Carmen Medina

Carmen Medina

Carmen Medina

Carmen is an organizational heretic and all-purpose troublemaker whose only real expertise is asking stupid questions and noticing odd, new things that might amount to something…or maybe not. Carmen spent 32 years at CIA but when you meet her you will hardly notice. The top five skills that people on LinkedIn endorse her for are government, national security, international relations, program management, and change management. But the people who think she’s a good program manager are sadly mistaken as Carmen describes herself as task-phobic. She is the co-author of the book: Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within, which was informed by her career as a heretic at the CIA.

She likes to speak in public and will go just about anywhere if you pay her expenses. She is an in-demand expert on critical thinking, diversity of thought, and intrapreneurship, speaking to Fortune 500 companies, major non-profits, and governments. Some of her most recent presentations include speaking at South by Southwest 2019 and TEDxMidAtlantic on Surviving as a Change Agent, at SXSW2018 on avoiding the Mediocrity Trap, and on Critical Thinking at SXSW 2017. Recently she has spoken: to US Treasury officers on Diversity of Thought; to Canadian Federal senior executives about Diversity of Thought and Rebel Thinking, to the California STEM Education conference 2020, at the Business Innovation Factory 2017, and multiple times at GovLoop’s NextGen Leadership summit.

Carmen describes herself as Puerto Rican by birth and Texan by nationality. She likes to garden and cook things that she has grown. She has an extensive collection of Karaoke songs and you are always in danger of becoming the after-dinner entertainment.

For more, keep up with Carmen at or on Twitter as @milouness.


Leadership By Design 2021

Redesigning Leadership

After 45 years in the labor force, more than 30 of them in so-called leadership positions, I’ve learned that just about everything I was ever taught formally about leadership was wrong. My advice today for someone aspiring to be a leader would be quite different from what I was brainwashed to believe.

I’ve got six basic principles to share, and the seventh one is no matter how convincing I may sound, be your own person and become the leader you uniquely are meant to be.

Leadership By Design 2017

Lead Above Mediocre Thinking

When we engage in design thinking for our teams and projects, it’s easy to emphasize Design over the Thinking. Leaders know that we need to slow down to speed up; plan and think more to prevent rework and waste. Sometimes, we invest more in the work and the artifacts over finding the right ways to work together and create a shared understanding before moving toward a goal. Carmen Medina spent her entire career working with a diverse set of people and she had to find ways to create a shared space for collaboration–and she’ll show you how to focus on HOW teams work over WHAT the work is that’s being done.

All of this, regardless of whether or not you have a security clearance!

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