Jay Guilford created and facilitated Cirque du Soleil’s corporate leadership training program — SPARK. With SPARK, Jay strapped executives into circus equipment and flew them high across Cirque du Soleil’s theaters and training studios. Thus, instead of simply talking about trust, teamwork, and healthy risk-taking, groups experienced these concepts in real time.
Jay’s talks on leadership leverage his 15 years designing leadership solutions for executives and teams from Google, Microsoft, Mastercard, Procter & Gamble, Adobe, Gensler, and other top-performing companies as well as his work advising namesakes of brands. Jay makes a clear connection between leadership behaviors and organizational results, showing that it is a leader’s ability to manage, motivate, and mentor teams – not industry trends, the location of employees, and competitive landscape – that determine future success.
While at Cirque, Jay collaborated with artists, creators, and technicians across all seven Las Vegas Resident Shows, as well as various tent shows with the Touring Show Division, and with Cirque’s International Headquarters in Montreal. To help executives and their teams learn from Cirque, Jay had to first uncover and then distill the core competencies Cirque has mastered that were relevant to corporate groups. Jay shares these lessons in this talk.
Currently, Jay acts as Founder and Managing Partner of CoWorks Leadership Strategists. At CoWorks, Jay uses data-driven insights to design bespoke trainings for executive-level leaders and management teams.
Taking a moral stance on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a good step – but it is only the first. In this talk, Jay helps attendees connect their DEI initiatives to real business goals and organizational outcomes.
– Discover three types of bias that creep into organizations and slow down diversity and inclusion initiatives
– Learn how DEI initiatives can help organizations excel in the new world of work and win “The War for Talent”
– Learn the “3B’s” of DEI – approaches organizations can adopt to deepen the meaning of their messaging and programming
Jay trained Fortune 500 teams to work better by – of all things – having them play around on Cirque du Soleil stages. To help executives and their teams learn from Cirque, Jay had to first uncover and then distill the core competencies Cirque has mastered that were relevant to corporate groups. Jay shares these lessons in this talk.
– Learn why attracting and retaining top talent is crucial – whether you are trying to win “The War for Talent” or win over a troupe of Olympic-level acrobatics
– Discover why leaders must give direct feedback – whether your team member is working from a cubicle, but especially when they are working 40-feet in the air.
– Understand how to foster engagement – because team members may be working on the same project for months or performing on the same show for years
Drawing on his 15-years advising executive-level leaders and namesakes of brands, Jay shares the powerful results organizations can see when its leaders live up to their core values — which Jay refers to as the Words on the Wall (WOW).
– Get numbers-and-cents examples that show the impact of a leader’s behavior on business outcomes
– Learn about the three leadership pitfalls that can snag both new and seasoned leaders
– Get tools to level up your personal leadership skills and help you maximize your team’s effectiveness
In his work training leaders before and during the pandemic, Jay discovered this one truth: it is the leader’s skill level – not the employee’s location – that determines the success or failure of a team.
– Understand the new challenges leaders face now that employees are scattered across many locations
– Discover how to build collaboration, communication, and trust in virtual and hybrid environments
– Get three core leadership competencies that will supercharge your effectiveness in both in-office and hybrid or fully remote arrangements
Drawing upon his many years collaborating with artists, directors, and technicians across various Cirque du Soleil shows, Jay shares insights on what it takes to nurture creativity and to continually innovate no matter your industry.
– Discover three myths about innovation that keep teams stuck and stale – and how to get beyond these myths
– Learn the secret sauce that helps Cirque du Soleil continue to innovate show after show
– Get the Do’s and Don’ts of creativity that Jay has collected from his work with clowns, contortionists, and CEOs
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"Jay is a powerful and passionate speaker. He delivered a dynamic, inspiring, and timely message to our 2022 HR Wellbeing Summit attendees. In his talk, Jay balanced providing data-driven insights with anecdotes from his work with teams from large companies. Our attendees walked away with approaches they can immediately apply in their work environments. Most importantly, our attendees left Jay’s session feeling empowered and inspired."
Julie Turney, President and Founder, HR at Heart
"Jay’s message was powerful. For our 2022 Leadership Summit, Jay helped our team gain clarity about our core values and leadership competencies. Jay drew upon his work with several Fortune 500 companies to provide perspectives that challenged our attendees to think in new and different ways. In addition to anecdotes from his professional experience, Jay weaved in case studies and other data-based insights. This combination of stories and stats resulted in take-aways that our team members could immediately apply to enhance the ways they interact with each other and the ways they lead their teams."
Wilbur Milhouse III, Chairman/CEO, Milhouse Engineering and Construction
"For our 2022 Leadership Summit, Jay provided keen insights to our senior leaders. The case studies and data included in Jay's presentation proved highly relevant to our group. In the follow-up Q&A, Jay shared insights, as well as, foresight that addressed concerns of specific team members. We had a tight window to get our event off the ground. Within a 10-day turnaround time, Jay was able to deliver on our brief. He went above and beyond by providing a recap video for our leaders which proved to be an excellent touch for keeping us focused after the summit. This video summarized the main ideas he shared and suggested short- and long-term actions we can take as a leadership team to prepare for our next exciting phase of growth."
Dolla Dawson, Chief Operating Officer, Milhouse Engineering and Construction
"Jay’s 2020 presentation for our team was highly valuable. He created a dynamic slideshow that engaged our audience and sparked many comments and questions. To ensure that his message really hit the mark, Jay held calls with me and other leaders. On these calls, Jay worked hard to understand our needs. Then, from his notes, Jay created a well-designed virtual talk. At the end of his talk, Jay responded to questions from our team with thought-provoking comments. Jay’s responses gave our leaders solutions for the situations some of them were facing."
Nicole Chandler, Director of Human Resources, Walker & Co./Procter&Gamble
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