Paco Underhill | Best Selling Author & International Keynote Speaker

Every presentation I do is customized to the audience and topic. I like the assignment of going and looking at something, taking pictures and talking to people and then constructing a keynote on how to make it better, more functional and profitable. I maintain a library of some fifty thousand images I have taken around the world. More than a third of my presentations are done with translators. In some cases multiple translators at the same event. I meet with those translators first, and run through my lecture and make sure my humor is understood. That time and care is always appreciated. I am good in question and answer sessions at getting local on how I frame my responses. My diplomat father would be pleased Some of My Topics and Keynotes: The Science of Shopping – more the 100 versions done all over the world – subject of my best selling book. A review of the biological constants that govern how we move, see and experience commercial and cyber spaces. Thirty-five years of research and consulting poured into 30/60/90 minute programs. Video clips, images, statistics and common sense. My most asked for program. Executive MBA programs – IESE, Wharton, Walton School of Business, Columbia University and many other social and business gatherings. What Women Want - The impact of changing status of women on how we build and do things. Security, hygiene, significance. Subject of one of my books - out in 14 languages. Clients - many groups across the business, fashion and cultural world. Funny, ironic and by necessity a little uncomfortable. Global State of Telecom - Case studies from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Italy, UK, Germany, Japan, India and the USA. Have done version of this all over the world adjusting content and points of view based on the market. Clients are telecom merchants, and hardware and software manufacturers serving those markets. The Future of Luxury - The evolution of our relationship to adornments and telling time. The Impact of Travel Security on the decision to own/wear/display wealth. Teaching new money to collect jewelry/watches. Clients include luxury merchants and brands like Tag Heuer, to brand groups and Jewelry/Luxury focused trade groups in USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Learning from Emerging Markets – a review of retail and shopping mall innovations from South Africa, Brazil, China, Thailand and the Middle East. Customized often for International Council of Shopping Centers audiences in Mexico City, Istanbul, Vienna, and Vancouver and New York City. Also done for Shopping Mall companies like Westfield, Simon, GGP, Sten & Strom (Nordic), Ayala Land (The Philippines), Mori Group (Japan) and many others. Future of Caring – a candid look at how we are coping with aging Parents and delivering products and services to care givers. Hospital groups, merchants like Walmart, and CPG companies like Kimberly Clark. The Internet of Things – The Future of Communication – Two global tours for Samsung with multiple stops and keynotes for European, Latin, Russian, African, Middle Eastern and Asian merchant clients. Each keynote customized to the specific audience. Waking Up Beauty – Customized for US, Mexico, China, and Korea. The Evolution of Skin Care. Witches (natural) and Wizards (chemical) - the two threads of product innovation. The struggle to get men to skin care in the face of melanoma’s growth. The impact of Sephora on how products are sold. The breakdown of the mass and prestige channels. The difference between dressing for a night out and dressing to go to work. Evolution of the All – living, shopping, working in the same place – examples from around the world. The impact of changes in how we live – from escaping the generic bathroom, to the evolution of the kitchen in households where both Mom and Dad work. Parks, streets, eating and shopping. Clients included: Harvard Graduate School of Urban Design, Parson’s School of Design, FIT, Architectural Design Firms and Design Trade Associations. The Evolution in the Design of Living Places. The trade-off between single family and high rise living. Access to services and the changing role of interior designers, contractors, and architects. Clients include Comex – Mexican Paint Manufacturer, Elektra – Mexican Discount Store, Furniture Industry Trade Groups, Lighting/Plumbing Trade Groups. Hands on for Internet Startups – Program for Gatherings of Internet Start Ups. Program based on reviewing the sites of attending companies with tough deconstructs. Clients include; ROI Revolution, and software companies and associations serving the start-up community. The Transformation of Hospitality - What Happens when more people are traveling. Chamber-maid design – how do we design rooms so they are easy to clean? The evolution of Customer touch points – check-in desks, breakfast service, signage systems, Bell people vs. Bell men. Clients include hotel chains and specific projects like- Anbang – The Chinese Insurance Company buying the Waldorf Astoria. Deconstructing Modern Retail Banking - Case studies from around the world. Banking for affluent women in Latin America. Shopping Mall branches in Brazil. The Japanese Post Office and Savings Accounts. Clients include Banking and Credit Union groups – USA, Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, Israel and Japan. The Future of Food - Gardens, hydroponics, farmer markets on one side, globalization of the modern supermarket on the other. Clients include; The James Beard Foundation (my presenting partner was Tim Gunn of Project Runway) to supermarket chains and grocery related Trade Associations again here in the USA and off-shore. ---- Paco Underhill has been a popular figure in global public speaking circuit for more than a decade. Insightful, provocative and funny, his audiences delight in his ability to both educate and entertain. He is a best-selling author of Why We Buy, Call of Mall and What Women Want – available in 28 languages. A respected academic lecturer, Paco has taught at institutions, around the world, among them Harvard, Wharton, IMD in Lausanne and IESE in Barcelona. Simultaneously, he serves as CEO to Envirosell, a global research and consulting firm with clients across the Fortune 50 list. His op-eds and columns have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. He has a regular column in the Goldman Sachs sponsored newsletter, ‘The Robin Report’ and for more than 15 years his column ‘Shopping with Paco’ has appeared in Design: Retail. On screen, he has hosted programs on CNBC, Fox News, BBC, NPR, CNN, and National Geographic Channel among others. Paco’s programs are customized to each occasion and client, and have included keynotes, workshops, store clinics and press conferences. His one-on-one sessions with conference sponsors are very popular and hands-on. Recent programs include: The Future of Caring (given to hospital groups, consumer goods manufacturers, and merchants); Learning from Emerging Markets (given to North American and European shopping mall operators); The Internet of Things (a global tour for Samsung with programs customized to five different global regions); and A Deconstruct of Retail Financial Services (for major global banks). More than half of these programs are conducted outside the USA. As the son of an American Diplomat, Paco grew up traveling the world, and though he lives in NYC with his family, for the past 30 years he has spent over 120 nights a year on the road. He has served on the boards of Japanese advertising agencies, Brazilian shopping mall companies, and Israeli technology companies.


907 Broadway
New York City, New York 10010
United States

Get Directions


  • Keynotes
  • Bespoke Programs
  • Special Training
  • International


14 Reviews
Alison Medina
Atlanta, GA
Big Thinking for Big Industry

I have seen Paco present in multiple formats, from a room of 900 to a conference room of 40. Each time he captivates the audience by making us think about retail and consumer behavior in a new light. A change of perspective, always refreshing, by not stating the obvious. Always a treat!

February 2019

Did you find this review helpful?

Patrick Rodmell
Provocative. Engaging.

Have seen Paco engage audiences numerous times. Have retained him as a private speaker for my clients. Always leaves the group smarter and inspired.

February 2019

Did you find this review helpful?

robin lewis
new york, ny
retail's rennaisance man

my rating of Paco is all five stars. When I first heard him keynote at one of the early WWD Summits, I was riveted on his every word. Paco is a superior orator and is personally engaging --- and he has forgotten more about the world of retailing than most experts will ever know.

February 2019

Did you find this review helpful?