Leadership is Heresy

A bold concept. A daring challenge. Steven’s signature keynote speaks to the heart with a piercing message that it’s time to shake up the status quo.

Steven's Signature Keynote: Leadership is Heresy

Leadership: n. from 1821, “The position of leader.” By late 19c. definition extended to “characteristics necessary to be a leader.”

Heresy: v. From the Greek word hairesis, “a taking or choosing; a choice.” A derivative of hairein, “to choose.”


Many of the greatest leaders in history were regarded as heretics in the time they lived.  From Voltaire and Joan of Arc, to Mother Teresa, Thomas Jefferson, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, or even Oprah Winfrey… These men and women all had one thing in common: they understood that leadership is heresy. It’s not the status quo that creates change, it’s the courage to act in the face of orthodox beliefs and standards.

But that’s a copout.  It’s easy to look at the famous with the wisdom of hindsight and see their greatness.  And it’s easy to look at them and think they are some how different from the rest of us – even though they are not.  So look at real life leadership, those people you know to be leaders/heretics because of how they inspired you; your grandmother, your dad, your neighbor, a boss, a mentor, a favorite teacher or sports coach or drama director… Everyone is a leader and everyone can be a heretic, from that 12-year old who is courageous enough to chose to stand up to a bully in the school yard, to the mom who speaks up at the PTA for the very first time with a quivering voice and shaky knees, or the co-worker who has the courage to speak truth to power and changes the organization for the better. This is daily, real, tangible leadership and the leadership I endeavor to call out.

So what does Leadership is Heresy really mean? Combine the two definitions above: the characteristics of leadership rooted in our ability to choose, recognizing that we actually have a choice and realizing that those we often hold up as great leaders all thought, felt, behaved and acted contrary to the popular opinion of their time.

Leadership is heresy and leadership isn’t what we do to others, it’s standing up, perhaps for what we believe is right, perhaps for ourselves, perhaps for the greater benefit of those around us…  but in all cases it’s an invitation to ourselves and to others to believe in and become our dreams and possibilities.  Let’s create those kinds of leaders and heretics.

“You’re a very compelling speaker with a very relevant topic. Thanks so much!”

– Scott Burgess, CEO, Rivermark CCU

Interested in This New Keynote by Steven Fulmer?

Leadership is Heresy is Steven’s newest Signature Keynote and speaking brand. Click the button below to book Steven to Wow! your audience at your next event.

Additional Programs & Content

The 5 Tools Successful Leaders Use to  Navigate, Engage & Empower Their Crew

There are three kinds of leaders: top leaders who make things happen, mediocre leaders who let things happen and unengaged leaders who wonder what in the world just happened. Top leaders consistently make it happen by coaching, developing and empowering others to personally connect with and engage in their vision, purpose and direction.  The 5 Tools include:

  • Sextant: (GPS) For navigation
  • Chart: For mapping the course and finding their way
  • Wheel: To steer the ship
  • Two-Way Radio: Communication isn’t a one-way street
  • First-Aid Kit: Let’s face it, crap happens

This program can be broken up in many creative and uniquely relevant ways that are best determined after we explore your objectives for the audience and how you want them impacted by the presentation. Different parts make great, inspiring keynotes and a couple work well with other tools as an add-on workshop.

The 5 Dynamic Principles of Leadership, Communication & Decision Making Skills

H.U.M.A.N. Strategies™ is the foundation of Steven’s work as a speaker, facilitator and coach. It is a dynamic, humanistic approach to personal and professional leadership, communication and effective decision making skills.

Based on the five core principles below, H.U.M.A.N. Strategies™ seeks to empower people and organizations by tapping into the humanistic qualities that drive the choices they make, form their dreams, conquer their fears, inspire their actions and connect them with the larger mission to achieve their highest potential.

H.U.M.A.N. Strategies™ is particularly applicable as a conference keynote with variable slants to serve opening, closing and banquet slots. It has been highly received by Fortune 500 companies, Academics, Non-Profits and Religious organizations alike; from CEO’s to sales teams, from administrative staffs to students, from middle management to executive directors… anyone looking for the strategies necessary to engage, inspire and empower people or themselves to believe anything is possible.


  • Honor the person
  • Understand perspectives
  • Manage reactions
  • Attract desired results
  • Negotiate solutions

The 10-Point Leadership Triangle: A Dynamic Model for Mastering & Implementing the 3-Dimensions of Leadership

  • What if you could finish the year exceeding all your goals?
  • What if you could engage your team to perform at record levels?
  • What if you could reach the end of the year feeling the happiest and most successful you have felt in years?

All it takes is Leadership! Leadership can be one of the most difficult skills to cultivate because too many people look for a one-dimensional solution to a three-dimensional problem.

The 10-Point Leadership Triangle brings the 3-Dimensions of Leadership to life with a dynamic 3-D model that allows leaders to meet people where they are, and gives them a roadmap for how to move forward. With this model you can turn the impossible into the possible and gain a sense of perspective. It will help you get your team clearly focused, engaged and all heading in the same direction. It might even have you believing again in the beauty and power of your dreams.

This program can stand-alone well as a keynote, round-table or workshop, & it pairs well with any of the other topics, especially HUMAN Strategies™ as a companion workshop. As a topic it is highly adaptable to a wide range of themes and agendas.

The 7 Key Tools for Mastering the Human Obstacles of Change

Change! Sometimes it is thrust upon us, and sometimes it is inspired from within. In any case, it is a by-product of leadership, and leadership is not just for CEO’s anymore. In fact, while most “leaders” live in the 1st dimension of leadership, real change takes place in the 2nd and 3rd dimensions, and you can only effectively reach them by Navigating the Seven C’s of Change.

Understanding The 3-Dimensions of Leadership

  • 1st Dimension – “Height” – Leadership of Others
  • 2nd Dimension – “Width” – Leadership of Self
  • 3rd Dimension – “Depth” – Leadership Without Authority

Change is difficult, ask just about anyone; but just because we saychange is hard doesn’t mean it has to be hard. Most times the challenge of change has less to do with the change itself, and more to do with the mysteries and routes surrounding those changes. In this program we will unpack those mysteries as we learn to navigate the C’s:

  • Clarity – Choice – Courage – Connection
  • Collaboration – Consultation – Concrete


This program stands alone well as a keynote, round-table or workshop, and is highly adaptable to a wide range of themes.

What others are saying

“I still have a hard time reconciling how our conference actually played out because it just seems so far-fetched, but attendee evaluations of Steven Fulmer were head and shoulders above the legendary Disney. He was engaging and energetic, likable and believable. His universal messages were directly applied to our industry and its challenges so every point he made felt 100% relevant. Most of all, he touched our attendees in some fundamental, humanistic way that is very difficult to describe but very powerful to feel.”

– Amanda Oborne, Executive Director, FitLife Club Network

“From the instant Steven got on stage until his last sentence, I was enthralled, captivated and totally inspired. No one in the audience, including myself, even knew that the computer had crashed and there were supposed to be slides. He picked up the ball and ran the key-note with grace and professionalism. When the slides finally came up, about 5 minutes before he finished, the audience clapped in total awe. How many keynote speakers get a wild round of applause in the MIDDLE of their speech?! Truly teaching us by example. If I were looking for a motivating and inspiring speaker for my event who could tell great stories and make life-changing points, Steven would be the first person I would call to see if he would be available. Hands down.”

– Joshua Waldman, Career Enlightenment

“The comments keep coming in and each one is very positive. Thanks for a great meeting, you have a wonderful gift and message that needs to be communicated throughout the country. It was a pleasure spending some time with you today.”

– Tom Hassenauer, Senior Category Manager, Food Services of America, Seattle Region

“Steven’s presentation to our networking group of marketing professionals was exceptional; one of the best I’ve seen in the five years I have been associated with this organization. From the moment he took the stage, Steven had the audience’s full attention, and he kept it throughout the entire presentation. While his inspirational and informative message was a universal one, he customized it to the interests of our members, and it was clear that they understood what he was saying. I know that we got but a sampling of the wisdom and insight Steven has to share and hope to have Steven back before us again soon.”

– Joe Coss, Board Member, Metropolitan Senior Network

“Once again, thank you for an outstanding talk at our sales meeting. You were everything that was advertised. Randy said you would do good and he was right on target. I really appreciate how prepared you were and yet, seemed so at ease. We have not had much luck in the past so the pressure was really on. Great job. I’d like to think that this is just the beginning.”

– Greg Hall, President, Food Services of America, Seattle Region

“Steve’s presentation was outstanding – professional, informative, and detailed. We had 13 people in attendance including two deans, and an executive director of one of our campuses. The presentation was well received by all in attendance.”

– Larry Vera, Executive Director of Information Systems, College of Southern Maryland

“What an awesome business concept! Mr. Fulmer is right on queue with how I want to take my sales team to the next level!”

– George K. Chung, Sales Manager, Ron Tonkin Dodge

“Steven – just a note of thanks for your outstanding presentation on the ‘Secret to Your Club’s Success’ given at the FitLife conference on July 19th.  The headliner for this conference was the Disney Institute on Quality Service.  They were good, but your presentation was clearly the highlight of the weekend.  Thanks so much for an informative, engaging, and practical session.”

– Chuck Wood, Professional Fitness Trainer, Roundup Athletic Club

“We just wrapped our annual conference in October with a dynamic schedule of speakers, receiving very positive reviews on our lunch keynote speaker, Steven Fulmer. He does an excellent job of delivering the message all while inspiring the audience. One of his best attributes is his ability to listen and ascertain what it is we want our audience to come away with. While his presentation on HUMAN Strategies is certainly the foundation of his work, he’s very versatile on the subjects of leadership and communication.”

– Lori Little, Marketing Communications Director, Oregon Lodging Association

“Thanks for a great speech today at the Engineering Employment Symposium. I came away inspired and refreshed! … My first take away was the reinforcement that I should continue to focus on refining my vision, both in terms of getting it right and being able to quickly and clearly articulate it. Of course the other insight was to apply my own prowess to my job search – to conquer it like a technical problem. While obvious in hindsight (everything is obvious in hindsight) I must admit it is something that didn’t occur to me to the extent that you noted. I’ve been looking at my job search as a foreign animal, something that I’m not good at, rather than something I can excel at in the same way I excel at engineering – by being creative.”

– Darwin Engwer, Engineering Employment Symposium

“I wanted to share how much I valued your presentation at our conference.  I thought your presentation and the ideas/concepts you shared with our group were things we could all take home and start practicing immediately.  The only challenge was that there was so much good information I would be writing something down and you’d be onto another thing which I also wanted to make note of…and I missed writing down a lot of stuff I wanted to remember.  Over my many years at AAA I’ve been to many events such as this, many that were excellent, but I think your presentation built the biggest fire! Thanks again for such a ‘useable’ message.”

– Larry Hanson, Manager, AAA Oregon/Idaho, Beaverton Region

“Steve, thanks again for the awesome presentation.”

– Linda Mae, Evergreen State College

“I wish I could express how much of a difference you’ve made, but it would involve more words than you have time to read.”

– Sven Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz Extension

“We recently had the privilege of having Steven Fulmer as the keynote presenter at our annual Industry Seminar. His presentation on the Five H.U.M.A.N. Strategies was energetic and meaningful and was packed with wonderful information that anyone in any walk of life could apply to his/her relationships with others, either at work or on a personal basis. As a meeting planner, I found Steven delightful to work with. He was in contact with me on several occasions prior to the event, communicating his plans as well as discussing the audience and issues that were facing them in their jobs. He used insights that he gained in conversations with other attendees to tailor his presentation so that the audience could identify with what he was saying. We are already making plans to bring Steven back to speak to more of our members. I would highly recommend him to anyone who is looking for a lively, entertaining, content-rich presentation.”

– Kathy Buchanan, Executive Director, Washington School Nutrition Association

“Looking forward to hear him again next year. Great speaker and great sense of humor!”

– One of several great testimonials from the Credit Management Association

“I had an awakening today of where I am with my career and where I want to be.”

– One of several great testimonials from the Concorde Career Institute

“I want to acknowledge and say thank you for the great presentation you did at BNI’s Leadership Training. You’re an impressive speaker and a great role model for those of us still improving those skills.”

– NG

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Head over to the Event Planners page to learn more about Steven and then book him for your next event!