Driven by a passion to coach business leaders to develop their presence, tell compelling stories, and establish authentic connections, Rob Salafia combines two decades of experience as a top leadership development executive with a stellar past career in the performing arts. In his current professional role, he assists leaders in their quests to build sharper levels of emotional and narrative intelligence, transition into higher organizational levels, and share their visions and strategies in compelling and relevant ways.
For the first half of his career Rob was a performing artist where he traveled the globe delivering his unique, one-person variety show. He was first captivated with the art of storytelling in 1977 when he attended The National Association for the Preservation and Perpetuation of Storytelling Conference in Jonesboro, TN. He studied the art of tap dance with Gregory Hines and many other tap dance legends; and in 1989 was awarded a residency with the renowned dancer, Honi Coles. When cast as the lead in a Boston-based musical, Rob was asked by the director to learn wire walking for the show. Always a quick study, he went to task and within 2 months made the art form a part of his repertoire. At the heart of Rob’s approach to performance was the relationship he built with his audience. He projected a sense of warmth, confidence and light-heartedness that permeates his work to this day.
As an executive coach, Rob finds great satisfaction in guiding leaders through transitions to more senior roles, as well as coaching senior executives and leadership teams in preparation for strategic presentations.
As a keynote speaker, he enjoys stepping onto the main stage at leadership conferences. Some highlights include CREW Network, J&J, Gallagher, YPO/YPO Gold, Sony Music Entertainment, ING Bank, Wharton Business School, USC’s Marshall School of Business , Schulich School of Business and The Association for Training and Development.
Rob is a Lecturer in several MIT Sloan School of Management Executive Education Programs, and an MIT Leadership Center Master Executive Coach. He also cultivated a lasting partnership with Harvard Business School resulting in the integration of experiential programming within the Harvard MBA curriculum and Executive Education Leadership Programs serving thousands of global leaders.
As a learning partner and workshop facilitator, Rob has worked with Fortune 500 companies including, Sapient Consulting, ING Bank, NN Group, News Corp, American Express, Sony Music Entertainment, Thought Ensemble, Metro AG, Philips International, Digitas and Fidelity Investments.
He holds an MS in Organizational Policy from Boston University and a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from William James College.
“Rob’s sessions are extremely powerful in building the right mindset, creating trust and developing leaders to be more effective and inspiring communicators.”
“Rob is a well-grounded and well-rounded coach. He taught me the power of story-telling. It has meant a great deal in my development as a leader. He is able to select the right combination of exercises for the right time.”
“Rob makes leaders shine. I engaged Rob to help coach and train two performing CEO’s in facilitation and speech delivery. Rob used a conversational and casual coaching style which helped disarm the mechanical/processed sequencing often associated in these trainings.”
“Rob provided a safe space and optimal learning opportunity for us to increase our individual communication capabilities, as well as enhance the relational fabric of our team. The word spread fast in our office and he has been asked to deliver another session for a colleague and her team.”
“Rob is great to work with…he really cares about listening to your requirements, bringing that brief to life and delivering on it. He’s always curious, engaged, motivated, highly flexible and reliable and delivers what he says he will!”
“When I watch Rob working with senior leaders there are a couple of words that come to mind: passion, authenticity, helping others to transform, compelling and engaging. Last but not least a pleasure to work with!”