Candace Doby

Author Candace Doby is THE courage expert. She talks about how to maximize leading with courage in work and life – whether you’re a teen or a CEO – she has wisdom to share.

Past Speaking Engagements

University of Georgia
SUNY Oneonta

Speaking Options

Courage At Work: Helping Emerging Leaders Take More Worthwhile Risks in an Evolving Workplace

Now, more than ever, organizations need leaders to act with courage. They need leaders who are willing and able to take worthwhile risks, navigate through uncertainty, and withstand challenges in order to position their businesses for growth in a constantly shifting corporate and non-profit world. According to research, courage is an essential leadership quality. But, when emerging leaders consider potential failure or rejection in the workplace as outcomes, they can find it difficult to choose courage — opting instead for safety and limited growth. That’s because they don’t know how to evaluate risks or leverage the internal resources they already have to face them. In this presentation, speaker and courage coach Candace helps audience members discover what’s stopping them from stepping outside of their comfort zone at work and how to begin dismantling those barriers so they can take more risks — risks like speaking up with an unpopular perspective in a meeting of like minds, showing up authentically for themselves and their teams; and challenging old systems that do not serve new workplace realities. This presentation is critical for organizations that want to develop courageous leaders who can help take their businesses into the future. This presentation is appropriate for companies that want to help their people, particularly millennials, courageously speak up and stand out so that the organization can capitalize on diverse and creative thinking, innovate faster, improve processes and collaborate better.

DEI, Belonging and Courage

It takes a lot of courage to thrive in a world where you are challenged, questioned, and/or dealing with daily microaggressions as a person of color. In this talk, Candace shares stories of DEI + belonging through the lens of courage. She offers advice about how to conjure your courage to more fully embody your own brilliance — to lay claim to your uniqueness, skills, and experiences — to support the creation of space for DEI+Belonging initiatives to take root in organizations. This talk is ideal for corporate ERGs as well as youth (schools/colleges/organizations.)

Translating Travel Skills into Leadership Skills

When we are met with opportunities to travel abroad, we too often don’t understand how travel skills can translate into leadership skills that employers desire.  In this talk, Candace illustrates how travel has helped her enhance important leadership skills in the workplace and how it can do the same for those who have traveled abroad. Through delightful storytelling, she recounts how driving on the other side of the road forced her to be adaptable, how a tuk tuk driver raised her consciousness around collaboration and much more. Through this talk, the audience will be able to identify important leadership skills employers value, recognize how to connect the dots between travel and leadership skills, and understand their role in telling the most impactful stories about their travel experiences. 

TBD: Travel, Being Black & Doubt

Until the age of 27, Candace had always labeled traveling abroad as TBD, or To Be Determined. The opportunities to do so beforehand were muddled in fear of physical harm, rejection from people at home and abroad, and fear of failure. It wasn’t until she read books, heard tales from friends, and did research that she began to recognize the value of travel.  In this presentation, Candace, who has now traveled solo and accompanied to 19 countries, shares how she navigated fear, race and power to relabel travel as TBD, or The Best Decision. In this talk, participants will be better able to identify their own fears related about traveling abroad, understand how they can manage their fears through the framework of courage, and recognize how travel can help them have a more global understanding of themselves.

Selected Media

Candace Interview


Travel,  Black, and Doubt


If Courage Could Talk TV interview

Candace’s Sizzle Reel


“Candace was an inspiring keynote and connected greatly with our audience of students and faculty alike.  Her message on courage gave our conference participants the right motivation to get the most out of their leadership journey at our event and beyond.” –  Shahla Akbari, Director of Chapter Support, The National Society of Leadership and Success

“Candace Doby is an inspiring and relatable speaker on the topic of travel, leadership skills, and courage. The ideas and concepts she speaks about are easy to understand, but are unique from what students usually hear, as they come from her own story. Our event evaluation confirmed that students concretely learned something new and learned to communicate their own travel and study abroad stories in a way they were unsure of before. Candace has the ability to inspire young people, get them excited about global experiences, and help them find their courage and confidence to use those experiences to reach their goals.” – Denise Leinonen, International Student Advisor, SUNY Oneonta

“When I read Candace’s biography and topic description for her “Travel, Being Black, and Doubt” talk, I knew immediately that her message would align with everything Wesleyan College values — diversity and inclusion, globalization, and preparedness for life after college. As study abroad professionals, we recognize trends in the types of students who choose to go abroad and which students show more trepidation, but it feels like there is little more we can do than market diverse program offerings and advise students with reassurance through their fears. Candace’s message resonated both with the student audience and with me. The students nodded along, offering their input about their fears and what holds them back from international travel. Candace’s topic drew a diverse crowd of students — many who vocalized their concerns about being black and feeling even more foreign abroad than they sometimes do at home, and others who wanted to explore their racial privilege and understand what holds their peers back from experiencing what seems so natural to other students. When Candace broke into her riff on Kendrick Lamar’s “Fear,” the students instantly and visibly engaged with her personality and message. I hosted the talk with the hopes of opening doors for my students that seemed previously closed — by giving voice to their fears and answers to their questions. But what I (also) gained from Candace was a better understanding of how my own practice can better address those fears and how my message implicitly plays into the cultural disparities that exist in study abroad participation.” – Emily Jarvis, Director of Int’l Programs, Wesleyan College

“Candace is an excellent speaker who delivers an insightful perspective on Study Abroad. As an African American female who did not study abroad while she was in college she sees the value of Study abroad from the lens of a Corporate Marketing professional, who has now traveled all over the world. She understands the importance of encouraging students of color to study abroad and the cross-cultural learning and understanding that takes place from enriching experiences abroad. She delivers this and much more through her presentation, “Travel, Being Black and Doubt”.  – Study Abroad Coordinator, Columbus State University (Georgia)

“What a fascinating and insightful session and conversation on TBD: Travel, Being Black and Doubt. Candace’s message needs to be heard by all of us (white IE professionals & student affairs staff, really everyone on a college campus & in the workplace! ) – Jennifer Ramos, Study Abroad Director, Methodist University

“Candace is a phenomenal and inspiring speaker! Her energy and bright spirit combined with her warmth and fearlessness have helped me find to courage to share my own voice and story. Since hearing her speak, I have learned how to ‘cross the bridge’ and use fear to launch me into a life of greater purpose and fulfillment,” – Shawn Patrick Rivera, Life Is A Verb Participant.

About Candace

Candace Doby has been examining the definition, elements and obstacles of courage on her own for a decade. Through that process, she developed her own courage to travel abroad, an action she had long considered … scary. From her first trip abroad to Indonesia to her 19th global trip to Malaysia, Candace has continuously sharpened the tools necessary to manage fear. As a speaker, Candace combines personal storytelling with life lessons and a dynamic presence to inspire the audience to act courageously.

Candace is the author of “If Courage Could Talk”, published in 2020. She has served as an editing fellow for Travel Noire, the popular digital platform and resource for black travelers. She currently volunteers with Girls Going Global, a non-profit organization that empowers girls of color through travel and cultural exchange. Her 2017 presentation at NAFSA (Association of International Educator’s Conference – Region VII) garnered rave reviews and was nominated for the national conference.

Candace received BA/MA degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At the university, she ran track, worked at the school paper, and served as a resident advisor. She had a 15-year marketing career and has worked for some of the best advertising agencies in the country. Her most recent work in this arena was as a Field Marketing Manager for Chipotle Mexican Grill.  Her book, If Courage Could Talk, has been picked up by a national publisher and the 2nd edition of it will be available as a book and  journal in 2022.

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