Merchant, a former executive in the tech industry, worked for companies including Apple and now strives to reinvent work. A best-selling author, her books include The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World. “Onlyness,” she says, is based on the idea that we create value in the modern economy through our original ideas. An educator, she teaches at Stanford and has lectured at Yale. In 2013 she received the “Future Thinker Award” from Thinkers50.
For years, I used to watch people from stages, either as an attendee or a co-speaker. People give audiences similar advice: ‘Just go do it!’ ‘Be braver!’ … It always struck me that that was an incomplete answer. After studying onlyness, I realized that the reason that 61% of us are denying ourselves is not based on our boldness but on how we belong to one another. Until we understand how to be in relationships with one another, we don’t know how to be ourselves.”
ABOUT PASS THE MIC: Looking to make your next business event more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming? There’s no better place to start than with your speakers. We’ve hand-picked a few who may fly under the radar in the speaker circuit but raise the bar in making events more diverse — and way more interesting.