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Storyteller - Keynote Speakers

Jeanne Robertson

Jeanne Robertson reached her 6’2” stature at age thirteen. Perhaps it was an indication of a future speaking career that would soar to great heights. No, professional speaking might not have been predicted when Jeanne was in the seventh grade in Graham, North Carolina, when and where she would have been voted most likely to make the basketball team and least likely to be a contestant in the Miss America Pageant. She did make the team—averaging more than thirty points per game in her junior and senior years—but as Miss North Carolina 1963 she also competed in the Miss America Pageant where she was named Miss Congeniality. It was her participation in and perhaps even her losing of the Miss America title that turned Jeanne’s life into a succession of events which led her to be one of the funniest, busiest and most popular professional speakers in America today. With the flexibility to speak more often, Jeanne’s rise in the speaking profession was nothing short of phenomenal. Clients and speakers alike were quick to recognize her ability. In addition to a full speaking schedule year after year, she has been awarded every top honor and designation in her profession including the Certified Speaking Professional designation (CSP) in 1980 and being inducted in the CPAE Speaker Hall Of Fame in 1981. While she enjoys making people laugh, Jeanne views the role of a humorist as more than eliciting laughter. As audiences are holding their sides and wiping tears from their faces, she makes her point clear.

Nido Qubein

Dr. Nido R. Qubein is an accomplished university president and a nationally recognized author, speaker, and leader. Dr. Qubein came to the United States with $50 in his pocket and a few words of English in his vocabulary … yet went on to become one of America’s most sought-after speakers and consultants. As a university president, the story of his tenure at High Point University is known to many. In less than a decade, he led the institution to phenomenal growth and significant academic advancement, tripling its size and moving it to the number one spot among Best Colleges in the South. As a business leader, he is the chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company with 220 stores in 43 states. He serves on the boards of several national organizations including BB&T (a Fortune 500 company with $210 billion in assets) and the La-Z-Boy Corporation (one of the largest and most recognized furniture brands worldwide). President Qubein is the author of a dozen books and scores of leadership audio and visual recordings translated into many languages. The Biography Channel televised his Emmy-nominated life story titled “A Life of Success and Significance.”

David Meerman Scott

David Meerman Scott is a marketing strategist. His book The New Rules of Marketing & PR opened people’s eyes to the new realities of marketing and public relations on the Web. Six months on the BusinessWeek bestseller list and published in more than 25 languages, New Rules is now a modern business classic. He is a recovering VP of marketing for two publicly traded technology companies and was also Asia marketing director for Knight-Ridder, at the time one of the world’s largest newspaper and electronic information companies. David’s popular blog and hundreds of speaking engagements around the world give him a singular perspective on how businesses are implementing new strategies to reach buyers. Scott knows that sitting through a boring or off-topic speech is utterly painful. So he keeps things a bit edgy and uses stories and humor to craft presentations that are educational, motivational, and entertaining. Whenever he is front of a group he provides valuable and actionable information about the new rules of marketing and PR, online thought leadership, and reaching buyers directly with Web content.

Jim Stovall

People across the nation consider Jim Stovall as one of the most inspiring speakers that they have heard. He causes his audiences to overcome their fears and to realize their true potential. Jim lost his eyesight at an early age and shares humorous and relevant stories about overcoming obstacles in his life. His audiences walk away challenged and inspired with hope. Jim is the president and founder of Narrative Television Network, which makes movies and television accessible to the blind and visually impaired. Jim Stovall has been a national champion Olympic weightlifter, the President of the Emmy Award-winning Narrative Television Network, and a highly sought after author and platform speaker. He is the author of the best selling book, The Ultimate Gift, which is now a major motion picture starring James Garner and Abigail Breslin.

Diane Smith

Diane Smith draws from her diverse experiences in journalism, personal health, and as a TV veteran to inspire her audiences to better their lives in a variety of ways. To promote a healthier living, she also takes from her knowledge as co-author of Obsessed: America’s Food Addiction and My Own, which was written with MSNBC Morning Show co-host Mika Brzezinski. Through Diane’s dynamic keynotes, audiences are ignited with motivation to implement her innovative tools to reinvent the way they live.

Mark Scharenbroich

Mix thousands and thousands of black leather, bandana wearing, tattoo bearing Harley-Davidson riders with a 100th Anniversary and one beige rental car and the end result will be the perfect metaphor for connecting with others: “Nice Bike.” Nice Bike acts as a powerful catalyst to help build stronger, more unified teams. The message inspires audience members to be more engaged and passionate about connecting with others. Join Emmy award-winning speaker, Mark Scharenbroich as he takes you for a fun ride on how to be effective at making meaningful connections in both your professional and personal life. His Nice Bike principle is supported by three strong actions: Acknowledge, honor and connect. Part motivational speaker, part thought-provoker and pure comedic entertainer – Mark Scharenbroich will inspire, teach and engage you with Nice Bike.

Tom Sullivan

Tom Sullivan, known to many as an actor, singer, entertainer, author, and producer, lives and works by “Sullivan’s Rules.” One of Sullivan’s first rules is that “Any negative can be turned into positive.” In 1975, Tom’s autobiography, If You Could See What I Hear, co written with Derek Gill, took him on yet another journey this time as an author. The best-selling book has been called “…a testament to courage, the competitive spirit and delight in life.” If You Could See What I Hear became a major motion picture in 1982. In his latest title, “Adventures in Darkness”, Tom takes readers through his monumental eleventh summer. This book is a hair-raising, heart-warming experience that culminates in Tom’s determination to realize his dreams of a “normal” life. It is only fitting that with his wealth of experience and commitment he would become one of the most sought after motivational speakers in the country.

Vince Poscente

Use Vince Poscente’s expertise to your advantage. His against-all-odds Olympic strategy is powerful way to have your team reach BIG GOALS fast. Vince is a business guy who decided he would compete in the Olympics four years after his 26th birthday. At the age of 30 Poscente was vying for Gold, blasting down the mountain at an incredible 135 mph on skis. With his acumen for speedy goals, he soon became a New York Times bestselling author and Internationally award winning speaker. Vince Poscente will help you accelerate towards BIG GOALS in Short Order.

Vince Papale

Philadelphia through and through, Vince Papale is a true local hero. His story - that you should never give up and always continue to pursue your dreams - embodies the spirit of Philadelphia and serves to empower anyone who has ever been told they can’t achieve their goals. In 1976, at the age of 30, Vince tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles, made the team, and became the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL. He still holds that record! He was with the Eagles for four seasons as a wide receiver before a shoulder injury ended his career in 1979. While active, he was voted special teams captain by his teammates and in 2007 he was voted the most outstanding special teams player in the 75-year history of the Eagles. In 2006, Disney released a movie about Vince called "Invincible" that opened to rave reviews finishing #1 at the box office two weeks in a row! Vince's inspirational journey from humble working class beginnings and troubled home life, to successful professional athlete and businessman is a story that audiences of all demographics will relate to. His topics include “Hold Fast to Dreams”, which explores Vince Papale's Cinderella rise from 30-year old Philadelphia Eagles season ticket holder to Philadelphia Eagles football player, the stuff that dreams are made of. Vince's story will certainly inspire anyone who is privileged enough too hear one of his motivational speeches.

Amy Lynch

Baby Boomer Amy Lynch has helped leaders and managers from around the world engage the talents of each generation for better bottom line results. Amy is the author of the award-winning “How Can You Say That?” about parent-teen communication, as well as numerous articles in publications, including First for Women, Success, Ms. and Self. Amy’s research and knowledge mixed with her high-energy and masterful storytelling creates an insightful and captivating generational speaker. Through humor and anecdotes Amy’s keynotes help each generation recognize their own behaviors, which also helps improve their work life.

Kim Lear

Kim Lear is a speaker, writer, strategist, and researcher. As the founder and content director of Inlay Insights, Kim explores how emerging trends impact the future workforce and marketplace. She is at the forefront of cutting edge research to uncover cultural shifts that revolutionize how organizations engage employees and consumers. Kim is a sought after expert and has been featured on NPR as well as national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, USA Today and more. She is also a contributor to the award winning NPR program “On Being” where she focuses on mindful work. Kim’s innovative presentations explore how future trends are changing the way people work, buy, and live. She is known for her ability to use a mix of data, storytelling, humor and actionable takeaways to discuss the trends that most impact the bottom line of organizations.

Peter Vidmar

Peter Vidmar does not just stand behind a podium to present his hilariously entertaining motivational speeches, he does so while performing parts of his Olympic gold medal winning pommel horse routine. Peter’s career blossomed after the 1984 Olympic Games when he lead USA men’s gymnastics team to gold as he won silver for the individual all-around and gold for the pommel horse. He now is the Co-Chairman of the US Olympic Committee Summer Sports Summit, an annual series of workshops to prepare America’s medal hopefuls win gold in future Olympics. His ability to motivate people in and outside the gym has taught thousands how to have a perfect performance by using his three components- Risk, Originality and Virtuosity. Just like when Peter was captain for the USA men’s gymnastics team he will lead your business to gold through his inspiring keynotes.

Chris Waddell

Chris Waddell is a phenomenal motivational speaker who is the epitome of his message: It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you. Waddell was a promising young skier at Middlebury College when a skiing accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Addressing his disability with determination to get back on the slope brought him skiing one year later on a monoski. In two years Waddell was named to the US Disabled Ski Team and went on to become the most decorated male skier in Paralympic history. After 11 years on the ski team, his ambitions lead him to become the first paraplegic to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro with little assistance. After hearing Waddell’s thought provoking story people will refer to his message for years to come to trigger their own drive for success and inspire new ambitions. Chris’ One Revolution Foundation helps to create social change through its mission of changing the way that the world sees people with disabilities by demonstrating the common experience of challenge.

Don Yaeger

As a sports writer and author, Don Yaeger has had a front-row seat with some of the world’s greatest winners. Let him share that seat with you! Don has the ability to connect sports with business and share great stories on teamwork, preparedness, goal setting and relationship building. His insights provide a unique perspective on audience’s everyday tasks and responsibilities. Don is a frequent guest on national television programs such as: Nightline, Dateline, 20/20, ESPN and Good Morning America. In the past 22 years, he has penned 23 books, including seven New York Times Best-sellers, the most recent being Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur with Ryan Blair. He communicates with his audiences in an easy, engaging style, which helps participants realize that they, too, can achieve a higher level of professional and personal success.

Sekou Andrews

An elementary schoolteacher turned actor, musician, national poetry slam champion, entrepreneur, and now award-winning Poetic Voice, any given day may now find Sekou presenting a customized talk for international executives, giving the keynote at a business conference, and performing poems for Barack Obama in Oprah Winfrey’s backyard and Hillary Clinton in Quincy Jones’ living room. Sekou Andrews is inspiring the business world one poem at a time with The Sekou Effect. As the world’s leading Poetic Voice, Sekou creates personalized poetic presentations that give voice to the messages and missions of organizations and help them tell their most powerful stories. He is creator of this cutting-edge category of speaking that combines strategic storytelling, inspirational speaking, spoken word poetry, and the power of theater and comedy to make events into experiences, and transform audiences of informed receivers into enrolled responders. With all of the innovation and inspiration that is Poetic Voice, Sekou Andrews gives voice to our most powerful stories and shows us the best version of ourselves, so we can live into it.

Josh Linkner

Josh Linkner- who started his career as a jazz guitarist- personifies creativity, entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation. He has been the founder and CEO of four tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million. Josh is the author of two New York Times Bestsellers: Disciplined Dreaming: A proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, and The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation. He is also the Founding Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, investing in and mentoring over 100 startups. Josh has twice been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is a President Barack Obama Champion of Change award recipient. He is a regular columnist for Forbes, The Detroit Free Press, and Inc. Magazine. His work on innovation has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, CNN, and The New York Times. And yes, he still plays a mean jazz guitar.

Beau Lotto

Beau Lotto helps businesses build great brands by creating a strong relationship with audiences through meaningful narratives. But what makes a narrative meaningful? Beau is the founder of Lottolab, a hybrid art studio and science lab, which researches human perception and how it underpins creativity and innovation. His ongoing research shines a new light on human nature and allows for businesses to discover the principles behind information, not just the information itself. Beau focuses first on asking good questions--the right questions, and then sets about uncovering the answer. "A GOOD question is where success lives," says Beau. By combining our collective expertise in design, engagement, neuroscience and behaviour we are better able to work with companies to create narratives that are truly meaningful to their audiences … and in doing so establish a sense of loyalty that wouldn't be possible otherwise.

Victoria Arlen

Victoria Arlen’s powerful story of overcoming a rare neurological disorder that left her paralyzed from the waist down ignites audience’s passion for achieving goals. In 2010, after almost four years being in a vegetative state, Victoria began the nearly impossible fight back to life. Although she faced the devastating reality of paralysis from the waist down, she went on to defy the odds and not only recovered but has since become an accomplished speaker, actress, model, and swimmer. In April 2015, Victoria made the transition from professional athlete to sportscaster and joined ESPN as one of the youngest on-air talents hired by the company, reporting for espnW, X Games, and Sportscenter. Victoria also recently defied the odds after being told she would never walk again. She took her first steps in March 2016 and has not stopped since. Victoria has become world famous not only for her story and accomplishments but for her message: “Face It, Embrace It, Defy It, Conquer It". She inspires audiences to have a new perspective on life and to see the world full of possibilities rather than limitations.

Stefan Swanepoel

Stefan's inspiring and captivating book, Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life, reached the New York Times bestseller the week it was released and was later also ranked a bestseller by 18 other resources including the Wall Street Journal. The companion “Skills Quiz” has been taken by 250,000 people since its release in early 2011. This has now evolved in an captivating and engaging keynote that transports attendees into an “Africa Safari” with awe-inspiring visuals, invigorating stories and revealing breakthroughs. Stefan Swanepoel is also widely regarded as the country’s leading real estate trends analyst and tracker. Stefan has been on more than 20 safaris in five countries, holds four degrees and diplomas, and has given over 900 talks ranging from 50 to 10,000 people.

Polly LaBarre

For two decades Polly LaBarre has used her writing and speaking to help make organizations more resilient, innovative and inspiring – and to embolden and equip leaders at every level to make a meaningful impact. Polly began her career at Fast Company magazine and is also co-author of the bestselling book, Mavericks at Work. She also has a widely syndicated blog, Fresh MIX, which delivers agenda-setting ideas about 21st-century organizations. She has field-tested insight on the crucial question facing every leader and organization today: How do we change the way we change? She reveals the most practical and high-impact ways to innovate, adapt and succeed -- redefining how leadership, change, innovation, collaboration, employee engagement, organizational culture, accountability, and disruptive strategy are done. Polly provides an action plan to help leaders make their organizations fit for the future.

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