Public Speaking

Martha Heller is a widely followed thought leader and speaker on the role of the CIO, digital leadership, and the IT talent market.

Speaker Videos


About Martha Heller

Martha Heller has been a contributor on for over 20 years. She was founder and Managing Director of the CIO Executive Council, a professional organization for Global 1000 Chief Information Officers. She is the author of two books: The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership and Be the Business: CIOs in the New Era of IT, and she is CEO of Heller Search Associates, a CIO and IT leadership executive recruiting firm she founded in 2010.

Over the years as a columnist, public speaker and executive recruiter, Martha has conducted in-depth interviews with thousands of CIOs on their greatest challenges and triumphs. These first-hand stories “from the trenches” allow Martha to bring the CIO experience to life.

As a keynote speaker, Martha brings to her audiences a combination of substance and personality. She is relaxed and humorous while commanding the attention of executives with the most relevant insights on the challenges they face as business leaders.


Town Hall
Video series
Executive Breakfast/Dinner


Harvard University CIO Magazine
Gartner Cisco
ServiceNow TBM Council


CIOs (current & rising)
Corporate IT Team (Off-site)
HR / Talent Acquisition
Digital Executives
Technology Marketers
IT Sales


  • "Martha’s keynote was the perfect start to a very successful two-day meeting of all my IT leaders. I received nothing but positive feedback on her presentation. We loved it." Anthony DeCanti, CIO, Republic Services
  • "Martha had a rapt audience – our Technology Leadership Council members found her presentation to be very valuable." Christian Beckner, Senior Director, Retail Technology and Cybersecurity, National Retail Federation
  • "In the keynote Martha presented to our global IT leadership summit, she was able to reinforce the responsibility that all members of the technology organization have to play a strategic and transformational role." Udo Neumann, Global CIO, Daimler Financial Services
  • "Martha did a TERRIFIC job! All the feedback we received from our attendees was incredibly positive; they felt her talking points were spot-on and completely relatable." Lisa LaRoque, Executive Director, Boston CIO Leadership Association
  • "Martha combines knowledge, insight, wit, humor, and credibility to make a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting presentation." Maureen Carley, Program Director, Fast Track Executive MS-IS (FREMS), Virginia Commonwealth University
  • "Martha combines knowledge, insight, wit, humor, and credibility to make a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting presentation." Maureen Carley, Program Director, Fast Track Executive MS-IS (FREMS), Virginia Commonwealth University
  • "I’ve received many kudos for bringing in Martha to speak at our CIO event. We couldn’t have done this without her! Thank you a million times over!" CIO Programs Director, Global Professional Services Firm
  • "Martha has been a frequent speaker at our events, both large and small, and has always been the highest rated of our speakers." Pam Stenson, former President, CIO Executive Council / IDG


What Companies Really Need from their CIOs

Every CIO job description contains a general set of requirements, including team development, business partnership, communication, project execution, vendor management, security, and innovation. Every requirement is important, and any good CIO will be able to check all of the boxes. But regardless of what appears on the job spec, what do companies really need in their tech leaders?

When technology becomes the beating heart of every business, how does the CIO role change? When data is the new currency of business, how are CIOs and their senior teams establishing data as a capability across their business? When IT and “product” become one and the same, how do CIOs draw new cross-functional organizational lines? In her new keynote, executive recruiter Martha Heller, CEO of Heller Search Associates and author of Be the Business: CIOs and the New Era of IT and The CIO Paradox, reviews the top requirements for today’s CIOs and what she looks for in the winning candidate.

What it Means to Be a Transformational IT Leader

Designed especially for enterprise IT leadership team meetings, Martha's new keynote inspires your IT staff to embrace their roles as enterprise leaders, think in terms of “products” (not “projects”), and replace order-taking with co-creation. Throughout her talk, Martha illustrates her messages with real transformation stories from some of the world’s most successful companies and with highly relevant lessons learned from the CIOs who led those transformations. Prior to the event, Martha will meet with you to understand the cultural transformation goals you have for your leadership team, and customize her presentation accordingly.

Organizing for Digital

When software and data make their way into your company’s products and services, where does IT stop and product engineering start? When a growing percentage of employees have technology skills, should they all report into the CIO? When information technology meets operations technology, do CIOs become COOs? How do we operationalize cross-functional collaboration? Companies across a wide array of industries have recognized that “digital” is a team sport and are redrawing organizational boundaries to drive transformation.

Building a 'Business Outcomes' Culture in IT

When IT’s role was to support business strategy, CIOs needed people who could understand a set of business requirements, translate those requirements into technology solutions, and deliver those solutions on time and on budget. But in the new era of IT, when technology informs, or even defines, business strategy, CIOs need a different kind of IT professional. They need to transform their teams from order takers to order shapers and cultivate a new mindset in IT. In order for IT deliver on the promises of technology in the digital era, IT professionals must understand the business context in which they are working. They need to focus on business outcomes, not IT activity.

But how do you take a team of technologists, whose tool set undergoes a paradigm shift every eighteen months or so, and focus them on business outcomes? In this dynamic session, Martha Heller draws on interviews with hundreds of CIOs to illustrate how today’s IT leaders are driving that change.

Landing Your Next Great IT Leadership Role

There is no one path to senior IT leadership. IT executives have backgrounds in development, operations, business leadership and even finance. But one attribute that all IT leaders share is the knowledge that they need to manage their careers. In this lively and dynamic session, Martha Heller will offer advice for managing your own IT journey.


Interested in booking Martha Heller as a Speaker?

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Martha Heller, Public Speaker and Keynote

Be the Business:
CIOs in the New Era of IT

In her trademark journalistic, witty style, Martha Heller discusses the skills required of CIOs who can transform IT leadership in an era when technology belongs to everyone.

Learn More

Be the Business Book by Martha Heller
The Heller Report

Join thousands of IT executives who read our career advice and resources for the strategic technology leader.



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