Dr. Karen Sobel Lojeski is a highly sought-after public speaker. Karen has spoken all over the world on topics ranging from managing the virtual workforce, leadership, innovation, and the future of education. Karen’s style and energy is electric. For more information on how to book Karen for your next event, please contact us here. Dr. Karen Sobel Lojeski is a Professor in the Department of Technology and Society in the College of Engineering and Applied Science and a Professor in the College of Business at Stony Brook University. Karen is also the Founder of Virtual Distance International (VDI) and the Virtual Distance Institute, organizations that specialize in helping companies boost productivity and innovation among the virtual workforce.
Speaking Topics: 

Maximizing Innovation and Productivity in Virtual Teams

Virtual Teams are used in almost all organizations today.  But many are struggling with the challenges brought on by this new form of work.  People are obviously separated by time and space.  These are the usual suspects that managers often look at when trying to unravel the mystery of getting higher productivity out of such groups.  But there’s more to the story.  In fact, Virtual Distance can be found in collocated teams as well as those that are far-flung.  Email hiding has become a new norm for some – staying in the office but never coming out and only communicating via email.  Others seek to force face-to-face interactions but face-to-face is not always the answer.  On top of befuddlement over what mode of communications to use, people feel more disconnected than ever when it comes to sharing the same values and being interdependent on one another.  These are all signs that Virtual Distance is present in the organization.  During this engaging talk, Karen shares stories about cases that she has seen first hand and gives the audience the tools they need to maximize productivity and innovation in the virtual workforce.

Virtual Distance Leadership

The virtual, globally distributed workforce is the single most vexing challenge to most leaders today.  Employees, partners, and customers are all spread across space and time creating a very different kind of dynamic – one that we are ill-prepared to deal with.  The major media outlets purport that some are doing well with this new organizational design while others, the CEO of Yahoo for example, are barring virtual work altogether.  But these reports and actions by key executives are baseless.  Virtual Distance offers a much more sober and accurate account.  In this talk Karen reveals the secret to leadership success by measuring, managing and monitoring Virtual Distance across the enterprise.

Virtual Distance and Innovation

Everywhere you turn people are talking about innovation.  The front end of innovation is the hottest topic with the notions of brainstorming being at the forefront.  But innovation is made up of several stages.  The first stage is Exploration.  This is the stage where ideas are generated and considered.  Being virtual during this stage may sometimes work to a company’s advantage if managers are savvy about Virtual Distance.  The next stage is Exploitation.  Exploitation involves taking the ideas from the previous stage and making them real – turning them into new products or services.  It may surprise some that the kind of team you need for Exploitation is quite different than the kind you need for Exploration and Virtual Distance shows up in both.  Lastly there is Diffusion of the innovation – getting the product or service out to market.  As straightforward as this might seem, organizations need to understand how Virtual Distance between the company and customers are virtually distance.  During this talk Karen reveals how innovation really works which is counter-intuitive to the way managers and leaders have been trained to think.  She then delivers a rich set of solutions on how to maximize innovation and increase competitive advantage.

Virtual Distance and the Secret to Sales Success!

In the new world of work, where your customers and prospects are inundated with emails, calls and firefighting, how can you stand out?  The answer:  you won’t – unless you close the gap on Virtual Distance.  When Virtual Distance is relatively high, data show that trust declines by over 80% and customer satisfaction drops off by over 60%.  Building trust based on credibility and relevance and satisfying customer needs is at the heart of successful selling.  Therefore sales professionals cannot afford to let Virtual Distance grow.  In this engaging session participants learn the secret to sales success by understanding Virtual Distance and its interference with your sales effectiveness. You will also learn high-impact tactics to reduce Virtual Distance that will lead to soaring sales.  Specifically you will learn:

  • How to increase sales by building trust that lasts in a wired world
  • How to create relationships that are less susceptible to digital diversions
  • How to increase customer satisfaction and maximize revenue in the existing customer base
  • How to reach the optimal mix of email, phone and face-to-face interactions with your customers and prospects


Karen is internationally recognized as the world’s leading expert on the virtual workplace, virtual teams, distributed work and executing competitive strategies to leverage the new world of work. She is the author of two books: Uniting the Virtual Workforce: Transforming Leadership and Innovation in the Globally Integrated Enterprise, John Wiley & Sons, 2008 and Leading the Virtual Workforce: How Great Leaders Transform Organizations in the 21st Century, John Wiley & Sons, 2009, showcasing interviews with executives from Western Union, IBM, Merck, HP, ATT, Alcatel-Lucent, Crayola and others.

Karen is the pioneer who discovered Virtual Distance, a measurable, Digital Age phenomenon that strongly impacts productivity, innovation, project success, job satisfaction, leader effectiveness and more. Karen created the Virtual Distance Index and Risk Assessment that provides quantitative, tangible, and practical metrics on virtual workforce dynamics. Karen’s research participants, speaking engagement clients, and consulting clients include some of the world’s leading organizations. Karen is a highly sought-after keynote speaker on the topics of the future of work, the virtual workforce, virtual teams, social media, collaboration, leadership, innovation and their effect on organizational strategy.

Karen has held leadership positions at Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., Mercer Consulting Group and Stratus Computer, Inc. Karen was COO of Prolifics, a JYACC company and Vice President of North America for Xansa. Karen holds dual undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. She completed her Ph.D. at Stevens Institute of Technology where her dissertation, “Virtual Distance: A New Model for the Study of Virtual Work”, won the award for Best Dissertation of 2006. Karen is a Directors Visitor at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, a Collaborator at Stanford University’s MediaX Lab, a Presidential Fellow at NYU/Polytechnic and on the faculty of Wharton’s Global Leadership Program for the World Economic form. Her groundbreaking work has been featured in major business publications including Business Week, Forbes.com, The New York Times, Entrepreneur magazine, Chief Learning Officer magazine, several airline publications and more. She has appeared on various television broadcasts including ABC News, Business Week Television, and NJN.

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