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Cal Fussman, Speaker

Cal Fussman

    • Renowned author and interviewer of hundreds of world icons, from Muhammad Ali to Mikhail Gorbachev
    • His storytelling will have you on the edge of your seat, named "The Master Storyteller" by Tim Ferriss
    • A life-changing keynote about the indelible power of curiosity and the art of connection in a disconnected world
Full Bio
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Cal Fussman

Cal Fussman

Cal Fussman Speaker Biography

For over four decades, Cal Fussman interviewed hundreds of the world’s most influential individuals: Muhammad Ali, Jack Welch, Mikhail Gorbachev, Serena Williams, Jeff Bezos, Jimmy Carter, Kobe Bryant, Richard Branson, and the list goes on.

Now, as a New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, world-renowned interviewer, and host of the Big Questions podcast, Fussman travels the world teaching the world’s largest companies, universities, and associations about curiosity, connect, leadership, storytelling, and more. When Cal speaks, you’re listening to everyone he’s ever interviewed. Lessons and stories from hundreds of world icons, all coming through one man.

Over the past several years, Cal has delivered keynotes for industry leading organizations including General Motors, Facebook, Pixar, Twitter, The Vanguard Group, Apple Music, Snapchat, Samsung, Turner Broadcasting, Vans, Lululemon, YPO, and Entrepreneur's Organization; universities like UCLA and Georgetown; and at conferences as far as South Africa and Kenya. After Cal spoke at Meta, Chris Sanders in Global Marketing Solutions said: “We literally have people using the term, ‘Cal Question.’ He has become a part of our culture.”

Born in Brooklyn, Fussman spent ten straight years traveling the world, swimming over 18-foot tiger sharks, rolling around with mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and searching for gold in the Amazon. He boxed against then-undefeated world champion Julio Cesar Chavez, won a James Beard award and served as sommelier atop of the World Trade Center.

He now lives with his wife—whom he met while on his quest to discover the world’s most beautiful beach—and his three children in Los Angeles, where he spends every morning eating breakfast with Larry King.

Disruption is one of the most relevant topics on the minds of business leaders today. Whether it’s how a company can disrupt an industry, or prevent against being disrupted, the solution is the same. Through curiosity.

The Set Up:
There is a short interactive interview exercise at the outset that focuses around the question. “If you could meet anybody who’s ever lived, who would that be and why?” Which leads to a surprising way to frame the responses, and ignites people to think differently.
The core of the keynote offers many ways to refresh one’s curiosity through the lens of disruption. The keynote includes lessons from John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Jackie Robinson’s integration of baseball, Kodak’s inability to see the future of the digital camera and how companies like CNN were conceived with a simple question rooted in ordinary curiosity. By the end, everybody can see what he or she is capable of achieving through a good question.

*A conversation segment follows most keynotes, where the audience has the opportunity to ask Cal about specific interests and issues.

Key Takeaways:
• Make people realize that losing their curiosity should be their biggest fear.• Make sure success doesn’t blind a company to curiosity.• Make it a routine to break routine.• Realize that when in a storm, curiosity is not a waste of time, it’s a life-line.


Cal’s Heart, Head & Soul interviewing technique is revealed through mesmerizing stories of his experiences with Muhammad Ali and Mikhail Gorbachev. In this interactive keynote, Cal shows how changing your questions can change your life.

The Set Up:
The session begins with an interactive exercise that demonstrates to the group how the right questions can lead to deeper connections and relationships. The exercise is also an incredible bonding experience for companies and conferences looking to bring people closer together.
The core of the keynote showcases Cal’s powerful experiences connecting with Gorbachev, traveling around the world for a decade without a home by quickly building rapport with people he met along the way, and spending a week with Ali. Through these stories, Cal teaches techniques that create stronger relationships.

*A conversation segment follows most keynotes, where the audience has the opportunity to ask Cal about specific interests and issues.

Key Takeaways:
• Understand powerful ways to open a conversation through the interactive exercise.• Learn the techniques of making deeper connections through Cal’s Heart, Head and Soul approach.• Gain insights into the power of storytelling.  


Few people on earth have gotten a chance to interview more iconic individuals than Cal Fussman. Everybody wonders if there is a common thread running through the icons he’s met. The answer is yes. They’ve all dared to step out of their comfort zone. In this session, Cal shows how these icons used this common thread to find success. 

The Set Up:
The session begins with an interactive interview exercise that allows people to identify their own fears of stepping out of their comfort zone and understand how the bold decisions they’ve made in their past enabled them to reach greater heights. The core of the keynote looks at how General Motors CEO Mary Barra, actor Tom Hanks, tennis star Serena Williams, fighter-pilot Chuck Yeager, billionaire T. Boone Pickens and many others pushed past their hesitations to get where they wanted to go, and then went even further.

*A conversation segment follows most keynotes, where the audience has the opportunity to ask Cal about specific interests and issues.

Key takeaways:
• Burst through a dated or static way of thinking.• Enable people to use questions to push themselves to the places that they might be hesitant to go.• Activate people to think about how they can get more out of themselves.

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