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About Me

I spent much of my career as a healthcare executive, including 15 years as a hospital CEO and 15 years as the lead executive and innovator of national healthcare education and networking programs. I have also served as a faculty member at 4 universities and launched several successful businesses. After trying retirement for 7 months, I realized I couldn’t sit still that long, and have been staying busy ever since as an entrepreneur, author, and speaker. [see full bio]

I have been writing for many years and have published over 700 blog articles on achieving greater success and developing leadership excellence. I have also authored 2 books on leadership, Presidential Leadership: Learning from United States Presidential Libraries & Museums (2013) and Be An Inspirational Leader: Engage, Inspire, Empower (2017). [learn more]

I am an engaging keynote speaker with more than 25 years of experience delivering presentations and facilitating meetings for groups of all sizes. Participants and event planners alike have praised my ability to engage a room full of people—not merely entertaining them, but inspiring and equipping them to take action on the concepts I present. [see testimonials or FAQ]

Keynote & Workshop Topics

Which is the best fit for your organization?


I will lead a full or half-day highly interactive and engaging workshop for your team, department, or organization. Participants will be engaged in thought-provoking discussion and asked to complete quick but creative assignments individually and as a group. Each session will be uplifting and inspiring as well as relevant and productive, with a focus on personal, professional, and organizational strategies and impact. Participants will leave the session with specific and definitive plans or objectives resulting from the individual and collective knowledge, wisdom, and participation of the group. Individuals and teams will be engaged, inspired, and empowered to return to their work with the determination to leverage their individual and collective strengths to achieve their potential and accomplish great results—at work and in every area of their lives! LEARN MORE


I will deliver an inspiring and uplifting 60-minute presentation relevant for participants at all levels. With a variety of topics to choose from, every keynote is based on in-depth research, personal experience, and real-life stories from interviews all across America. With great energy and enthusiasm, I will provide insights, encouragement, and proven strategies to help participants leverage their strengths, become more effective in their roles, and achieve their full potential for greater personal, professional, and organizational success    

Facilitated Discussions

 I will begin with a brief presentation designed to stimulate thought and conversation. I will then invite questions and discussion, facilitating and guiding the conversation to further explore the concepts I presented and better understand their impact on your group—individually and collectively. I will provide structure for the conversation and help ensure productive individual and group behavior and engagement. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, offer perspectives, and gain new insights on relevant and impactful concepts and ideas and how they affect their personal, professional, and organizational lives. At the end of the discussion, I will summarize the results, reinforcing tangible outcomes, actions, behaviors, habits, and objectives.

Have more questions?

See the FAQ or contact me here

“I’ve known Dan for many years and he has always demonstrated that he is an individual of integrity and character and practices what he preaches. Dan has great insight and an exceptional ability to communicate inspirational and heartfelt messages. It is a privilege to recommend Dan as a skilled facilitator and leader.”

Sharla K Jones, VP, HR Learning & Development Manager, PlainsCapital Bank


Dan masterfully orchestrates an environment where diverse individuals can come together to address major questions facing their organizations. At a time when collaboration is a key to organizational success, his assistance should prove to be of substantial value.”

- Eugene S. Schneller Ph. D, ASU


“Mr. Nielsen was the facilitator of a Leadership Conference with Senior Level “C” Suite attendees. He was engaging and made his role a seamless integration of the entire conference structure. He lead a truly thought provoking and organized event. I hope to have the pleasure of attending another one in the future.”

- Kay White, Senior HR Professional


“Dan is a gifted leader who has the extraordinary ability to develop a strategic vision and mobilize an organization to achieve it. He operates with great integrity and character. Dan completely understands business dynamics and utilizes that understanding to optimize exceptional leadership. If you’ve heard Dan lecture, he is an inspiration and motivation to all he reaches. It has been my honor to know him.”

Stacy Shillan, IV Infusion & Respiratory Services, Walgreens


“Dan is a great and inspiring speaker, who connects work with real life, and real life with work in interesting and thought-provoking ways. He understands the challenges that leaders face, and he offers listeners the opportunity to learn something new whenever he is in the room.”

- Lynn Gentry, President, Write Stuff Public Relations


“Dan is a great communicator and inspirational speaker. His message is positive and always very motivating. I recommend Dan to help any organization optimize their employee’s potential.”

- John Penhollow, Director of Corporate Accounts, Medical Action Industries


“Dan is one in a million. His integrity is untouchable. His professional motivation is at its peak and he keeps it there. Probably the most interesting person I know.”

- Bob FurmanRetired Director, YMCA Camp Kitaki


“Dan’s keynote presentation met all of my expectations and from other comments I heard, it surpassed the expectations of the attendees.... it was refreshing to hear: ‘I am so glad the presentation was something for me, something that I can use in my personal and professional life.' Dan’s presentation kicked off the meeting on a very positive note.”

Dee Ann CrossSenior Clinical Manager, Novation


“Dan is a high energy and creative individual, with decades of experience at the highest levels of healthcare. His management style when I worked for him was inclusive and enthusiastic.”

- Ed Crane, Executive Director, Dallas/Fort Worth Medical Center Foundation


“Dan Nielsen is a gifted facilitator and inspiring presenter. He truly has a passion for leadership and for getting to the heart of the matter. He knows what it takes to motivate both individuals and groups and genuinely leads by the example he sets.”

– Sharla K JonesVP, HR Learning & Development Manager, PlainsCapital Bank


“Dan Nielsen is a man of wisdom and passion. His excellent presentation to the leadership of the Affinity Health System included his inspiring personal story and the wisdom of the ages based on teachings from Benjamin Franklin to Og Mandino. Our team was inspired, intrigued, and challenged by Dan.”

- Dan Neufelder, past CEO, Affinity Health


“Dan is the ultimate professional. He has exceptional relationship development and group facilitation skills. He is a keen observer and is able to offer accurate insights into business relationships.”

- Brenda Moon, Vice President Client Executive, MedAssets


“I enthusiastically recommend Dan... His facilitation skills – whether in a large group or small group setting – are outstanding. Dan’s speaking style is focused, engaging and motivating. He is a friend and a great resource.”

- John Cox, CEO, The Rome Group, Inc.


“Dan is a forward thinking leader who is optimistic, collaborative and open to change. He is trusted and respected by colleagues. His speaking style is enthusiastic, confident and engaging. You know that a successful outcome will be delivered when Dan is leading the way.”

- Rick Provencher, Director Member Solutions, Amerinet


“Dan is a very talented facilitator and presenter... He has the talent to engage his audience due to his wide range of knowledge on many subjects. He is very well read and incorporates his wide breadth of readings into his meeting facilitation or presentations. I highly recommend Dan as a facilitator or presenter.”

- Larry Dooley, VP National Accounts Healthcare Systems, Smith & Nephew


“Dan has a passion for leadership and for providing the tools for others to become effective, insightful leaders.”

Linda DeWolf, Founder, Travel Well


More Testimonials>>

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the major benefits of hiring an outside speaker and facilitator like yourself?

  • Preparation – A well-run, effective workshop or facilitated discussion requires hours and hours of planning and preparation. Busy executives often do not have the time to commit to that level of preparation before the event, so hiring a professional facilitator ensures proper preparation and ultimately a better outcome.
  • Experience – Professional facilitators are experienced in constructing efficient and effective agendas that provide the proper flow and structure to the discussion. They make the most of the time available, ensuring your group achieves its objectives.
  • Independent Perspective – An outside facilitator brings an independent perspective as well as outside knowledge, experience, and wisdom to the discussion. This helps in many ways, including bringing productive resolutions to conflict or differing viewpoints, and keeping the meeting focused and on track.

What are the major benefits of a workshop?

  • Encourages dialogue and participation.
  • Brings fresh perspectives and helps develop new ideas.
  • Deepens engagement and renews inspiration and commitment.

What are the major benefits of a facilitated discussion?

  • Allows plenty of time for questions, reflection, and the exploration of new ideas.
  • Promotes healthy dialogue and communication.
  • Manages the time and balances the voices heard in the room, ensuring everyone has a chance to offer insights and no one dominates the conversation.
  • Allows for immediate input and feedback from leaders, colleagues, and direct reports alike.

What are the major benefits of a keynote?

  • Uplifting and inspiring session for group of any size.
  • Can be a standalone event or worked into a full schedule.
  • Offers something fresh and new your group can both enjoy and learn from.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of people who can participate in a workshop, facilitated discussion, or keynote?

  • I do not put a limit on the number of participants for any of my sessions. However, to maximize engagement and effectiveness, I do recommend keeping workshops and facilitated discussions under 200 people if possible. Keynotes can easily be delivered to groups of any size.

What topics can I choose from for a keynote, workshop, or facilitated discussion?

Popular topics include:

  • Be An Inspirational Leader: Engage, Inspire, Empower
  • Lead With Your Strengths: The Key to Leadership Excellence
  • Achieve Greater Success: Improve and Leverage Your Strengths
  • Sharpen Your Focus: Achieving Clarity for More Effective Leadership
  • Be A Lifelong Learner: Achieving Your Highest Priorities & Reaching Your Full Potential
  • 20 Critical Tips for Healthcare Leaders: from America’s Healthcare Leaders

What do you mean by "Engage, Inspire, Empower?"

While there is no magic formula for effective inspirational leadership, research shows that the habits of actively and intentionally engaging, inspiring, and empowering others pays huge dividends toward your personal, professional, and organizational success—as well as the success of those you lead! Here is how we define these three critical habits:

  • To ENGAGE those you lead is to… Create genuine connection, participation, and commitment to your organization’s mission and purpose. Leaders engage people by cultivating authentic relationships, investing their time, attention, and resources, and providing opportunities for people to use their unique skillsets to achieve greater success for themselves and their organization.
  • To INSPIRE those you lead is to… Stir up lasting enthusiasm and passion for what your organization is doing and what it is striving to do. Leaders inspire people by creating a clear vision toward which to work, demonstrating (not just articulating) strong core values, and continually nurturing excitement for their team's work and mission.
  • To EMPOWER those you lead is to… Equip and enable them to do their work with excellence, growing in both ability and confidence. Leaders empower people by facilitating their growth, equipping them beyond the essentials, and encouraging their leadership by extending trust and granting appropriate authority and autonomy.

Will you tailor a workshop, facilitated discussion, or keynote to meet the needs of my group?

  • Absolutely! My desire is to serve you and your group in the best way possible. Your input and suggestions are not only appreciated, but crucial for the success of your event.

How long does a workshop last?

  • Typically a half-day workshop lasts 3-4 hours with two breaks, and a full-day workshop lasts 6-8 hours, with several breaks and lunch. The breaks will be creatively used to enhance further engagement, learning, and relationship building. While this is a typical schedule, I will work to fit your timeframe and preferred schedule.

How are the workshops structured?

  • Expect your workshop to be a highly interactive and participative event. There will be a variety of individual and group exercises, with specially designed activities and methods to keep everyone stimulated and involved. Questions, comments, and discussion are invited throughout the session. I encourage (but do not force) dialogue and participation from everyone. Regular breaks are scheduled so participants can move around, enjoy refreshments, use the restroom, make phone calls, etc.

How long does a facilitated discussion last?

  • This is one of the most adaptable sessions I offer. Typically a facilitated discussion can last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours (breaks included), but I will work within your desired timeframe. I do recommend a minimum of 90 minutes for smaller groups (less than 30 participants) and a minimum of 2 hours for groups greater than 30.

Is the keynote length adjustable?

  • Ideal length is 60–90 minutes, but I will adjust based on your desires and your schedule.

Will you answer audience questions after your keynote?

  • The short answer is yes. If you desire time for questions, we should allow a little more time for the keynote and questions. If time allows, I am more than happy to answer questions, sign books, and mingle with the participants before and after the keynote. I am particularly gifted in engaging individuals and small groups of participants before and after a keynote.

What kind of follow-up will you do after the conclusion of a workshop?

  • I am always committed to and enjoy follow-up after any presentation, whether workshop, facilitated discussion, or keynote. I am delighted to work with event planners or decision-makers to create follow-up materials specifically designed to add significant short and long-term value to the event and experience.

What materials or resources are provided?

  • Depending on the topic and your desires for the event, I often prepare handouts for specific sessions. I can also set up a private webpage where participants can access all relevant content from the session, such as slides, quotes, concepts, strategies, tactics, and links to suggested resources.
  • Please note, I will not copy or duplicate material or content copyrighted by others. However, I will gladly provide the necessary information for participants to find or access such content on their own.

How do I learn more about your availability and fee schedule?

  • Contact me today by clicking here and I or a member of my team will respond via phone or email within 1-2 business days. I would love to tailor an event to meet your needs!