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John Wood

John Wood

Keynote Speaker: Founder & Board Co-Chair of Room to Read; Former Microsoft Marketing Executive

John Wood Biography

John Wood is the Founder of Room to Read, an organization that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children.® Through its work, Room to Read has brought the lifelong gift of education to 16.6 million children in 16 countries. At age 35, John left his position as Director of Business Development for Microsoft’s Greater China region to found Room to Read. Seventeen years later, with over 30,000 schools and communities served, millions have been impacted by John’s decision to help a headmaster in Nepal fill his school’s library.

John’s award-winning memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World recounts how he used the business acumen gained during his career in technology to develop one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in history. Publisher’s Weekly review described the book as “an infectiously inspiring read,” Amazon selected it as a Top Ten Business Narratives of 2006, and Hudson Booksellers voted it a Top Ten Nonfiction title. Translated into 20 languages, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World was featured in hundreds of outlets including Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

John’s third book, released in February 2018 is titled Purpose, Incorporated: Turning Cause Into Your Competitive Advantage. Based on interviews with over 100 executives and entrepreneurs, the book is a bold manifesto urging business leaders to “unite purpose with profitability,” rather than view the two as antithetical notions. The book profiles companies that have used purpose to build a bond with customers, win the war for talent, motivate employees and lower attrition rates, increase social media influence, and attract the best investors. John’s share of profits from Purpose, Incorporated will be donated to Room to Read, with the goal of opening ten libraries that will serve 4,000 children.

John has been named by Goldman Sachs as one of the world’s 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, has been a three-time speaker at the Clinton Global Initiative and is a five-time winner of Fast Company Magazine’s Social Capitalist Award. He has been honored with Time Magazine’s “Asian Heroes” Award; selected as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum; is a Lifetime Achievement Honoree of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Disruptive Innovation Awards; and is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He was twice selected by Barron’s as one of the “25 Best Givers.” In 2014, Queen Silvia of Sweden awarded John with the World’s Children’s Prize, also called the Children’s Nobel Prize. In recognition of his passion for opening libraries in the most under-served populations, the San Francisco Chronicle named John as the “Andrew Carnegie of the developing world.”

John holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Colorado, and has received four honorary Ph.D.’s from schools including McGill University and the University of San Francisco. He has served on the advisory board of the Clinton Global Initiative and the Board of Directors for Net Impact and One Acre Fund. He currently serves on the advisory boards of Global Citizen Year, New Story and Possible Health.

Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on John Wood and other top speakers and celebrities.

John Wood Speaking Topics

Re-Imagining Leadership

As our world faces an unprecedented crisis of leadership, a "war for talent" rages, with the most visionary leaders building the most effective global teams. In this keynote, Wood inspires audiences to think differently and more boldly about what they can accomplish as leaders, talking candidly about his evolution as a leader, mistakes he's made along the way, and the lessons he's learned during two decades as a fast-rising Microsoft executive and as Founder of Room to Read.

Leaving Microsoft To Change The World

John Wood's first-person account of following his passion and the lessons learned in doing so. It is a popular "inspiring close" or "bring people to their feet" dinner speech at corporate, industry, and education conferences.

Purpose: The New Competitive Advantage

In this keynote, Wood discusses how corporate social responsibility represents the new competitive advantage; a way to re-engage customers and employees and improve the bottom line. He recalls his experiences using the ‘power of purpose’ to onboard resistant communities, motivate volunteers and enlist high-profile investors, while pointing to the growing number of corporations—like IBM and GE—that have begun building a ‘higher calling’ into their products and services. Wood demonstrates that “cause” is now the key to commercialism and inspires audiences to re-think old assumptions, dream big and take steps to align with the business world’s often-overlooked competitive advantage: purpose.

John Wood Videos

John Wood, Jr. speaks at the Aspen Institute's #WeaveThePeople ...
John Wood
Room to Read | John Wood & Saluom Lak

How do I book John Wood to speak at my event?

Our experienced booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure speakers like John Wood for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment since 2002. Click the Check Schedule button above and complete the form on this page to check availability for John Wood, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get speaking fee information and check availability for John Wood or any other speaker of your choice.

How much does it cost to book John Wood for a speaking engagement?

Speaking fees for John Wood, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book John Wood are $10,000 - $20,000 for live events and Below $10,000 for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire John Wood, click the Check Schedule button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.

What topics does John Wood speak about?

John Wood is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Inspirational, Change, Personal Growth, Economy, Social Activism, Political, Ethics & Integrity, Government, Entertainers, Business Ethics, Creativity, E-Commerce, Empowerment, Business Leadership, Technology, Innovation, Work-Life Balance, Entrepreneurship, World Affairs, Motivational, Women, Literacy, Family & Parenting, Authors, College, Education, Celebrity, Leadership, Business and Computer Science.

Where does John Wood travel from?

John Wood generally travels from San Diego, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances.

Who is the agent for John Wood?

AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully secured keynote speakers like John Wood for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Schedule button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book John Wood for your next private or corporate function.

What is a full-service speaker booking agency?

AAE Speakers Bureau is a full-service speaker booking agency, meaning we can completely manage the speaker’s or celebrity’s engagement with your organization from the time of booking your speaker through the event’s completion. We provide all of the services you need to host John Wood or any other speaker of your choice, including offer negotiation, contractual assistance, accounting and billing, and event speaker travel and logistics services. When you book a speaker with us, we manage the process of hosting a speaker for you as an extension of your team. Our goal is to give our clients peace of mind and a best-in-class service experience when booking a speaker with us.

Why is AAE Speakers Bureau different from other booking agencies?

If you’re looking for the best speaker recommendations, paired with a top-notch customer service experience, you’re in the right place. At AAE Speakers Bureau, we exclusively represent the interests of our clients - professional organizations, companies, universities, and associations. We intentionally do not represent the speakers we feature or book. That is so we can present our clients with the broadest and best performing set of speaker options in the market today, and we can make these recommendations without any obligation to promote a specific speaker over another. This is why when our agents suggest a speaker for your event, you can be assured that they are of the highest quality with a history of proven success with our other clients.


John Wood is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics including Inspirational, Change and Personal Growth. The estimated speaking fee range to book John Wood for live events is $10,000 - $20,000, and for virtual events Below $10,000. John Wood generally travels from San Diego, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Hugh Evans, Erin Gruwell and Ralph Nader. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling John Wood for an upcoming event.

John Wood Speaking Topics

  • Re-Imagining Leadership

    As our world faces an unprecedented crisis of leadership, a "war for talent" rages, with the most visionary leaders building the most effective global teams. In this keynote, Wood inspires audiences to think differently and more boldly about what they can accomplish as leaders, talking candidly about his evolution as a leader, mistakes he's made along the way, and the lessons he's learned during two decades as a fast-rising Microsoft executive and as Founder of Room to Read.

  • Leaving Microsoft To Change The World

    John Wood's first-person account of following his passion and the lessons learned in doing so. It is a popular "inspiring close" or "bring people to their feet" dinner speech at corporate, industry, and education conferences.

  • Purpose: The New Competitive Advantage

    In this keynote, Wood discusses how corporate social responsibility represents the new competitive advantage; a way to re-engage customers and employees and improve the bottom line. He recalls his experiences using the ‘power of purpose’ to onboard resistant communities, motivate volunteers and enlist high-profile investors, while pointing to the growing number of corporations—like IBM and GE—that have begun building a ‘higher calling’ into their products and services. Wood demonstrates that “cause” is now the key to commercialism and inspires audiences to re-think old assumptions, dream big and take steps to align with the business world’s often-overlooked competitive advantage: purpose.

John Wood Videos

John Wood, Jr. speaks at the Aspen Institute's #WeaveThePeople ...
John Wood
Room to Read | John Wood & Saluom Lak
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