Gratitude for an Industry

At age 25, I lacked direction, focus, and ambition.

It was the early 90′s and I was working as a temp at 3M and waitressing at night. I had nearly finished my contract with 3M’s marketing department and was thinking about what was next.

One evening I stumbled across Les Brown’s PBS special entitled Live Your Dreams. I was hooked immediately and watched it over and over again. Les talked about being resilient, steering clear of negative people, and using books and information as a form of power.


I decided right then and there that I would go and work for a motivational speaker. And as synchronicity sometimes works, it was only a matter of weeks before I had a job as Director of Marketing for my first speaker.

Looking back over a 20 year career, first as an agent, then as a coach, I can honestly say I could not have chosen a better field.

The speakers I represented early in my career were fantastic mentors and role models. The bureau I worked for in Dallas was a phenomenal wealth of experience. Some of my best friends in the industry are people I met at my first NSA conference over 18 years ago in Washington.

I have been blessed to coach some of the smartest and most talented people in the world and because of them, I have owned my own company for over a decade, written 3 books, and get to live the life of my dreams.

Thank you speaking industry. I don’t know where my life would have gone without you!

See you in the New Year Wealthy Speakers!


PS: Do you have people or an industry that you want to recognize? Please post your comment below to say thank you.


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  • Blake Fleischacker

    Victoria Labalme. She is a woman who I came to know when speaking was just a lightbulb in my mind, early in the idea stages. Thanks to her professionalism, artistic approach to life and TRUE ability to listen and coach with sincerity, I have learned a great deal about this profession. For anyone who knows Victoria, your quality of life and work is raised by learning from her approach to the world of speaking and beyond. Honoured to know her and learn from her.

    Thanks Victoria.
    - Blake

  • Patrick Williams

    I’d like to thank Toastmasters International for helping me and hundreds of thousands of other people to find their voice. Through my attendance at Toastmasters I’ve honed my public speaking abilities, improved my leadership skills, and dramatically increased my poise and confidence. If you are willing to put in the time and effort Toastmasters can transform your life. Thank you Toastmasters! Cheers, Patrick

  • Patti Pokorchak

    Funny how such small things like a video or a question can influence and change our lives forever.

    For me it was this: I was toiling away in the hot sun on my farm/garden centre when my friend Warren Evans, the infamous professional speaker visited me. He told me that I could be making a six-figure income just talking about gardening, never mind doing it. That stayed in my mind as I continued to mindlessly weed away in the hot sun for days on end.

    I had made six-figures before in my high tech sales & marketing career but never thought that I could earn that by speaking. That one phrase got me started with CAPS in 2007, I joined and have never looked back. Some of my best friends now are CAPS members who I met while I was on the board of CAPS Toronto. I have learned so much and love the positive energy that I get from being part of the speaking industry and keep paying it forward.

  • Jay Frost

    In the world of fundraising and philanthropy, a field I have inhabited since 1985, there are many teachers. One who stands above the rest is Jerold Panas. Jerry has not only run his own firm since 1968, advising thousands of charitable organizations around the world on how to raise private philanthropic support, but he has also been the field’s top trainer. I remember well when I had the professional speaker’s “Aha Moment” and it was all because of Jerry. At a conference where I was conducting a session, Jerry was keynoting. He conducted his session not like a lecturer at a podium with powerpoint but by having a conversation with the entire room, walking about and engaging participants directly. He was a masterful, comfortable both with his subject and in his own skin, able to address the most fundamental motivational issues that prevent people from taking the actions required to move organizations to the next level. When we all left, people were lining up to buy one or more of his books on various fundraising and philanthropy matters. The “Aha” for me, however, was when I realized that he, unlike any other presenter at the conference, was brought in as a professional speaker. Those who booked Jerry understood that he was not promoting his firm through his talks, he was promoting philanthropy through them. I made a commitment then to change my thinking about my work as a presenter and my relationship to the forums where I presented. I am much better for that change and I believe a more beneficial presenter as well. Professional speakers are still a rare breed in this industry, where the tendency is to bring in outsiders and celebrities at the keynote level even though their understanding of this world and their messages to it may be marginal. But we have a model in Jerry of how presenters can bring out the best in their audiences by understanding their experience deeply and personally and speaking directly to their needs and aspirations.

  • Esther Jacobs

    Hi Jane, nice to know a bit about your background, too!
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank YOU! You helped me identify my ‘slogan’: “The No Excuses Lady” which helps me even better than before to get my message across.

  • Patricia Morgan

    Over six years ago, after you, Jane, recommended that I access coaching to craft a first rate keyonte, I spent 4 days with Patricia Fripp. She was honest, encouraging and generous with her ideas. I have been blessed with many wise voices in the speaking industry including Valerie Cade, Kit Grant, Warren Evans, Dan Poynter, Dr. Randy Ritz, many presenters at CAPS and NSA conventions and, of course, you, Jane. With appreciation, Patricia