Morgan G. Keay
CEO/Founder, Motive International, Washington, DC
2024 Speaker

Morgan G. Keay is the CEO and founder of Motive International, a Washington, D.C.-based social enterprise and woman-owned small business with a mission to mitigate global conflict and instability. An entrepreneur, strategist and former diplomat, Keay has held senior positions in the public, private and civil society sectors, including the Department of State, Department of Defense and USAID.  

Since founding Motive in 2015, Keay has designed and led numerous client projects for the State Department focused on nonproliferation, countering disinformation and preventing mass atrocities, and for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency structuring public-private partnerships in emerging markets. She is the designer and lead instructor for two Motive courses focused on conflict analysis and governance, which she has delivered to thousands of students, including Special Operations Forces, international policy officials and NATO representatives. 

Before founding Motive, Keay was the State Department’s conflict and stabilization advisor to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). She integrated rigorous analytic tools into the Theatre Campaign Planning process, helped define the U.S. strategy to counter Boko Haram and deployed alongside Special Operations Forces in the Sahel. She was team lead for an operation in Nigeria that reduced political violence in part through a high-profile, mass media campaign. 

Before joining the State Department, Keay was a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), directing a task force focused on the transition of power in Afghanistan. 

Keay’s publications have appeared in Small Wars Journal, Special Warfare magazine, Texas National Security Review and PKSOI Journal, while her earlier career achievements as the founder of an international NGO have been profiled in The New York Times, NPR and NBC. Keay holds a master’s degree in international policy from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Colorado Boulder. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband and two children.