Hi. I’m David Harkins. I am a consultant, speaker, teacher, and change maker.
I’m the founder and executive consultant at David Harkins Company, a management consulting firm specializing in advancing entrepreneurial thinking and innovation leadership to help companies and organizations deepen social impact and strengthen their performance.
I have a passion for entrepreneurial thinking, the power it has on the broader economy, and the impact it can have for social good. I am keenly interested in how entrepreneurial activity can spur innovation and improve those communities where changing demographics, cultural and societal shifts, corporate closures, challenging social issues, and access to education create barriers to employment and economic growth.
As a student of organization development and innovation leadership, I research industries, organizations, markets and culture, and then connect seemingly unconnected dots to identify likely challenges to overcome and probable opportunities to exploit. I write, speak, and teach on these and other topics.
My expertise is in creating new revenue opportunities, identifying and navigating disruptions that stall growth, improving scalability and business performance, and enhancing licensing program operations for both commercial and social sector (nonprofit) organizations.
I have extensive training and education in advertising communications and media production. I also hold a BBA with an emphasis in Entrepreneurial/Small Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship. I am currently working on a Doctorate in Organization Development and Change and pursuing my Certified Professional Coach credentials.
My personal motto is perspective defines happiness, a positive attitude enables success, and possibilities exist for most everything.
I was born in the capital city of West Virginia the year John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I cheered Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, watched solar eclipses through a color film negative, and listened to music on 8-Track tapes. I watched President Nixon resign his office, owned a first edition Sony® Walkman, and remember my latitude and longitude when both Harry Chapin and John Lennon died.
Growing up I spent more than my fair share of time grounded to my bedroom, where I chose to use my time to engineer and flight-test perfect paper airplanes elaborately decorated, perhaps unwisely upon reflection, with the phrase, “Help!!! I’m being held captive by a wicked witch!” from my window into the backyard where my mother often found them. When I wasn’t being held in captivity, I survived walks through protesting parents during the Kanawha County Textbook Controversy, was interested enough to learn New Math, rose many mornings at 5:00 AM to deliver newspapers, and I learned how to march and play the trombone at the same time.
I set off for college to become a dentist, but organic chemistry got the better of me, and a wise Chemistry professor encouraged the pursuit of a different career. A wiser English professor suggested I consider becoming a writer. Unfortunately, my parents had no room in the basement for me to make a home, so I chose life in marketing and advertising—the closest fields I could find to writing that paid enough to allow me to get my own place.
Once on my own, I fell into a successful career leading marketing and organizational change for companies both large and small. I have worked in many industries and been fortunate enough to have held senior positions with, or advised, many well-known organizations including: Alzheimer’s Association (National), American Bar Association (National), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Boy Scouts of America (National Council), Cargill Ag Horizons, Disabled American Veterans (National), Girl Scouts of the USA (National Council), Geneer, Microsoft, and Nykamp Consulting Group to name just a few. I am a serial entrepreneur, and I have helped grow many first-stage start-up companies.
My life and career have been marked by both successes and failures. Along the way, I learned my greatest strengths are a drive to create, a desire to build things and nourish people, and a passion for identifying workable solutions to seemingly impossible problems in business, and in life. These traits and my core beliefs that perspective defines happiness, a positive attitude enables success, and possibilities exist for everything forms the root of all my successes.
I am an avid student of emerging—yet useful—technology, cultural change, human behavior, and personal motivation. I’m a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars on these and related marketing topics.
In my spare time, I speak, write, hike, explore, coach others, and create art; not necessarily in that order. I have been known to take a picture or two.