The People First Leader

Click below for keynote descriptions & takeaways:

The Mind of a Leader

Why leadership is a mindset, not a title.

Millions of dollars are spent each year on leadership skill development. But what if skills are only part of the equation?

What if before people can act like leaders, speak like leaders, and get results like leaders, they must first distinguish the ability to think like leaders? Skills can only be successfully implemented with the right mindset and intentions behind them. Why? Because when leaders focus on putting out fires and reinforcing “the way to do things” – the very people they’re trying to lead suffer. As a result, clients suffer, too.

In this keynote presentation, Amy Lafko takes the audience into the mind of a leader with humor and storytelling from her personal and professional experience. Through “the tale of two leaders” listeners will be challenged to examine their own mindset and intentions of leadership. Participants are invited to trade hubris for humility, to get curious, build gratitude, and be the calm and trusted guide through turbulent times. With a willing mindset and focused intentions, leaders can steer everyone to greater success.

Being a leader is more than a title. Are you up for the challenge to embrace the mind of a leader?

Key Lessons

By the end of the session, participants will:


Have the foundation for the mind of a leader that comes before how they speak, do, and grow.


See how the People First method benefits their team, organization, patients, and bottom line.


Be equipped to build their portfolio of leadership strengths to grow their career and organization.

People First

Creating environments that engage the best from your people.

For decades we’ve believed engaged employees are the direct result of a “good” manager, and disengaged employees are simply lazy, or have a “bad” manager. It’s time we flip that thinking on its head. Yes – you need skilled leaders at every level of the organization. But that is only one part of the equation.  

Discover why the success of an organization has to involve both skilled leaders AND well-designed systems to support their people. This equation results in the outcomes (and output from our people) that we really want. Leaders will have limited success in an environment that uses weak processes and tools. By shifting to evidence-based best practices, leaders will clarify and communicate expectations, measure success, and grow your team.

After all, we invest millions of dollars on equipment, staff, and systems to take care of our customers. Why not do the same for our greatest asset – our people?

In this captivating keynote, Amy Lafko takes the audience through the transformation of the People First method starting with how we think about the lifecycle of the employee. With humor and storytelling from her personal and professional experience, Amy shares tangible systems, strategies and tools that will support leaders on their quest for employee engagement that drives their business imperatives. 

With the People First method, leaders are able to embrace a way of thinking, communicating, and behaving to meet business imperatives while putting their people first. This session will leave audiences inspired to replace checking off an employee satisfaction initiative to getting excited about creating an environment that engages the best of their people.

Key Takeaways

By the end of the session, participants will be able to answer the following questions:


What is the People First method of organizational design?


Why is the patient* first mentality strangling our business?


How to shift the intention and structure of your organization’s tools and processes to better support your people so they can better support your patients*.


How People First strategies and tools can be implemented in your organization right away!

*While Amy’s background is in healthcare, the stories and strategies can be adapted to any industry to meet your audience where they are.


Recognize that leaders need 360° organizational support and a fresh perspective on the lifecycle of the employee to empower their people to contribute to the organization’s overall mission.


See how the People First method benefits their team, organization, customers, and bottom line in contrast with the customer first mentality. 


Design the appropriate systems to attract and select the right people, align and inspire through the onboarding process, provide key accountabilities to measure and track performance, and implement strategy and change consistently. 

This keynote is for C-suite, senior management, managers, and staff who want to empower their leaders, engage their teams, and transform their organization. 

Previously customized for:

  • Healthcare Professionals

  • HR Professionals

  • Non-Profits

  • Sales Teams

Amy Lafko's Bio

Amy Lafko is a leadership and organizational design expert, mainstage speaker, author, and facilitator. Known for her “People First” method, she brings a step-by-step process to put employee engagement and empowerment into practice. Having spent 20+ years in healthcare leadership roles, her work is inspired by her personal transformation as a leader.  That inspiration and her energy is multiplied every time she assists someone with their own shift in mindset and intentions. 

Her book, People First: A Proven Method for an Exceptional Healthcare Practice was an Amazon bestselling new release. In addition to founding Cairn Consulting Solutions, LLC and being certified in TTI Success Insights DISC, Driving Forces and Emotional Intelligence, Amy has earned her MSPT from Ithaca College, her MBA from Loyola University of MD.

When she isn’t spreading the word about why and how to put your people first, you can find Amy traveling around the world (40+ countries so far), reminiscing about her first days in leadership as “Bubbles” the camp counselor, or enjoying a great bourbon cocktail with friends.

This badge is earned by Alumni of the Heroic Public Speaking training institute.  In completing an HPS GRAD Fellowship, they have completed the most substantial public speaking training in the world, twice—first as a student, then as a Fellow.

Patient First is Strangling Your Business

Coming out of the pandemic, some practices are ready to grow while others hoping to come back to pre-pandemic levels of success. Regardless of your situation, the patient first mantra won’t help you achieve your goals. In fact, patient first is strangling your
business. To thrive, you must put your People First. With humor and storytelling, Amy shares the secrets requires to Grow Your People to Grow Your Business.

Key Take-Aways


Redefine the lifecycle of the employee


Recognizing the difference between employee satisfaction and engagement


Powerful, yet simple, People First tools to redesign your practice so you are growing your business by growing your people

People First

A Proven Method for an Exceptional Healthcare Practice

Her best-selling book, People First Method. Breaking away from the Well-intentioned Customer First Model, Amy provides a framework for organizational design and leadership within the that reveals the blind spots that hold businesses back from achieving the success they desire, Amy reveals the CAIRN method to designing your organization for optimal alignment, accountability and growth.


The Productive Conflict Program

The Emotional Intelligence Program

Amy is also excited to tailor a presentation to meet the needs of your unique audience. This interactive and fun session addresses the foundational skills for a People First leader-how they think, their mindset and their intentions. Providing thought-provoking ideas, stories and research as well as practical tips Amy explores the various aspects of the leader’s mindset.

Work With Amy

Amy has keynoted esteemed events both in-person and virtually and have emceed award events, moderated panels, and participated in virtual events. She shows up ready to educate and entertain audiences with mind-blowing business insights that unlock new possibilities.

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