Get to Know Diana Kander










About Diana Kander

Diana’s Story

Diana Kander and her family escaped from the Soviet Union when she was 8-years-old. By the time she was an American citizen, she had perfected her skills as an entrepreneur – selling flea market goods to grade school classmates at a markup.

Today, Diana is the Director of Innovation Culture and Habits for Maddock Douglas, a Chicago-based innovation consulting firm. In this role, she trains executives and Fortune 1000 companies to be more innovative and inspires employees to think like entrepreneurs.

How did she get here? Diana was a Georgetown educated attorney who left her successful law practice to start and sell a number of ventures. The businesses spanned a number of industries: software, real estate, hospitality, construction, staffing and consulting. After the sale of her last company, Diana spent three years as a Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest non-profit in the world dedicated to entrepreneurship and education, and two years as a professor of entrepreneurship in the MBA program at the University of Missouri.

Diana is also the author of the New York Times Bestseller All In Startup, a novel outlining lessons for launching a successful business. The book has been used in over 70 colleges to teach innovation and entrepreneurship. Diana lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her high school sweetheart and husband, Jason, and their awesome son, True.

Common Speaking Topics

From small corporate groups to large audiences of over 3,000.

  • Creating a deep understanding of your customers
  • Figuring out when your customers lie to you
  • De-risking new initiatives before investing significant time and capital
  • Defending your company from entrepreneurial competitors

“Diana Kander was the right choice made by our board of directors for this year’s keynote presenter. From her broad range of business expertise and experience her presentation was original, insightful and timely. We passionately recommend Diana as a speaker to any organization looking for a fresh approach to age-old business challenges.”

Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

“The Partnership was extremely happy with Diana Kander’s presentation at our annual breakfast. We received a significant number of positive comments from a cross section of the community; economic development investors, elected officials and entrepreneurs. Diana’s presentation was thought provoking and left attendees with an understanding of how they can become involved and assist growing startup companies in our community. Diana was very engaging, entertaining and gave timely advice. Obviously Diana is an expert in the field.”

Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development

“Diana continues to shine as one of the best speakers we have had the pleasure of hosting at the University of Michigan’s Distinguished Innovators Speakers Series. We regularly see the likes of the CEOs of Ford, Skype, and more, and Diana was an outstanding addition to this lineup. She has an incredibly special way of connecting with students, and has truly done it all. She talks the talk and walks the walk, and brings it all together with her direct, energetic speaking style that had our 400+ student audience at the edge of their seats. She was very much relatable and an absolute thrill for us, and she is a must-host!”

Vice President, MPowered Entrepreneurship