World’s Authority on Highly Collaborative Relationships That Drive Innovation; Author of Seven Books on Vested, Win-Win Relationships; Faculty University of Tennessee

Kate Vitasek
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Kate Vitasek At A Glance:

Kate Vitasek is an international authority for her award-winning research and Vested® business model for highly collaborative relationships. Author of 7 books and a Faculty member at the University of Tennessee, she has been lauded by World Trade Magazine as one of the “Fabulous 50+1” most influential people impacting global commerce.

Lauded by World Trade Magazine as one of the “Fabulous 50+1” most influential people impacting global commerce, author, educator, and business consultant Kate Vitasek is an international authority for her award-winning research and Vested® business model for highly collaborative relationships. Her practical and research-based advice for driving transformation and innovation through highly collaborative and strategic partnerships spans seven books, including Vested: How P&G, McDonald’s and Microsoft Are Redefining Winning in Business Relationships, Contracting in the New Economy, Vested Outsourcing: Five Rules that Transform Outsourcing and Getting to We: Negotiating Agreements for Highly Collaborative Relationships.

Vitasek has been featured on CNN International, Bloomberg, NPR, and Fox Business News. She also has been featured in over 300 articles in publications including Harvard Business Review, Chief Executive Magazine, Information Week, CIO Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Journal of Commerce, World Trade Magazine, and Outsource Magazine.

She is the lead faculty and researcher for Vested, including launching the University’s Certified Deal Architect program. Passionate in her quest to help companies transform their business relationships, Vitasek inspires and motivates business leaders in the University’s onsite and online courses and her popular keynote addresses at major industry events and conferences.

Prior to joining the University of Tennessee, Vitasek’s storied career includes positions with P&G, Microsoft, Accenture, Stream International, and founding Supply Chain Visions – a boutique consulting firm recognized by ARC Advisory Group as one of the “10 Coolest” boutique-consulting firms.

  • The Vested Way

    Redefining Winning in Business Relationships

    “Nothing personal—it’s just business.”

    This outdated attitude is the foundation that most business relationships are built on—a zero-sum
    game where one party wins at the expense of the other. Organizations say things like “valued
    employee,” “strategic partnership,” and “healthcare system,” but the reality is they are stuck on a
    transactional treadmill focusing on this task, this time, this deal, and under these terms. The
    relationships they create are static and the results are status quo.

    Author, educator, and business consultant Kate Vitasek has cracked the code on how to truly create
    successful win-win relationships. Kate’s evocative and edutaining Vested Way® keynote unpacks
    Five Rules that turn transactional relationships into transformational relationships. Her keynote
    takes attendees beyond the theory of “win-win” and is packed with real stories from real
    organizations getting real results by applying the Five Rules.

    You can trust Kate for her expertise: Kate Vitasek is an international authority on how to build
    better business relationships. Her award-winning research is the subject of seven books and she
    has been featured as an international authority on how to build better business relationships
    on CNN International, NPR, Bloomberg, and Fox Business News. Kate regularly shares her insights
    as a Forbes contributor in her column on the art, science, and practice of highly collaborative
    relationships.

    Attendees walk away:

    - Challenging the game they are playing in their existing relationships
    - Armed with the Vested Five Rules to help them transform their relationships
    - Inspired by real-world examples of how the Vested Way has worked in practice,
    creating value far beyond traditional us-vs-them transactional approaches
  • Getting to We

    Five Steps for Creating an Engaged, Collaborative Culture

    The vast majority of business relationships operate with an “us vs. them” mindset: management vs.
    union, buyer vs. supplier, health care providers vs. payers, boss vs. employee and functional silo vs.
    functional silo.

    Organizations say things like “valued employee,” “strategic partnership,” and “healthcare system,”
    but the reality is they are often stuck with policies and practices and functional metrics that pit
    organizations, departments, and even team members against each other. The result is a culture
    that feels like a virtual tug-of-war with team members pulling against each other rather than
    collaborating for mutual success.

    Kate’s Getting to We ®  keynote shares five proven steps for creating an engaged, collaborative
    culture. Her keynote inspires audiences with behind-the-scenes stories of how organizations such
    as Island Health and their hospitalists transformed their culture from a tense, troubled, and toxic
    relationship to one team members proudly call trusting, collaborative, and innovative. Kate will
    leave you with tangible advice, tips, and tools for making the shift from a What’s-in-it-for-
    Me culture to a What’s-in-it-for-We culture.

    You can trust Kate for her expertise: Kate Vitasek is an international authority for her award-
    winning work on how to build better business relationships. She has been featured on CNN
    International, NPR, Bloomberg, and Fox Business News. She is the author of seven books. Kate
    regularly shares her insights as a Forbes contributor in her column on the art, science, and practice
    of highly collaborative relationships.

    Attendees walk away:

    - Understanding why “getting to yes” is no longer enough
    - Learning a proven five-step approach for creating a highly engaged and collaborative
    culture
    - Inspired by real-world examples of how organizations such as Island Health and their
    hospitalists transformed their culture
    - Gaining access to proven tools to facilitate teams in transitioning from a “Me” to “We”
    mindset
  • The Power of T

    Choosing Transparency and Trust to Enable High-Performing Teams

    In our fast-paced and interconnected world, the success of any organization hinges on the strength
    and productivity of its teams. High-performing teams are not merely a result of chance or luck; they
    are cultivated by fostering an environment built on transparency and trust. But all too often
    individuals and organizations have a mantra that trust must be earned. What if we shifted our
    mindset and chose to lead by trusting?

    Join Kate in her evocative and edutaining Power of T keynote speech as she shares profound
    insights from her groundbreaking research. Kate’s inspiring and interactive presentation will help
    you challenge traditional notions of how to build trust and demonstrate how viewing transparency
    and trust through a new lens can unleash the full potential of teams.

    You can trust Kate for her expertise: University of Tennessee supply chain professor Kate Vitasek
    has been researching the power of choosing to lead with transparency and trust for over 20 years.
    Her work has led to seven books and she has been featured as an international authority on how to
    build better business relationships on CNN International, NPR, Bloomberg, and Fox Business News.

    Attendees walk away:

    - Valuable insights that will empower their organization to thrive in today’s competitive
    landscape
    - Five pillars for building trust and transparency in teams
    - Real-world examples of real organizations getting real results by choosing to lead with
    transparency and trust
    - Tangible tips and tools to foster a culture of trust and boost team performance
  • Vested Outsourcing

    Five Rules that Transform Outsourcing Relationships

    Many outsourcing deals are structured with fundamental flaws in the business model that prevent
    transformational results. The problem is not outsourcing itself, but rather the outsourcing business
    model. The vast majority of outsourcing deals are structured using a conventional transactional
    business model. This buy-sell transactional mindset pits buyers and suppliers across the table in a
    virtual tug-of-war when business needs change.

    Join Kate in her evocative and edutaining Vested Outsourcing keynote where she will share how to
    flip the conventional outsourcing approach on its head with her award-winning Vested Outsourcing
    business model. You will learn how to align the interest between a buyer and supplier with Five
    Rules. The result? A highly collaborative win-win outsourcing relationship where the parties
    are vested in each other’s success. Walk away inspired by the art of the possible when outsourcing
    and learn from real case studies from those making the switch to Vested Outsourcing.

    You can trust Kate for her expertise: University of Tennessee supply chain professor Kate Vitasek
    —lauded by World Trade Magazine as one of the Fabulous 50+1 most influential people impacting
    global commerce—is an international authority on outsourcing. Her pioneering research on Vested
    Outsourcing has sparked a movement to flip conventional outsourcing on its head with over 10,000
    people from over 500 companies taking her Executive Education courses with dozens who have
    gone on to achieve award-winning results from their outsourcing partners.

    Attendees walk away:

    - Knowing what Vested Outsourcing is—and why outsourcing does not have to be a
    dirty word
    - Understanding the Five Rules of Vested Outsourcing and how they help organizations
    shift from transactional to transformational outsourcing
    - Inspired by real stories from real companies with real results
    - Motivated to rethink how they are working with outsourcing partners
Kate was fantastic to work with and our audience was very impressed. We had fantastic communication leading up to our event and Kate went the extra mile to provide an address that really hit the mark with our audience. She fielded questions and was present both before and after the event to answer longer questions from our audience.                           

— Lance Beck | President and CEO, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce

Kate’s insights on fostering win-win relationships by shifting from a WIIFMe to a WIIFWe mindset – along with her five rules for strategic partnerships – offered our participants practical tools for long-term success. 

— Sanjay Vasudeven | Head of Key Client Management, Maersk

Kate was wonderful to work with! She customized her content to fit the needs of our membership as well as supported our marketing efforts by providing quotes and promotional videos. Plus, she donated copies of her books to our members to further their professional development.

— Lauren Johansen | Director of Membership, American Gem Society

Great content - great presenter! Expert advice from someone with experience on all sides of the business relationships.

— Aberdeen Supply Chain Management Summit

The Vested Way and supporting principles shared by Kate Vitasek have played an integral role in my approach to Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain for more than a decade.  Now, as I coordinate a global team of procurement professionals, the transfer of that wisdom is empowering a new generation of professionals.  For that, I am grateful.   

— Michael A. Beauregard, Ph.D. | Global Category Lead, Facility OpEx, IBM Corporation

Kate Vitasek is a brilliant speaker.  She has worked with some incredible organizations that have afforded her the opportunity to gain insight on how powerful the relationships in businesses are and how it directly ties to success.  Kate challenged HR Professionals to leverage their relationships within their organizations to add more value to the bottom line.  I highly recommend Kate as a keynote!

— Teri Harrell | Dancik International

Kate, the recent Logistics & Supply Chain Forum received excellent reviews from its attendees, thanks in huge part to your hard work providing the Forum with an enlightening and provocative conference session.

— Chyai Mulberg | Conference Producer, Richmond Events

Kate’s message is a home run. Her depth of practical experience and academic knowledge blended perfectly for our association. 

— Phil Arbuckle | Executive Director, Utility Supply Management Alliance

Kate’s message is a must-hear for today’s supply chain and commercial managers who are struggling to crack the code on creating more value through their supply chain partners. 

— Lisa Higgins | President and CEO, APQC

Kate’s RealPlay workshops really delivered! We created an amazing foundation for a new strategic partnership – 100% virtually. Walthall

— Todd Walthall | EVP & Chief Operating Officer, Blue Shield California

Kate Vitasek has an exciting message that she conveys in a dramatically interactive way - not only does everyone 'get it' but they remember her key points for a long time - a very unique result.  She cleverly wove our conference theme and other speakers' topics into her presentation, helping to make our Spring Conference a wonderfully connected and mission-driven event! 

— Louise O’Sullivan | CEO, Prime Advantage

Kate is the cutting-edge thinking behind big deal making.

— Magnus Kuchler | Markets Leader, Nordics and Country Managing Partner EY Sweden

When Kate spoke at our general session, we got a one-word Tweet from an audience member–BRILLIANT!

— Dawn Tiura | CEO and President, Sourcing Industry Group (SIG)

We wanted a presentation on collaboration that would be both engaging and insightful for a mixed group of business, education and elected officials. Kate delivered!

— John Grueling | President & CEO for Will County Center for Economic Development

Kate has the unique talent to make difficult concepts simple for the audience. After her session the team was energized and enthusiastic about incorporating her methods into their work.

— Patricia Moser | Chief Procurement Officer/Director, United Nations

It’s rare in any industry that you find a speaker as passionate, thought-provoking and engaging as Kate Vitasek.

— Katherine O’Reilly | Executive Director, Supply Chain Forum Conference

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