Helping Young Adults

Lead with Courage, Confidence, and Humility

About Joel W. Hawbaker

Joel is an award-winning teacher, author, speaker, and frequent podcast guest who loves helping young leaders overcome obstacles and grow through courage, confidence, and humility. By sharing personal stories of failure and success, using humor and engagement, Joel teaches leadership principles that audiences can apply as soon as they leave the event. His book, Inverted Leadership: Lead Others Better By Forgetting About Yourself was a #1 best-seller on Amazon.

Having studied and played soccer at both Covenant College (Georgia) and Oxford University (England, UK), Joel has a B.A. in History and a passion for literature as well as a love for sports. These interests and his experience as a high school teacher come across through his presentations, as he often references historical examples and quotes from C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Wooden, and Coach K. Joel currently lives in Alabama with his wife, his two daughters, and their two rescue dogs Bruiser and Butterscotch. When he’s not busy speaking, writing, teaching, or coaching, Joel is longing for the day when he can go on his dream vacation of visiting Hobbiton in the Shire.

Most Requested Topics


"Be the change you want to see in the world." Gandhi teaches us the power of example, by leading humbly and through service, putting the needs of others in front of your own. This presentation will also teach audiences about three key aspects to consider when shaping their own leadership philosophies: lead where you are, be the first, and lead through learning. This presentation also incorporates much of my personal story as I share lessons from the classroom, the home, and the soccer field.

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Aristotle wrote, "Both virtues and vices are developed through repetition," and so consistency is the key to all good leadership. In this presentation, audience members will learn about three keys to leadership that, when applied consistently, will transform your team from good to great: collaborate, communicate, and cogitate.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." So said Tolkien, in one of the greatest stories ever told. In this leadership presentation, audience members will learn about the importance of how we tell our own stories, to ourselves and to others. Our successes and failures, and how we view them and share them, shape our ability to lead others. Key teachings include the power of hope, the necessity of courage, and the importance of empathy.

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“As soon as Joel finished, several members of my group asked me if he could come and speak again at another event we had going on later that evening!”

“Joel came and spoke to our Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honor Society here at JSU, and he was amazing! Throughout the presentation, he was funny, inspirational, and gave our students specific ways to improve their leadership both now and in the future. I would strongly recommend him to come and speak at other colleges and universities!”

“My students raved about his presentation last year, and cited it as one of the most memorable classes of the semester! I am excited for this year’s freshmen to hear his inspirational talk as well.”

“Joel spoke at our Bosses Bussing Tables fundraiser event for the Community Enabler in Anniston, and he was amazing! He arrived early, met many of our servers and organizers, and was extremely easy to work with. He was also a great speaker: he was funny, inspirational, and gave the audience specific ways to improve their leadership. I would strongly recommend him to come and speak to your business or organization!”

“Joel was selected as a guest speaker by student organizers who had heard his message last year. His presentation resonated with all the attendees to include invited guests. He challenged them to do their best, to step outside of their comfort zone, to take risks, and to stand up for what they believe. He will be invited to speak again at next year’s conference.”

“After I heard Mr. Hawbaker speak at a Rotary luncheon, I knew I wanted him to come and work with our students to help them understand their roles as potential leaders on campus. When he came, I was not disappointed: our students loved his presentation, and his interaction with them kept them engaged throughout both sessions. We would love to make Mr. Hawbaker’s presentation an annual event for our students here.”

“Joel is a very dependable, professional speaker. He was very successful in communicating our objectives, while his colorful speaking style captured the attention of the audience throughout. We highly recommend him for your events concerning leadership topics.”

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