About Charlene Li
Best Selling Author & Speaker
Digital Transformation and Disruption Expert
Helping Leaders Thrive with disruption
For the past two decades, Charlene Li has been helping people see the future and thrive with disruption. She couples the ability to look beyond the horizon with pragmatic advice on what actions work today. She helps executives and boards recognize that companies must be disruptive to compete, not just innovate.
Charlene’s an expert on digital transformation, leadership, customer experience, and the future of work. Her perspectives from advising over 100 global companies such as Aetna, Bose, GE, Philips, and Southwest Airlines provide insights to support a winning strategy for disruptive growth, and a plan to identify and seize an opportunity no one else has the audacity or confidence to reach for.
Throughout her career, Charlene has been at the edge of disruption. She worked in newspapers in the early1990’s, helping them navigate the shift from print to online. As a principal analyst at Forrester Research, she covered interactive advertising, search marketing, and the rise of social media. In 2008, Charlene founded Altimeter Group, a disruptive competitor that challenged analyst firm incumbents such as Gartner, Forrester,and IDC. In 2015, Altimeter was acquired by Prophet and continues to operate under its own brand as a fully owned subsidiary.
Charlene is currently a Senior Fellow at Altimeter and her current research there focuses on digital transformation and transformational leadership. She has authored six books, including the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership, and the critically acclaimed book, Groundswell. Her book The Engaged Leader is a call to business leaders to adapt to the digital landscape and revolutionize their relationships by connecting directly with their followers. Her latest book, The Disruption Mindset, lays out a blueprint for disruption. Charlene’s next book focuses on new leadership capabiliites need to drive transformation change in today’s fast-moving environment.
She is frequently quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USAToday, Reuters and The Associated Press and has shared her insights on 60 Minutes, The McNeil NewsHour, ABC News, CNN and CNBC. Charlene has inspired a wide audience as the keynote at conferences such as the World Business Forum, World Economic Forum, and South by Southwest.
Charlene earned a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an A.B. degree magna cum laude from Harvard College. On weekends, she supports her husband at their family winery, La Mesa Vineyards, in the California Sierra foothills and in her spare time she enjoys taking on seemingly impossible tasks such as training her cat to do tricks.
What Drives Me
Helping Leaders Thrive with Disruption
For the past two decades, I’ve had the fortune to be an author and analyst, exploring and explaining the new world and society being created right before our eyes by new technologies. In 2008, right at the start of the recession, I started Altimeter Group, which disrupted the industry analyst world dominated by players like Gartner, Forrester, and IDC.
That’s what I do. But what I live and work for is creating the “A-ha Moment”. It happens when someone is thinking through a perplexing problem and then comes that moment of recognition and understanding. A light moves across their eyes, followed by a smile. They move from being in a place of confusion, where something is happening to them, to a place of understanding, where they have agency over their situation. Helping leaders take that first step to having a sense of empowerment and optimism, tempered by the knowledge of the journey ahead, is what drives my work.