Posts Tagged ‘Washington Speakers Bureau’

Last month, speaker bureau industry leader Washington Speakers Bureau announced a change in their co-broker pricing structure that should be noted by those who schedule paid professional speakers. A letter from Vice President of Bureau Relations Sheldon Bream stated the following:

I wanted to let you know that WSB is changing our pricing structure for more than half of our exclusive speakers. Those speakers will now be priced at a gross fee (split commission) while some will remain at a “net to WSB” fee.

This modified policy represents a philosophical pivot from their announcement reported in our January 2015 posting, “Washington Speakers Bureau Co-Brokering Policy Change: What It Means to You” that indicated the firm would no longer be willing to “split commissions” on any of their speakers.

Real Estate CBSThe Speaker Experts offer no judgment as to why they made this strategic policy shift. Our only concern is the impact this policy has on those corporate and association executives who “book” paid professional speakers. In our judgement, the policy change has little impact on the underpinnings of the co-broker model and the pros and cons of being involved in a co-broker situation.  Bottom line: if you opt to schedule a WSB exclusive speaker via a competing speaker bureau, your organization may or may not pay a higher speaking fee.

The actual price of the speaker is just one issue to consider when deciding if it is your organization’s best interest to be involved in a co-broker scenario. In our posting, “The Four Myths of the Speaker Bureau Co-Broker,” we outlined how the co-broker process works and what it means to an organization scheduling a speaker. Followers of this blog know that The Speaker Experts are quick to point out “co-brokering” a speaker is rarely in your best interest, but there can be occasions where it might make sense for the organization. The key here is to know when you are getting involved in a co-broker situation. This is a decision that should be made by you, and not by a speaker bureau on your behalf.

The Speaker Experts have a vast industry knowledge of the speaker bureau industry and the exclusive rosters of all the major speaker bureaus. We are always happy to share this information with the readers of this blog.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

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The American Society for Association Executives has announced their Keynote and Game Changer speakers for the August 13-16, 2016 Annual Meeting & Exposition in Salt Lake City, UT. As we discussed in our blog last year regarding this bellwether meeting, being selected to speak at this meeting is not only an honor, but a harbinger of speaking demand within the Association and Corporate sectors. One needs to look no further than last’s year’s ASAE Annual Meeting in Detroit, MI for evidence of this demand, as Josh Linkner, Sheryl Connelly and Liz Wiseman have been three of the most requested and “booked” speakers on the National and State Association speaking circuit over the past year. Speaking at a National Association meeting has a dramatic multiplier effect, as member organizations often use these meetings as a showcase in identifying the most talented speakers for their corporate meetings, and the three aforementioned speakers are starting to enjoy the results of this effect as well.

This year, over 5,000 Association leaders converge on Salt Lake City to share expertise with industry partners and hear from the speaking circuit’s leading thought leaders. If past performance is an indicator of future demand, these speakers will be among the circuit’s most highly sought after over the next few years.


Keynotes

Captains Mark and Scott Kelly

Captain Scott Kelly (left) and his brother Captain Mark Kelly

Captains Mark & Scott Kelly: Being identical twins is rare, but both being astronauts is something else entirely. A former U.S. Navy Captain, Mark Kelly was aboard the last planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour, and was part of many other missions in the 1990s and 2000s. His brother Scott Kelly recently concluded his historical year in space mission aboard the International Space Station. While addressing a number of topics dealing with leadership, communication, innovation and teamwork, the Kelly brothers also speak on the importance of space exploration, lessons learned and how this mission will directly impact our pursuit of one day putting a man on Mars. Click here to view their webpage

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Derreck Kayongo

 

 

Derreck Kayongo: A passionate world changer, Derreck Kayongo is CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and founder of the Global Soap Project, a foundation that recovers discarded soap from hotels, reprocesses it into new bars, and then distributes them to vulnerable populations around the world with a hope to improve global health. In his energetic speeches, Derreck shares his inspiring journey and provides examples on how we can all make a difference one step at a time. Click here to view his webpage

 

 

Game Changers

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Robert Stephens

Robert Stephens: Founder of The Geek Squad, Robert Stephens started the company with $200. In 2002, The Geek Squad was acquired by Best Buy and opened Geek Squad precincts in all Best Buy US and Canadian stores. It is now North America’s largest technology support company offering phone, in-store, and in-home support. Using the Geek Squad story as a platform, he offers audiences how setting the blueprint for a fully connected service organization can drive customer satisfaction and boost overall service sustainability. Click here to view his webpage

 

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Charles Best

Charles Best: Charles stands at the intersection of education, philanthropy and technology. His personal story demonstrates that one person can launch a movement, and his insights inspire businesspeople and students alike. Charles even puts his speaker’s fee in the hands of his audience, giving everyone a philanthropic gift card to spend on a classroom request of their choice. In 2000, while teaching history at a Bronx public high school, Charles launched DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization that provides a simple way to address educational inequity. Today, half of all the public schools in America have at least one teacher who has created a classroom project request on DonorsChoose.org, and more than a million people have donated $200 million, providing books, art supplies, technology and other resources to 10 million students, overwhelmingly in low-income communities. Click here to view his webpage

TanLe.jpg

Tan Le

 

Tan Le: Technology entrepreneur, business executive, and popular keynote speaker, Tan Le is the Founder & CEO of Emotiv Lifesciences, a biomedical company on the cutting edge of brain function screening. Tan was born in Vietnam, and came as a refugee to Australia at age four. Her story has been featured in the National Museum of Australia, and her research continues to yield discoveries and innovations in the medical community. Click here to view her webpage

 

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Matt Tenney

 

Matt Tenney: Author, international keynote speaker, trainer, and consultant with the prestigious Perth Leadership Institute – whose clients include numerous fortune 500 companies – matt works with companies, associations, universities, and non-profits to develop highly effective leaders who achieve lasting success by focusing on serving and inspiring greatness in the people around them. he envisions a world where the vast majority of people realize that effectively serving others is the key to true greatness. Click here to view his webpage


Conclusion

As SNL’s Father Guido Sarducci suggested of economics in his Five Minute University,  “when demand goes up, supply goes down, and then the price goes up.” Being selected to speak at ASAE Annual Meeting almost always results in high demand and low supply in the months and years following the event. Of course, not every speaker is right for every group. The Speaker Experts suggest that you check in with your trusted IASB member speaker bureau to determine if one of these speakers is the right fit for your meeting.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

To say last week’s post was not well received by our valued readers would be an understatement. Even Gary’s bride of over 25 years felt the post made little sense to anyone outside the speaker bureau industry. Consequently, we are going to skip the remaining two scenarios and the corresponding solutions. You’ll just have to trust us that there was an easy fix for both of them!

So, how is a meeting in Cancun of a bunch of speaker bureau owners and key agents relevant to the person who develops meeting content? Well the answer is pretty straight forward: the International Association of Speakers Bureaus selected and hosted some of the most in-demand speakers on the national speaker circuit, but the session that garnered the most conversation was, THE INDUSTRY PANEL.

The Speaker Experts make their living by “booking” paid speakers for association and corporate meetings, but we are also quick to point out that The Industry Panel can often be the most important and well-attended session of a meeting. One of the real keys to the success of such a panel is the role of the moderator. The importance of this job cannot be underestimated or taken lightly. Among other things, the moderator must keep the panel moving; get the best out of the panelists (while not being afraid to challenge them in a provocative manner); keep the topic relevant to the audience; and, above all else, end the panel on schedule so the exhibit hall opens on time.

The Speaker Experts feel there are three effective types of panel moderators or interviewers. Let’s take a closer look:


  1. The use of respected industry icons to facilitate the discussion or interview. A good example would be Tony D’Amelio and Rich Gibbons at IASB.  In this case, they both are very good communicators, but their stature within the industry is what commands the respect and interest of the audience and therefore creates excitement before, during, and after the meeting.


  2. The use of a respected Association or Corporate leader. These individuals are generally good communicators and speakers in their own right. They have am unparalleled understanding of the issues impacting the audience, and are able to lead the speaker or panel through a discussion that is relevant to the meeting. Below are a few examples of Association leaders in action on stage:
Volcker

NRUCFC CFC/CEO Sheldon C. Petersen interviewing former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker at the CFC Independent Borrowers Executive Summit 2015 in Tucson, AZ

Kat Cole

NRECA Senior Vice President of Education and Training Tracey Steiner interviewing Kat Cole at the 2016 Directors Conference in Austin, TX

David Gregory

WSWA President/CEO Craig Wolf interviewing David Gregory at the 73rd Annual Convention and Exposition in Las Vegas, NV


  1. The third effective type of industry panel moderator or interviewer is the use of a media professional. These experts bring instant name and brand identification to the session. They are world-class masters at keeping the panel interesting, relevant, and compelling. The panel’s advance work with the media professional will insure that the he/she is prepared, briefed, and has a deep understanding of the desired outcome for the session. Below are examples of the world’s most in-demand panel moderators and interviewers:
Karlgaard

Innovation and the Future: Rich Karlgaard – Publisher and Columnist for Forbes

Geoff Colvin The New Rules of Business 2013 Fortune Global Forum

Economy: Geoff Colvin – Senior Editor-at-Large for Fortune Magazine

2014 Texas Conference For Women

Human Resource Management: Soledad O’Brien – Chairman of Starfish Media Group

Susan Dentzer Medicare & Medicaid Next 50 Years

Healthcare: Susan Dentzer – President and CEO of NEHI

Judy Woodruff 1

Washington Politics: Judy Woodruff – Co-Anchor and Managing Editor of PBS NewsHour

Katty Kay Panel

International Affairs: Katty Kay – Lead Anchor for BBC World News America

Nina Easton

Business Landscape: Nina Easton – Political Analyst for Fox News and Co-founder of Sellers Easton Media


Conclusion:

An industry panel can be an effective educational element for most General Sessions. You can find out more about the media experts above by clicking on the provided links. If you are going to investigate the use of a paid media expert as outlined in scenario 3, The Speaker Experts suggest you discuss this with your preferred IASB-member speaker bureau.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

The International Association of Speaker Bureaus is the professional association that sets the standards and professional practices for the speaker bureau industry. Its members share a common passion: making a difference in the lives of others through the power of speech. The association’s membership is comprised of most of the world’s leading speaker bureaus and speaker management firms.

IASB held their 2016 Annual Convention last week at the Iberostar Hotel in Cancun, Mexico. Speaker bureau owners and executive-level employees converged on Cancun Iberostarto network, discuss business practices, strategize for business growth, and preview speakers tied into the meeting theme “Disrupt, Innovate, Thrive.” The latter is of particular relevance to the reader of this blog, who is tasked with evaluating and scheduling professional speakers. IASB can have their pick of the world’s leading speakers, as an invitation to speak before these high-powered speaker “agents” can result in increased income and demand on the association and corporate speaking circuits. Below are the speakers selected to present at the 2016 IASB Annual Convention. They represent a combination of established speakers, celebrities, and up-and-comers:

From left to right and top to bottom: Tim Sanders (CMI Speaker Management),  John Heffron (John Heffron), Lynn Rose (Lynn Rose), Robert Cialdini, PhD (Influence at Work), Felipe Calderon, Mike Walsh (CMI Speaker Management), Mel Robbins (See Agency), Freddie Ravel (Freddie Ravel), William Taylor (Washington Speakers Bureau)

You can reach these speakers or the speaker’s representative by clicking on the provided links. The Speakers Experts have firsthand experience with most of these speakers, but we are looking forward to doing our homework on the few we have not worked with in the past. Being selected to speak to the IASB membership is a prestigious and much sought-after honor in the professional speaking community. A speaker who receives such an invite most certainly knows his or her way around behind the podium and on stage. Of course, as we have repeated in this blog over the last few years, it does not mean that these speakers are always the right fit for your audience, meeting, or desired outcome. Your preferred IASB-member speaker bureau is a great first step to finding the right speaker for your next meeting.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

In our posting last year, Top Ten Films That Have Influenced The Speaker Circuit, we discussed the symbiotic relationship between the success on Hollywood’s big screen and the speaking demand created for the protagonist of the film. Captain Jim Lovell from Apollo 13, Mike Eruzione for Miracle, and Frank Abagnale from Catch Me if You Can are just a few examples. While their life lessons and stories are timeless and well-known, the release of these films was a critical catalyst to market demand and success on the speaking circuit. When you combine a compelling story with savvy podium skills and a major picture, you create a perfect storm of excitement on the speaking circuit.

September 1st marks the opening of the fall movie season and The Speaker Experts have identified three that will have an impact on the speaking circuit over the next six months and beyond:

A Walk In The Woods
A-Walk-in-the-Woods
AWalkintheWoodsmoviePoster























Robert Redford and Nick Nolte hit the Appalachian trail for laughs in the film adaptation of the best-selling book by Bill Bryson. A consistently sought-after speaker in the humorist/author space, this film will greatly increase Bryson’s name value among a broad swath of interested conference planners and attendees. Also, though Bryson lives in the UK, he will be speaking to groups in the United States in March 2016.



Everest
left for dead
everest_movie_poster_2























Josh Brolin portrays Dr. Beck Weathers and Robin Wright plays his wife, Peach, in one of the most anticipated films of the year. Weathers has been a highly sought-after inspirational speaker for years, and this film will surely add to demand. Another prominent figure and proven speaker featured in this movie is world class climber and IMAX filmmaker David Breashears. Portrayed in the film by Micah Huptman, Breashears also serves as a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Leadership.



Concussion
Game Brain
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Will Smith takes on the NFL through his portrayal of Dr. Bennet Omalu in a true David vs. Goliath story. Dr. Omalu is relatively new to the commercial speaking circuit but his compelling story should create high market demand from organizations with both clinical and inspirational interests within the commercial speaking market (Dr. Omalu is represented by the Greater Talent Network).


A word of caution: much like the stock market, past performance is no guarantee of future success when it comes to a speaker bureau predicting a speaker’s increased market demand based on the release of a motion picture. The Speaker Experts feel that the risk is low and the upside is high with the speakers related to these films. However, you should discuss the benefits and risks with your trusted IASB bureau partner to determine if one of these speakers is a potential fit for your next event.

Final Note: Washington Speakers Bureau announced a blog featuring “insights and resources for event professionals” and can be accessed here. WSB has been a leader in the speaker bureau industry for three decades and The Speaker Experts look forward to their industry observations and suggestions.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

East Coast followers of The Speaker Experts may remember the iconic slogan of Syms Clothing Chain: “An educated consumer is our best customer”. Well, The Speaker Experts feel that “An educated meeting planner will always be in the position to secure the best price and service” (you can see why we are lecture agents and not marketing jingle writers!). In our July 22, 2014 post “The Four Myths of the Speaker Bureau Co-Broker” we covered the potential pitfalls of not working directly with the exclusive agency for the speaker you are contracting. You first line of defense in this regard is to understand which speakers are exclusive with which agencies. In order to assist you in this endeavour, The Speaker Experts present an “insiders” list of 2nd Quarter Exclusive Speaker signings:

Washington Speakers Bureau

Charles Plosser
    • President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (2006-2015)
David Gregory
    • Renowned journalist and former moderator of NBC News’ Meet the Press
Ali Wentworth
    • Actress, comedienne, and author

Harry Walker Agency

Lara Logan
    • “60 Minutes” correspondent
Joyce Banda
    • First female president of Malawi and 2nd female president of an African country
Henry Waxman
    • long-serving US House Representative from California

Leading Authorities International

Salim Ismail
    • Best-Selling Author of Exponential Organizations, Executive Director of Singularity University, and Former Vice President of Yahoo!
Mitch Joel
    • Marketing, Media Hacker and Business Innovator
Bob Schieffer
    • Former Moderator of Face the Nation and Former CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent
Mike Allen
    • Chief White House Correspondent for POLITICO and Author of Playbook
Michael Vickers
    • Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
Peter Bergen
    • CNN National Security Analyst and Best-Selling Author of Manhunt

Greater Talent Network

Alan Gross
    • U.S. Humanitarian aid worker wrongfully imprisoned in Cuba for five years
Ray Kelly
    • Former Commissioner of the NYPD & leading expert on national security
Dan Harris
    • Award-winning ABC News Anchor and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
George Takei
    • Actor, social justice activist, social media mega-power

American Program Bureau

Judy Smith
    • Crisis management expert and real-life inspiration for ABC’s political thriller show, Scandal
Dr. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates
    • Emmy Award Winning Filmmaker, Cultural Critic & Journalist
Samantha Harris
    • Fitness advocate, Breast cancer survivor and a former eight season host of Dancing with the Stars

Executive Speakers Bureau

Ronan Tynan
    • Irish Tenor, Paralympic Champion, and M.D.

Premiere Speakers Bureau

Rebekah Gregory
    • Boston Marathon Bombing survivor
Judge Jeanine Pirro
    • Fox News legal analyst and women’s issues advocate
John Acuff
    • New York Times best-selling author

Creative Artists Agency

Gerald Huff
    • Principle Software Engineer at Tesla Motors
Brian David Johnson
    • Chief Futurist at Intel
Kevin Jorgenson & Tommy Caldwell
    • The El Capitan Climbers

Keppler Speakers

Amy Curtis-McIntyre
    • Former founding Chief Marketing Officer, JetBlue Airways
Glenn Thrush
    • Chief Political Correspondent, POLITICO
Joe Tripodi
    • Former Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer, Coca-Cola

**You can access our insiders listing of first quarter exclusive speaker signings by clicking on this blog post link**


Please check back next week when The Speaker Experts release our listing of the 10 most “booked” speakers in America over the past 12 months. This was our most popular and most requested posting last year and we promise not to disappoint this year!

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

Washington Speakers Bureau has recently partnered with eSpeakers to create an online directory of speakers in the $10,000-or-below fee range. The service is designed to be a resource for meeting professionals with speaker needs and a limited budget. WSBDirectConnect suggests that meeting planners use their directory as a shortcut to contact both up-and-coming talent scouted by WSB, and seasoned professionals who have been speaking for years instead of a generic Google search. The Speaker Experts were intrigued by this =concept so we decided take the WSB cyber-speaker “dealership” website for a test drive.

In order to report our findings, we borrowed a format used by our favorite Washington Post “On Wheels” Automotive columnist Warren Brown.

racing cam

Ride, Acceleration and Handling: The site gets high marks in all three areas. The speaker name recognition acceleration lacks the performance of a 6.2 Liter Hemi V-8 Challenger Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice engine, but it compensates with nimble handling and elegantly outfitted options in every speaker category.

Engine Transmission: WSBDirectConnect appears to be equipped with supercharged, intercooled bandwidth that provides the driver with a blend of quick video-search capability, switching comfortably from speaker to topic area and back.

Safety: This is not a “full service” bureau site so you will not have the standard airbag, insurance and safety features enjoyed by those working with a “full service” bureau. However, the driver can feel comfortable that all of these speakers have been vetted by WSB and have undergone rigorous evaluation and inspection.

Head Turning Quotient: The site is turning heads within the speaker bureau industry as the luxury brand leader enters the mainstream shopping center parking lot market.

spark plug

Price: Per advertisement, the price as tested for these speakers is $10,000-and-under.

Capacities: This is perhaps the largest collection of speakers in the $10,000-and-under range on the Internet and certainly the best curated with ample room to add more.

Mileage: When utilizing speakers in the $10,000-and-under fee range, it is possible to receive more “contractual” mileage out of these speakers than their luxury brand counterparts. It is not uncommon for speakers in this fee range to add secondary sessions and other “value-added” components at no additional price.

Bottom Line: The Speaker Experts work for a speaker bureau and on the surface a site like this could be seen as a “threat” to our industry; however, TSE do not view the emergence of WSBDirectConnect in this manner. “Full Service” speaker bureaus are not going to be the solution for every group looking for a speaker – there are organizations and executives who have the time, preference and desire to research, vet and hire their own speakers. For those that fall into this category, WSBDirect Connect is a neat specialty tool to have in your meeting planner tool box. Overall, we are very impressed with this site but feel that technology will never fully replace the human connection of working directly with an industry expert from a world class speaker bureau. A speaker bureau agent you can trust will be your universal tool to research, consult and vet speakers. Learn about finding such an agent in our blog post “Ten Questions to Ask Your Speaker Bureau” (Part One and Part Two).

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

Our most popular and, oddly, most criticized blog post to date is the July 22 article, “The 4 Myths of the Speaker Bureau Co-Broker”. In this post we discuss the practice of speaker bureaus making their exclusive speakers available to competing bureaus via co-brokering. We cover the pros and cons of this process as it applies to the actual organization that books the speaker. In order to be an educated buyer of speakers, it is important to understand which bureau is the direct source for the speakers who have opted to sign an exclusive bureau contract.

A recurring feature on The Speaker Experts will be a quarterly posting of the latest signings by the nation’s leading speaker bureaus. For the first quarter of 2015, they are as follows:

Washington Speakers Bureau

Secretary Chuck Hagel
    • Former Secretary of Defense (2013-2015) in the Obama administration
Richard Fisher
    • President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Governor Rick Perry
    • Longest-serving Governor of Texas (2000-2015)
Charlene Li
    • Founder and CEO of Altimeter Group and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership
Governor Martin O’Malley
    • Former Governor of Maryland (2007-2015)
Mike Rogers
    • Former Chairman of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (2011-2015)

Harry Walker Agency

Senator Wendy Davis
    • Former Texas Senator (2009-2015); gained national attention for an 11-hour long filibuster
Michael Moss
    • Pulitzer-prize winner and New York Times Bestselling author, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
Senator Tom Coburn
    • Doctor and former Representative (1995-2001) and Senator (2005-2015) of Oklahoma
Governor Deval Patrick
    • Civil rights lawyer and former Governor of Massachusetts (2007-2015)

Leading Authorities International

Amy Purdy
    • Co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports, American actress, world-class snowboarder, and author
Jonathan Perelman
    • Vice President of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures and former Global Lead for Industry Relations at Google
Kevin Kallaugher
    • Editorial cartoonist for The Economist
Michael Flynn
    • Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and national/cyber security expert

Greater Talent Network

Representative Michele Bachman
    • Former U.S. presidential candidate and congresswoman
    • First doctor to discover and diagnose chronic brain damage in NFL athletes
Kevin Lacz
    • Former Navy SEAL and co-star of American Sniper
Eli Manning
    • Quarterback of the New York Giants and two-time Super Bowl Champion and MVP

Worldwide Speakers Group

William Joseph Burns
    • Former Deputy Secretary of State; president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Premiere Speakers Bureau

Greg Gutfeld
    • Fox News Channel host and New York Times Bestselling Author
Brian Kilmeade
    • Co-host of “Fox and Friends” and New York Times Bestselling Author
Robert Guest
    • The Economist US Editor and author of Borderless Economics
John Ratzenberger
    • Emmy-nominated actor, philanthropist, entrepreneur and host of “Made in America”

Keppler Speakers

    • Xbox visionary and former President of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft

Next week we will be offering a new book featured on our August 4 post 10 Speakers with Upcoming Book Releases (Actually, 11. Bonus!). The books are always made available first on this blog before they are posted on our Linkedin page. Please check back next week to reserve your copy.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

As the story goes, NBA Hall of Fame inductee and player Larry Bird signed with the late legendary sports agent Bob Woolf after interviewing a number of high-powered sports agents and asking them who he should sign with if not with them. Each agent answered Bob Woolf. The Speaker Experts are on the receiving end of this type of question occasionally, being asked “…if you were not with Keppler Speakers and were going to book a speaker, who would you work with?” Our thinking has evolved on this issue over the years, and today the answer to this question now is that it depends. There are really four agents that fulfill the answer to this question, but it depends on the question seeker’s position within an organization, their speaker needs, and desired outcome for the event. The following four agents represent the Mt. Rushmore of speaker agents, and if there were ever a speaker agent Hall Of Fame, they would be inducted immediately. Let’s take a look:

Stern D-Blog PhotoIf I am a CEO in need of a speaker to consult and advise at the highest strategic levels, I would call Danny Stern.

Mr. Stern was President of the Leigh Bureau from 1991-2002 and spent 12 years in the speaker industry prior to that. During his time at Leigh Bureau, Stern signed and managed some of the world’s great strategic thinkers. He consulted with Fortune 500 companies at the highest levels, helping them select speakers that would shape their corporate strategy for years into the future.

Where is he now? Stern is with Stern Speakers, a speaker bureau that represents some of the nation’s leading thought leaders including Clayton Christensen, Michael Porter, Dave Ulrich, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Michael Beer, Nicholas Negroponte, Dov Seidman, Jim Champy, and others. Stern is someone you should speak with if your organization seeks a world class thought leader.

Stern is the George Washington of the speaker agent Mt. Rushmore: invested in the cause and a visionary leader.

D'Amelio T-Blog PhotoIf I am a senior-level corporate executive in sales, marketing, or business development, my first call is to Tony D’Amelio.

Tony D’Amelio started his speaker bureau career with Lordly and Dame in the early 1980s and then spent 27 years with the prestigious Washington Speakers Bureau. D’Amelio worked his way to Executive Vice President by having a keen understanding of the needs of his clients, along with the abilities of his speakers, to perfectly partner presentations. He may be the single most prolific speaker agent in the history of the industry and was a cornerstone to the success, development and growth of WSB for almost 3 decades.

Where is he now? D’Amelio took time off after his tenure with WSB to pursue a different passion: education. He is the founder and co-president of the premiere city-wide college scholarship foundation in Stamford, Connecticut, called Stamford Dollars for Scholars. D’Amelio is still active in the speaker industry today as founder of the D’Amelio Network LLC. His clients include some of the nation’s most requested speakers including Mike Abrashoff, Geoff Colvin, Katty Kay and David Meerman Scott.

D’Amelio is the Thomas Jefferson of our speaker agent Mt. Rushmore: intelligent, determined, industrious and hardworking.

Check back next week when we unveil the remaining two speaker agents who complete the Mt Rushmore of speaker bureau representatives. One is an association specialist whose Abraham Lincoln-type qualities build consensus in the fractured Washington, DC landscape. The other is the industry’s Theodore Roosevelt and the one agent I would turn to if the fate of the world depended the success of one specific speaker.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

Along with champagne, noisemakers and New Year’s resolutions, 2015 brought dramatic news to the speaking industry – Harry Rhoads Jr. and Christine Farrell of the Washington Speakers Bureau (“The Five Most Influential People in the Speaking Industry”) announced their firm will no longer offer split commissions to speaker bureaus who purchase WSB’s exclusive speakers for their customers.

What this means to the meeting industry is direct and simple – if you choose to book an exclusive WSB speaker via any other source, your organization will probably be paying a higher fee. In “The Four Myths of the Speaker Bureau Co-Broker” we discuss what co-brokering is, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

This change in WSB policy represents a true paradigm shift in the speaker bureau world. Over a quarter century ago, it was WSB that championed the concept of competing speaker bureaus partnering to offer speakers to their customers. This concept, today known as “co-brokering”, was based on the principle that bureaus would split commissions so that in the end, the customer could elect to work with any bureau of their choosing at no fiduciary penalty. Today, WSB has gone 180 degrees in the opposite direction by telling the industry that their speakers are still available through other bureaus, but that those bureaus must mark up the fee by “10% or greater” if they would like to realize a commission.

The Speaker Experts offer no opinion or judgement as to the positives or negatives of WSB’s new policy. We are merely pointing out to our followers that this new policy could have a great impact on your organization should you opt to book a WSB speaker via a competing speaker bureau. Who knew in 1964 when Bob Dylan sang “The Times They Are a-Changin’”, he was referring to speaker bureau co-brokering in 2015!

Finally, The Speaker Experts note the passing of an industry lion in Mario Cuomo. Governor Cuomo was represented by the Harry Walker Agency for years and was a powerhouse speaker in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. His passionate, cause-driven and dynamic presentations almost always resulted in standing ovations, even from organizations on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin