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Joe Serio smiling and shrugging
Leadership training with Dr. Joe Serio
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Joe Serio tilting his glasses

Dr. Joe Serio is a popular and entertaining motivational speaker on personal leadership. He motivates and inspires his audiences while providing thought-provoking information.


As a recorded musician, Dr. Joe brings music to the classroom, occasionally using harmonica and guitar to illustrate points pertaining to time management, organizational skills, and effective communication.


Dr. Joe holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Leadership and Organizational Behavior from Sam Houston State University (SHSU).

All the details about his fascinating background investigating the Russian Mafia
(well, not all...if he told you he'd have to kill you)

The result of his research was the document, Soviet Organized Crime, which served as an important source in the early 1990s for the FBI, the Italian Ministry of Interior, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, and other foreign governments as they realized that Russian organized crime constituted an important crime threat.


Upon completing his M.A. in 1993, Dr. Joe worked as a security consultant for three years in Moscow. He helped foreign corporations understand the pitfalls of operating in Russia and interfaced with Russian police agencies to coordinate problem-solving measures.  


In 1995-96, he worked as a Moscow-based consultant to the global corporate investigation and business intelligence firm, Kroll Associates. In 1997, he was named director of Kroll’s Moscow office, where he managed a wide variety of investigations across the former Soviet Union and coordinated with Kroll offices around the world. He also served as co-chair of the Security Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow.

In the 1990s, he worked in Moscow as a media consultant to The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, BBC, and other media outlets. He helped produce three documentaries on Russian crime, including going inside Russian prisons, for the television program Investigative Reports on American cable channel A&E. He was also instrumental in producing the first-ever newspaper series on the Russian mafia. The eight-part series, “Glasnost Gangsters,” appeared in the Chicago Tribune in 1991.


While pursuing his doctoral degree, Dr. Joe served as Project Manager in the Special Programs Division of the Correctional Management Institute of Texas (CMIT) at SHSU from 2005-2012. His responsibilities at CMIT included developing and hosting more than 100 conferences and training programs on a wide variety of topics.


During his tenure at CMIT, Dr. Joe developed a one-week media training course for state- and local-government personnel. He also served for six years as editor-in-chief of the highly-regarded bi-monthly magazine, Crime and Justice International, which was produced at SHSU’s Criminal Justice Center and distributed to more than 25 countries.

While at SHSU, Dr. Joe was co-coordinator of the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Roswell, New Mexico. This academy, established and overseen by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, hosted law-enforcement personnel from around the world each month for a one-month program on a variety of criminal justice issues.

Since completing the doctorate in 2011, Dr. Joe has been a full-time professional speaker, trainer, and author. In the past five years, he has delivered over 400 conference keynote and training sessions.

Joe Serio smiling

Dr. Joe is the author of Being Resilient: 50 Lessons on Leaving Chronic Stress Behind; Time Management: 50 Lessons on Finding Time for What’s Important; Emotional Intelligence: 50 Lessons on Knowing Who You’re Dealing With; Public Speaking: 50 Lessons on Presenting Without Losing Your Cool; and Overcoming Fear: 50 Lessons on Being Bold and Living the Dream. Several more are in the works.


Based on his work in Russia, Dr. Joe also wrote the critically-acclaimed book, Investigating the Russian Mafia, as well as “Law Enforcement Perceptions of the Russian Mafia in the United States and Canada” (doctoral dissertation). He has delivered presentations to audiences in Russia, China, Canada, and the U.S. on Russian organized crime and security issues.


Dr. Joe has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, CNN, NBC News, Fox News, WGN Radio (Chicago), The European (UK), Legal Realm (China), Sekai Nippo (Japan), Sol de Mexico, and many others on the Russian mafia.

As part of a unique internship program while getting his master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Dr. Joe was the only American to work in the Organized Crime Control Department of the Soviet national police (MVD). During his stay in 1990-91, he conducted groundbreaking research on Soviet organized crime and assisted in the preparation of Soviet police documents for international conferences. He had access to secret police intelligence reports and the national police archives.

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