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Marissa Orr

Leadership Speaker; Former Google and Facebook Marketer; Truth Teller; Best-selling Author of Lean Out

Marissa Orr is a former Google & Facebook executive, bestselling author, and leadership speaker. Spending 15 years working at today’s top tech giants, she has conducted talks for thousands of people around the world, at companies and universities such as Google, Twitter, JP Morgan Chase, Pace University, Vanguard, The New School, and more. Originally from Miami, Orr received her Master’s degree in Decision and Information Sciences from the University of Florida. Now residing with her 3 kids in New Jersey, Marissa can be found reading, taking long walks, and questioning her decision to live in New Jersey.

Her best-selling book, Lean Out, The Truth About Women, Power, & the Workplace, was released by HarperCollins Leadership in June of 2019. Featured in Forbes, Fox, Yahoo! Finance, and CNBC, Lean Out is not simply a retort to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, but a revolutionary path forward with the power to change the lives of men and women in the corporate world and beyond. With Lean Out, Orr provides a fresh voice for a new generation of thinkers.

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Former Google and Facebook executive, Marissa Orr, offers a compelling answer to the question few dare to ask: What have we’ve gotten wrong about women at work?

Based on in-depth research and personal experiences, Marissa shares her journey as a single mom of three trying to find success in her 15-year career at the world’s top tech giants. She gives an insider’s look at the systemic dysfunction inside today’s most progressive organizations, providing a revolutionary new perspective on why there are so few female leaders in corporate America. She doesn’t simply present a counterargument to modern feminist rhetoric but offers a revolutionary path forward to change the trajectory of the lives of women and men in the corporate world and beyond.

Innovation happens by applying the scientific method to business stuff. Hypothesis, Experiment, Retry. But if it’s really that simple, why is it so hard?

Former Google & Facebook executive and bestselling author, Marissa Orr, offers a behind-the-scenes look at what’s really driving the innovative successes and failures across today’s top tech giants. Combining in-depth research with 15 years of experience at Google and Facebook, Orr offers a totally fresh, groundbreaking perspective on why most organizations fail to innovate. By focusing on the process of innovation, the most critical element is overlooked: mindset. The former is easy, the latter is extraordinarily difficult.

Weaving the latest, cutting edge research with humorous and engaging stories from her time in Silicon Valley, Orr overturns the conventional wisdom on innovation, explains why common but empty platitudes like ‘fail harder’ actually fail to help companies be more innovative, and explores what most people get wrong about the best way to inspire collaboration, creativity, and higher performance.

The most profound changes will not be in technology, but in power.

In the Industrial age, the economy was driven by manufacturing and the production of tangible things like cars. In a knowledge economy however, the most successful companies no longer make widgets, their supply is no longer made up of physical parts, stored in a warehouse, and owned by the company. Today, supply is largely made up of employee brainpower. For example, Google hires the best and brightest to code, solve business problems, sell ads, etc. With the shift from production to knowledge comes a more profound shift of power; companies no longer own the majority of their supply, employees do. To succeed in the next technological revolution, companies must rethink how they structure, engage, reward, and retain their most valuable asset: people.

With incisive wit and relatable stories, Marissa Orr offers a simple framework to help companies prepare, adapt, and succeed in tomorrow’s economy.

What culture really means and how truth is a competitive advantage

In 1986, to investigate the cause of the Challenger explosion, President Reagan formed the Rogers Commission. In their final report, they concluded that the stage for disaster was set, not by technical failure, but by the failure of NASA’S culture. Seventeen years later, when the spaceship Columbia disintegrated upon its return to Earth, killing all 7 astronauts on board, another committee was set up to investigate, and their central findings largely pinned the blame on NASA’s organizational culture. NASA is an organization of our best and brightest scientists and engineers. How is it possible they were foiled by something like organizational culture? Twice?

“Organizational culture” typically conjures up images of free-beer-Fridays and ping pong tables. It’s often seen as secondary. A ‘nice to have’ vs a ‘must have.’

But what the findings really meant when they blamed organizational culture for two national tragedies and fourteen deaths, wasn’t how ‘sociable’ and ‘innovative’ people were. They were referring to the organization’s attitude towards truth.

 

How an organization, at any scale, in any industry, deals with the truth is how their culture is defined. In this talk, Marissa Orr offers a revolutionary new perspective on what culture truly means, and how any company from start-up to international conglomerate can apply the principles of a truth culture to not only avoid business disaster but gain a competitive edge in today’s rapidly evolving economic landscape.

Biography

Marissa Orr is a leadership speaker and truth teller. Orr spent 15 years working at today’s top tech giants, Google and Facebook, forming her views on leadership, gender, and teamwork. She has conducted talks for thousands of people in the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, at companies and universities such as Google, Twitter, Pace University, New School, American Express, and more. Originally from Miami, Orr received her Master’s degree in Decision and Information Sciences from the University of Florida. Her upcoming book, Lean Out, The Truth About Women, Power, & the Workplace is due to be released by Harper Collins in June of 2019.

Based in part on The Nature of Compelling Women, a popular lecture series Marissa first launched during her successful 13-year stint at Google, Lean Out is not simply a retort to Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” premise, which Marissa believes is based on a male worldview. Rather, her vision is a revolutionary path forward that has the power to change the lives of men and women in the corporate world and beyond. Blending poignant and humorous insights from her time ‘playing the game’ in the corporate trenches with in-depth research, Marissa – a New Jersey-based single mom of three young children – calls for a complete overhaul to the business world’s limited, carefully constructed paradigm of what constitutes a successful leader in today’s day and age.

Instead of listening to the voices of hierarchy telling women why they need to be more like men to succeed, Marissa suggests finding ways to better value the talent that women already bring to the table. The main issue she is trying to convey is that the entire public conversation and conventional understanding of the gender gap is wrong, predicated on the notion women are oppressed by patriarchal culture, and that in order for men and women to be equal, we all have to be the same. “Less women at the top is a clear signal that the system is dysfunctional, and it not only results in a lack of diversity but also crushes creativity and makes organizations slow or unable to adapt,” she says. “People are diverse by nature; the only reason it’s not reflected at the top of corporate America is because the system rewards a small subset of human behavior and personality traits.”

A self-proclaimed corporate rebel, Marissa has taken her ‘bumps in the road’ and turned them into transformational experiences. With Lean Out, she provides a fresh voice for a new generation of thinkers.

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