J. Elise Keith

CEO at Lucid Meetings

Leadership

Education: Lewis and Clark College
Portland, OR, USA

Biography

J. Elise Keith is the founder and CEO of Lucid Meetings, a meeting innovation company dedicated to making it easy for teams to run successful meetings every day. In 2020, Lucid Meetings was recognized as one of the top 10 global influencer brands on the topic of remote work and virtual meetings.

In 2023, Elise and David Mastronardi from the Gamestorming Group joined forces to host the New Rules for Work experiment, a four-part program examining how a meeting's location and technology impact team creativity.

Elise is the author of Where the Action Is: The Meetings That Make or Break Your Organization, and a frequent media guest and speaker on the topic of meeting culture. She works with clients from across sectors and regions. Sample clients include IKEA, Under Armour, Intel, City of Portland, Harvard Business School, Logitech, ICANN, Conservation Colorado, WorkDay, and more. Her work has been described as "deep," "golden," "surprising," and "way more fun than I thought I'd have in a meeting about meetings."

Passion

I'm passionate about finding rewarding ways to work and stripping down team collaboration to its most essential, gratifying elements. My sweet spot is designing frameworks and techniques that are easy to adopt yet yield substantial results.

As host of the Meeting Innovation Community (https://meetinginnovation.community) and the New Rules for Work project (https://newrulesforwork.com), I work closely with leading academics and practitioners to constantly research and experiment with new ways of working. For me, it's not theoretical—it's about pinpointing the conditions that let good teamwork naturally emerge, and that I can confidently bring to my clients.

I specialize in meeting performance because when it comes to high-impact opportunities for collaboration, meetings sit at the epicenter of team dynamics. These shared, real-time experiences are the crucibles where teamwork either flourishes or flounders. It's where leaders have the golden chance to not just talk the talk but actually frame the work and set the stage for collective brilliance. Meetings provide the greatest opportunity to supercharge collaboration, and I'm passionate about focusing effort where it counts the most.

Featured Video

I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

I generally get paid for speaking but make exceptions

Topics

meetings team communication culture employee engagement values remote work team leadership virtual meetings virtual facilitation remote teams author hybrid teams hybrid workplace decision making

Best Story

You know how it is. When you see something important–something that just clicks because it's so obvious you can't believe you didn't see it before–you can never unsee it. Suddenly, it's everywhere.

That's what happened to me. I was a young woman in a room full of imposing men with impressive titles from impressive organizations, attending an all-day U.S. policy meeting. I walked in feeling totally out of my depth, but as the day wore on, it became clear: they were all people. Under the suits and titles, there were people with hopes, doubts, frustrations, boredom, ego...so much that's the same with people everywhere. But in that case, these were people who didn't know how to meet their way out of a paper bag.

To get to that room, I'd learned how to meet well. I'd seen that every high-performing team adopted an intentional meeting practice. Great teams embraced rituals and structures that brought out the best in people. I'd also seen teams struggle through awful meetings. That day, when the terrible meeting dragged on and I watched a senior VP fall asleep in his chair, was an epiphany for me. Change the meeting, you change everything.

Within a year, my partners and I founded Lucid Meetings to make it easier for more teams to achieve the kind of meeting excellence common in high-performing teams, and that was so sadly lacking that day.

Origin Story

My mom and I raced to be the first to earn a college degree. She beat me by 3 months, earning her nursing degree in April. I finished my theatre degree in June. While my degree cost more, it certainly didn't lead to higher-paying job prospects. When my children arrived, I decided to transfer my love of the creative process and my knack for seeing possibilities to the more lucrative tech sector.
A career in tech brought more reliable pay and new challenges. As a young mother with a theatre degree on a team comprised mostly of male engineers, I had barriers to bust through.
Barriers, but also gifts. I found that my background in the arts gave me an appreciation for the inherent complexity and power of human interaction that my colleagues lacked. I was trained to see that the way people interact shapes what's possible, and I became fascinated by how the best leaders design those interactions (aka, meetings) to achieve their business goals.
Now, after 15+ years of focused research and practice, I help other leaders see what I saw, so they too can design the way people interact in their businesses.

Example talks

Unstuck: Breaking Free from Decision-Making Paralysis

Escape the quagmire of endless deliberation and conflicting priorities! This talk delivers a three-part strategy to unshackle your team from decision-making paralysis. Learn how to cut through the fog of competing interests, clearly define who calls the shots, and kick your decision-making into high gear. Leave armed with actionable tools that streamline your team's decision processes and let you pivot with agility.

Learning Snack!

In just one hour, a Learning Snack serves up a potent blend of hands-on learning and peer-driven application. We kick off with a 30-minute deep-dive into a single, impactful collaboration technique—think of it as your how-to appetizer. Next, you'll jump into 25 minutes of small-group discussion to marinate on real-world applications. Walk away with a bite-sized yet transformative skill set that adds immediate value to your team—no long training or jargon necessary.

Topics vary to suit the audience.

Minimal Valuable Collaboration

Feeling swamped by elaborate collaboration theories that demand too much time and jargon? Let's bring it back to basics. This talk dives into Minimal Valuable Collaboration—easy-to-implement techniques to keep your team aligned and efficient. No special tech, no hours-long trainings, just straight-up, effective methods that anyone can apply. Walk away with a toolkit that'll make your team sync up seamlessly without drowning in complexity.

The 5 Secrets High Performing Teams Know About Meetings

This talk unveils the savvy approaches used by top teams to turn meetings from dreaded obligations into powerhouses of engagement and results. We'll break down why meeting prowess isn't just a soft skill—it's a business imperative. Dive into the art of specificity, the craft of intentional design, and the transformative ethos that says, "How you meet is who you are." Walk away with not just theory but actionable takeaways and inspiring stories that will elevate your team's meeting game. Ready to unlock the secrets?