Ken Schmidt Headshot

Ken Schmidt

Authentic leadership and customer loyalty expert Ken Schmidt had a pivotal role in Harley-Davidson’s turnaround and now delivers keynote speeches on the principles that made that transformation possible.

Meet Ken Schmidt

It’s an impersonal world, where so many products and services are seen as easily-replaced, indistinct commodities. Whether you stand out or get lost in the crowd is a choice. A mindset. Ken Schmidt faced those same challenges himself and gained acclaim for his role in the extraordinary turnaround of the legendary Harley-Davidson Motor Company. He is also well-known for his keynote and motivational speaking. Ken Schmidt is available to be booked for corporate and private events. Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group today to inquire about Ken Schmidt’s fees.

Want to book Ken Schmidt for an event?

Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group at 215-510-6607 to book Ken Schmidt for corporate or private events, keynote speeches, workshops, fireside chats, motivational speaking, or virtual appearances. Our agency will work directly with your organization and our keynote speakers to create an unforgettable event.

The Mollie Plotkin Group is the leading keynote speakers agency and entertainment bureau bringing excitement to audiences, clients, and employees. We represent subject-matter experts in every possible field, so whether we’re your partner in creating a memorable meeting, or your meeting planner’s secret weapon in securing the perfect keynote speaker, we’re in this with you.


Ken Schmidt’s career in the motorcycle industry began in 1985 as a specialist in corporate positioning and media relations for the then-struggling Harley-Davidson. He needed to help the company restore its image, improve its competitiveness, and create demand for its motorcycles. Within a few short years, sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles skyrocketed, and the company returned to prominence as one of the most respected, profitable, and frequently reported-on companies in the world.

Then in 1990, Ken became director of Harley-Davidson’s corporate and financial communications, serving as its primary spokesperson to the media and the financial communities. He frequently appeared in mainstream and business media to offer insights on nontraditional communications, customer attraction, and brand-building. His expertise and success at Harley-Davidson eventually led to consulting assignments and speaking invitations from all over the world.

Post Harley-Davidson Ventures

In 1997, Ken left Harley-Davidson to take an ownership position with a highly successful Chicago-based marketing firm, VSA Partners. In addition to Harley-Davidson, VSA served a virtual who’s who of the world’s best-known brands. Then in 1999, he sold his portion of VSA to start his own business, Ken Schmidt Company, to combine two of his greatest passions, motorcycling and speaking.

In addition to speaking and consulting, Ken is co-founder of Torque Sessions Leadership Training. Through a combination of hands-on training and interactive workshops, these sessions help individuals and organizations re-position themselves to become dominant competitors, maximize leadership effectiveness, build a people-first culture of innovation, and foster loyalty among customers and employees. In all of his endeavors, Ken brings an unconventional perspective that helps organizations and individuals reframe how they engage with their marketplace.

Ken is also the author of Make Some Noise: The Unconventional Road to Dominance and host of the Tailgating with Geniuses podcast.

Ken Schmidt’s Keynote Speaking

So how did Ken turn Harley-Davidson around? It started with a simple perspective. While times have changed, what humans want and need from the businesses they buy from and work for hasn’t.

In his high-energy speeches, Ken inspires companies and individuals to shift their thinking and ride a path to success by becoming memorable – not for what they do or what they make, but for how they connect with people. After all he has accomplished, Ken remains committed to his philosophy of standing out, taking risks, and having fun in both his personal and professional life. He says, “Never do what’s expected, make yourself as noticeably different as possible, and have a lot more fun than you’re supposed to.” Above all, organizations that hire Ken Schmidt receive an authentic, impactful keynote.

How to Hire Ken Schmidt

Find out how to hire Ken Schmidt to appear at your next event. Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group to inquire about Ken Schmidt’s availability and cost. When booking Ken Schmidt for an event, we need to know the type of venue and location the event will take place. Ken Schmidt is a popular choice for corporate events, private events, and virtual events. So, you can click the Check Availability button or contact us and an MPG Ken Schmidt booking agent will get back to you within 48 hours.

Ken Schmidt Booking Price

How much to book Ken Schmidt depends on the type of event. So, the cost to hire Ken Schmidt for corporate or private events is available by contacting a Mollie Plotkin Group Agent. Notably, Ken Schmidt is available for conferences, festivals, private parties, and events. Just contact the Mollie Plotkin Group and tell the booking agent the proposed date, time, and location.

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Fill out the form to find out when Ken Schmidt is available.

Upcoming Engagements

Our speakers are in high demand! View their upcoming events.

Jun 17 - 20 2024

Kinexions 24 Annual Conference – Keynote Speaker Lisa Bodell – Miami, Florida

JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa
Jun 22 - 23 2024

Atlanta Women’s Expo 2024 – Keynote Speaker Laila Ali – Atlanta, GA

Gas South Convention Center
Jun 24 - 27 2024

HFMA Annual Conference 2024 – Keynote Speaker Suneel Gupta – Las Vegas, NV

Mandalay Bay Convention Center
No event found!

Key Audience Takeaways

Full Throttle – Shift Gears, Stand Out, and Cruise to the Top

“No matter what we sell, make, or do, we’re a commodity to people who don’t know us,” says Ken Schmidt. Companies that understand that and change their mindset to engage customers differently will win big. Authenticity stands out in today’s impersonal world. In this keynote, Ken unpacks a roadmap for creating an unshakable emotional connection with customers. This talk is rooted in the ideas that drove Harley-Davidson’s incredible transformation. During that period, Ken and his team led the company’s shift away from product features and toward key drivers of human behavior. As they did, Harley-Davidson’s sales, profitability, and loyalty skyrocketed. Ken’s high energy and humor punctuate this talk as he shows businesses of every size and scope how to align everyone in the organization around a set of values that ignite customer passion, maximize sales growth, and stand out in their marketplace.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the three questions that should drive every decision to protect and enhance your reputation.
  • Transform the company mindset towards being known for who you are vs. what you do.
  • Harness the three drivers of human behavior to create unshakable loyalty.
  • Gain ways to be memorable so customers tell your story to others – in person and on social media.
  • Elevate your business by humanizing it and delivering delight.

Rev It Up – Fast Track Your Career

“How do you want to be talked about and what are you doing to make that happen?” Ken Schmidt reminds people that we are a story-telling species. Getting noticed by customers, or even in your own organization, is about being memorable. Saying or doing what people expect doesn’t make you – or your business – stand out. In this talk, Ken shows how to make a lasting impact. 

Ken reminds audiences that what people remember about you is dependent on how you make them feel about themselves. It’s more important to be interested – not interesting. Ken shares lessons learned from his celebrated career at Harley-Davidson and beyond to show how to build a brand that will fast-track your career in today’s dynamic landscape.

Specifically, it starts with answering three key questions about how you want to be remembered.

Key Takeaways:

  • Identify your unique qualities and how you want to be remembered.
  • Hear ways to make others feel good about themselves.
  • Learn how to take an active role in meetings and actively participate.
  • Understand that by encouraging others to share their stories, they become more receptive to yours.
  • Ways to continuously improve your brand by focusing on R&R (Remember & Repeat).

Client Testimony for Ken Schmidt


Make Some Noise The Unconventional Road to Dominance Book Cover

Make Some Noise: The Unconventional Road to Dominance

The former Director of Communications at Harley-Davidson and one of the most sought-after speakers in the world reveals his exhilarating, innovative approach to creating customer loyalty and marketplace dominance.Ken Schmidt is a wanted man. His role in transforming Harley-Davidson Motor Company led business leaders all over the world to seek his guidance. After all, how many companies can get their customers to tattoo their logo on their arms?After working with thousands of companies worldwide, Schmidt is ready to share the secrets that spurred Harley-Davidson’s remarkable turnaround. An avid motorcycle enthusiast, Schmidt harnessed his passion to create the three questions he asks every one of his clients. What do the customers your business served yesterday say about your business when talking to prospective customers today? Further, what do you want them to say? Lastly, what are you doing to get them to say it?In Make Some Noise, Schmidt shares his full-throttle approach for businesses and individuals alike. In fact, anyone looking to grow their business can learn from the case studies and experiences he shares. From Apple to his landscaper, Schmidt illustrates how his three questions will yield marketplace impact.

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