Erica Dhawan

Tampa, Florida

Erica Dhawan is a leadership expert, business consultant, keynote speaker, researcher, and author of two books on the subject of connectivity in the modern world. She is also the founder and CEO of Cotential, a company that assists individuals and organizations in leveraging 21st-century methods to collaborate more clearly and effectively.

As a public speaker and business consultant, Erica Dhawan is best known for devising and developing innovative strategies to reveal the collective power of teams, build a culture of trust across any distance, and create authentic engagement to ensure organizational competitiveness.

Early life

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Erica Dhawan was raised by Indian parents in a household “full of love and rigid expectations”. Bookish and hardworking as a child, she excelled in school. At 15 years old, an unsuccessful bid to become student council president of her high school served as an important learning experience for Dhawan, teaching her about courage, self-confidence, and the power of public speaking. She would later cite it as a defining moment in her young life, crucial in preparing her for her eventual roles as editor of the school newspaper and president of the student-led nonprofit organization Future Business Leaders of America.


A graduate of such prestigious institutions as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and Public Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School, Erica Dhawan began her career working for financial services firms like Lehman Brothers and Barclays in the mid-2000s. She soon evolved into an internationally lauded authority on teamwork, collaboration, and innovation in the 21st century.

In 2012, Erica Dhawan became founder and CEO of Cotential, a firm designed to develop leaders by teaching disruptive thinking and eliminating bureaucratic inefficiencies. She offers virtual and in-person keynote speeches, interactive workshops, and online courses that address topics such as connectional intelligence, digital body language, and how best to encourage increased team performance in the age of AI.

Dhawan is the author of two Wall Street Journal bestselling books. The first, Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence, was co-authored with Saj-nicole A. Joni, and explores how harnessing networks and collective intelligence can help people achieve their loftiest ambitions. Her latest book, Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance, acts as a comprehensive guide to mastering the subtleties of digital interactions, and offers strategies designed to build trust and convey meaning in the absence of physical human body language.

In a 2022 article published in Chase for Business, the online magazine curated by JPMorgan Chase, Dhawan explained what motivates her to pursue this unique area of study. “For the last few years, I’ve noticed business owners continue to struggle: Endless sales calls, video chats full of ‘Oh no, you go’ moments, ghosting, email replies that show up a week later, and digital tools creating more miscommunication, angst, and confusion. It seemed that misunderstood ‘Digital Body Language’—or rather, the lack of a set of universally agreed-upon rules—was creating big problems across the globe,” she writes, before stating, “For the last decade, I’ve sought out to create a nuts-and-bolts rulebook for clear communications in the modern digital world. Communicating what we really mean today requires that we understand today’s signals and cues at a granular level while developing a heightened sensitivity to words, nuance, subtext, humor, and punctuation.”

Other think pieces authored by Erica Dhawan have appeared in The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, and The Wall Street Journal.

Erica Dhawan is also a much sought-after public speaker, well-known for her seemingly endless energy, original research, and practical advice. She has shared stages with leaders such as Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington, and Andrew Yang, and has spoken at the World Economic Forum at Davos. She has also spoken to the US Army, as well as many of the world’s most recognizable companies, including Coca-Cola, FedEx, Goldman Sachs, and Walmart.

Erica Dhawan’s research and thought leadership have earned her a place among the top 50 management thinkers in the world as compiled by Thinkers50, and she was also named one of Real Leaders Magazine’s ‘Top 50 Keynote Speakers in the World’ in 2024.

Net Worth



Serving as President of Future Business Leaders of America between 2003 and 2004.
Writing and publishing Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance in 2011.
Writing and publishing Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence in 2015.
Being shortlisted for the Thinkers50 ‘Digital Thinking Award’ in 2021.
Being named one of Real Leaders Magazine’s ‘Top 50 Keynote Speakers in the World’ in 2024.