Posts Tagged ‘Billie Jean King’

In our inaugural post “Speaker Recovery Options in First Tier Markets”, we pointed out that despite the most careful and detail-oriented preparations and planning, speakers do get sick, or have family emergencies or travel problems that can cause them cancel. The Speaker Experts strongly recommend you have a speaker recovery plan in place before traveling to your meeting. While the resources in “Second Tier Convention Markets” can be scarcer than their larger counterparts, they are out there and available to the forward-thinking event planner. Here are 3 pre-event precautionary procedures you can undertake to help deal with a last-minute speaker cancellation:

  • Mine the local universities and television networks for talent. Often you will find a well-known, local celebrity who knows their way around the speaker stage. (A local or regional speaker bureau might be worth a call as they typically have a handle on this type of talent).
  • Hire a speaker to attend your event and be on stand-by. We recently worked with a major insurance company who was concerned about the logistics of getting their speakers to an obscure location. The solution was to hire a well-known NBA broadcaster to attend the entire meeting and be there on stand-by. While his skills were never needed, his presence provided a nice insurance policy for the event planning team.
  • Have a handle on professional speakers who live in the area or are a short drive away. Below is a list of popular second tier convention cities and a selection of high impact speakers who reside nearby:
Mobile, AL
Fred Haise
Apollo 13 Astronaut

Mesa, AZ
Captain Mark Kelly
Commander of Space Shuttle Endeavour

Vail, CO
Aron Ralston
subject of 127 Hours

West Palm Beach,FL
Jim Knight
frmr. Director of Training at Hard Rock Int.
Mike Abrashoff
frmr. Commander of the USS Benfold

Shreveport, LA
General Russel L. Honore
Commander of Joint Task Force Katrina

Baltimore, MD
Commander Kirk Lippold
Commander of the USS Cole

Jackson, MS
General Russel L. Honore
Commander of Joint Task Force Katrina

Indianapolis, IN
Derek Daly
Author and international racing champion
Scott McKain
customer experience expert, best-selling business author
Wildwood, NJ
Stuart Varney
FOX Business News Host of Varney & Co.

Albuquerque, NM
Mike Mullane
career NASA astronaut and author

Cleveland, OH
Jim Gilmore
author and sought-after consultant

Pittsburgh, PA
Rocky Bleier
frmr. Super Bowl champion

Columbia, SC
Frank Abagnale
subject of the film Catch Me If You Can

Salt Lake City, UT
Adrian Gostick
best-selling author of The Carrot Principle

Virginia Beach, VA
You are on your own!

Milwaukee, WI
Dan Burrus
best-selling author, business strategist and technology futurist

Providence, RI
Michelle Stacy
frmr. Green Mountain Keurig President
Mike Eruzione
Captain of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team and subject of Miracle


These preparations can be initiated with just a few hours of internet research or by reaching out to the IASB-member speaker bureau of your choice. On a closing note, congratulations to Elaine Howard of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Her name was drawn from over 100 entries for the signed Billie Jean King tennis racquet!

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

Most high profile professional and amateur sports have iconic representatives on the speaking circuit. In a post last year, we identified Terry Bradshaw and Lou Holtz as two of the most in-demand NFL speakers of all time. Their counterparts for the world of professional baseball would be legendary Ironman Cal Ripken Jr. and Dodger great Tommy Lasorda. From the NBA and NCAA basketball, celebrated cager Bill Walton and Coach Mike Krzyzewski would certainly qualify as another duo of iconic professional speakers.

When it comes to the intersection of professional tennis and the speaking circuit, the most popular speaker is Billie Jean King. As a winner of thirty nine Grand Slam titles on the court, her off-the-court achievements are even more compelling – she is the founder of World Team Tennis and the Women’s Sports Foundation, and an outspoken advocate for worldwide sexual equality.

You might be thinking, this is all great, but what does it have to do with the world of professional speaking and my upcoming meeting? Well, there are currently three films in development right now about Billie Jean King’s life and her epic tennis match with Bobby Riggs. The Speaker Experts have gazed into our crystal ball and feel it is a safe bet to say that at least one of the film projects listed below will be a hit and increase Ms. King’s already high demand and visibility on the speaking circuit:

  • “The Match Maker” (Will Ferrell as Bobby Riggs) – Based on Don Van Natta Jr.’s 2013 ESPN article “The Match Maker: Bobby Riggs, The Mafia and The Battle of the Sexes”.
  • “Untitled HBO Project” (Elizabeth Banks as Billie Jean King and Paul Giamatti as Bobby Riggs) – Backed by the powerhouse producing team of Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman.
  • “Battle of the Sexes”(Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs) – Fox Searchlight set to begin filming in fall 2015.

As a fun way to celebrate Ms. King’s impact on the speaking circuit, the Speaker Experts are announcing the chance to win one of Billie Jean King’s personal tennis racquets signed by the tennis legend. Below is a photograph of the signed Wilson Surge – the racquet features her trademark “W” stencil on the strings and comes with a Wilson tennis bag.

BJK Wilson
The drawing for the racquet will take place on Friday, May 8, with the winner being announced on our Twitter Feed, @Speaker_Experts. You can enter the drawing in any number of ways – contact us via Twitter, email, fill out the form below, or even give us a call!

Check with your speaker bureau of choice to determine if Ms. King is good fit as the keynote speaker at one of your upcoming meetings.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin