Jordan Axani

Speaker


Jordan Axani

Focus of World's Most Viral Human Interest Story | Mental Health and Belonging Researcher

Jordan Axani is a social researcher that helps employees and students share their unspoken fears, struggles and hopes with their peers – driving performance, engagement and happiness at work and school. He calls this building “cultures of belonging.” On-stage, Jordan helps people take off the “masks” they wear around others, leading them to accept themselves as they are, and enabling unprecedented peer support around the idea of living authentically.

From working on the revitalisation plan of an earthquake-ridden city in Chile, to contributing to the the Pan Am Athlete’s Village in Toronto, to presenting research on four continents, and consulting Fortune 500s, Jordan’s work over the past 10 years has focused on helping create teams, products, and places where people feel deeply united.

However, in late 2014 everything changed. On a dare, Jordan posted a message online, offering anyone who shared the same name as his previous girlfriend a leftover ticket for a trip around the world with him. The post earned a shocking four-billion media impressions, and made Jordan one of the biggest social media sensations, ever.

Under the weight of his viral fame, Jordan stumbled upon a stark truth that has since been fortified by thousands of interviews: We all live a big lie. That is, a dissonance between what we feel internally and what we project externally. And this gap leads to pronounced mental health challenges, lost productivity, and isolation. In response, we self-inflate or simply fake feeling well, fuelling a cycle of lies and cover-ups that are all consuming.

In “What’s Your Big Lie?”, a breakthrough mental health program, Jordan asks audiences to anonymously share what makes them hide who they are, projecting their responses in real-time and demonstrating that no one is ever alone. He uses similar approaches to open the eyes of corporate and organizational audiences to illustrate that the boldest, highest performing businesses are ones where extraordinary openness is an essential pillar of corporate culture and leadership.

Jordan is also the co-host of Impostercast, a top-rated podcast about faking it; the author of the forthcoming book and host of a TV series that unpacks his work on big lies; and he is the inspiration for the lead character of a forthcoming Hollywood drama based on his viral story.


What's Your Big Lie?

Everyone has a big lie: A secret that defines how we show ourselves to the world. But what if we shared it? What would happen next?

This interactive keynote for schools and bold companies puts the audience in the driver seat. First, the audience shares their big lie anonymously from their phones. The responses are curated and displayed in real-time, spanning confessions of abuse, depression, addiction and self-harm. Second, attendees read the big lies of others aloud and reply to each with a message of solidarity. Third, courageous volunteers openly share the story of their own big lie with unprecedented humility, building a collective understanding that no one is ever alone – and that we are validated for who we are.

This keynote is a spark to build a stigma-free culture of openness and vulnerability at school or work. It is ideal for institutions that are looking to encourage peer support, empathy and inclusivity. Each organizer will be provided specific follow-on tools and resources.

Building Something With Impact

Jordan has long treated his own life as an experiment to create things —projects, movements, ideas, companies — in counter-intuitive ways, focusing on how he can make himself as uncomfortable as possible while creating something that will impact at least one other person. His viral episode is simply the most recent, and most high profile, example of this.

When we think of creating something of value, we automatically think of entrepreneurship, which can be a paralyzing and daunting comparison. We do not think of creating much more achievable and potentially fulfilling projects, movements, ideas, events, charities or organizations.

Pulling from dramatic blow-ups and unexpected wins alike, and by stitching in the stories of others, Jordan will unearth the process of pushing deep, embracing vulnerability without apology, and iterating relentlessly all in a bid to build something from what would otherwise be just an idea.

Branding and Storytelling with Humility

Marketers and their corporate clients strive to create the next viral sensation. And while “viral” is a romantic idea, the reality is much more complicated – and it hinges on telling a story and building a brand that taps into the humility we all share.

Speaking as a former marketer whose story went globally viral (three times), Jordan shares what his accidental stint of virality taught him about creating a story that captivated the world. During this talk, Jordan will discuss the ingredients that make an emotional connection with an audience, how to think about story arcs, how to inject entrepreneurism to evolve the conversation, and how to create content with a higher purpose than simply brand building, sales or impressions. Conversely, Jordan will also share difficult lessons on minimizing the risk of negative publicity and shaming.

For students, corporate, agency and professional audiences alike, this engaging talk will demystify virality. Never before has there been an opportunity to explore such a truly viral story first-hand through the eyes of a marketer.

Thriving In Virality: Creating, Managing and Sustaining A Viral Story Without Losing Your Shirt

Marketers and their corporate clients strive to create the next viral sensation. And while “viral” is a romantic idea, the reality is much more complicated.

Speaking as a former marketer whose story went globally viral (three times), Jordan shares what his accidental stint of virality taught him about creating, managing and sustaining a story that can captivate the world. During this talk, Jordan will discuss the ingredients of content that make an emotional connection with an audience, how to drip new content and story arcs, and how to create content with a higher purpose than simply brand building, sales or impressions. Conversely, Jordan will also share difficult lessons on minimizing the risk of negative publicity and shaming.

For corporate, agency and professional audiences alike, this engaging talk will demystify virality. Never before has there been an opportunity to explore such a truly viral story first-hand through the eyes of a marketer.

Something vs. Nothing

Jordan has long treated his own life as an experiment to create things—projects, movements, ideas, companies—in counterintuitive ways, focusing on how he can make himself as uncomfortable as possible while creating something that others will love. His viral episode is simply the most recent, and most high profile, example of this.

When we think of creating something of value, we automatically think of entrepreneurship, which can be a paralyzing and daunting comparison. We do not think of creating much more achievable and potentially fulfilling projects, movements, ideas, events, charities or organizations.

Very few people feel confident in how to make an idea into something real and enduring, while bettering themselves in the process. Pulling from his countless failures but few successes and inspiring stories of others, Jordan will unearth the process of pushing deep, embracing your own vulnerability and “owning it until you make it.”