compassion, and humor enable leaders and teams to see themselves in a new light, safely explore conflicts and obstacles, and achieve their full, unlimited potential.

During Danessa’s 20+ years as both a senior corporate leader and an entrepreneur, she successfully navigated the same challenges her audiences face. Leveraging that history combined with her deep executive experience, she provides highly effective guidance and
support to teams.

Danessa specializes in supporting open, authentic communication, sharing difficult messages, exploring our personal biases and story, strategy development and execution, and change management. A flexible, creative performer, Danessa’s work spans a variety of industries. She has deep financial services, sales, operations, professional services, and non-profit experience and relates well to diverse audiences.




Failure and Resilience

Failure is a dirty word. Our culture is success obsessed, and avoiding failure has become a beloved corporate pastime. We conduct risk assessments, explore opportunity costs, and mine best practices for ways to ensure the success of our people and programs. But we overlook one very important truth: Spectacular failure is the key to sustained success.
Failure is a rich opportunity for learning, and each time we fail we are presented with five unique opportunities for learning. These five gifts of failure can exponentially grow creativity and innovation and materially change individuals and companies for the better.

In this keynote, Danessa explores the five gifts of failure, the black hole of shame for people and organizations, and the keys to building resilience. Participants will learn how to reframe past failures, explore new learning, begin conversations about shame and build personal and team resilience. Filled with humorous personal and authentic anecdotes, as well as true stories from corporate battlefields, Danessa builds the case for embracing failure as an opportunity to exponentially grow success.




Demystifying Leadership Presence

Too often, we think of leadership presence as an amorphous grab bag of leader-like behaviors. Worse, we sometimes consider presence with a fixed mindset: we have it or we don’t. The truth is, three specific, measurable characteristics comprise leadership presence, and once we understand those characteristics, we can grow develop presence quickly and skillfully.

Based on deep research with more than 2000 leaders conducted by the acclaimed Center for Talent Innovation, this keynote focuses on the key components of presence, common blunders, the implications of the data by race and gender, and opportunities leaders have to apply this knowledge to develop talent quickly and effectively. This keynote has been described as "powerful" and "the single clearest conversation on this topic in my 30 year career." Participants leave this session ready to explore their own ideas of presence and the opportunities each has to grow.