Elly Oldenburg Keynote speaker on diversity, inclusion & new work

13. May 2024 – Katharina Schlangenotto

Elly Oldenbourg is Pioneer of the WORKSHIFT movement, making real change possible.

This story is a bit funny. Because Elly Oldenbourg and I know each other from a much earlier working life at American Express. Back then, I would have thought – and Elly perhaps not either – that I would one day write a blog post about her, because she would be one of the most important German-speaking voices in thinking about and implementing a new world of work and business.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Here it is, the blog post about ex-Google manager Elly Oldenbourg, who has just quit her job there after almost 13 years. In case you were wondering: She has no plans to retire. Quite the opposite. 

Elly Oldenbourg – Author, Sidepreneur & Keynote Speaker

Her new and first book has just been published by Campus Verlag. It bears the intriguing title: “Workshift Subtitle: “Why we need to work differently today to save our tomorrow.”

In it, the mother of two argues for a new start for people and the economy and for an urgently needed new understanding of work – one that is based on quality rather than quantity.

Her main question is provocative and thought-provoking:

Why do we measure the value of our work and our contribution to society by the number of hours we work?

Celebrated for her first book, author and speaker Elly Oldenbourg breaks with convention and sets new standards for success.

Her own life journey, her convictions and her commitment to diversity and social change are not only inspiring. They show what becomes possible when someone dares to think and act differently.

As a speaker and author, Elly Oldenbourg speaks and writes as passionately as she is approachable. With a holistic view, she repeatedly draws attention to the current situation on the labor market based on facts. Keywords are brain drain and skills shortage, climate catastrophe and the AI revolution. The economy is feeling stressed, and probably a little helpless; a new way of working will be inevitable anyway.

Elly Oldenbourg is positive about the turbulent future. She is convinced that it will make our lives richer, democracies more resilient and the planet healthier.

Concrete and true to life

Her book and her keynotes are never merely descriptive or even pessimistic, but repeatedly show how individuals and decision-makers can build bridges to the future NOW:

  • With more flexible (working) hours
  • More attentive but more productive forms of collaboration
  • A new willingness to embrace diversity and the courage to re-evaluate performance.

Her clear message:

“We can make the world a significantly better place through the lever we all spend most of our waking hours with: work. This is where the countless people working in knowledge work in the large private sector who want to and can make a difference are particularly needed.”

The personal turning point

At the beginning of her book, Elly Oldenbourg talks about her personal turning point. Many years ago, she realized that an incessant and sole focus on her own career was not what she could and wanted to give. She made the decision, considered radical by those around her, to drastically reduce her working hours to do voluntary work. Looking back, this was the first step towards a broader understanding of work.

In her world, gainful employment, care work and social commitment should be possible together. Her message is clear:

“Success is not just what you achieve at work, but also how you contribute to the world.”Elly Oldenbourg

The power of diversity

Elly Oldenbourg is an advocate of diversity in the workplace. She sees the low part-time rate among high earners and the lack of diverse people and CVs in management positions as a huge, missed opportunity for the economy. She refers to several studies that clearly show that more companies with a clear focus on diversity and equal opportunities increase productivity and innovation, while at the same time driving positive social change.

In her book, she consistently shows how a different way of structuring time, working together collaboratively, embracing diversity and measuring performance in a new way can not only enrich society and transform individual perspectives on work and success, but also increase economic performance in companies.    

The role of the speaker

Elly Oldenbourg is captivating, there’s no question about that. She was at Google long enough (and has been advising companies and start-ups on the side for years) to share her knowledge as a welcome guest at conferences and in podcasts at a top level.

She speaks openly about the challenges in her personal life and work and always places them in a wider context of social trends and changes. In her view, these are urgently needed. Elly Oldenbourg has a special ability to motivate and inspire others to question and redefine their own role in the world of work and in society.

A call to action

It encourages people to rethink their own role in the world of work and beyond. She invites us to think about and create a new understanding of work through greater diversity and social engagement. 

Elly Oldenbourg is more than “just” a speaker. She is undoubtedly one of the pioneers of our time. She shows how courage and creative power can create a better world.

Both the world of work and society are facing major challenges. In her lectures, she not only provides food for thought and hope, but also concrete recommendations for action that inspire implementation.

Her messages are powerful appeals on how individual commitment and a broader understanding of work and living together can lead to real change. She herself is the best example of this.

Request Elly Oldenbourg as a speaker: +1 (704) 804 1054 or welcome@premium-speakers.com

This blog was written by Katharina Schlangenotto. Katharina Schlangenotto is a communications expert and writes travel articles as well as texts and blogs about personalities and current topics in business and society.

Elly Oldenbourg

Sidepreneur, New Work Expert & Author