April Rinne

April Rinne is an acclaimed international keynote speaker and trusted advisor to start-ups, enterprises, governments and investors worldwide. She is often called a “bumblebee” for her ability to cross-pollinate ideas and innovation across cultures and continents. April is also one of the "50 Leading Female Futurists" according to Forbes Magazine.

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April is an expert on the new economy -- think sharing, collaborative, platform, on-demand, freelance and gig economies -- and the future of work. She loves expanding peoples’ minds to the incredible diversity of how people and organizations are rethinking how we live, work, create value and plan for the future.

In this light, April’s keynotes and presentations focus on how we will work, organize, build business, and how public policy will change in the Day After Tomorrow.

April also helps individuals and organizations navigate a world in flux by creating a flux minset. A flux mindset is embracing a new way of seeing the world. She's writing a book about this topic that will be published in 2021. 

April also speaks together with her husband Jerry Michalski (an expert on emerging technologies, trust and mental models), more than doubling the value they bring to the table. From microfinance to tech booms (and busts), from the sharing economy to automation, and from new business models to trust-driven innovation: together, they are great at trailblazing and helping birth new sustainable, profitable paths.


The Future of Work in Flux

Almost every aspect of the way we work is changing as the world shifts from lifetime employment to freelance work arrangements, and as new technologies portend to displace jobs at an unprecedented rate.

Today, in the U.S. alone, 34% of the workforce is already freelance, a number that is expected to rise to 50% by 2030. Drivers and retail clerks, two of the largest professions worldwide, are among the most at-risk for technological disruption as driverless cars and self-serve tablets become the norm. Tackling the complexity of the future of work in terms of its impact on companies, workers, and policy makers, Rinne reveals the trends behind the stats, helping stakeholders across industries prepare for the evolving nature of work. Breaking down complex shifts and interweaving powerful experiences with hard-hitting facts, Rinne shares how we can maximize the benefits of the future of work and ensure that new technologies augment rather than replace human potential, ultimately providing a playbook so that organizations and individuals can become predictive and proactive rather than reactive and stay two steps ahead of the competition.

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Public Policy for a World in Flux

The gap between technology and policy today is widening faster than ever before. To some degree this gap has always existed, and this makes sense given that policy is a lagging indicator. However, given the pace of change today, we face a very real risk of hitting a “point of no return” where policy -- whether local, national or global -- simply can’t keep up… with serious implications for society and well-being.

Cities will drive the Day After Tomorrow: cities are networking, collaborating, creating solutions and leading more than ever before. Moreover, many cities are or will be larger than entire countries, in terms of both population and economies. So, they will not only shape our future, they will drive GDP as well (even though GDP is a woefully outdated metric that must be rethought and redesigned in a world in Flux).

To improve the lives of people who live in cities -- meaning 75% of the entire world’s population by 2050 -- we need to tap into the opportunities presented by a range of new business models, workplaces and work arrangements, and community-driven initiatives. For example, when harnessed responsibly the sharing economy and “access over ownership” models can help the environment, save costs and foster closer community relationships. It is not a panacea, but it is an incredibly powerful tool for cities worldwide, who are waking up to its potential.

At the same time that cities are ascending, and new business models are emerging, there remain obstacles to lasting progress. One of the thorniest challenges in this context are outdated policies. At the municipal (city), national and global level, governments and policy makers are struggling to adjust to new realities: new technologies, products, lifestyles, business models, markets, exchanges, and expectations… all of which are evolving fast and demand appropriate rules.

April has spent the past 10+ years advising governments and policy makers worldwide on exactly these issues: from the sharing economy and economic development, to the future of work and labor regulations. She often serves as a bridge between the public and private sector, translating the business needs of policy and vice-versa.  In this capacity she has had the opportunity to see first-hand how forward-thinking leaders can embrace this new landscape thoughtfully, responsibly and creatively. In her role of advising cities (and countries) of all sizes across developing, growth and developed markets, April has identified steppingstones to successful policy reform.

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Flux: Thriving in Constant Change and Uncertainty

The pace of change has never been as fast as it is today... and yet, it's unlikely to ever again be this slow. Every day, we’re bombarded with information and feel pressure to keep up. We juggle increasing responsibilities and higher expectations, often set by others. And we’re doing this against a backdrop of uncertainty about the future: Will automation destroy my job? Will my children inherit an uninhabitable planet? Will I ever earn “enough?” For business leaders, there is added anxiety about what this means for talent, strategy, purpose, and profitability.

All this was true before a global pandemic changed daily life all over the world. It is even more true now, as we navigate even more unknowns today, tomorrow and into the future.

Answers to many of these questions are all around us… and yet we’re too busy, running too fast to notice them. We’re living in a world in flux, yet our obsession with predicting and controlling the future is hijacking not only our ability to show up and live fully today, but also how we perceive this future.

“Flux mindset” is a term April coined to describe how to thrive in a world of constant change. In this talk, she guides audiences on a journey through what a flux mindset is, why it matters, and how to develop one. She draws on her personal and professional experiences with flux (from losing both of her parents in a car accident when she was 20, to building an ever-evolving “portfolio career”) and countless examples from others. Whether you’re building your career, managing a company and team, triaging new workplace realities, or are simply not sure what to do next, you’ll learn unconventional and often counter-intuitive strategies for how to think, learn, work, live and lead better — not by running faster, but by slowing down, unsticking your mind, flipping your perspective, re-evaluating who and what you really trust, and learning to embrace flux.

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Careers of the Future: From Path to Portfolio

Traditionally, professional development is framed as a straight path: study hard + get good grades => get a good job + work long and hard => retire + enjoy the fruits of your labor. The education-career-retirement path is linear, the expectation is to do one thing before another, and we assume that this equation works out. 

Yet in today's world in flux, every step of this journey is thrown off course. A degree is no guarantee of a good job; "jobs" are fraught, uncertain, and all too often lack meaning; and retirement is an open question mark for many. Moreover, leaders and HR departments struggle to reconcile the future of work: from the demands of top talent and managing an intergenerational workforce, to the gig economy and implications of automation.

Amid all of this, we see the outdated concept of a career path giving way to the concept of a career portfolio. But what exactly is a portfolio career, and how does one create and curate their own? What do career portfolios mean for HR departments and professional identity? What kind of mindset and skills are needed?

In this talk, April details the career portfolio universe and what it means for individuals, organizations and the future of work. As a futurist and lifelong career portfolioist -- having curated her own for 20+ years, since long before it was a "thing" -- she explains what it means to develop your own portfolio and future-proof your career, bringing insights to professionals and organizations who want to harness this potential and the new opportunities it creates.

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What the Future of Work Means for the Future of Education

We hear the stories: of a future in which technology has addicted us, we have robot overlords, and we lose the ability to be in relationships. We see the statistics: of automation that will eliminate entire job categories, of rising inequality and safety nets that are fraying. Or will it be a future of unparalleled connectivity, collaboration and opportunity?

While the answers are up for grabs, one thing is clear: the future of work and education are fundamentally intertwined, and whether we get it right depends on understanding these forces at play. The stakes are high for parents, teachers, educational institutions, business, government and society at large… and most of all, future generations.

By and large, we are stuck in an education system that was designed for the First Industrial Revolution, which is a very poor fit for the Fourth Industrial Revolution that we live in the midst of today. Students study for the test and worry about grades, rather than sparking curiosity and innovation. Between 1989 and 2016, the cost of college increased eight times faster than wages did. With automation expected to scale in the coming years, how can our education system possibly keep up -- and what else should we consider?

April Rinne has been at the 50-yard line of these shifts. In this talk, she unpacks key themes -- from artificial intelligence to lifelong learning -- in a practical, approachable way. She helps educational institutions identify and address their blind spots as well as new opportunities, she helps companies rethink their talent strategy, and she helps parents give future-forward advice. She’ll challenge your assumptions, connect new dots, and help you see differently.

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Future-Forward: New Ways of Learning, Working, Living and Leading in Flux

The future can feel overwhelming: it’s full of unknowns and risks, the pace of change is unrelenting, and sometimes it’s as though we’re losing our ability to understand one another. For young adults, there’s an added burden of older generations expecting you’ll fix the problems they created. Yet right now, you’d really just like to know: what should I study? What skills will be valuable in 10 years? Is a four-year college degree be worth the debt? You’ve been taught to study for the test, yet the future resembles a multiple-choice question with no good answers.

April Rinne is your guide to this future. She won’t give your parents’ advice to “study hard, get good grades and you’ll be fine” because she knows it’s outdated. She will help you understand the future landscape, navigate your own path, and adopt a mindset that will thrive.

April has been at the 50-yard line of the future of work, education, technology, innovation and globalization her entire career. She has a black belt in seeing beyond borders (in 100+ countries), crafting future-forward inroads and helping others do the same. These skills and perspective aren’t just the result of her professional expertise; April’s personal journey is also one of navigating the unknown. Following the death of both of her parents in a car accident at age 20, she had to ask hard questions -- about life, loss and what really matters. Without a map, she had to chart her future path. 

This talk distills the best of April’s wisdom and personality. She connects easily with Gen Z and Baby Boomers alike. Listen to her explain why the future career looks more like a portfolio than a corporate ladder, or how having a midlife crisis at age 20 was a blessing in disguise. You’ll never look at today or the future the same.

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