Rob Salafia

Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management

Creating Experiences to Unlock Your Potential & Enhance Your Performance in the areas of Leadership & Storytelling

Rob Salafia utilizes a range of experiential learning techniques drawn from the fields of theater, performance, visual, martial, and meditative arts.

He employs these capabilities as the foundation for creating customized learning experiences that allow participants to increase self-awareness, build skill and mastery, and make transformational shifts in daily leadership behaviors.

In his presentations Rob leverages:

  • – The latest research in neuroscience, collaborates with highly talented and engaged
  •    partners, and creates the most compelling experiences that have sustainable impact on
  •    behavior.
  • – Experiential awareness and skill-building programs that help leaders develop poise and
  •    gravitas, enhance executive presence and increase personal impact.
  • – Core centering and breathing techniques that build energy.
  • – The power of story and story telling to build authentic connections and  exert influence.
  • – Time-tested martial arts training to sharpen focus and expand the boundaries of peak
  •    performance.
  • – Creates a safe, no-fault space for learning, experimenting and improving.
  • – Leverages his experience in executive coaching to help drive sustained behavior change

Keynote Presentations & Training– The Power of Story: The Sales Leader’s Secret Weapon

  • Executive Poise, Presence and Influence
  • Personal Brand Experience
  • Vision and Strategy to Action
  • Stop Selling and Start Connecting

Coaching– Coaching for Leaders and Executives

* All of Rob’s programs and titles are tailored to meet the client’s objective


“Rob’s sessions are extremely powerful in building the right mindset, creating trust and developing leaders to be more effective and inspiring communicators. His 30 years of experience show he is a true master at his craft and a delight to work with. At ING, we have used Rob for a range of programs and interventions. Most notably, he plays a pivotal role in our Senior Banking Program, our flagship development program for the top 250 of the organization. In addition to being an executive coach on the program, Rob facilitates two powerful, large group sessions: Translating Vision and Strategy to Action, as well as On-camera Media Coaching. Rob is an important part of our leadership development strategy.”

– Alex Kelin, ING Bank


“I wanted to thank you again for spending time with our team several weeks ago. I participated in a client meeting yesterday with a group that knows our story and in which I have strong relationships. Unfortunately we haven’t been getting our fair share. As I was listening and observing the audience, I couldn’t stop thinking of (the part of) our session where I broke through and played a coach in the locker room. (I believe I knocked down the board). I stood up and gave a very passionate plea (to our client) with a strong close on why this group needs to start using our services. In my 13 years of wholesaling this was one of the most powerful messages I’ve ever given (being in the moment). Afterwards the entire group had made a commitment to both Jim and I on holding them accountable. “

– Sam, Alliance Bernstein


“A quick note to let you know I spoke at a conference yesterday, where I used some of the coaching that you gave to me. Most importantly, my self-confidence level was much higher than I would have assumed and that helped a lot in bringing across my message. There’s obviously a lot to improve. I’m glad I did this, as I’ll have the presentation at the other conference (we spoke about) next week. I’m still fine-tuning my story for that one! Thanks again.”

– Katleen, ING Bank

Rob’s audiences Have Included Members From:

  • Alliance Bernstein
  • American Express
  • Ameriprise Financial
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Fannie Mae
  • Harvard Business School
  • ING Bank
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Omgeo
  • Societe Generale
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • West Group
$5,001 to $10,000
Travels From:  Alabama
City: Boston


Keynote Speaker Rob Salafia is the Founder & President of Protagonist Consulting Group. He combines two decades of experience as a top leadership development executive with a well-established career in the performing arts. Rob brings a passion for creating long lasting client relationships and leading executives through transformative learning experiences. He has a proven track record for helping leaders develop their presence, tell compelling stories and establish authentic connections.

In addition to being an exceptional workshop facilitator, Rob enjoys stepping onto the main stage as a keynote or featured speaker at leadership conferences. Some highlights include ING Bank’s Annual Leadership Conference, Wharton Business School’s Leadership Conference, USC’s Marshall School of Business Building Leaders Forum, and The American Society for Training and Development.

Rob designs and leads highly rated, experiential programs for Fortune 500 companies, including ING Bank, Sony Music Entertainment, American Express, Philips International, Alliance Bernstein, BASF, Abbott, Merrill Lynch, ThyssenKrupp, Sonae, eBay, Fidelity, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Disney.

He has 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. In addition, Rob most enjoys coaching senior leaders and leadership teams in preparation for strategic presentations.

Rob is a member of the Executive Education coaching cadres for Harvard’s Advanced Management Program as well as MIT’s Sloan Fellows Program. He holds an MS in Organizational Policy from Boston University and a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.


This engaging and interactive presentation will introduce participants to the Power of Story to focus attention and bring core messages to life. Experiential exercises will be introduced to develop the Presence of a Storyteller, as well as to practice specific story telling techniques.

At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Show up with greater confidence and credibility
  • Energize and connect more authentically with an audience
  • Make messages sticky and memorable through the strategic use of stories

Sales leaders and advisors who exude Poise and Presence understand how to present themselves and their ideas in a straightforward and genuine manner. They know how to open others to their ideas and exert influence. This program helps participants increase their personal presence, gain a client’s trust and confidence, and develop willingness in others to be open to and adopt ideas.

At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Show up with greater poise and confidence
  • Connect authentically with others
  • Use metaphor to grab attention and create meaning

Personal Brand is an experience.

  • It’s how others experience you.
  • It’s how others experiences themselves when they’re with you.
  • It’s the story they tell about you when you are gone.

This program helps early career leaders become powerful communicators who build credibility and command respect with their colleagues and clients. Participants will build influencing skills, increase other’s trust and confidence in them as leaders, and develop a willingness in others to be open to and adopt their ideas.

  • Are your leaders approachable?
  • Do they embody the core values of your organization?
  • Can they bring their vision and strategy to life and create followership?

A recent study by Executive Development Associates * reports that the ability to develop a successful business strategy is no longer enough for today’s executives. The most successful organizations will be the ones with leaders who can create a compelling vision, and who can convey that vision to customers and employees with authenticity and impact.

Vision and Strategy to Action is a powerful program that increases a leader’s self-awareness and builds critical presence and communication skills necessary for leading in an increasingly complex business environment.

It is no surprise that in the past decade individualized coaching has become an accepted practice in the corporate world. Having a thought partner during critical transitions can accelerate a leader’s development and enable a higher level of confidence, effectiveness and contribution.

At Protagonist Consulting Group Rob brings his full commitment to each and every coaching engagement. He specializes in a positive psychology, story-based coaching approach with his clients. His process is emergent, yet he employs rigorous and evidence-based methodology that enables behavior change.

He helps leaders to mine for stories to better understand the patterns in their lives and discover their values and unique gifts. He provides well-researched behavioral frames and models through which individuals can increase their level of self awareness. He leverages his background in theater and performing arts to provide immediate feedback and coaching on Presence and how leaders Show up in real time. He helps leaders embody their values and strategic messages and to learn to build authentic connections with others.

Think of Rob for the following types of coaching situations

  • Leadership coaching
  • Executive presence coaching
  • Building relationships and influence at the senior levels
  • Strategic presentation coaching
  • Affiliations and certifications

Rob is part of the executive education coaching cadres at Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan School of Business. He is skilled at using MIT’s 4 Capability Leadership Model and 360 instrument.

Rob holds a Graduate Degree in Organizational Policy from Boston University, as well as a Certificate in Executive Coaching from the Massachussets School of Professional Psychology.

Rob also have a number of highly engaging and effective coaches who are a part of the Protagonist team.

Areas of expertise

  • The Power of Story to Inspire
  • Executive Presence & Influence
  • Unlocking Leadership Potential
  • Translate Vision & Strategy to Action
  • Building & Leveraging Relationships
  • Developing Your Brand
© 2016 Ro Morrison & Assoc.