Ben Barry

Ground-breaking Entrepreneur | Bestselling Author of Refashioning Models

Hailed as a “Hero to real women everywhere” by The Boston Globe, Dr. Ben Barry is dedicated to changing the way people think about women, beauty, and body image in business and marketing. Having founded the Ben Barry Agency―the first agency in the world that represents models of all ages, sizes, backgrounds, and abilities―at just 14 years old, his life-long passion for challenging the status quo and diversity is palpable in each talk he delivers.

Founded in 1995, the Ben Barry Agency now boasts an impressive array of clients including Armani, Old Navy, The Gap, Macy’s, The Bay, Nike, and Dove. Dr. Barry is also an Assistant Professor of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the School of Fashion at Ryerson University.

Dr. Barry is the author of bestseller Fashioning Reality: A New Generation of Entrepreneurship (Key Porter) and is writing Why Women Buy Fashion: Models, Advertising and Aspiration (Bloomsbury). He is regularly featured as an expert in the media, including in The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, and on CNN and Oprah.

Dr. Barry has served as a special advisor to the Government of Quebec, where he helped create North America’s first charter to encourage healthy and diverse models in advertising, and was the first male winner of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for advancing the equality of girls and women in Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from the University of Toronto; a Master’s Degree in Innovation, Strategy, and Organization; and a PhD in marketing from Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

The Change Makers

Whether you want to change a program, organization, or society, Ben discusses how individuals can help transform a status quo system, using examples about how he helped revolutionize the beauty ideal from oppressive to empowering.

Capturing Opportunities

Opportunities are all around us, but it is those who identify them when others do not, who build, develop, and grow thriving initiatives, organizations, and businesses. By sharing his story of changing the culture of beauty, Ben encourages audiences to realize that opportunities all around them.

Innovation for Success

Innovation is a critical ingredient to the success of any initiative, organization or business. By sharing his strategies on how he helped to revolutionize the fashion industry, Ben shows people how they too can use innovative ideas to help their projects, organizations, or industries achieve success.

Youth Entrepreneurship

Ben shares his adventures of building the Ben Barry Agency Inc. from a start-up in the basement of his family home to a company that now boasts offices the world over. He explores strategies such as starting a business with limited capital, developing mentors, finding your niche, growing a venture, and creating social change through business. Ben shatters the myth that young people have to wait until they have decades of experience before they can begin their own companies. Instead, he explains how youth have all of the knowledge and skills to begin their entrepreneurial journeys today.

Beauty and Body Image

What does beauty mean? The answer depends on who you ask. In this address, Ben shares his story of discovering the damaging impact the beauty ideal can have, and the crisis of conscious that led him to change the standard for models and revolutionize the fashion industry. His talk is filled with anecdotes, ground-breaking research, and strategies for the audience to become ambassadors for an authentic beauty movement to empower themselves and others in their lives.

Small Business Marketing

Based on his small business-marketing column, Ben shares his marketing strategies and solutions for small businesses in any industry. He explores ten problems that small businesses face when attracting new consumers and retaining existing ones, and offers strategies to solve them. His innovative solutions include turning competitors into allies, using the power of personalization, and unleashing the power of social networking. Each technique is brought to life with examples from Ben’s experience and from interviews he has conducted with entrepreneurs across the country.

How Do We Consume Beauty?

While beauty is an ineffable quality to most of us, media and advertising delineate a narrow—and unattainable—definition of it. Drawing on his research with thousands of women, Dr. Barry shares how they perceive, understand and experience beauty. He explores both similarities and differences across generations and cultures and then provides specific insights about how his audience—whether they are managers or consumers—can apply his findings in their work and lives. Dr. Barry concludes by asserting that men at a new frontier of beauty. He shares his emerging research on men’s understandings and experiences and how their mindsets are transforming our future.