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Kent M. Keith grew up in a Marine Corps family. He lived in New York, Nebraska, California, Virginia, and Rhode Island before his father was transferred to Hawaii in 1962. Kent attended Stevenson Intermediate School and Roosevelt High School in Honolulu, graduating as student body president of Roosevelt in 1966. He earned a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.A. from Oxford University in England, a Certificate in Japanese from Waseda University in Tokyo, a J.D. from the University of Hawaii, and an Ed.D. in higher education leadership from the University of Southern California. He is a Rhodes Scholar.

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During his career, Dr. Keith has served as an attorney for Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright; State of Hawaii Director of Planning and Economic Development; Project Manager for the Mililani Technology Park; Senior Vice President of the YMCA of Honolulu; and President of Chaminade University of Honolulu. In 2007 he moved to Indiana to serve as CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership (USA), and in 2012 he moved to Singapore, where he served for three years as CEO of the Greenleaf Centre for Servant Leadership (Asia). He served as President of Pacific Rim Christian University from 2015 to 2020.

Dr. Keith has given more than a thousand speeches and workshops in the United States and thirteen countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. He is known throughout the world as the author of the Paradoxical Commandments, which he first published in 1968 in a book for student leaders. In 2002, his book Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments became a national bestseller in the United States and was translated into 17 languages. It was followed by three more books: Do It Anyway (2003), Jesus Did It Anyway (2005), and Have Faith Anyway (2008).

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Keith is a passionate advocate of servant leadership. His publications include The Case for Servant Leadership (2008, second edition 2012); Servant Leadership in the Boardroom (2011); Questions and Answers about Servant Leadership (2012), and The Christian Leader at Work: Serving by Leading (2015). He also served as the editor of The Contemporary Servant as Leader (2016). More than 250,000 copies of Dr. Keith’s books have been sold worldwide.

Dr. Keith has been featured in The New York Times, People magazine, The Washington Post, and The San Francisco Chronicle. He was interviewed by Katie Couric on NBC’s Today Show, and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and He has appeared on more than a hundred TV and radio programs in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Australia, and Kenya.


Dr. Keith is married to Dr. Elizabeth Misao Keith. They have been married for 43 years, and have three grown children.

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